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Colonial League boys basketball: Wilson gives Saucon Valley ‘a taste of its own medicine’ with a late layup, wins 33-31

Mike Glovas, Wilson varsity basketball coach, was thrilled Thursday night when his team posted a 33-31 win at Saucon Valley on a last-second basket by Anthony Shaw.
Rick Kintzel/첥Ƶ
Mike Glovas, Wilson varsity basketball coach, was thrilled Thursday night when his team posted a 33-31 win at Saucon Valley on a last-second basket by Anthony Shaw.
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Wilson coaches and players react after Anthony Shaw’s late layup gave the Warriors a 33-31 win at Saucon Valley (Keith Groller).

Brady Westbrooks said he and his Wilson teammates were able to give Saucon Valley a “taste of its own medicine” late in Thursday night’s Colonial League boys basketball game.

The Panthers have turned patient offense into an artform the past two seasons, and last year a methodical offensive approach helped Saucon reach league and district championship games and the state tournament.

It was effective again Thursday in holding the Warriors to two points in the first quarter, 11 in the first half, and 18 through three quarters.

But tied at 31, it was Wilson that was able to hold the ball for most of the final minute and 35 seconds.

The possession, and, in essence, the game came to a conclusion when Anthony Shaw dribbled past or around four different defenders and banked in a layup with less than a second left.

Saucon’s desperation heave at the buzzer wasn’t close and the Warriors celebrated a memorable 33-31 victory in their league opener.

“We knew we had to hold the ball on that last play,” Shaw, a senior, said. “I knew they were guarding me way up high, so I just tried to make a move and took the open shot.”

Shaw made the inbounds pass with 6.1 seconds left after a timeout and immediately got the ball back from Andrew Sagrestano, and made a quick move past Saucon’s Braden Weiss. Two Panthers — Caleb Grim and Jack Robertson — tried to converge on Shaw and Rudra Thakkar tried to meet him at the basket, but the Warriors senior couldn’t be stopped.

“I definitely wanted the ball at the end of the game,” Shaw said. “Even though it wasn’t my best game, I knew I could win one for the team. My teammates got me the ball, set a nice screen, and I made it. It felt good.”

Westbrooks and Shaw combined for 10 of Wilson’s 15 points in the final period as the were able to push the tempo and find the basket after making just five field goals through three quarters.

“They’re a very patient team that moves the ball well and they were just draining the clock when we were in our 2-3 zone, so we had to switch it up and put some pressure on them,” Shaw said. “We had to go man-to-man and that turned the game around.”

Just as important were two 3-pointers by Westbrooks in the final quarter. The first one tied it up at 23 early in the fourth period and the second one trimmed a five-point Saucon lead to 30-28 with 3:30 left.

“There were a couple of shots I would have liked to have back, but I was able to keep my head which I’ve been struggling with lately and I hit two at the end which helped the team,” Westbrooks said. “Saucon is extremely patient and very well-coached. So to be able to pull off a win at the end basically by holding the ball, and getting that final shot … they had to take their own medicine.”

The two Colonial East rivals split a pair of regular-season games last year and Wilson eliminated Saucon in the Colonial League quarterfinals.

Shaw and Westbrooks both played significant roles on the Warriors’ Colonial League title team in 2022 and figure to give veteran coach Mike Glovas and company a shot at another crown this winter.

Westbrooks and Shaw finished with 11 and 10 points respectively for Wilson, which will host Saucon on Monday.

“In the summer we were kind of piecing it together and then we had two tough scrimmages and played Pocono Mountain East in our opener and they were really physical,” Glovas said. “That competition helped us get ready for this and I’m proud of the kids because they really put in a lot of work this past week. We’ve just got to get a little bit cleaner at the end of the games and can’t settle for shots. Hopefully, we’re going to get better every day. That’s the goal.”

Saucon Valley, which opened the season with a 37-30 win at Pen Argyl, doesn’t want to change its identity.

Brett Snyder, last year’s Morning 첥Ƶ coach of the year, said his team lost four starters from last year and will go through some growing pains.

“I never question the effort with these guys, but I thought we left a lot of points out there on missed layups and foul shots,” he said. “We shot under 50% from the foul line and foul shots were our bugaboo last year and they have been again through two games this season.”

Snyder said he expects Wilson to be a playoff team and called Shaw one of the best players in the league.

“He hit some really tough shots and he’s their guy,” Snyder said. “He was special in the fourth quarter and we knew he’d have the ball on that last possession.”

Saucon will get back in action Saturday afternoon at Jim Thorpe.

“There’s a lot to learn,” Snyder said. “It’s game No. 2 out of 22. I told our kids that we have to have the identity of making games ugly. I’m proud of our program’s philosophy of playing good defense and we played good defense tonight. We just left too many points on the court.”

Wilson 33, Saucon Valley 31

Wilson 2 – 9 – 7 – 15 — 33

Saucon Valley 9 – 5 – 7 – 10 — 31

WILSON (33)

Rountree 0-2 1-2 1, Cressman 1-7 2-2 4, Kelly-Range 1-8 2-2 4, Ruso 1-3 0-0 2, Shaw 4-14 2-4 10, Westbrooks 4-9 0-0 11, Sagrestano 0-2 1-2 1. Totals 11-45 7-12 33.

SAUCON VALLEY (31)

Miller 1-1 0-0 2, Weiss 1-5 0-0 3, Robertson 4-10 1-2 9, Donahue 0-3 0-0 0, Kreschollek 0-2 1-4 1, Thakker 1-2 0-0 2, Clark 2-7 0-0 4, Grim 4-4 2-4 10. Totals 13-34 4-10 31.

3-pointers: Wilson (4-18) Westbrooks 3, Kelly-Range. Saucon (1-6) Weiss.

Rebounds: Wilson 16 (Shaw 5). Saucon Valley 18 (Clark 7).

Turnovers: Wilson 7, Saucon Valley 11.

Fouls: Wilson 11, Saucon Valley 18.

Officials: Steve Serensits, Jim Sands.

 

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