Boys Basketball Season Continues Through Ups and Downs


Aiden Stepansky, Writer

The past few weeks have not been easy for Lower Moreland’s Boys Basketball Team. After starting the season 2-2 overall and 2-0 in the league, the team faced some challenges that were out of their control. League games against Springfield Township and Cheltenham were postponed due to Covid-19, and their first league crossover game against Abington was postponed due to the January 7th snow day. Faced with adversity, the team was still able to come out of this key stretch of their season with an overall record of 5-6 and a league record of 4-2. Here’s how they got there.

This stretch of the season started over winter break, when the Lions participated in the Dick Dougherty Memorial Tournament at Bensalem High School. In this 2-game tournament, the team faced 6A schools that would be sure to help them grow as a team. In the first game, the Lions battled the Eagles from Norristown High School. In a close game that came down to the final seconds, Lower Moreland lost on a buzzer beater by a final score of 54-52. Battling all the way to the buzzer showed how the team put forth maximum effort in this matchup. The next day, the Lions played the tournament host, Bensalem. After trailing 36-30 at the break, Bensalem came back to force overtime.  In overtime, Bensalem was able to pull away with a 73-64 win. Despite the loss, the team saw great scoring efforts from several players. Senior Braden Alicea scored 17 in total and 13 in the 2nd quarter alone. Brian Grant added 10 points, and John Kroll added 15. While the team did not come out of this tournament with a win, they were able to test themselves against some more difficult competition. The lessons learned through these games are sure to help them as the season continues. 

As Lower Moreland returned from winter break, the Lions returned to league play. On January 4th, they hosted William Tennent High School. The Lions started slow in this one, as they were down big at the half and trailing by 16 points at the end of the 3rd quarter. With some timely shooting, including four 3-pointers, they came all the way back in the 4th quarter to make it a 2-point game. They came up just short, losing 54-49. The leading scorers were Tom Przybylinski with 16 points and John Kroll with 10.

On January 8th, the Lions won in a non-league game against Bristol 58-48. On the 11th, the boys traveled to Hatboro Horsham for their first league crossover game with the Liberty Division. In a dominant performance, the Lions were up 36-8 at half time. The 2nd half was no different, and the team won by a final score of 53-22. The balanced scoring mixed with strong defense led them to victory. Brian Grant had 7 rebounds and 4 assists. Matt Ernst had 13 points, Braden Alicea had 10, and John Kroll also added 10.

2 days later, the team hosted Abington. The student body came out to support their team wearing tropical and Hawaiian-themed clothes. Unfortunately, the Lions fell behind early and were unable to mount a comeback. At the break, it was 36-30 in favor of the Ghosts, and Abington won 76-65. Facing a bigger team caused problems for the undersized Lions. Despite the loss, John Kroll led the team with 21 points and 4 assists. Other notable scoring lines included Brian Grant with 16, Braden Alicea with 13, and Matt Ernst with 11.

The following night, LM visited Wissahickon. The team was locked up in a tight one, as they led by 2 at halftime. In a defensive battle, the Lions were able to pull away late to win the game 46-39. Matt Ernst had 13 points to lead the team. Mike Pennisi had 8 and John Kroll had 9. They both grabbed 6 rebounds each.

Now at the halfway point of their season, the Boys basketball team has an impressive .666 winning percentage in league play. When some of the key players were asked how they can be successful in the next set of games, Senior Captain Brian Grant said, “We need to stay connected as a unit on the defensive side because we struggle to talk sometimes. Offensively we just have to hit our strides and knock down our shots when they are there. We can’t have any slow starts anymore.” Senior Matt Ernst also said, “We have to control what we can control and that’s that. We’ve had some good games and bad games, but we’re locking in now. The team has been in the lab; the chemistry is cooking.” Sophomore John Kroll added, “We’ve played against some bigger schools this year, but we’ve proven we can play against anyone. This season is our year and we are going to stay catching big dubs.” 

Despite the ups and downs, the Lions still find themselves in position to compete for the League championship and make the district playoffs. Head Coach Seth Baron was asked about the season so far and he said, “I am happy with how the team is progressing. The young guys, especially the sophomore class, are showing signs of being very good basketball players one day. The top 8/9 guys are all contributing. We are playing some very good defense. We are happy, but we have so many tough opponents coming up so we are going to put our wins behind us and move forward.”

The Lions will continue their pursuit of a league championship and the district playoffs during an upcoming schedule that includes 6 league games. On Tuesday the 18th, the Lions will host Upper Dublin, the top team in the Liberty Division. They then host the Freedom Division leaders, Cheltenham, on Thursday the 20th. The next day, the 21st, they will travel to Quakertown. The following week, they visit Springfield Monday, host Plymouth Whitemarsh Tuesday, and play at Upper Moreland on Friday. This stretch of 6 games will likely decide the fate of the boys’ season.