By Scott Huff
The Suburban One League opened the PIAA state playoffs in perfect fashion as all four Quad-A teams claimed wins.
“Sometimes the Suburban One League doesn’t get the respect we should,” said Central Bucks South coach Jason Campbell. “We had four teams play in the first round of the playoffs, and we had four teams win big games.”
Central Bucks South (22-6) came up with the most impressive of the victories with a 62-57 win over highly-touted Roman Catholic (18-9).
Plymouth Whitemarsh (23-6) knocked off Southern Philadelphia (17-11) by a 47-45 score to advance to a second round game.
Norristown (23-6) advanced to a second round contest with a 68-60 victory over Elizabethtown.
Pennsbury (23-6) was dominating in a 51-26 win over North Catholic.
Focus on Central Bucks South
Last Game – Central Bucks South may have played its best game of the season in the win over Roman Catholic. The Titans had four players score in double figures led by Will Barrett with 14 points. Other double digit scorers for South were Mike Pincus (11), Mike Doty (10), and Ian Gordon (10). CB South was able to overcome a strong effort by Roman Catholic’s two premier players – Malik Wayans and Rakeem Brookins. Brookins scored 21 points, while the Villanova-bound Wayans chipped in with 16 points.
Next Game – Central Bucks South will travel to Coatesville Area High School for a 7 p.m. tip off with powerful William Penn (28-1). The only loss of the season for William Penn came in the PIAA District Three final to Central Dauphin East. The Bearcats have a strong inside game that features 6-foot, 6 inch Malachi Leonard and 6-foot, 5-inch Malik Generett. Ryan Matthews and Chemia Lambert provide perimeter scoring.
Coach Jason Campbell says – “William Penn is very athletic and aggressive on defense. They like to change defenses, and I’m sure they will give us pressure and force us to handle the ball against that pressure. William Penn is a lot like Roman in terms of being athletic, but they may be a little more disciplined.
“We showed a lot of balance in our scoring in the Roman game, and we would like that to continue against William Penn. We have been in the big games, and we need to continue to play with confidence. We have lost some of those games, but we have learned from them. We are excited for the opportunity.”
Will Barrett says – “We are coming off such a great win against Roman Catholic and it has given us a great deal of confidence. All week long there was no one who gave us a chance to beat Roman, except for the players and the coaches in the locker room. But we believed in each other, and the seven seniors on this team showed the leadership we needed.
“I have been a leader all my life and I embrace that role. And I believe that if we stick to the game plan the coaches give us, we can play with anyone. We will push each other hard all week in practice, and we will be prepared to win the game.”
Focus on Pennsbury
Last Game – Pennsbury took the athleticism out of the game against North Catholic with a spread offense and a suffocating half-court defense. Senior Dalton Pepper – one of the premier scorers in the area – adjusted to a new role as the point guard on the spread offense and played at the top of the pressure half-court defense. The Falcons showcased a balanced scoring attack that had just a single double figure scorer – Jesse Krasna with 10 points. Pepper and Dante Devine each scored eight points for the winners. The Falcon defense held the high octane North Catholic offense to just 26 points.
Next Game – Pennsbury will make the trek to the Geigle Complex at Reading High School to meet District Three champion Central Daulphin East (27-3) with a 7:30 p.m. start. East opened the state playoffs with a 59-44 victory over Glen Mills and features a terrific backcourt of Desmond Bates and Jonathan Breeden.
Coach Frank Sciolla says – “Central Daulphin has the best backcourt that we have seen this season. They are extremely athletic and very disciplined. It is going to present quite a challenge to our team.
“Coach Bruce Leib has won over 600 games in his 30-plus years of coaching, and that is going to be another challenge for our coaching staff. Plus the Geigle Complex is in the heart of District Three and is a very tough place to play for any team from District One.
“We are very happy with the way we prepared and executed in the game against North Catholic. We are going to have do repeat that, and then some, if we want to continue to move on.”
Dalton Pepper says – “Whatever it takes, I will do whatever it takes to win a basketball game. If it means playing the point on offense, setting up teammates to get open shots, whatever.
“I want the ball in my hands. The coaches want me to create my own shots, or set up teammates. Plus I want to be able to play the best defense I can play.
“I really had a hard time sleeping this week. One loss and your season – your high school career – is over.”
Focus on Plymouth Whitemarsh
Last Game - The Colonials broke out to several seven to nine point leads but we forced to hold off a frantic Southern Philadelphia rally to defeat the Rams 47-45. Plymouth Whitmarsh was led in scoring by sophomore Jaylen Bond who scored a team-high 14 points, while junior center C.J. Aiken scored 10 points. Whis Grant (8), Damien Williams (6), Sam Pygatt (5), and Brandon Dixon (4) rounded out the scoring for the winners.
