SAM LINDGREN sniffled between thoughts after last night's game as he sat in a room Germantown Academy uses for team meetings.
After the youthful Patriots held off Del-Val Charter at home, 59-50, the 17-year-old junior was happy to get back to .500, but the effort had taken a toll.
"I'm beat up right now," Lindgren said matter-of-factly.
About 2 weeks ago, the Doylestown resident said a rib on his right side was knocked out of alignment and required a chiropractor's adjustment.
Then, in a 47-44 loss to Boys' Latin Friday night, both of his calves cramped in the final minutes.
Save for that nagging cold, Lindgren claimed to be A-OK last night, even if there was a long, red fingernail swipe running down his right side.
But, behind his 16 points, six rebounds and two blocks, the Patriots (5-5) are back to .500. So, take that, naysayers.
"I just want people to know that we're a good team and it doesn't matter that we're young," he said. "I don't want anyone to think that because we're young we're not going to be good this year. Everyone's been saying 'rebuilding year.' I think we're going to be really good this year."
Last season, the Patriots finished 23-6, went undefeated in Inter-Ac play and won the Pennsylvania Independent Schools Athletic Association (PAISAA) basketball title.
This campaign is left with just one senior after nine departed, including last year's top four scorers (Greg Dotson, James Drury, Nick Linder and Julian Moore).
Sophomore point guard Devon Goodman would help, but he is out with a broken thumb.
In his absence, GA's youth showed Friday after 24 turnovers and 10 missed free throws down the stretch helped Boys' Latin pull away.
Not last night. Freshman Evan-Eric Longino led all scorers with 18 points, which included eight fourth-quarter tallies. DVC had no answer for the 6-4, 15-year-old down low.
"He's a tough guy to guard," Lindgren said. "He can play outside, but when he gets in the post you can't really stop him because he's so strong. He often has a smaller guy on him because he can play outside, too. So, we look for him. He gets easy layups and makes his free throws. He was a big difference in the second half."
Fellow frosh Kyle McCloskey tallied 11 points and nine rebounds. Sean Weiss, the lone last-year player, drew a charge with 9.6 seconds in the third that sustained a 42-32 lead into the final frame.
Junior guard Tim Guers added 14 scrappy points and five boards. They were the only Patriots to score.
DVC seized first-quarter control with excellent ball movement that made its team speed more dangerous, a script carefully designed by head coach Jason Harrigan. However, too many freelanced possessions proved costly. Shooting 5-for-12 from the foul line didn't help. GA shot 17 of 23 from freebie land.
CJ Wolfe and Shahid Adams (3-for-4 from three) each finished with 12 points for DVC. Darius Wallace finished with eight.
After a 22-all tie at intermission, GA went used a 10-2 run in the third to create separation. The same attacking pressure Boys' Latin used to unravel the Patriots' poise actually led to opportunities.
"We were more relaxed and weren't rushing," Lindgren said. "I think Friday night it had something to do with all the fans there. Everyone was amped up and just rushing everything."
Actually, it was the Patriots' tenacious defense that bothered Del-Val. Head coach Jim Fenerty seemed pleased with his team's defensive effort. He did however deliver the line of the night to an official.
"He was there so long he could vote in that district," he said, requesting a 3-second violation.
His team leaders took care of the rest.
An ancillary piece last season, Lindgren said he's enjoying more of a leadership role.
"Being kind of a role player last year to being kind of the man on the team or the go-to guy, I like it because people expect a lot out of you," he said. "But when you play well and do what you're supposed to do - it's fun."
Lindgren's father, Rory, played at Wisconsin-Green Bay before work brought the family to Pennsylvania. Sam, who owns about a 3.4 GPA, said Patriot and Ivy League schools have taken notice. Julian Moore, a 6-11 senior on last year's team, who is now a freshman at Penn State, was in attendance.
Lindgren was hopeful after the game, citing the team's slow start last season.
"Even looking at the record," Lindgren said, "4-5 to 5-5, going to 6-5, once you break .500 your confidence is just up. We're playing better, too. If we just keep that up we'll be fine."