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CoBL Winter Showcase: Perk Valley's Kyle Shawaluk explodes against Exeter

12/10/2023, 11:00am EST
By By Sean McBryan

By Sean McBryan (@SeanMcBryan)

The 6 o’clock slate of the CoBL Winter Showcase became the Kyle Shawaluk show.

Perkiomen Valley’s senior dropped 30 points and had eight rebounds, five assists and three steals to lead the Vikings to a 73-61 victory over host Exeter Saturday night in Reiffton.

“My AAU director is their head coach,” Shawaluk said of Exeter first-year head coach Jeff VanGorder, who is also the director of Pro Skills Basketball AAU. “He jokingly said to not go too hard on him. I thought I had to make some plays out there. It was great competition. My teammates were finding me for looks around the arc, and I was able to hit them.”

Shawaluk shot 75-percent from the field, six-of-seven from 3, and made all five of his foul shots as the Vikings (3-1) pulled away from the Eagles (0-2) in the fourth quarter.

Perkiomen Valley senior Kyle Shawaluk scored 30 points Saturday against Exeter. (Photo: Sean McBryan/CoBL)

The 6-4 wing scored 20 points in the second half alone and teamed with fellow senior and 6-2 point guard Julian Sadler (20 points, 12 rebounds, three assists), who sparked the Vikings in the first half with 13 points, six rebounds, and two assists in building a 35-29 lead.

Shawaluk can shoot and make plays for teammates. Sadler can also facilitate and shoot but he possesses uncanny athleticism that allows him to crash the boards despite not having the height of the bigs he’s challenging on the glass. The duo has been playing together since freshman year and have built a dynamic chemistry complementing each other. It hasn’t always been that way.

“We went to rival middle schools so we’ve had a lot of battles,” Shawaluk said of his senior counterpart. “We didn’t really like each other then. Now we’re good friends.”

Shawaluk has an old-school feel to his game with a jumper that appears unstoppable when it’s on. He remembers shooting around with his grandfather Bill Witaconis, who is one of the all-time leading scorers at the University of Scranton.

“He passed away when I was young but he always preached to reach high for my dreams and I’m just trying to make him proud,” Shawaluk said. “I would shoot around with him for hours upon hours. He wouldn’t care as long as I was happy.” 

Shawaluk continues to search for his own right fit at the next level to continue his basketball and academic careers. He’s been hearing from colleges at all three levels, most frequently from schools in the PSAC as of late. He visited Davidson recently. 

“I’m taking a visit to Wilmington and Chestnut Hill in the near future,” he said. “We’ll see what happens. My recruitment is still wide open, and I’m working to find that perfect fit.”

The Vikings fell on a double OT heartbreaker in the Pioneer Athletic Conference semifinals last season and narrowly lost to Coatesville in district playbacks to unfortunately set up a first-round state playoff matchup against the mighty Roman Catholic. Still, it was the first time the Vikings reached the state playoff field since 2019 and they’re hoping for more this season.

A win over last year’s PIAA Class 5A runners-up is another step in the right direction.

Exeter’s Kevin Saenz, who scored a team-high 18 for the Eagles, hit two free throws to tie the game at 42 with 2:39 left in the third quarter.

Exeter briefly went up by four, but Shawaluk’s 3 to end the quarter regained the lead for the Vikings as they took a 48-46 advantage into the fourth. 

The Eagles started the final quarter on a 6-0 run behind the effort of Alex Kelsey, a 6-1 guard and St. Joe’s baseball commit, who finished with 17 points and three steals.

The teams exchanged buckets before Shawaluk hit back-to-back 3’s, Sadler scored, and Shawaluk finished a layup to give Perk Valley a 60-54 lead.

Kelsey hit a 3 for Exeter to make it a one-possession game but Jakob Harken, who finished with 15 points, converted an and-one for the Vikings to neutralize.

Perk Valley finished the game on a 10-4 run.

By Quarter
Perkiomen Valley:  18  |  17 |  13  |  25  ||  73

Exeter:   15   |  14  |  17  |  15  ||  61

Perkiomen Valley: Shawaluk 30, Sadler 20, Harken 15, Tagert 5, Wagoner 3.

Exeter: Saenz 18, Kelsey 17, Garvin 12, Dauble 8, Ware 4, Murray 2.

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