Bucks County Herald

New Hope falls short to Devon Prep

STEVE SHERMAN

Wiping out the joy it felt on Monday from a big Senior Night win over Church Farm, New Hope-Solebury lost for the second time this season to visiting Bicentennial Athletic League (BAL) rival Devon Prep and for the third time in its last four games.

With the contest tied at 34, Devon sophomore Kevin Walton canned a driving lay-up with one tick left on the clock, then added a free throw to send the score to its agonizing 37-34 final.

“Our big thing is we got to win in the paint; we’re not a perimeter-shooting team,” New Hope head coach Rick Fedele said.

“For three quarters, we wouldn’t dump the ball into the paint to the big man (junior Topher Taylor) to get him some scoring opportunities. That’s where we lost the game.”

The night before, on the same court at Solebury School, the Lions held the Griffins in check defensively while seniors Kevin Dougherty and Nick Garritano combined for 32 points, leading New Hope to a 50-43 triumph over Church Farm.

The Lions couldn’t keep the ball rolling in the same direction, however, on Tuesday against the Tide, which shot five of six from the floor in the first quarter to take a 15-2 lead into the second.

“It’s been a continuing problem for us all season,” Fedele said. “When you don’t put pressure on the perimeter, these guys are going to shoot because that’s what they do.”

The Lions managed only a pair of junior Patrick Cooney free throws in the opening quarter.

Conversely, Devon came out smoking in the first frame with freshman Eamon Walsh and junior Fred Rullo each hitting a pair of three-pointers.

“They came out hot; they didn’t miss a shot,” said Taylor, who finished with 18 points. “They were banging threes and we couldn’t get anything going.

“We struggled offensively throughout the whole game.”

New Hope (11-10, 8-7 BAL) came up with a pair of steals in the first quarter but couldn’t convert the thefts into points.

That changed in the second quarter. The Lions stole the ball five times and converted three of them into points, including a triple by senior Reese Sterling that started an 11-0 scoring string that cut the New Hope deficit to five at halftime.

Three straight lay-ups from Cooney, Taylor and Garritano sent New Hope into the locker room trailing 20-15.

The Tide opened the second half on a 10-4 run that pushed the visitors’ lead back to double digits with 2:17 remaining in the third quarter. The spurt was ignited by Walsh. Devon’s high-scorer deposited a lay-up from the left side of the baseline, drained a floater from the right side and knocked down a trey from the left side of the arc.

After closing the gap to six points, New Hope opened the final quarter on an 8-1 run to finally take the lead. Taylor scored on four straight shots from the floor, putting the Lions up 32-31 with 3:38 left in regulation.

Devon senior Chris Perullo hit an off-balance three off of the glass, however, to put the Tide ahead 34-32 and with the game knotted at 34, Walton tucked the win inside the visitors’ pocket.

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