Friarside Chats V
Basketball 2011-12

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  Mike Higgins is a sophomore at Malvern and has been the basketball manager for two years. I’m a huge Philly sports fan, and I love following Malvern and other high school sports teams. I love watching and writing about all sports, especially my beloved Friars. You can reach me at Thanks for resurrecting Friarside Chats, Mike! 

  After a two year hiatus Friarside Chats are back. Last year Malvern BBall had an outstanding season highlighted by a whirlwind of transfers out, an outright Inter-Ac Championship (first since 1981), the ANC game, enough said (click here), and a second place finish in the Pennsylvania Independent Schools Tournament. Led by seniors Kevin Rafferty (Tufts) and Sean Gordon (Gettysburg) and junior wing guard Brendan Kilpatrick, the Friars finished with a 24-7 overall record and 8-2 mark in Inter-Ac play. Emerging stars Tom Pitt and Steve Perpiglia contributed on both ends of the court to Malvern’s success. With Kilpatrick (who committed to Vermont in September), Pitt, and Perpiglia returning to the starting lineup, the Friars are poised to make another run at the Inter-Ac title. That quest to repeat started on January 6 at Cabrini College.

FEB. 11
Malvern 55, Germantown Academy 52
Following Malvern’s victory over Penn Charter on Tuesday, the Friars were atop the Inter-Ac League and had already clinched at least a share of the Inter-Ac title after the GA loss to SCH Academy. Malvern’s league record was 7-2 and GA’s was 6-3 entering the contest. If GA won, the teams would have split the championship, but with a Friars’ victory, Malvern would win their second straight outright title. In the previous meeting at Germantown Academy, the Friars won 47-46 in a tight game highlighted by 18 points from Steve Perpiglia and 17 points scored by Brendan Kilpatrick. The Friars needed to stop junior guard Nick Lindner and junior forward Greg Dotson to be successful. The game between the Inter-Ac’s two best teams had been hyped up for the entire week, and it was sure to be an instant classic. About a minute into the game, Tom Pitt was fouled going up for a shot and made 1 out of 2 giving the Friars the 1-0 lead. Lindner drove the lane on the next Patriots’ possession to help GA to the 2-1 advantage. Following a missed Malvern shot, Kilpatrick, while hanging in the air, grabbed the rebound with one hand and slammed it home over GA’s 6’9” Julian Moore to help the Friars regain the lead at 3-2. On the ensuing possession for GA, Lindner hit a three pointer to give the Patriots the 5-3 advantage. Malvern, led by Perpiglia, then went on a 13-0 run. Perpiglia started off the run with a fadeaway jumper and then a driving layup on the next possession giving Malvern the 7-5 lead. After a Patriots’ turnover, Kilpatrick came off a screen and hit a trey from the wing. Dennis Gabert stole a GA pass and took it the length of the court for a layup to make the score 12-5. Pitt and Perpiglia closed out the run both with baskets to extend the lead to 16-5. With under a minute left in the quarter, Lindner hit a layup to make the score 16-7 at the end of the first period. Greg Dotson started off the scoring in the second quarter after making two foul shots and cutting the lead to 16-9. Perpiglia made a three point play when he was fouled on a driving layup making the lead 19-9. Julian Moore cut the lead by two following a pair of free throws. Perpiglia reestablished the ten point lead for the Friars on a floater from the right side of the basket. Lindner picked up his third foul of the game with 4:40 remaining in the half and had to sit for the rest of the quarter. On a fast break, Gabert found Ryan Ammerman open underneath the basket for a layup and a 23-11 Malvern lead. Dotson made a three on the next GA possession making the score 23-14 in favor of the Friars. Gabert went 1-2 from the line before Dotson added two free throws for Germantown. Gabert scored another transition basket and was fouled on the play. He made the foul shot completing the three point play and giving Malvern the 27-16 advantage. GA’s Cameron Retif made his only basket of the day slashing the lead to 27-18. After a timeout with close to 40 seconds left in the half, Alex Dentinger threw a baseball pass to Kilpatrick who was wide open going to the basket. Brendan caught the ball and went up for a monstrous two handed slam. Justin Bullock hit a basket for GA to make the score 29-20. Following a missed Malvern shot, the ball went off of a GA player with 0.2 seconds left. The Friars were looking for some sort of tip play but before the ball was inbounded Bullock was called for a foul, and Kilpatrick was sent to the line for a 1 and 1. He made 1 out of 2, so Malvern led 30-20 at the half. Dotson again started off the quarter with a basket slicing the lead to 30-22. Perpiglia came down on the next Malvern possession and hit a three to put the Friars up by 11 at 33-22. Dotson made another basket before Perpiglia answered again with a basket of his own. James Drury hit his first three pointer of the game to make the score 35-28. Kilpatrick responded with two free throws, and Ammerman slipped behind the defense for another layup pushing the Malvern lead to 39-28. Drury hit another basket down the other end of the court to cut the lead back to single digits at 39-30. Following the GA basket, Kilpatrick made a remarkable pass to Gabert who laid the ball in for an easy two points. Kilpatrick was outside the three point line and was looking at the top of the key when he whipped a no-look pass to Gabert who had slid beneath the GA defense to the low block. The basket gave the Friars the 41-30 lead with one quarter left to play. Drury scored a basket for the Patriots to start the final frame while cutting the lead to 41-32. Dotson then went 1-2 from the free throw line making the score 41-33 with the Friars in the lead. Two foul shots from Kilpatrick pushed the Friars’ lead back to ten points at 43-33. Gabert scored another basket to extend the advantage to 45-33. Lindner scored his first points since late in the opening quarter on a trey to slice the lead to 45-36. Kilpatrick hit another basket on a driving layup to regain a double digit lead at 47-36. Lindner scored again on GA’s next trip up the floor to slash the lead to 47-38. Gabert then hit another basket to give the Friars the 49-38 lead. Drury then made his second three of the game to make the score 49-41. Following a Malvern turnover, Lindner made another shot to cut the lead to 49-43. Reentering the game following some foul trouble, Pitt nailed two free throws to help the Friars to a 51-43 advantage. Drury made his third trey of the game to reduce the Malvern lead to 51-46. Kilpatrick hit another driving basket to widen the lead to 53-46. Moore hit two free throws to diminish the Malvern lead to 53-48. With under 1:30 remaining, Lindner fouled out to leave GA without arguably their best scorer. Fouling with under a minute to go, Perpiglia and Dentinger were both sent to the line, and they both made 1 for 2 to give Malvern the 55-48 lead. Instructed not to foul, Dotson and Moore scored on consecutive possessions to make the final score 55-52. As the buzzer sounded, FriarNation emptied out onto the court around the players, and Malvern was the 2012 Inter-Ac Champs!
