ROYERSFORD — The opening game of the season and the first under new head coach Chris Talley looked a lot like Spring-Ford boys basketball in recent years. The Rams pushed the ball up the court, shot some 3s, and played hard defense throughout.
And the result was also the same as the Rams led almost all the way and by as many as 19 points in a 69-54 win over visiting Central Bucks West on the first day of the PAC-10/Suburban One Challenge.
Nick Stanek led four double-digit scorers for the winners with 18 points and a game-high 10 rebounds, Mike Olsen followed with 12 points, and Drew Kakareka and Cameron Phillips scored 10 points apiece. Patrick Kelley scored 12 and Cal Reichwein 11 for the Bucks.
"A great team win,' said 6-foot-3 senior Stanek. "We moved the ball. Everybody contributed. We stepped up our defense.'
"We like to push it on offense,' said Talley. "We don't like teams dictating the pace on offense or defense. We like to play aggressively.'
Both teams came out shooting from three-point range and CB West took its only lead of the night at 6-3 when Reichwein knocked down his first of three shots from beyond the three-point arc. But Spring-Ford took the lead for good at 10-8 on a basket off a drive by Ryan Cass and led by a 19-13 score when Stanek swished a 3-pointer from the right wing at the first quarter buzzer.
The advantage was up to 51-32 late in the first half when Phillips sank two from the line. Then the Bucks crept back little by little as the Rams turned the ball over 11 times in the second half after committing just four miscues before the break.
The margin was down to 60-52 with 1:29 to go, but the hosts shot 9-for-10 from the line the rest of the way to wrap up the win.
"We're getting there,' said Talley, a Spring-Ford graduate who was head coach at Owen J. Roberts the past two seasons. "We're kind of learning it on the fly a little bit. Defensively, I thought we were very good when we needed to be. In late-game situations, we need to take care of the ball better.'
The Rams made 23 of their 41 shots from the floor while holding the Bucks to 18-for-49 shooting, including 2-for-11 in a 16-10 third quarter.
"We stepped up on defense,' said Stanek. "The big thing is communication. We work on that a lot in practice. It helps us rotate, know who's got which man, and who's cutting.'
"Early on, we weren't doing that,' said Talley. "But we hit a couple of threes and that got the adrenaline going. Defensively, we're where we need to be this time of the year. All in all, it was a good game. Getting that first win of the season is always the toughest. Defensively, we needed every bit of Nick Stanek tonight. He carried us tonight offensively and defensively. He was tremendous.'
Stanek thought the Rams' good early-season conditioning also helped them open with a win.
"We're in a lot better shape,' he added. "Coach Talley has been running us in practice. We may not appreciate it in practice, but it's paying off in the games.'
The Challenge continues on Saturday when the Rams meet Central Bucks South at CB West at 3:30 p.m. ... Alex Epps-Ortiz added five points and six rebounds for Spring-Ford and Gary Hopkins scored six. ... The Rams had a 34-25 margin on the boards and forced 12 Buck turnovers.
Central Bucks West 54
Spring-Ford: Stanek 5 7-8 18, Olsen 4 2-2 12, Phillips 4 2-3 10, Kakareka 3 1-2 10, Hopkins 3 0-0 6, Epps-Ortiz 2 1-2 5, Cass 1 2-2 4, Tupper 1 0-0 2, Collins 0 2-4 2, Wagner 0 0-0 0, Freedman 0 0-0 0, Totals 23 17-23 69.
Central Bucks West: Kelley 5 2-3 12, Reichwein 3 0-0 9, Conney 2 2-2 8, Kelly 2 4-4 8, Irons 1 2-2 5, Schechter 2 0-2 4, Saluitti 1 1-2 4, Dunn 2 0-0 4, Totals 18 11-15 54.
Spring-Ford 19 16 16 18 - 69
Central Bucks West 13 12 10 19 - 54
3-point goals: Kakareka 3, Olsen 2, Reichwein 3, Conney 2, Irons, Saluitti, Stanek.