**Note: This article originally published in The Reporter and on PaPrepLive.com**
EAST ROCKHILL >> In any basketball game you never know when the game-defining run will start. For Pennridge Saturday night it was a 20-0 run that spanned over the first and second quarters.
“I actually thought Methacton did a good job of slowing us down in the beginning,” Pennridge coach Dean Behrens said. “We were really trying to get out and run…we weren’t shooting the ball well. It seemed like when we subbed in Ryan Cuthbert and Devon Balmer it seemed like our defensive intensity really rose. And it seemed like our defense really caused that run that we had more than our offense.”
That run, which started with the game tied 5-5 catapulted the Rams to a 56-32 victory and the Pennridge Memorial Tip Off championship Saturday night.
“I was happy to see that the defense rose to the occasion rather than just the offense,” Behrens said. “We’re going to have to bear down defensively if we want to be successful in the league.”
Dan Long led Pennridge with 14 points in the game, which included a three and a 1-2 performance from the free throw line.
“Dan Long got in attack mode…then all of the sudden everything opened up a little bit,” Behrens said. “And then obviously Max Wagner hit a couple of shots. That’s tough when a 6’7” kid can shoot like that.”
“Ryan Kinky – he hit a couple threes in the first half. I was pleased with that because he’s a younger guy (who) hasn’t gotten that experience yet but he’s gaining it now.
Wagner had 12 points in the game, while Kinky added six on his two threes.
Long scored eight points in the first half. Ryan Cuthbert added seven and in what was an all-around effort for the tournament champions.
Jerry Cherchio and Jake Cardarelli both set the pace for Methacton, with six points a piece. Ten different Warriors scored in the game
The second half was a much closer contest, as Pennridge was only able to outscore Methacton by one, 26-25. But the damage was already done.
“Last year we didn’t win our tournament,” Behrens said. “Our goal was to try to win our tournament. I was glad that we were able to do that.”
The Pennridge boys are joined by the girls, who won their division earlier in the evening.
“I don’t think we’ve won (the tournament) as long as I’ve been here,” Long added. “It feels really good to finally win this year and it’s a good start, 2-0.”