  Steve Perpiglia scored 17 points, had 8 rebounds, and dished out 6 assists. Brendan Kilpatrick had 16 points and 4 blocks. Dennis Gabert scored 12 points and had 7 rebounds and 5 steals. For GA, Nick Lindner had 14 points, and Greg Dotson added 15 points. Malvern played swarming defense and got almost every loose 50-50 ball on the floor. The title was Malvern’s first set of back to back championships since the 1976-77 seasons. The Friars’ record now stands at 23-2 and 8-2 in the Inter-Ac. Helped by Coach Rullo, the Friars have worked extemely hard this season to become one of the best teams in the Philadelphia area. Malvern plays Perkiomen in the quarterfinals of the PA Independent Schools Tournament on Tuesday at home after receiving a first round bye because they are the top ranked team.

FEB. 7
Malvern 52, Penn Charter 37
  With a record of 6-2 in the Inter-Ac, Malvern was tied for first place in the league with Germantown Academy. If the Friars won and the Patriots defeated Springside Chestnut Hill Academy, the stage would be set for a winner-take-all Saturday night showdown for the Inter-Ac championship at Malvern. Penn Charter handed the Friars their first loss of the season in their first matchup on January 20 with the Quakers prevailing 56-44. Senior guard John Moderski scored 24 points for the Quakers in the victory, and Penn Charter held Brendan Kilpatrick to only 10 points on a poor shooting performance by the Vermont signee. The keys for the Friars in the rematch were to get all the 50-50 loose balls, keep Moderski off the free throw line, and get Kilpatrick as many open looks for shots as possible. If Malvern accomplished these goals and played with their usual toughness, the Friars would put themselves in good position to win an Inter-Ac championship on Saturday. Kilpatrick started the game on fire for Malvern. After missing his first shot, the senior made a great move to the basket to lay in the ball while being fouled. He then calmly stepped to the line and drained the free throw to give Malvern the 3-0 lead. Point guard Steve Perpiglia hit a jumper on the next Friars’ possession to extend the lead to 5-0. Coming off a screen, Kilpatrick then hit his first trey of the afternoon to make the score 8-0 in favor of Malvern. Moderski and Mike McGlinchey made baskets on consecutive trips down the court cutting the lead in half. Kilpatrick continued his hot streak following a Tom Pitt free throw that pushed the lead to 9-4. After the foul shot, Kilpatrick hit a deep three, got an and-1 layup (he missed the free throw), and made another trey from the corner to give the Friars the 17-4 advantage. Moderski made a three pointer of his own with less than 40 seconds remaining to make the score 17-7 at the end of the first quarter. Alex Dentinger and Perpiglia both added two points in the beginning of the next frame to extend the lead to 21-7. Quaker sophomore Sean O’Brien made a layup before 6’8” big man McGlinchey banked in a three from the top of the key making the score 21-12. Perpiglia added two more points to help the Friars to a 23-12 advantage. Moderski cut the lead to 23-17 following a three point play and two free throws from the senior. Pitt went 1-2 from the charity stripe for Malvern before Dave Huber hit two foul shots for the Quakers to make the score 24-19 at the half. Nick Lamb cut the lead to three on Penn Charter’s first possession in the third period. Kilpatrick hit two free throws to push the lead back to five at 26-21. McGlinchey made another three following the free throws to shave the lead down to two at 26-24. Kilpatrick pushed the lead to 28-24 on a driving layup. This started a 9-0 Malvern run that included a basket from Dennis Gabert, a free throw from Kilpatrick, and four points from Pitt. The score was 35-24 following the Friars’ run in the middle of the quarter. Moderski scored 7 points in the final few minutes to make the score 37-31 after three quarters. Pitt started off the frame for the Friars with a basket to help Malvern to the 39-31 advantage. McGlinchey scored a put back to cut into the lead. Perpiglia from the top of the key found Ryan Ammerman wide open underneath the basket for a layup, and Kilpatrick then had another three point play to give Malvern a 44-33 lead. After a few more baskets by both teams, Perpiglia added four more points at the end of the game from the foul line. The Friars won the game 52-37 to make their record 22-2 and 7-2 in the Inter-Ac. Brendan Kilpatrick led the way for the Friars with 22 points and 14 of them coming in the first quarter. Tom Pitt added 10 points and 8 rebounds, and Steve Perpiglia also scored 10 points and dished out 7 assists. John Moderski was the leading scorer for the Quakers with 17 points, and Mike McGlinchey had 10 points on two treys. Germantown Academy was beaten by Springside Chestnut Hill Academy 46-41, so Malvern clinched at least a share of the Inter-Ac title. The championship is the second in as many years for a team that had not won an outright title since 1981 before last season. The Friars can win the outright championship with a victory against GA at 7:30 this Saturday at Malvern.

FEB. 3
Malvern 51, Springside Chestnut Hill 24
The Friars had a huge game against Germantown Academy on January 31, but it was postponed to February 11 due to an illness with the Patriots’ coach Jim Fenerty. Following a long week of preparation because of the postponed game, Malvern was ready to take on an SCH squad they had already beaten 44-28 a few weeks earlier. In the previous contest, Brendan Kilpatrick scored 20 points and had one of his best shooting performances of the season. For the SCH, Malik Garner had only 8 points while Malvern played excellent defense in the contest. Because SCH usually is a great defensive team, the Friars’ offense really needed to click after a few off games. Malvern needed to win to stay tied atop the Inter-Ac standings and move closer to their goal of repeating as Inter-Ac champs.
