The more things change, the more they stay the same.
That was the case for the Collingswood Panthers in their Monday night game against the Overbrook Rams, anyway. The Panthers saw alterations they hadn’t yet encountered this season, yet still produced a result similar to several other games they’ve played this season: a landslide victory.
The first two changes came very early in the evening. In a show of sportsmanship, it was decided that the two teams would line up and shake hands, usually a postgame ritual, before the opening tip was even delivered. The second change came in the form of Derek Wormley. The senior guard replaced the usual starter, senior Jermaine Feaster, in the starting lineup.
“Derrick’s been working really hard,” said Collingswood head coach Joe McLoughlin. “I decided to give him a shot tonight and he really did a good job.”
The hard work put in by Wormley paid off for both himself and for the Panthers. The team’s usual sixth man played solid defense, and contributed to Collingswood’s early double-digit leads. He poured in seven points in the first quarter, and then ended the half with a three-point field goal as the buzzer sounded.
Another change wasn’t really a change at all. It was more of an unfamiliar sight, if anything. It came in the form of senior guard Karon Waller. Waller, who might as well have points added to the scoreboard every time he releases the basketball, struggled with his jump shot early on in the game. In true Panther fashion, though, he trusted the skills of his teammates as they fed off of good defense and great passes from the team’s leading scorer. He fed off of them, too. Waller still managed 17 points on the night, tying teammate B.J. Jones for the game high.
“We’re just trying to get him more touches,” said Jones. “Karon’s bigger than most of their guards so we want to take advantage of that.”
“Personally, I’m just trying to play more aggressive. I haven’t been playing like I played last year. None of us really have. We need it this time of the year. We need it for the playoffs.”
Also making contributions for the Panthers on Monday night was senior center Julian Welsh-White, who recorded 12 points while also grabbing 10 rebounds before fouling out early in the fourth quarter. Seniors Jermaine Feaster and Kris Williams each recorded six points while coming off the bench.
“During the playoffs, you have to develop,” said McLoughlin. “You have to have guys coming off the bench. They have to rebound or score or do whatever you need them to do. You need more than five players on your team once you get to the playoffs.”
The Panthers return to action on Wednesday when they are visited by Pleasantville/Medical Tech.