FriarSide chats: Haverford

Matt Greskoff

Because of the fierce rivalry between Malvern and the Haverford School, this game meant the world to both teams.  Disregard the Inter-Ac standings; disregard the previous game’s result.  This was Malvern versus Haverford.  While Haverford has 2 starters who are new to the school and the rivalry, the rest are used to it, as is the entire Malvern roster.  Haverford’s crowd was typical for a Friday night.  The Nation came out strong as well.  From before the game even started, it was evident this would be a battle on and off the court.

The first quarter was full of missed shots and blocked shots by both sides.  Recognizing that Malvern was struggling early to get points, senior captain Steve Perpiglia took over and scored the first 2 buckets for the Friars.  He was playing with his usual fire and passion that has embodied Malvern basketball for the past two years.  With only a few seconds left in the first, Stevie made a deep three to put the Friars up at the buzzer.  This immediately energized the somewhat dull Nation up until that point.

The second quarter was more of the same type of play: scrappy, tough inside, and foul shots.  SeniorsTom Pitt and Dennis Gabert established themselves as offensive rebounding threats with put-backs and drives inside.  ‘Twas reminiscent of Dennis’ game-saving run of 6 straight points against Haverford in the 1st match-up this year.  The half ended Friars 19, Fords 18.

The scoring really started to pick up in the 2nd half, as did the fans.  Reigning MVP Brendan Kilpatrick, after a tough start from the field, Greg Jennings’ed Malvern in the 3rd with a pair of 3’s and just overall outstanding play.  And every time he went toward the rim and was bumped and didn’t get a call, he went about his business in his usual calm and collected way.  Despite Brendan and the rest of the team’s efforts in that 3rd quarter, a barrage of 3’s from the Fords put them up 3 going into the 4th.

The final quarter was anything but boring.  Chants from both sections were constant.  Scoring was constant. Time-outs were constant. With Haverford up and 3 minutes or so remaining, Haverford seemed to be doing what they tried to do the previous game against Malvern: just hold it.  Malvern, because of this knowledge, ended up putting pressure on the ball and using a press to prevent the stall.  Malvern had been down all quarter when Stevie made an incredible lay-up and the foul to tie it.  Malvern immediately got a stop on the other end.  However, Haverford’s tremendous pressure knocked the ball loose and got a fast break lay-up as a result.  Haverford was up 2.  The Friars made one of 2 free throws on the other end to halve the lead, and it remained that way for a couple possessions.  However, Haverford got a fast break and an and-1 with 5 seconds left.  They had a chance to seal it with one foul shot.  The shot was missed, and Malvern immediately got the rebound and called time out.  With a couple seconds left Malvern got off a contested deep 3 that couldn’t find the bottom of the net.

Haverford won 53-50, and now there is a theoretical 3-way tie at the top of the Inter-Ac with these two and GA.  They are all even with 2 losses in league, but Haverford has 4 games to go, while GA and the Friars have 3.

Malvern ends the year with 3 home games that the Nation will be in full strength.