Dennis Gabert started off the scoring for Malvern with a lay-up underneath the basket to give the Friars the early 2-0 lead. Garner responded for the Blue Devils on the next possession with a great inside move tying the game at 2 a side. Later in the frame, Steve Perpiglia started a big run for Malvern with a three pointer from the top of the key. Gabert followed up the trey with a nice three point play to make the score 8-2 for the Friars. Perpiglia added two foul shots to extend the lead to 10-2 before Kilpatrick came up with a huge block of a Blue Devil guard with about 30 seconds remaining in the period. On the ensuing possession, Kilpatrick joined the scoring giving the Friars the 12-2 advantage. With less than three seconds left, the ball was inbounded to Blue Devil guard Billy Dooley who heaved a shot a few steps from his own foul line as time expired. The practically full court shot soared through the air, banged off the backboard, and dropped through the hoop. I think it was the longest full court shot I have seen scored in a game in person. Even after the lucky shot, the Friars still led 12-5 after the first quarter. The second quarter was much of the same for the Friars as their offense continued to thrive. A Malik Garner basket made the score 12-7 to start the frame, but Kilpatrick responded with a three ball to give the Friars the 15-7 lead. Tom Pitt added his first two points of the game on two foul shots, and Perpiglia hit a driving lay-up pushing the score to 19-7 in favor of the home team. Perpiglia and Jimmy Gordon each made two free throws to make the score 23-7 before Ryan Smith hit a basket ending the 11-0 run for Malvern. Perpiglia hit another three with less than two minutes to play to give the Friars the 26-9 halftime lead. Perpiglia continued on a tear in the third period hitting a jumper to start the quarter, assisting on a Tom Pitt dunk, and finally hitting yet another trey to make the score 33-11. Garner added two more points before Kilpatrick went 1-2 from the stripe and Perpiglia added his fourth three pointer of the game to extend the lead to 37-11. SCH sophomore Frank Jackson came off the bench to hit a three prior to a thunderous dunk from Kilpatrick. Malvern took a commanding 39-15 lead entering the final quarter of play. The scoring was fairly even in the last quarter as Dennis Gabert added five more points and Malik Garner scored four points for the Blue Devils. With the game in hand for Malvern, Friarnation began chanting for Coach Rullo to put fan favorite reserve guard Gus Carlin in the game. With around three minutes left in the contest, the fans got their wish as Carlin entered the game. After missing a few shots, Carlin drove the baseline and put up a shot that rattled around the rim before dropping through to hoop causing the student section to erupt into vociferous cheers. Carlin even had a nice assist to big man Jeff Hagen, when Gus found the sophomore open down court on a fastbreak. The game ended as a 51-24 triumph for the Friars, and they improved their record to 21-2 and 6-2 in the Inter-Ac.
Steve Perpiglia scored a game high 20 points and dished out 6 assists. Dennis Gabert had 10 points for the Friars, and Tom Pitt added 6 points and 9 rebounds. Kilpatrick scored 9 points but was more of a factor on the defensive end with 4 blocks. Malik Garner had 10 points for the Blue Devils, and Billy Dooley was a non-factor scoring only 3 points on the full court shot at the end of the first quarter. Because Germantown Academy beat Haverford School 60-59 also on Friday night, GA and Malvern are tied for the division lead. If both teams win their games on Tuesday, the stage will be set for a game to decide the Inter-Ac championship at 7:30 next Saturday night at Malvern.

JAN. 29
Malvern 67, Morris Catholic 36
Following the close loss to Haverford School on Friday night, the Friars looked to rebound with a win on Senior Day. The Friar seniors are Brendan Kilpatrick, Steve Perpiglia, Tom Pitt, Dennis Gabert, Gus Carlin, and Ryan Bonner. Kilpatrick has been a 4 year varsity player, an Inter-Ac MVP, and the most recent addition to Malvern’s 1,000-point scorer list. He is going to the University of Vermont next year to play basketball for the Catamounts. Perpiglia is the heart and soul of the Friars team while running the point and giving 110% every day. He is Malvern’s “Mr. Clutch” as he has hit many big shots like buzzer beaters to bring down ANC last year and La Salle on this New Year’s Eve. Pitt has been a two year starter for the Friars and is also a tireless worker in practice. He is going to the University of Penn next year to be a member of their track team. Gabert has been great in his first year starting for Malvern this season. He plays shutdown defense and often comes up huge in big games for the Friars. Carlin has been a 4 year member of the basketball team and is a fan favorite among the Friarnation student section. Bonner didn’t play basketball last year to focus on soccer, but he has come back his senior season to make a significant contribution in many games. Congratulations to all our seniors for their years of hard work and dedication!!! Carlin got the scoring started with a jumper early in the first to give the Friars the 2-0 lead. Morris Catholic guard Darius Osorio-Vega hit a deep three from the top of the key to give the Crusaders the 3-2 advantage. Kilpatrick helped the Friars regain the lead on a jumper from the wing. Osorio-Vega made another three to make the score 6-4 in favor of the visitors. Kilpatrick tied the game at 6 on the next possession. Another Crusaders’ guard Andre Spruell made a three to give the Crusaders a 9-6 advantage. The Friars then went on an 8-0 run with baskets from Perpiglia, two from Pitt, and another from Gabert to help the Friars to a 14-9 lead. Osorio-Vega scored his third three of the quarter to cut the lead to 14-12. Pitt scored two more baskets to give Malvern the 18-12 lead at the end of the first quarter. Dan Jacome started the frame off for the Crusaders before the Friars went on a 15-0 run to make the score 33-14. During the run Alex Dentinger, Jimmy Gordon, Kilpatrick, Bonner, and Gabert all scored. Kilpatrick scored four more points at the end of the half giving Malvern the 37-15 lead at half. Perpiglia had a great third quarter hitting a three and two jumpers for 7 points in the period. In the second half, sophomore guard Andy Pancoast and junior guard Sam Ramagano both scored six points which are season highs for them. Ramagano reached his personal goal of 10 points for the season and asked if he could hand out Ramo 1 – 0 signs similar to BK1K for Kilpatrick’s 1000 point. The Friars coasted to a 67-36 victory improving their record to 20-2.
