LANGHORNE, PA -
We’re about two months or so out of the most recent high school football season, but that doesn’t mean that the Pennsbury/Neshaminy rivalry deadens.
The two crosstown rivals have one of the most storied and notorious rivalries in the state, and it crosses over from sport to sport. This one was a basketball matchup that would live up to the hype in which the rivalry receives.
In front of a packed house at Neshaminy High School, the Pennsbury Falcons emerged victorious in a 59-57 road triumph over the host Redskins after Chris Arcidiacono missed a game-winning three as time expired. The win improves the Falcons’ record to 10-7 overall, and 5-3 in SOLN conference play.
“We made some key free throws down the stretch, especially in the fourth quarter,” Pennsbury head coach Bill Coleman said. “We were lucky to get a board after Chris missed that last shot, so it ended well for us.”
Raylil Winton Law and Collin Connor led the balanced scoring attack for the Falcons, scoring 15 points apiece. Big man Chad Weldon added 12 points, with most of them coming in the first quarter.
“We just wanted to set the tone early,” Coleman said. “Chad is pretty under-looked around here probably because he’s a one-year varsity player as a senior. He’s one of the hardest workers on this team and he’s starting to embrace his role in this program.”
Coleman had his players feed Weldon in the paint early and often, giving the tall and lengthy center high-percentage shots. It wasn’t a jaw-dropping performance: rather an efficient one.
“Limiting our turnovers was huge as it got down to the wire,” said the 6’8” Weldon. “We knew we weren’t going to get this win easily.”
“We can’t drop our energy; giving that 1 percent extra effort means a lot to our coaches and it could decide a game like it did tonight.”
Neshaminy came out of the gates on fire. Two threes from senior guard Anthony Papeo and one from Arcidiacono helped the Redskins take a 20-12 lead at the end of the first frame.
Pennsbury hung in there in the second quarter, outscoring their opponent 13-10, and faced just a 5-point deficit heading into the locker room. An even more impressive third quarter would follow, as the Falcons outscored the ‘Skins 15-6, taking a 40-36 lead into the final frame.
“I think our pressure really wore them down in the fourth quarter,” expressed Coleman. “As we started that quarter, I tried to get the guys to think about breaking it into four two-minute segments and told them that if we win the first two, we’d win the game.”
“Really, when you look at that fourth quarter and break it down, we won the first two minutes by 10 and that’s what won us the game.
Jake Martell sunk five free throws in the last frame, and sophomore Cooper Arnold hit a big three and a couple foul shots.
“We’re trying to get those guys (Arnold and Connor) in as much as possible,” said Coleman. “They’re the future of the program. We’re starting to rely on them more as we go, and I think from their standpoint, they’re starting to get more and more comfortable with their roles. That’s the most important thing: once you understand your roles, you kind of settle in better.”
Arcidiacono, the younger brother of former NCAA National Champion and March Madness MVP Ryan Arcidiacono, led all scorers with 23 points. Teammates Anthony Papeo and Danny Bodine scored 13 and 10, respectively.
With the loss, Neshaminy dropped to 9-7 overall and 3-4 in the SOL National Conference.