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Holmes, freshmen power Penn Charter to win over AFS

12/13/2019, 10:00pm EST
By Carter Fillman

Carter Fillman (@johncarter_f)

In their own Holiday Tournament, Penn Charter met up with Abington Friends in a second of two matchups at the Dooney Field House. After a slow first half for the Quakers, an uptick in pressure saw them grab the lead in the third and not look back in a 71-41 win.

Starting off Slow
The Quakers did not necessarily get off to the hottest of starts against the visiting squad from Jenkintown. As the Roos sat back in a 2-3 zone, shots weren’t falling, rebounds weren’t grabbed, and Abington Friends was able to take advantage. A lot of that credit goes to AFS senior guards David Jordan (16 points/6 rebounds) and Collin Brown (10 points/4 rebounds) for pushing the pace and capitalizing early. Quakers went into the half trailing the Roos 29-28.

“We came out dead,” PC senior guard Ryan Holmes said, “and we needed more energy.”

Pushing the Tempo
It started with two steals at half court resulting into two easy buckets for Ryan Holmes, and snowballed into a lead that the Quakers wouldn’t relinquish.  Switching to full court pressure mixed in with a 1-3-1 trapping resulted in Penn Charter racking up 19 steals in the game. This suffocating brand of defense held AFS to just four points in the quarter as they struggled to get into half court sets. And then to top it off, shots finally started falling for the home squad, with senior wing Aaron Reisman knocking down 3 treys en route to 11 points in the quarter and the Quakers taking a commanding 54-33 into the final frame. Credit goes Penn Charter coach John Owens, who had his whole team locked in defensively. 

Quaker freshman Impress
With the game just about put away, Owens leaned on his group of talented freshman to close the game out. This groups largest contribution came from 5-foot-10 guard Mark Butler, who also played varsity minutes last year as an eighth grader, as he finished second on the team in scoring with 14 points while also dishing out four assists and adding in three steals. Butler showcased the ability to handle the ball well, knock down outside shots, and finish around the rim.

Another freshman, 6-3 wing Colin Schumm, added in two points and three boards, while also getting in on the defensive action with a pair of steals as well. Add in fellow freshmen Keith Gee’s three points and Trey Shinholster’s seven points, and 26 of Penn Charter’s 71 came from their freshman class.

“I really don’t see Mark as a freshman since he played varsity as an eighth grader,” Owens said. “Because of [Butler and Schumm’s] minutes and experience last year, I kind of see them as juniors. I think they’re doing a great job of learning their spots.”

Players of the Game
Ryan Holmes
(18 points/5 rebounds/4 steals) –– The 6-3 senior guard showed he is willing to lead his band of freshman into Inter-Ac play, both on the court and off it.

“I try to motivate everyone and be the best leader I can,” he said. “For young kids, they’re fitting in really well to start the season, and I think as the year goes on they’re only going to get better.”

Holmes was able to set the tempo early in the second half with a pair of steals allowing the Quakers to seize control of the games momentum. While a good chunk of his points came in transition, Holmes flashed the ability to get to the rim with a quick first step and finished very efficiently around the rim with both hands. A hopeful Nursing major, Holmes said he is currently hearing from a mix of D2s and D3s like West Chester, Chestnut Hill, and Gwynedd Mercy.

Collin Brown (16 points/6 rebounds) –– Despite the loss, 6-2 senior guard was definitely worth a mention for the visiting Roos. Brown was able to get to the rim almost at will in the first half, having a variety of creative finishes with both hands. Brown possessed a solid handle on the ball and showed the ability to play a lead guard role, and he assuredly deserved more than the zero assists he put up.

Final Thoughts
Coming off a competitive 78-65 loss to Pub powerhouse Imhotep Charter, Penn Charter (2-2) rebounded today and showed that it is ready to compete in the Inter-Ac this year. Owens beamed about his squad of freshman and their ability to put in the work to improve: “I love where the future of the Penn Charter basketball program is headed,” he said.

Though they lack much height, the Quakers play at an above-average speed that can be hard to deal with when they really get locked in. It will be interesting to see how they match up with the likes of Malvern Prep and the Haverford School.

On Saturday, Penn Charter meets up with Simon Gratz (5-0) in the championship game at 4PM, while Abington Friends (0-5) will search for its first win of the season against Central (2-4) at 2PM in the consolation game.

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