Tom Pitt led the Friars with 14 points in three quarters of play. Kilpatrick added 10 points, and Perpiglia scored 9. Eleven different Friars scored in the game in a dominating four quarter performance. Darius Osorio-Vega led the Crusaders with 12 points on three treys. The Friars still find themselves tied for first place in the Inter-Ac league. They still play Germantown Academy, Springside Chestnut Hill, and Penn Charter to determine if they can accomplish their season long goal of winning back-to-back championships.

JAN. 27
Haverford School 53, Malvern 50
  Malvern went into Haverford on Friday night with the lead in the Inter-Ac League followed by Haverford and Germantown Academy one game behind. The first game between these teams at Malvern ended in a 61-53 win for the Friars in double overtime. The Fords played the Friars tough the entire game, but Brendan Kilpatrick and Steve Perpiglia helped Malvern pull out the victory in the second extra period. Malvern looked to contain the Fords’ 7 foot center Tao Xu and the speedy freshman Sam Foreman in the rematch. The Fords’ student section (called Tao’s Zoo) and the Friars traveling Friarnation group were both very loud and set the scene for a great matchup between two of the best teams in the Inter-Ac. About a minute into the game, Zach Thomas started the scoring for the Fords giving them the early 2-0 lead. Malvern took the lead following two baskets from Perpiglia to make the score 4-2 Friars. Xu used his position down low on the next possession to make a layup to tie the contest at 4 a piece. This basket was part of a 6-0 run for Haverford which included another bucket from Thomas and two free throws from 6’6” forward Semaj Reed to give the Fords the 8-4 lead. The Friars regained the control in the end of the quarter after a basket by Dennis Gabert and a trey at the buzzer from Perpiglia to put the Friars up 9-8 after one period of play. The Fords took control early in the second as Ray Hollman and Eric Anderson both made threes, and Levan Alston added two points of his own. Down by six with 4:15 remaining in the frame, Kilpatrick (who started the game 0-8 from the field) got hot making three treys within a span of roughly three minutes to make the score 19-18 Malvern going into the half. Sam Foreman who was very quiet in the first half came alive in the third quarter scoring 8 points in the frame. Three times in the period the Friars let the Fords extend their lead to 5 points, but the Friars’ Tom Pitt scored 6 points in the quarter to help keep the game from slipping away. The score was 34-31 going to the final quarter of play. The game went back and forth for the first few minutes of the period with baskets for Haverford by Foreman and Xu and by Perpiglia and Gabert for the Friars. Malvern cut the lead to two following a put back by Pitt before Foreman hit another three pushing the lead to 45-40. A few minutes later, Perpiglia slashed the advantage to one after a three of his own. Hollman made a jumper with about two minutes left in the game to go up 49-46 until Perpiglia made his signature drive and scoop under Tao Xu for the basket while being fouled on the play. Perpiglia calmly sunk his foul shot to tie the score at 49 with 1:28 left in the game. Malvern regained possession with under a minute remaining after a missed shot by the Fords, but Foreman stole the ball from Malvern’s Gabert and took it the length of the court for a layup. Perpiglia was fouled on the next Friars possession in the double bonus and made 1-2 to make the score 51-50 in favor of the Fords. On the next trip down the court, Malvern intentionally fouled Thomas who subsequently missed the free throw. Pitt grabbed the rebound and was fouled by Xu sending him to the line with the chance to tie the game. He missed the foul shots, but the Friars regained possession following a missed free throw by Foreman down the other end of the court. Perpiglia took a three for the win with about 10 seconds left that missed and went out of bounds. The Fords’ Hollman caught a long inbounds pass at half court behind the defense and took it in for the clinching layup. Perpiglia threw up a desperation three at the buzzer that found the side of the rim giving the Fords the 53-50 victory. Steve Perpiglia scored a game high 20 points for Malvern compounded with 6 rebounds, 4 assists, and 2 steals. Dennis Gabert and Tom Pitt scored 9 and 8 points respectively and both played pretty well on the defensive end of the floor. Brendan Kilpatrick had 11 points on three treys, but he was held to only 2 points in the second half. Sam Foreman had all 17 of his points in the second half, and Zach Thomas added his 14 points while playing good defense. The Friars held Tao Xu to only 4 points, but his presence was certainly felt on the defensive end as he made it difficult for Malvern to score inside baskets. The Inter-Ac now has a three way tie for the top spot with Haverford, GA, and Malvern all with two losses.

