GRATERFORD- Whether the action was at a snail's pace or lightning fast from end to end, the Methcton offense knew just how to handle it in Tuesday night's Pioneer Athletic Conference boys basketball contest at Perkiomen Valley.
The Warriors shot a sizzling 62.5 percent from the floor on the night in a 63-51 win, keeping them within range of first place in the Liberty Division. Justin Ardman led Methacton (10-1, 12-6) with 22 points and Joe Ruhl added 11. Mekhi Clemons scored 20 for the Vikings (5-6, 7-11), followed by 11 for Purnell Wilson and 10 by Justin Jaworski.
"We've played fast-paced games. We've played slow-paced games,' said 6-foot-3 junior Ardman, who got off to a slow start, but poured in nine points in the third quarter on 4-for-4 shooting. "We've really been improving in all aspects at the right time.'
"We've been involved in a wide range of games this year,' added Warrior coach Jeff Derstine. "We like to be patient and still attack.'
Ardman scored the first two points of the night on a drive to the basket and that was it until Clemons tied the game with two free throws with 4:44 left in the quarter. The count was at just 11-11 after a quarter before Methacton opened its largest lead of the night with a 15-2 run, topped off by a 3-pointer from the right wing by Ruhl.
Perk Valley closed the gap to 26-21 when Clemons swished a short jumper to open the third quarter. But Ardman hit Dillon Alderfer (8 points) with a pass for a layup, drove to the basket for a score of his own, and then canned a 3-pointer from the right corner. Ruhl followed that with a jumper for a 35-23 advantage midway through the quarter.
The Vikings made one more run in the fourth quarter, cutting their deficit to 46-42 with 4:20 to go. But Ardman knocked down a 3-point shot from the top of the circle, PV missed a dunk on a breakaway, and Tom Dyer (8 points) drilled a 3-pointer from the right corner for the visitors to quickly put the lead back to double digits. Another basket off a drive by Ardman and one by Ruhl completed a game-clinching 10-point run with three minutes to go.
Ardman shot 7-for-7 from the field in the second half after a 2-for-7 start, with several of his baskets coming on wide-open drives to the hoop.
"It's just part of our offense,' he said. "We just keep moving. I was lucky ... a lot of open lanes. I just took what the defense gave me in the second half. Tonight we just moved the ball well. It was a good team game. It wasn't just me. The team did a good job of everything, basically.'
Derstine said that his team hadn't been shooting well recently. But the Warriors certainly turned that around with a 25-for-40 effort from the floor.
"We were talking about that the other day,' said the Methacton coach. "We really haven't shot it well for a long stretch now. It's bound to come around sometime. Obviously, we look to attack. And obviously, Justin Ardman had a big game for us tonight, using his length and attacking. He was able to get to the rim.'
Perk Valley shot decently from the floor at 41 percent. But the Viking offense was too sporadic to keep up with the torrid Warriors.
"We're still a little out of sync,' said PV coach Mike Poysden. "Our hearts are in the right place. Guys are trying to take the game into their hands. But we have to play as a team. You have to trust in your teammates. (The Warriors) played very well. They're very methodical in what they do and they have confidence in one another. I think we had some chances there to make it closer, but we let some possessions slide.'
Derstine was proud of his team's play against the Vikings, who had led undefeated division leader Spring-Ford by four points at halftime the night before in an eventual five-point loss.
"They're a talented team,' he said. "We saw film of their game. They're a dangerous team. But I think we had a great team defensive effort by our guys. I'm really proud of the team effort tonight.'
There weren't too many rebounds to go around, with Methacton holding a 23-16 advantage. ... Both sides turned the ball over just nine times. ... Zach Jenkins pulled down 11 rebounds for the Warriors, all on the defensive end, and Tyler Krause (9 points) led PV with five boards. ... The game was played before a large crowd on Coaches Versus Cancer Night. ... The Warriors will host Spring-Ford, which moved to 12-0 in the league with a 73-62 win over Owen J. Roberts, on Thursday night.