Next Game – The opponent for the second round game is a very familiar one to the Colonials – District One champion Norristown. Both PW and the Eagles tied for the regular season title in the Suburban One League American Conference with 13-1 records. The Colonials bested the Eagles 53-48 in the final regular season game, while Norristown beat PW 45-41 earlier in the season. Khalif Wyatt, James Ramsey, Lorenzo Christmas, Tom Smith, and Sheldon Mayer lead the Eagles. The game will be played at Spring-Ford High School at 8 p.m.
Coach Jim Donofrio says – “Both teams really know what they have to do to win the game. It really is going to come down to who is mentally and emotionally in the right place.
“We have to be able to control our emotions and execute the game plan. We have played two important games with them this season, but playing a state playoff game – before a sold-out house – is going to bring one more level of energy to the game. The game is a neighborhood rivalry, and that means you get to earn the bragging rights.”
Jaylen Bond says – “Norristown means that you have to play with a lot of pride and intensity. We know what we have to do – play great defense and attack the basket.
“Khalif (Wyatt) is a great player, and we’re going to work together and try and contain him. This should be a great basketball game and should come down to the last minute.”
Focus on Norristown
Last Game – Norristown might have had a little more trouble than expected in a 68-60 victory over Elizabethtown in the first round of the state playoffs. Khalif Wyatt led the team with 21 points – no surprise there – but juniors Tom Smith and Sheldon Mayer stepped up and had terrific games. Smith finished with 20 points and was a strong presence off the glass, while Mayer ran the offense, hit critical free throws in the final period and scored 16 points.
Next Game – This game could have been played on a playground in either Norristown or Conshocken as both neighborhood teams know just about everything there is to know about each other. The Eagles know the strengths and weaknesses of a young Colonial team that features mostly underclassmen - juniors C.J. Aiken, and Whis Grant, along with sophomores Jaylen Bond, Brandon Dixon, Sam Pygatt, and Stephon Baker. Freshman Damien Williams has played well in recent games. Expect a sold-out house at Spring-Ford High School with an 8 p.m. start.
Coach Michael Evans says – “There are no secrets when we play Plymouth Whitemarsh. The players know each other by name, not just by a number on a scouting report.
“We are going to have to match their intensity. It is going to be a great atmosphere with a big crowd with a lot riding on the outcome of the game.
“Winner moves on and the loser goes home. No second chances, you have to play your best game if you want to move on in the tournament.”
Khalif Wyatt says – “Plymouth Whitemarsh came into our gym and ruined our senior night,” said Wyatt in reference to PW’s 53-48 victory at Norristown on the final game of the season. “We didn’t play well in the second half, and they took the game away from us.
“We’re excited to get another chance at playing them. We beat them in their building, and they beat us in our building. We’ll see what happens when we play on a neutral court.
“They are bigger than us, so we are going to have to box out and rebound. We won’t be able to beat them unless we play all four quarters.”
District One Notes
Chester (24-4) opened its state title defense with a 66-50 victory over Red Land (17-12). The Clippers were led in scoring by Maurice Nelson with 18 points, while Rahlir Jefferson added 14 markers. Chester will now face Williamsport (22-3) in a second round game to be played at Martz Hall in Pottsville with a 7:30 p.m. start. Williamsport defeated Cedar Cliff 87-58 in its first round game.
Conestoga (27-3) advanced to the second round with a 38-37 win over Harrisburg (22-7). The Pioneers were led in scoring by Matt O’Hara with 18 points and Jake Cohen with eight points. Conestoga will now face Parkland (25-3) in a game to be played at the Geigle Complex in Reading at 6 p.m. Parkland eliminated Lower Merion (23-7) by a 57-53 score. Lower Merion was led in scoring by Gregg Robbins with 18 points.
Penn Wood (24-4) opened its PIAA Quad-A tournament play with a 51-46 win over Penn Manor (21-6). The Patriots were led in scoring by Aaron Brown with 15 points and Duane Johnson with 12 markers. Penn Wood will match up with John Bartrum in a second round game to be played at Cardinal O’Hara High School in Springfield with a 7 p.m. start. Bartrum won 72-67 in double overtime to Pocono Mountain East.
Glen Mills (20-8) saw its season come to an end when the Bulls were beaten by Central Daulphin East, 69-44. Aaric Murray led Glen Mills in scoring with 19 points, while Reggie Miles chipped in with 10 points.
Suburban One Sports .com Great Eight
1. Norristown Eagles (23-5)
2. Pennsbury Falcons (23-5)
3. Plymouth Whitemarsh Colonials (23-5)
4. Central Bucks South Titans (22-6)
5. Central Bucks West Bucks (20-7)
6. Bensalem Owls (18-7)
7. Neshaminy Redskins (16-10)
8. Souderton Indians (15-10)