JAN. 24
Malvern 43, Episcopal 26
  With a record of 4-1 in the Inter-Ac, Malvern entered the game in first place in the league in front of Haverford and Germantown Academy. The Friars beat Episcopal in their first matchup 60-43 at the Daniel Dougherty Basketball Tripleheader and looked to beat the Churchmen for the second time on Tuesday. Malvern needed to stop Brian Metzler and contain the Churchmen’s two young guards, Chris McNeal and Mike Jolaoso, to win. In the first contest, Metzler only scored 4 points and for Malvern Brendan Kilpatrick had 20 points and Tom Pitt had 13 of his own. Getting Kilpatrick open shots and working the ball down low to Pitt were two offensive keys to victory for the Friars. Episcopal’s Metzler started off the scoring with a bucket to give the Churchmen an early 2-0 lead. Over the next few possessions, the Friars stuck to the game plan and found Pitt on the block for six easy points giving Malvern the 6-2 lead. Dennis Gabert then went 1-2 from the line extending the lead to 7-2. Metzler hit two foul shots and Markuan Stutts went 1-2 from the stripe cutting the lead to 7-5. The Friars went on a 5-0 run to close out the frame on a 3 pointer by point guard Steve Perpiglia and a bucket by Kilpatrick to make the score 12-5. In the second quarter, Pitt added another basket for the Friars bolstering the lead to 14-5. Stutts scored to make the score 14-7 before Perpiglia responded on the next possession to regain the nine point lead of 16-7. After an Alex Dentinger foul shot for Malvern, Jolaoso hit two threes for the Churchmen to cut the lead to 17-13. Perpiglia hit another bucket before McNeal hit a three for Episcopal to close the gap to 19-16. Pitt made another basket in the paint to make the score at the half 21-16. Malvern came out storming in the third quarter on both ends of the court. Malvern shut out the Churchmen in the quarter while the Friars scored eleven points of their own. In the quarter, Perpiglia made two baskets including one where he drove the lane and performed his signature scoop move under the outstretched arm of an Episcopal defender. Kilpatrick also scored three points in the quarter to give Malvern the 32-16 lead heading into the final quarter. In the fourth period, Stutts made a three point play to end Episcopal’s scoreless drought. Later in the fourth, the Churchmen went on a 5-0 run to close the gap to 33-24. Kilpatrick scored 6 points in the quarter and Gabert also added 4. Malvern ended up winning 43-26 and improved their record to 19-1 and 5-1 in the Inter-Ac. Steve Perpiglia and Tom Pitt both led the way for the Friars with 12 points. Brendan Kilpatrick scored 11 points, but he could not get many of his outside shots to fall. Dennis Gabert also added 7 points for Malvern. Mike Jolaoso had 7 points for the Churchmen, and the Friars held Brian Metzler to only 4 points all in the first quarter. The Friars didn’t play their best offensive basketball, but their defense was stellar. Although Episcopal is winless in the Inter-Ac this season, they are a very young squad who will be a back to their winning ways in a few years. The Friars still control their own destiny in their quest for another Inter-Ac championship, but they have a huge matchup Friday night against the Haverford School, which they defeated in their first contest, 61-53, in double overtime.

JAN. 22
Malvern 60, Conestoga 44
  After Malvern’s first loss of the season on Friday night, the Friars looked to rebound against a solid Conestoga team at the Bryant Classic. The showcase was held at Plymouth-Whitemarsh, and the Malvern-Conestoga game was the fourth game of the day. Conestoga came into the contest with a record of 11-4 after beating Ridley on Friday 45-40. The Pioneers have beaten some good teams this season, and two of their losses have come to Upper Darby and Lower Merion. Malvern looked to get back on track with a victory in a game that shaped up to be a good matchup. Junior Jimmy Gordon started off the game for the Friars with a three pointer from the top of the key. Conestoga’s John Grib responded on the next possession with a trey of his own to tie the game at 3. The were many lead changes over the next few minutes as Malvern’s Alex Dentinger hit a basket, but the Pioneers’ Sam Bevan came back with a three from the corner. Tom Pitt then scored on back to back possessions giving Malvern a 9-6 lead. Conestoga went on a 7-0 run aided by a three pointer from Brandon Thompson and baskets from guard Zach Yonda and big man Jared Seltzer. Dentinger then hit a basket at the buzzer for Malvern to cut Conestoga’s lead to 13-11. Brendan Kilpatrick came alive in the second quarter when he started off the frame with a three pointer making the score 14-13 Malvern. The lead changes continued in the period with Conestoga taking back the lead until Malvern’s Gordon sliced his way to the basket for two points giving the Friars the 16-15 advantage. A few minutes later Bevan hit another trey to make the score 20-18 before a 7-0 run by the Friars. Gordon started off the run with another three, and Kilpatrick capped the run with 4 of his 9 second quarter points helping Malvern to a 25-20 lead at the half. Conestoga’s offense started to click in the third, but the Friars always found an answer usually on the next possession. Dennis Gabert scored 4 points in the quarter, and Steve Perpiglia contributed 4 points on a trey and a foul shot. Malvern led 38-31 going into the forth quarter. Early in the fourth, Kilpatrick threw down a monster dunk following a missed Friars’ shot to expand the lead to 40-31. Perpiglia and Gabert each added two more points pushing the lead to 44-31 before the Pioneers mounted a small comeback of their own. Joe Viviano and Bevan made shots for Conestoga to slice the lead to 44-36. Another three from Thompson was sandwiched between a Perpiglia jumper and a dunk from Kilpatrick, so the scoreboard read 48-39 with a little over three minutes remaining. The Pioneers were not surrendering yet as Yonda made two free throws, and Grib hit a three making it a four point game at 48-44. Kilpatrick carried the Friars here on out as he had a dunk and then stole the ball and completed a three point play after being fouled on his lay-up. The final few Malvern points came off of free throws from Perpiglia, Dentinger, and Gabert. The final score was a 60-44 victory for the Friars.
Kilpatrick was named game MVP as he had 20 points, 8 rebounds, 3 steals, and 3 blocks. Perpiglia added 12 points and 5 rebounds, and Jimmy Gordon scored 11 points on three treys. For the Pioneers, Brandon Thompson scored 9 points all on three pointers, and Sam Bevan also had 9 points on treys. The Pioneers made 8 threes and shot very well from the outside throughout the entire contest. Malvern played quite well for stretches in the game, and they really turned it on in the fourth quarter something they could not do on Friday night against Penn Charter. The game was a good showing following the tough loss to the Quakers. The victory moved Malvern’s overall record to 18-1. The Friars play on Tuesday at 3:45 against the Churchmen of Episcopal Academy. The Friars won the first matchup between these two teams 60-43 in the Inter-Ac League opener.

