Special to The Phoenix
ROYERSFORD -- Spring-Ford didn't have a lot of success putting the ball in the basket in the first half Tuesday night. But the Rams kept playing tough defense and that hard work eventually paid off.
Spring-Ford recovered from an early nine-point deficit by holding Perkiomen Valley to just 22 points over the final three quarters and headed into the holiday break with a 40-34 Pioneer Athletic Conference boys basketball win.
Nick Coburn scored 14 for the Rams (2-1 PAC-10, 4-1 overall) in the Liberty Division battle and James Detweiler added 13. Andrew Kenney led the Vikings (2-1, 2-3) with 12 points and Ryan Davis collected 10 points and a game-high nine rebounds.
Spring-Ford coach Mike Young said the game was the opposite of a loss to Owen J. Roberts last week when his team stopped playing tough defense after struggling on the offensive end early in the contest.
"The same thing happened tonight," he said. "We did pick up the intensity on defense. They dug down deep tonight because Perk Valley was playing good defense, too."
"We definitely stepped it up," said Detweiler, who scored 10 in the second half. "We knew we had to come out (in the second half) and work on our defense, stop the ball.
Ryan Davis is a really good player.
"We just came out with a lot more heart, a lot more defense in the second half, and we got it done."
The Vikings ran off seven straight points early to take a 9-2 lead and pushed the margin to 12-3 with two minutes remaining in the opening quarter. The Rams closed to within two late in the half before a three-point bomb from the right wing at the buzzer by Mason Brawley pushed the PV advantage back up to 20-15.
Then Chris Stewart (5 points, 8 rebounds) went inside for a basket to start the second half for the visitors, but the Rams rallied again. A three-point blast by Detweiler gave the hosts their first lead of the night at 25-23 with three minutes left in the quarter and the Ram senior added a pair of free throws 30 seconds later.
Perk Valley came back to tie on a jumper by Davis and two free throws by Kenney, but Eric Janus scored a fast break layup off a behind-the-back pass from Eric Giovagnoli and the Rams led the rest of the way.
Another three-point bucket by Detweiler extended the lead to 36-29 with four minutes to go in the game and the Vikings never got closer than four after that.
"We dug down deep," said Young. "We just told them at halftime to just relax and go out there and keep shooting and playing."
And that's what the Rams did as they shot 8-for-12 from the field following the intermission after a 6-for-20 first half.
"Perk Valley is a very much improved team," said Young. "They change defenses very well."
The Vikings cooled off considerably from the floor after a 5-for-10 first quarter as they shot just 8-for-30 after that.
"We've been having trouble all year long finishing around the basket," said PV coach Jim Stinger. "Defensively, I like what we're doing. We just have to get a little more confidence on the offensive end.
"It's all new to them, being chased. We're just not used to having the lead. We'll learn. I think Nick Coburn played a great game. He's tough and he finishes."
Even with the loss, the Vikings are still way ahead of last year's winless PAC-10 and 1-21 overall season, and a lot of that has to do with the defense.
"The most we've given up is 47," Stinger explained. "We talk about keeping people under 45 and single digit quarters. We had six of them coming into tonight and we had a couple more tonight. We haven't played a home game yet ... three straight road games against the big schools. We'd prefer 3-0, but we'll take 2-1."
Detweiler said the Vikings' early undefeated league record was a motivation.
"They were leading the PAC-10 at 2-0," he said. "We just used that as motivation coming in. We knew we could beat them and we proved it, and I'm proud of our guys for stepping up."
Spring-Ford 40, Perkiomen Valley 34
Perkiomen Valley (34): Kenny 4 2-2 12, Davis 4 2-4 10, Stewart 2 1-3 5, Brawley 2 0-1 5, Ryckaizewskic 0 0-1 0, Conaway 0 0-0 0, Schlichter 0 0-0 0, Conners 1 0-1 2, Klein 0 0-0 0, Conboy 0 0-0 0. Totals 13 5-12 34.
Spring-Ford (40): Coburn 6 2-2 14, Detweiler 3 5-8 13, Procario 1 2-2 4, Joyce 2 0-2 4, McDowell 0 0-2 0, Giovagnoli 0 0-0 0, Janus 1 0-0 2, Scanlan 1 1-3 3, Dishman 0 0-0 0, Hagan 0 0-0 0, Oats 0 0-0 0. Totals 14 10-19 40.
Perkiomen Valley 12 8 7 7 - 34
Spring-Ford 7 8 14 11 - 40
3-point goals: Kenny 2, Brawley, Detweiler 2.