Bucks County Herald

CB West gets past Pennridge

DON LEYPOLDT

Friday night’s wind chill sank into single digits.

But inside, Central Bucks West stayed white hot.

In a highly anticipated Suburban One League (SOL) Continental showdown, the host Bucks (18-4, 10-2 SOL Continental) never trailed in a convincing 51-29 win over Pennridge.

Behind 14 points from California University of Pennsylvania-bound Collin MacAdams and a baker’s dozen from forward Shane McCusker, CB West extended its winning streak to nine games. During the run, the stifling CB West defense has surrendered an average of less than 40 points per game.

“We shared the ball tonight and really focused on the defensive end,” MacAdams said. “We took pride in our match-ups.”

“I think we’re learning from our mistakes that we made in the beginning of the year,” CB West head coach Adam Sherman added. “We’re doing a better job of keeping an even keel, realizing that there are runs in games and we’re reacting to other teams’ success in a better way.”

CB West’s streak started with a 58-55 overtime win over Wissahickon, where the Bucks got 10 big points from senior reserve Davis Zerweck. With the exception of a 50-43 Bucks triumph over archrival Central Bucks East, the following eight games haven’t been close.

The Rams had been equally hot. After a tough Jan. 9 loss to CB West in East Rockhill, Pennridge rattled off seven straight “W”s. Standout guard Sean Yoder scored 22 or more points three times and senior forward Tyrese Lewis averaged 13.5 points per game during the run.

“We depend on Sean for a lot and he puts a lot of burden on his shoulders,” Pennridge head coach Dean Behrens noted. “We ask him to bring the ball up and take shots. Tonight was a tough night for Tyrese, but we wouldn’t have 14 wins if we didn’t have a guy play like Tyrese has. Especially in the last two or three weeks when he has played his best basketball.”

On Friday, CB West opened up a 9-2 lead as the 6’5” MacAdams scored or assisted on seven of the points.

“I’ve always been able to handle and shoot the ball a little bit,” said MacAdams, who will play shooting guard in college. “I’ve always worked on my jump shot and then naturally grew. I’m blessed.”

Pennridge climbed out of the hole. Yoder hit a lay-up at the first-quarter buzzer and then assisted on both a Brett Henofer three and Jake Pestrak jumper, which knotted the game at 12.

The Bucks answered with a 29-11 run over the middle 13.5 minutes of the game. McCusker responded with an NBA three and Jack Neri scored two of his eight points on a lay-up.

“I don’t have the green light 100 percent, but there are shots I feel comfortable shooting. If it goes in, it’s a good shot. If it doesn’t,” McCusker grinned, “it’s a bad shot.”

Mika Munari scored the last seven points of the half and CB West took a 26-14 lead into intermission. A McCusker three-point play widened the lead to 37-21 and Neri’s runner at the buzzer put CB West up 41-23 through three.

McCusker, who missed three recent games with an ankle injury, was welcomed back.

“It stunk watching,” McCusker admitted. “But when I did sit and come back, I played a lot more patiently. Usually when people come back, they try to prove themselves right away, but when you let the game come to you, it’s really fun to play.”

Pennridge had averaged 60 points per game during its winning streak. Pestrak’s 10 paced the Rams on Friday when CB West’s defense sparkled.

“We’re pretty strong and physical,” said Zerweck, who started on Senior Night and rewarded Sherman with three assists. “We pride ourselves on defense. I feel like offense comes when the defense goes, so if we start off on the right foot on defense, we’ll have a good game offensively.”

“We tried to get [Yoder] as unfamiliar as possible,” Sherman echoed. “It was a team effort to try and contain him. We were fortunate, too, in that he got into early foul trouble.”

“[CB West] spreads the floor and their ball-handlers are very, very good,” Behrens complimented. “They pick their poison. They attack and if they don’t get a crack, they kick it out. And if they find a crack, they get to the basket.

“I feel like we’ve played a tough schedule and we’ve challenged the boys,” Behrens continued. “It started tonight with our defensive rebounding. We didn’t get it done.”

CB West closed its regular season on Tuesday with a 46-37 revenge win at Souderton; the Indians are the last team to beat the Bucks. The victory gave CB West the SOL Continental title. Pennridge returned to its winning ways on Saturday with a 55-50 double-overtime win at Reading. Pennridge stood at 16-5 and 8-3 in the conference after Tuesday’s 61-48 triumph over William Tennent.

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