JAN. 20
Penn Charter 56, Malvern 44
  A perfect season in basketball is a phenomena practically never achieved. In a schedule that can be up to 30 games, playing good enough basketball to win in every contest is almost impossible. There was something about the Friday night matchup against Penn Charter that just didn’t seem right for the Friars. Maybe it was playing in a hostile Penn Charter environment with the Quaker Crew (PC’s student section) breathing down their necks. Whatever it was, Malvern’s shooting was ice cold throughout the game. The players were slipping all over the court and running into each other. Finally the Friars committed stupid turnovers like passes and rebounds that bounced off of players’ hands and out of bounds on key possessions when Malvern needed a basket. For whatever reason, Malvern just couldn’t get the usual magic going that has helped them to 17 straight wins to start the season.
  Penn Charter’s junior center Mike McGlinchey started off the game with a 3 pointer giving the Quakers an early 3-0 lead. Following a basket from Malvern’s Dennis Gabert and two free throws from Steve Perpiglia, the Friars took a 4-3 advantage. Later in the quarter, Gabert converted a 3 point play after being fouled on a lay-up to push the Malvern lead to 9-5. Nearing the end of the first quarter, sophomore guard Sean O’Brien and senior guard John Moderski added four and five points respectively to help the Quakers regain a 12-9 lead. Early in the second period, Moderski and O’Brien both scored again on back to back possessions extending the Penn Charter lead to 17-9. With Malvern down 18-12 later in the quarter, the Friars went on a 6-0 run helped by 4 points by Tom Pitt. Right after Malvern tied the game at 18, PC’s Nick Lamb and Grant Shaffer led the Quakers to a 6-0 run of their own making the score 24-18. The Friars’ Perpiglia hit 2 free throws to make the score 24-20 going into halftime. The teams traded baskets to start the third quarter but with 5:10 left McGlinchey hit his second trey of the game giving Penn Charter the 32-24 lead. On the next possession, Brendan Kilpatrick made his first field goal of the game on a three pointer from the corner cutting the lead to 5 points. Malvern slashed the lead to one, but a foul shot and a NBA range three by Moderski quickly gave the Quakers another 5 point advantage. Late in the quarter Kilpatrick made one out of two from the line making the score 35-32. After a missed Quaker shot, the Friars’ Perpiglia hit a fadeaway three ball from the corner tying the score at the buzzer. The Friars jumped out to an early fourth quarter lead on a shot from Perpiglia with 6:50 remaining. Moderski tied the game at 37 following his two free throws. Two foul shots from Pitt helped Malvern regain another two point lead, but PC’s McGlinchey tied the game at 39 on the next possession. Then, Moderski hit another deep three pointer to give Penn Charter the 42-39 lead. Kilpatrick’s second field goal of the game brought the Friars back within one to a 42-41 score. The Quakers then went on an 8-0 run, and the game was pretty much over. Malvern started to foul putting Moderski on the line who was 9-10 from the charity stripe in the fourth quarter alone. Kilpatrick and Perpiglia hit foul shots late making the final score a 56-44 Penn Charter victory.
  Malvern has been a team that found a way to win every close game so far this season. From coming back from 7 points down with :40 seconds remaining against LaSalle to pulling out a win versus Haverford in 2OTs to finally beating Germantown Academy by one with great defense in crunch time, Malvern was due for a letdown. I think everyone on Malvern was waiting for someone to step up and bring the team back, but it just didn’t happen. None of Malvern’s usual stars played all that well although Malvern’s 20-26 from the free throw line was a bright spot to a team that has struggled from the line this season. The foul shooting actually helped keep the Friars in the game during the first half as it could have easily gotten out of hand earlier. I just remember turning to my fellow manager Nick Flowers with 1:00 left and down by 12 saying, “We might actually not pull this one out.” The shooting was atrocious by Malvern, and the overall play was very sloppy coming from a team that usually plays sound fundamental basketball. Steve Perpiglia led the Friars with 12 points and 3 assists. Tom Pitt had 11 points and 7 rebounds and probably played the best of any Friar. Brendan Kilpatrick coming off his best shooting performance of the season at SCH couldn’t get any of his shots to fall. The majority of his 10 points came off of foul shots. For the Quakers, John Moderski scored 14 of 24 points in the fourth quarter, and 6’8” Mike McGlinchey hit 3 treys on his way to 14 points. Although the Friars missed a golden opportunity to take a 2 game lead in the league after a GA loss, Malvern is still in first place half way through the conference schedule. The Friars’ record now stands at 17-1 and 4-1 in the Inter-Ac. Even though it was a stinging loss, the defeat is only a minor blip in the road in a season that still has many games remaining. The Friars next take on a skilled Conestoga squad in the Kobe Bryant Classic on 1/22 at Plymouth-Whitemarsh.

JAN. 17
Malvern 44, Springside Chestnut Hill Academy 28
  Following another thrilling one point victory against Germantown Academy, the first place Friars went into SCH trying to preserve their undefeated record of 16-0. With a record of 8-8, the Blue Devils are led by seniors Malik Garner (UMBC) and Billy Dooley (American U). Luke Mulvaney, one of SCH’s best shooters, is out for the season with an injury. Malvern tried to not have a “let down game” as Coach Rullo said, “Championships are won on Tuesday afternoons.” The Friars took this to heart and looked to take care of business in the matchup.
  After another slow start to the game, Tom Pitt gave Malvern the early 2-0 lead on a lay-up with 5:39 remaining in the first quarter. Brendan Kilpatrick made two free throws, and Alex Dentinger put back a missed shot to give the Friars the 6-0 advantage. SCH’s Ryan Smith scored the Blue Devils’ first basket before Malvern really opened the flood gates. After two Kilpatrick three pointers and another basket from Pitt, Malvern led 14-2 and forced the Blue Devils' coach, Bill Dooley, to call timeout. Following another basket apiece from Pitt and Dentinger, the Friars led 18-4 at the end of the first quarter. In the beginning of the second frame, Kilpatrick added another two to his 10 first half points extending the lead to 20-4. The Blue Devils then went on an 8-0 run closing the gap to 20-12. During the stretch, Garner added three baskets and Pat Costello also made a two. Friars point guard Steve Perpiglia scored on his famous scoop off the glass giving Malvern a 22-12 lead going into the break. Malvern played lock down defense in the third quarter holding SCH to only three points on a Dooley trey. Kilpatrick scored eight more points in the period on a dunk following a Perpiglia miss and two more three pointers, one a corner three as time expired in the quarter. In the last period of play, the Blue Devils outscored Malvern 13-10 helped by six points from junior guard Michael Hayes. Malvern won the game 44-28 and maintained its undefeated record which now stands at 17-0 and 4-0 in the Inter-Ac.
