Sometimes when a team is struggling offensively, all it takes is one or two players to step up and get a rhythm going. Wissahickon started off slow, but Chris Vila got the Trojans offense flowing in the second quarter and Todd Bentley had a huge second half in a season-opening victory over Father Judge.
Wissahickon topped Judge 49-37 in the opening round of the Ghosts Tipoff Classic at Abington. Led by Bentley's 19 points, 15 of which came in the second half, the Trojans played solid defense and shook off early sluggishness to down a feisty Crusaders team that refused to stay down. Every time Wissahickon opened up a double digit lead, Judge fought to get back in the game. However, the Trojans pulled away late thanks to their experienced upperclassmen.
"We have some experienced guards and even through their bad play, they are still going to grind it out,' Wissahickon coach Kyle Wilson said. "It was good to see the guys make positive plays even when things were not going great. We haven't won a first game of the season in a while, so this is a really good start.'
It was a see-saw affair for the opening quarter and a half. You could even say Judge had a bit of an upper hand, until Vila went on a small scoring spree. The sharp-shooting senior scored eight of his total 15 points in straight succession for the Trojans in the middle of the second, including two three-pointers. That seemed to give Wissahickon the boost it needed and the Trojans went into halftime with a 23-20 lead.
The Crusaders held Vila down for the majority of the second half, but they did not account for Bentley, who had just four points in the first 16 minutes of play. The junior guard scored nine points in the third, helping the Trojans to open up a big lead. Although the offensive play from Bentley, Vila and Chase Wilson, who had 11 points, were solid in the middle quarters, Wisshickon arguably played better on the defensive end. Judge scored just nine points in the second and an astonishingly low four points in the third.
"If we can put everything together, I'm excited about what we can do this season,' Wilson said. "Todd had a great game and Chris really helped us. Guys like Todd, Chris, Chase and Chris Carradorini have a lot of varsity experience, so they are going to be big for us this year.'
The Trojans hit their free throws down the stretch and got six more points from Bentley in the fourth to seal the game. Wissahickon was 7 of 11 from the charity strip in the final eight minutes, which quelled any Judge comeback. It wasn't the prettiest win you'll ever see, but the Trojans coach will certainly take it on opening night.
"It was our first game, we have a new identity and some new faces,' Wissahickon coach Kyle Wilson said. "I don't think we shot the ball the way we know we can, but it's good to be able to win the ugly games.'
Father Judge (37)—O'Conner 3 1-3 8; Brazkus 3 2-4 9; Mulville 1 1-2 3; Curry 1 1-4 3; Reed 0 2-2 2; Coleman 2 2-4 7; Rodriguez 1 3-4 5. Totals: 11 12-23 37
Wissahickon (49)—Bentley 7 4-6 19; Wilson 0 11-15 11; Carradorini 1 0-0 2; Reed 0 1-2 1; Vila 5 3-4 15; Driscoll 0 1-2 1. Totals: 12 20-29 49
Three-point goals: O'Conner, Brazkus, Coleman; Bentley, Vila (2)
Father Judge 11 9 4 13—37
Wissahickon 11 12 11 15—49