Plum boys thump Moon and Perry at holiday tournament
By Michael Love
Published: Wednesday, Jan. 1, 2014, 9:00 p.m.
The Plum varsity boys basketball team scored a pair of dominant wins at the Moon Tournament on Friday and Saturday — 62-43 over Perry and 65-41 against Moon in the title game — and the victories got the Mustangs in a positive frame of mind as the January march in Section 2-AAAA begins.
“It was a good weekend for us,” Plum head coach Ron Richards said.
“We played well. We wanted to use the tournament to make sure we were improving.”
Plum has won three in a row since a tough 56-53 home loss to section foe Gateway on Dec. 20. It was the Mustangs' first loss of the season, and they currently are 8-1 overall and 2-1 in section play.
Plum jumps right into section action Friday against Pittsburgh Central Catholic at 7:30 p.m. at Plum High School.
The Mustangs are at Penn Hills on Tuesday and host Fox Chapel on Jan. 11. Both games are set for 7:30 p.m. starts.
Gateway and Central Catholic lead the section with 3-0 marks, while Plum, Fox Chapel and Franklin Regional are tied for third at 2-1.
“Our section is so competitive, and you have to play your best basketball every night,” Richards said.
“When you get to January, it's like a five-week sprint. We can't afford to play any bad basketball. Like I have said before, we have a young team that is getting better. Hopefully, we can continue that into section play. If that happens, we'll be right there with everyone else.”
Sophomore James Edwards scored 21 to lead Plum in the tournament win over Moon, while seniors Austin Dedert and Nick Stotler added 16 and 13 points, respectively.
The Mustangs scored 24 points in the first quarter and led 41-18 at the break.
“I though the first half against Moon was our best basketball of the season so far,” Richards said.
“We had good movement offensively, we screened very well, and we created good (scoring) chances. Everybody contributed. We talk about everyone playing to their abilities and being consistent, and I thought they all did that. They were unselfish, and it was just a good half of basketball.”
Plum didn't give Perry a chance to stay in Friday's first-round game, as Dedert's 23 points and 15 rebounds contributed to the 19-point win.
Edwards and Stotler added 14 points apiece, and Stotler also grabbed 12 rebounds.
“We came out of the Gateway game, and to a man, we felt we didn't play well,” Richards said.
“We weren't very good that night. We were able to address some things and took advantage of them in the tournament.”
The current three-game winning streak includes a 45-23 nonsection victory over Valley on Dec. 21.
The Mustangs are 6-5 in holiday-tournament games since 2008. Included in that was a 3-0 mark at a KSA Tournament in Orlando, Fla., in 2009.
Michael Love is a staff writer with Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-388-5825, at email@example.com or via Twitter @Mlove_Trib.
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