  Brendan Kilpatrick had a sensational game with 20 points, 4 rebounds, 2 steals, and 2 blocks. He shot 4 of 5 from three and made both of his attempts from the free throw line. I think this game was Kilpatrick’s best shooting performance of the season as he sunk many tough shots like two fadeaway treys and multiple contested jumpers. Tom Pitt had 8 points and 6 rebounds and played excellent defense on Malik Garner. Steve Perpiglia had 6 points and 4 assists and was voted Main Line Athlete of the Week (Congrats Stevie!!!) SCH had a poor shooting display, and the Friars held Billy Dooley to only 3 points. With the win, Malvern kept first place in the Inter-Ac League. The Inter-Ac standings now look like this: Malvern (4-0), Germantown Academy (3-1), Haverford School (2-2), Penn Charter (1-2), Springside Chestnut Hill Academy (1-3), and Episcopal Academy (0-3). Malvern takes on Penn Charter down in Philly on this Friday for their first of two meetings this season.

JAN. 13
Malvern 47, Gtn. Academy 46
After beating Haverford in a double overtime thriller on Tuesday, Malvern looked to sustain their momentum going into their Friday night battle with Germantown Academy.  With their perfect record of 15-0 and first place in the Inter-Ac on the line, Malvern needed to run their offense effectively to beat GA. Another key to the game was keeping junior guard Nick Lindner contained and off the free throw line. Last year in the game at Germantown, Malvern led by 22 at the half, but GA’s swarming press carried the Patriots to an enormous comeback and the eventual victory in the game. As GA was the only team to beat the Friars in the Inter-Ac last year, Malvern was definitely out for some revenge in this contest.
  The first quarter started out slowly for both teams with great defense and a lot of missed shots. Following a bucket a piece by seniors Steve Perpiglia and Tom Pitt, the Friars led 4-0. With 3:30 left in the quarter, Nick Lindner hit a three pointer for GA cutting the lead to one. Perpiglia hit a trey late in the frame giving Malvern the 11-7 lead. The next series of events were kind of bizarre. Malvern was holding the ball for the last shot with about 20 seconds left in the quarter. With about 10 seconds left, Lindner stole a Friars’ pass and launched a shot from half court with about 5 seconds remaining. He was on a break away and could have easily taken the ball in for an uncontested lay-up as there were no Friars in sight. The GA student section was incorrectly counting the seconds left on the clock on purpose when Malvern still had the ball (as many student sections do), but Lindner actually believed that was the remaining time, making him launch the shot. (GA's gym only has a scoreboard on one side, and Lindner was shooting on the basket opposite from the scoreboard.) After Lindner took the shot, Tom Pitt grabbed the long rebound and heaved his own shot from just beyond half court. The shot sailed through the air, bounced off the backboard, dropped straight through the hoop causing the Malvern bench to erupt into cheers. The refs then had a discussion about if Pitt had released the shot in time. After about 30 seconds, the refs ruled no basket, and Malvern led 11-7 going into the second quarter. After being shut out in the first quarter, Brendan Kilpatrick came alive and helped the Friars to an 8-0 run to start the quarter with dunks on consecutive possessions. The Patriots cut the lead to four following two free throws from Lindner because of a technical foul by Pitt which was also happened to be his 4th personal. Malvern was again bailed out by Perpiglia, who hit another trey to help his team to a 27-19 lead at the break. Just as they had a year ago, GA came out fighting in the beginning of the third with an 11-2 run to take a 30-29 lead. Julian Moore, a 6’9” junior, scored 8 points in the quarter to help the Patriots. Kilpatrick’s 7 points in the period put Malvern back up 40-36 going to the final quarter. In the 4th, GA scored the first two baskets to tie the game at 40 with 6:22 remaining. Pitt made a lay-up a minute later to regain the lead for Malvern. With 2:10 left and Malvern having a 47-44 advantage, senior guard Connor Crump hit a three to make it a one point game. After a few changes of possession, GA’s Lindner had the ball last with close to 10 ticks left on the clock. As Lindner was driving the lane for the win, junior Ryan Ammerman stepped in and took a charge with 3.5 seconds left. On the ensuing inbounds play, Perpiglia’s pass was tipped at mid-court and was corralled by Lindner whose pass went off a teammate’s hand sealing a 47-46 victory for the Friars.
  Steve Perpiglia led the Friars to the win with 18 points, 8 assists, and 3 rebounds. Kilpatrick had 17 points, 4 rebounds, and 2 blocks. Malvern played shut down defense on GA’s Lindner whose 7 points were way below his season average of 20.5 per contest. Junior forward Alex Dentinger and Ryan Ammerman held big man Julian Moore in check for most of the game. For the Patriots, Greg Dotson led his team with 18 points and was 6-6 from the free throw line. Overall GA shot 13-14 from the line, and their ability to make free throws helped keep them in the game. The Friars took first place with the win and pushed their record to 16-0 and 3-0 in the Inter-Ac. Malvern faces Springside Chestnut Hill Academy next Tuesday afternoon at SCH, whose record stands at 1-2 in the conference.

JAN. 10
Malvern 61, Haverford 53 (2OT)
  After starting off the Inter-Ac campaign with a dominating 17 point win over Episcopal last Friday at the Daniel Dougherty Basketball Tripleheader, Malvern looked ready to do battle with the new look Haverford squad. The Friars came into the game with a record of 14-0. With first year head coach Henry Fairfax at the reins, the Fords entered the contest with a 10-3 record after defeating Springside Chestnut Hill Academy 45-39 last Friday afternoon in their Inter-Ac opener. Haverford is led by senior guards Ray Hollman and Zach Thomas. Two other newcomers are 7’0” junior center Tao Xu (who transferred before the season from China) and freshman point guard Sammy Foreman, who both looked to pose a challenge to the undefeated Friars.
