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ROYERSFORD - When certain teammates are either injured or sick others need to step up in their place.

That was the case Tuesday night for the Spring-Ford boys basketball team as leading scorer Ryan Kraft was limited as he continues to battle flu-like symptoms. Teammate Mark Cooper moved into his place and proceeded to score a career-high 14 points as the Rams defeated visiting Pottstown, 69-48.

"We knew we had to step up (with Kraft not feeling well)," said the senior Cooper. "We wanted to work on our chemistry and things really came together for us."

The Rams pesky defense forced Pottstown into 16 first-half turnovers, which led to a 37-23 lead at halftime.

Junior point guard Julius Lopez scored the bulk of his game-high 18 points prior to the intermission with 13. Tom Murphy also was instrumental in the Rams' first-half success with nine of his 14 markers.

"(Spring-Ford) came out in that pressure defense, and we didn't make good passes on the break," said Pottstown coach Joel Alutius. "Our guards did a nice job of recognizing their pressure, but we just didn't execute. That obviously hurt us. You just can't do that against a team like Spring-Ford.

"(Spring-Ford) really did a good job of setting the tempo of the game, and pressuring our guards. We're young and inexperienced. What I worry about most is the effort. If I don't get the effort ... I get frustrated."

Cooper helped lead the Rams' (10-1 PAC-10, 13-2 overall) attack in the second half with 10 points. Billy Mengel also was a key contributor off the bench with his six points all coming in the final 16-minutes.

Murphy dominated the inside and on the glass the entire game with a game-high 11 rebounds.

"Murphy was the big key for them this time," Alutius added. "You have to respect his ability to score both inside and out ... and Cooper really hurt us with his presence not only offensively, but defensively blocking some shots and even altering others."

The Rams never trailed in the game jumping out to an initial 6-0 lead before the Trojans (2-9, 3-10) scored five straight, but a 12-2 run over the next 4:02 game Spring-Ford a comfortable 18-7 lead after the first quarter had expired.

Spring-Ford now will load the buses for a showdown with Boyertown - whose game with Phoenixville Tuesday night was postponed due to floor problems to the Phantoms' home court - on Thursday, before returning home to face Perkiomen Valley on Saturday.

"We want to continue to play well, and take it into the playoffs," concluded Cooper. "We want to be playing our best at the end and see where it takes us from there."

NOTES ... Pottstown was led by Darius Waller's 14 points, while Mario Barber (11), Trai Hawkins (10) and Charlie Birkhead (10) each added double-figure efforts.

"Darius Waller played out of his mind inside for us," said Alutius of his senior forward. "He and Mario Barber really did a nice job on the glass for us."

Kraft sat the entire fourth quarter after seeing time for just a few minutes in the third. He finished with seven points and is just 73 points from the 1,000-point club.

By JASON FEATHER

That was the case Tuesday night for the Spring-Ford boys basketball team as leading scorer Ryan Kraft was limited as he continues to battle flu-like symptoms. Teammate Mark Cooper moved into his place and proceeded to score a career-high 14 points as the Rams defeated visiting Pottstown, 69-48.

"We knew we had to step up (with Kraft not feeling well)," said the senior Cooper. "We wanted to work on our chemistry and things really came together for us."

The Rams pesky defense forced Pottstown into 16 first-half turnovers, which led to a 37-23 lead at halftime.

Junior point guard Julius Lopez scored the bulk of his game-high 18 points prior to the intermission with 13. Tom Murphy also was instrumental in the Rams' first-half success with nine of his 14 markers.

"(Spring-Ford) came out in that pressure defense, and we didn't make good passes on the break," said Pottstown coach Joel Alutius. "Our guards did a nice job of recognizing their pressure, but we just didn't execute. That obviously hurt us. You just can't do that against a team like Spring-Ford.

"(Spring-Ford) really did a good job of setting the tempo of the game, and pressuring our guards. We're young and inexperienced. What I worry about most is the effort. If I don't get the effort ... I get frustrated."

Cooper helped lead the Rams' (10-1 PAC-10, 13-2 overall) attack in the second half with 10 points. Billy Mengel also was a key contributor off the bench with his six points all coming in the final 16-minutes.

Murphy dominated the inside and on the glass the entire game with a game-high 11 rebounds.

"Murphy was the big key for them this time," Alutius added. "You have to respect his ability to score both inside and out ... and Cooper really hurt us with his presence not only offensively, but defensively blocking some shots and even altering others."

The Rams never trailed in the game jumping out to an initial 6-0 lead before the Trojans (2-9, 3-10) scored five straight, but a 12-2 run over the next 4:02 game Spring-Ford a comfortable 18-7 lead after the first quarter had expired.

Spring-Ford now will load the buses for a showdown with Boyertown - whose game with Phoenixville Tuesday night was postponed due to floor problems to the Phantoms' home court - on Thursday, before returning home to face Perkiomen Valley on Saturday.

"We want to continue to play well, and take it into the playoffs," concluded Cooper. "We want to be playing our best at the end and see where it takes us from there."

NOTES ... Pottstown was led by Darius Waller's 14 points, while Mario Barber (11), Trai Hawkins (10) and Charlie Birkhead (10) each added double-figure efforts.

"Darius Waller played out of his mind inside for us," said Alutius of his senior forward. "He and Mario Barber really did a nice job on the glass for us."

Kraft sat the entire fourth quarter after seeing time for just a few minutes in the third. He finished with seven points and is just 73 points from the 1,000-point club.

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