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Harriton boys beat Strath Haven to keep pace in Central, District 1 races

01/26/2023, 11:45pm EST
By Jerome Taylor

Jerome Taylor (@ThatGuy_Rome)

Early in the third quarter Marquis Kubish picked up his third foul and went to the bench; by his standards, the Harriton junior was having an off night. 

Despite his team leading by eight points at halftime and him scoring eight first-half points, the junior wasn’t happy with his performance. 

“In the first half, people could see my body language,” Kubish said. “I wasn’t getting stuff I usually get, like calls, and it was getting to me.” 

Marquis Kubish (above) led Harriton to a key win over Strath Haven on Thursday night. (Photo: Jerome Taylor/CoBL)

On the bench, though, he stayed composed, and when he checked back in, he was a major catalyst for Harriton’s success in the second half.

Kubish finished with 19 points in a 56-46 win over Strath Haven on Thursday, as the Rams rebounded from their loss to Conestoga earlier in the week. 

Kubish’s second-half performance on Thursday was just another example of his growth this season. Harriton head coach Jesse Rappaport foresaw some of this development because of his performance off the court before the season. 

“The difference between him maturity-wise this year and last year is night-and-day,” Rappaport said. 

“I said, ‘I don’t know what kind of year you’re going to have. But the way your teachers are feeling about you and your grades are really good – you’ve won.’ And I think it translates to the court.” 

On the court, Kubish credits his improved discipline and composure to 5-on-5 drills where his coaches are much more lenient with whistles than in a real game.

 “[The coaches] don’t call fouls on purpose,” Kubish said. “And everyone knows if I don’t get my way, I’ll get mad. But lately in practice, I’ve been keeping my cool, and my teammates have been talking to me […] everyone’s been by my side.”

In the final frame of Thursday night’s game, Kubish and Jadyn Gaskins (13 points) were getting those whistles, and they converted their free throws at a high level. The duo went a combined 12-15 from the line in the second half, punctuated by an 8-10 free throw performance in the fourth quarter. 

Gaskins and players like sophomore wing Calvin Smith (8 points) and senior forward Jack Chodkowski (7 points) buoyed the Rams while Kubish found his rhythm. And without them, Harrition’s wire-to-wire victory on Thursday would’ve been a lot more stressful. 

“My teammates played fabulous, probably one of our best performances in the Central League so far,” Kubish said.

Strath Haven (8-10, 4-8 Central) got 20 points from senior guard and Union (N.Y.) commit Jaden Jauregui, plus 10 from Matthew Jones.

The Rams (11-7, 6-6) have appreciated Kubish’s evolution because without it, who knows where they’d be. For the first time, Harriton is competing in the 6A PIAA division, on top of playing in one of the toughest leagues in the state. 

After Thursday night’s win, the Rams moved to 6-6 in league play, good enough for fifth in the conference, the top six qualifying for the postseason, tied with Marple Newtown and Springfield (Delco.) in that spot. They’re also No. 20 in the unofficial District 1 6A standings, safely inside the 24-team field, though still needing a few more wins to feel good about where they’re at by the end of the regular season.


But in a conference like the Central League, a lot can change before and once the playoffs come around. And Rappaport is balancing the postseason ramifications of each game with focusing solely on the game directly in front of them. 

“I try not to hammer [conference standings] too much, but I do tell them there’s a point system [for qualifications],” Rappaport said. “It’s hard, I’m still balancing it.” 

With four games left before the postseason, the Rams have three games where they can even the season series (Radnor, Penncrest, and Marple Newtown), though they’ll take two of those three, considering unbeaten Radnor will be a significant challenge.

But first, they’ll take on Springfield (Delco.) on Saturday with a chance to sweep the season series. And with the Central League playoffs right around the corner, all those matchups are crucial for seeding.

“I think our thing is we have to play until the end of the season,” Rappaport said. “We’re not in any [postseason tournament] yet… every game is big you can’t take a game off.”

By Quarter
Harriton:         10  |  18  |  10  |  18  ||  56
Strath Haven:  9   |  11  |  10  |  16  ||  46

Harriton: Marquis Kubish 19, Jadyn Gaskins 13, Calvin Smith 8, Jack Chadcowski 7, Collin Goerlich 5, Aidan Abrams 4 

Strath Haven: Jaden Jauregui 20, Matthew Jones 10, Chase Nangle 6, Jahi Curtis 4, Jack Edwards 3, Blayke Reid 2, Jeff Conner 1

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