  Within the first few minutes of the game, Malvern led 8-0 following two three-pointers from Brendan Kilpatrick and a steal and lay-up from Dennis Gabert. I started reminiscing of last year’s contest against Haverford when Malvern shut out the Fords in the first quarter and led 22-0 a few minutes into the second frame before Haverford scored their first basket. Helped by strong all-around play of their five starters, Haverford stormed back to take an 11-10 lead at the end of the first quarter. In the second quarter, Kilpatrick hit another corner trey to add to his 11 first half points, and Haverford’s Thomas led the Fords with 5 points in that quarter to tie the score at 24 going into the half. The Fords led 39-36 going into the final frame following a strong 3rd quarter from Foreman and junior Semaj Reed. The Friars entered the quarter in foul trouble with starters Tom Pitt having 4 fouls and Steve Perpiglia and Kilpatrick both possessing 3. Haverford increased their lead early in the quarter, but the Friars were not going to go away that easily. Pitt scored a key basket for Malvern before fouling out with about 4 minutes remaining, but Ray Hollman hit two critical threes on consecutive possessions pushing the Haverford lead up to seven with 3 minutes left. In a two-minute surge, Perpiglia went 1 out 2 from the line, and Dennis Gabert scored 6 points after a fury of Haverford turnovers to tie the game with about 1:30 left. After two changes of possession, Haverford’s Foreman missed a runner as time expired sending the game into OT tied 50-50. Four minutes and two points (yes combined) later, the game was headed to a second OT with the score now 51 a piece. Malvern jumped out to the lead early in the second extra period as Kilpatrick went 4-6 from the line. Haverford didn’t score in the second overtime period until 10 seconds left when Malvern let the Fords’ Darren Watson stroll in for a lay-up when instructed by Coach Rullo not to foul. The game ended as a 61-53 victory for Malvern pushing their record to 15-0 and 2-0 in the Inter-Ac.
  Kilpatrick led the Friars again in scoring with a double-double of 19 points and 10 rebounds. Malvern’s sparkplug point guard Steve Perpiglia, scored all of his 11 points in the second half, dished out 7 assists, and came up with 2 crucial steals in the 4th quarter. Dennis Gabert scored a season high 16 points and added 8 reobunds. For Haverford, Foreman scored 10 points and had 7 assists. As a freshman, Foreman already handles the ball confidently and can also create his own shot off the dribble. The Friars held Tao Xu to only five points and no points in the paint. This game again showed the Friars’ resiliency as 4 of their 15 wins this season have been 4th  quarter come from behind victories. The rematch of this game will take place on January 27 at the Haverford School and is certain to be just as exciting as the first meeting. Malvern plays at Germantown Academy on Friday night in a game for first place in the Inter-Ac as both teams are 2-0.

JAN. 6
Malvern 60, Episcopal 43
  Entering the game at the Inter-Ac’s Daniel Dougherty Basketball Tripleheader, Malvern had the perfect record of 13-0. The last two wins, numbers 12 and 13, were very different for the Friars. Number 12 took place on New Year’s Eve against La Salle. In that game, Malvern trailed for by 7 with :38 seconds left and pulled off a miracle victory. Steve Perpiglia hit a three-pointer with :03 seconds remaining to give the Friars their first lead since early in the first quarter and the shocking victory. Victory number 13, this past Tuesday, occurred at Salesianum (DE) and was definitely Malvern’s worst of the campaign. The Friars won the game 37-34 behind Brendan Kilpatrick’s 18 points. The officiating (or lack thereof) was even openly stated by Salesianum’s manager, who remarked that the refs in Delaware are atrocious. After holding on for the win (Sallies had an open three-pointer to tie at the buzzer), Coach Jim Rullo said, “When you are undefeated, everyone you play is out to get you because you have an X on your back.” Taking these words to heart, Malvern was definitely ready to play in the contest against Episcopal.
  Executing their offense perfectly in the first quarter, Malvern jumped out to an early lead with help from Kilpatrick’s 7 points in the frame. The Churchmen cut the lead to 2 at the end of the quarter following 4 points from 5’7” freshman Mike Jolaoso. In the second quarter, Malvern broke the game open scoring 15 points while holding Episcopal to only 5 points. The Friars held a 28-16 lead going into the half. Last season in the Inter-Ac opener against Haverford at Cabrini, Malvern trailed 29-14 at the half and came back to win by 7 points. Coach Rullo stressed that there will be no second half let-ups, and we were not going to let them back into the game. There would be no repeat of history as Malvern extended their lead to 17 points in the quarter. Following a three-pointer from senior guard Ryan Bonner, Kilpatrick and Pitt threw down two thunderous dunks that ignited Malvern’s Friarnation. Kilpatrick’s jam came off of an alley-oop pass on a fast break from Perpiglia. On the following Malvern possession, Perpiglia passed the ball to Pitt who dunked it with two hands and was fouled on the play. In the final quarter, senior Dennis Gabert scored 4 of his 6 points, and played excellent defense against Episcopal forward Brian Metzler. Pitt added 6 of his 13 points to help Malvern to the 60-43 victory.
  Kilpatrick finished with a game high 20 points, 6 rebounds, and 2 blocks. Pitt added 14 rebounds to his 13 points, and Perpiglia 7 assists and 5 points. For the Churchmen, Chris McNeal finished with a team high 10 points (two three-pointers), and Jolaoso finished the game with 9 points. Win number 14 for the Friars came a little easier than the prior two because of an executed game plan aided by fundamental defense. More importantly, it was win number 1 in the ten game Inter-Ac schedule. The Friars pursuit for 10-0 continues on Tuesday afternoon at home against the Haverford School. Malvern will look to keep its winning streak alive and get win number 2 in the Inter-Ac.