By Scott Huff
PLYMOUTH MEETING – The name of the tournament is Rock The Rim, and host Plymouth-Whitemarsh did just that in a 74-54 victory over Neshaminy.
And the biggest rocker of all was 6-foot, 6-inch sophomore Jaylen Bond who put on a terrific show with a variety of dunks that propelled him to a game-high 25 points.
“Jaylen is a humble player that doesn’t have a giant ego,” said Plymouth-Whitemarsh head coach Jim Donofrio. “He has a lot of pride in his ability, and sometimes you forget that he is just a sophomore.
“Remember, he is a varsity player at a junior varsity age,” added Donofrio. “He has a lot to learn, and with more experience he is going to learn it.”
It is hard to fathom that Bond could be more dominating than he was against the Redskins.
And as marvelous as he was on the offensive end of the court, it was his spectacular play on the defensive end that drew an equal amount of attention. Bond protected the rim with nine blocked shots.
“We wanted to go right at him,” said Neshaminy coach Jerry Devine. “We can’t play the game scared, and we got to the line 18 times.
“(Bond) has tremendous athletic ability,” added Devine. “I told the kids if he blocks your shot, or dunks on you, forget about it. And we did that – we never quit.”
“When I see the ball in the player’s hands, I just get ready to go after it,” said Bond. “We all work hard on defense, and it was good to get the ‘W’.”
The game got off to a relatively even start with PW holding a 16-11 first period lead. Bond scored nine of his points in the period in the frame, collected seven rebounds, and had four blocked shots.
Neshaminy hung around in the game and trailed by just 26-19 with 4:15 left in the first half. Senior Justin Deeter - who scored 12 points on the night - scored six unanswered points to put the Skins within seven.
“We did some nice things,” said Devine. “If we can execute against this team, and we did at times, we are going to be able to execute on the teams in our league.
“Plymouth-Whitemarsh is a talented team,” added Devine. “And we knew that by playing a team of this caliber, it is going to help us during the season.”
And then a blink-of-an-eye Colonial run put the game out of reach.
Sophomore Brandon Dixon scored a basket – the Colonials stole the ball – Bond thundered home a dunk – Bond swatted away a Redskin shot – and junior Whis Grant drilled a basket. Within a 22-second span of time, the PW lead went from 26-19 to 32-19.
The game was not really competitive on the scoreboard the remainder of the game, but both coaches got a good look at what the future holds.
Neshaminy saw a 15-point effort turned in by freshman Ryan Arcidiacono. And freshman Tyler Katz joined both Arcidiacono and Deeter in double digits with 10 points.
Plymouth-Whitemarsh also had a nice game turned in by 6-9 junior C.J. Aiken. Aiken blocked four shots, collected seven rebounds, and scored 12 points.
Grant came off the bench for the Colonials and scored 16 points, while freshman Damien Williams gave a solid effort with 13 points.
“This is a team that still needs to deal with situations within a game,” said Donofrio. “There is a learning curve we are going to have to meet, and we’ll soon see where our basketball I.Q. is when we play Conestoga in the finals.
“We played with a lot of energy,” added Donofrio. “I was happy the see that.”
And even happier to see Jaylen Bond, along with C.J. Aiken and Damien Williams, Rocking the Rim.
Notes – Plymouth-Whitemarsh will meet Conestoga in the tournament final. The Pioneers coasted to a 47-31 win over Central Bucks South in the first game – South will meet Neshaminy in the third place game.
Neshaminy 11 13 14 16 - 54
Plymouth-Whitemarsh 16 24 24 10 - 74
Neshaminy: Justin Deeter 12; Tristan Emig 2; Ryan Arcidiacono 15; Dwight Williams 5; Keelan Adams 3; Tyler Katz 10; Pete Warchola 7.
Plymouth-Whitemarsh: C.J. Aiken 12; Brandon Dixon 4; Whis Grant 16; Jaylen Bond 25; Damien Williams 13; Sam Pygatt 2; Stephon Baker 2.