Penns Valley head coach Terry Glunt said his team has faced many prodigious opponents this season on its way to a 20-5 record.
Wednesday’s PIAA Class AA second-round game against West Middlesex, tipping off at 7 p.m. at DuBois Area Middle School, might be the toughest yet.
“I saw them on film against West Branch,” Glunt said Tuesday night. “They have some good shooters and the aspect of their game that really stands out is their big, Josh Porterfield, a 6-foot-6 post. ... He scored 27 (points) against West Branch.”
Porterfield averages almost 15 points per game for West Middlesex, and has recorded five 20-plus-point games this season.
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Glunt hopes his 6-foot-7 senior center, Zach Engle, can perform in the same fashion against Porterfield as he did against the Rams’ previous opponent, Kane. Engle held center Andrew Bucheit to seven points and got him in foul trouble early while scoring 21 of his own alongside seven rebounds.
“Zach’s an imposing presence inside,” said Glunt. “Our defense is a team defense and we all work together. But Zach anchoring it inside is a big help for us.”
West Middlesex also poses a threat on the perimeter, with athletic freshman guard Jourdan Townsend and consistent shooters in Ryan Dogan and Nick Cannone. Cannone scored 26 in the team’s comeback effort over West Branch in Saturday’s first round.
“We know that we have to shut down the outside shooting of Dogan and Cannone, and try to stop the outside penetration of Townsend,” said Glunt.
“They have three kids that are scoring 18, 19, 21 points per game for them, and then they got a point guard who is probably the quickest point guard we’ve seen all year,” he added.
Glunt said West Middlesex is aggressive and physical on defense as well.
“One thing that stands out with them is that they do play tough defense,” said Glunt, who added that previous Penns Valley matchups against teams like Clearfield and Bellwood-Antis will likely help his team against the Big Reds from an experiential standpoint.
Penns Valley will also need to play a well-rounded game on both sides of the ball to counter the physical, balanced West Middlesex attack.
“I mean, the hay’s in the barn,” said Glunt. “We are who we are. We’re just going to go out and play our game and see how that fares against these guys. I think we ought to fare pretty well, but I know it’s going to be one incredible battle. I know it’s going to be physical.
“Hopefully we’re on our game and we’re able to handle their pressure, get back on defense, stay with their rebounding and hopefully we can knock down some shots.”
The third-place finisher out of District 10, West Middlesex is 15-8 overall and 10-1 in conference play.
“I know that we’ll have probably our biggest challenge of the year on (Wednesday) night,” said Glunt.