By: Jake Gray
The Bensalem Owls were able to turn things around late on Thursday for a close win against the Pennsbury Falcons. Led by 26 points from junior guard James Ashford, the Fighting Owls just barely defeated Pennsbury with a final score of 60-57.
Pennsbury started off strong, utilizing their fast pace offense to get an early lead over Bensalem. They were dominant for nearly the entire game as Bensalem struggled early to close the deficit. Senior guard Shane Simmons started off red hot, scoring nine of his 17 points in the first quarter. Along with great shooting from senior guard Collin Connor who contributed another eight for the Falcons in the first, Pennsbury led 19-10 going into the second quarter.
Bensalem had opportunities to make the game close early, but failing to convert on attempts from the line (only shooting 5 of 11 in the first half) and difficulties stopping Pennsbury on the fast break kept them behind. However, their defense did lead to some scoring opportunities. More specifically, a smooth steal from former Pennsbury Falcon and senior forward Jeremiah Alexander led to a huge dunk from him on the other end, right before getting back on defense with an emphatic block to end the half. The Fighting Owls began to turn things around, but Pennsbury still sat comfortably with a 33-27 lead.
Bensalem came out hungry to start the second half, and Pennsbury wasn’t ready. Shortly into the third, two fumbled passes plus Falcon foul trouble allowed sophomore guard Aaron Sanders to tie things up for the Owls at 41. Strong defense from Bensalem, plus another block by Alexander kept things close, but Pennsbury entered the fourth quarter with a 49-44 lead.
This entire game was full of intensity. Fast, brutal offense kept things interesting. Hard nosed defense also made this one a must watch . But the last 3 minutes of it made the rest of the game look like a cakewalk for Bensalem.
Bensalem took the lead with about 3:30 left, making it a 52-51 game. Both teams went back and forth. 53-52, Pennsbury. Then, 54-53, Bensalem. 55-54, Pennsbury. 56-55, Bensalem. Then again, 57-56 with the advantage to Pennsbury.
Eventually, the game went to 60-57, Bensalem. However, Evan McNeely was fouled on a three-point attempt, getting a chance to go the line. Unfortunately for Pennsbury fans, he missed the first free throw, and Pennsbury was unable to get the rebound after his intentional miss. Despite leading most of the game, Pennsbury fell 60-57.
Both teams played hard all game, with solid play on both sides of the floor. However, Pennsbury’s inability to score late or stop Bensalem’s scoring led to their loss. It’ll be interesting to see how both teams move on from this one. Bensalem is happy to get a win, but their somewhat slow start is worth noting. However, Owls fans should not worry as Ashford’s dominant performance proves he’s one to watch out for.
For Pennsbury, they need to handle their issues with finishing out games strong. With such intense play all game, be sure to stay tuned to see what both teams do from here.