By: John Knebels, Rich Flanagan & Alec Kostival
PIAA PCL Boys’ Basketball Round-Up: With three games remaining until respective bracket champions are crowned, the PIAA quarterfinal match-ups will knock seven of the remaining Philadelphia Catholic League teams down to at least five.
The upcoming games on Friday and Saturday will feature familiar opponents, including the recent rematch of the PCL championship. See PIAA second round highlights, team chat and weekend match-ups below…
Class 6A – Even without Lynn Greer III, Roman Catholic hasn’t missed a beat as they cruised to their second straight state tournament victory by at least 15 points in defeating Lower Merion, 74-55 on Wednesday at Cardinal O’Hara High School.
Greer was ruled ineligible for postseason play by the PIAA after transferring back to the intersection of Broad & Vine in November. Luckily, freshman Justice Williams has filled the void left by Greer as he tallied 11 of his 13 points in the first half. His second three-pointer gave the Cahillites a 25-13 lead at the 5:26 mark of the second quarter.
Williams has stepped into the point guard spot and kept Roman Catholic’s defensive intensity where it has been accustomed to for much of the season.
“Coach Griffin just told me to be aggressive, go out there and lead the team as the point guard,” Williams said.“That’s how we play. Our defense turns into offense. We got out on the break and score. That’s how we get most of our points.”
It’s been a luxury for head coach Matt Griffin to have a young, talented player step into that starting role like Williams, who has started his fair share of games this year, and he couldn’t be happier with how he’s handled himself.
“I’ve been very pleased with his progress over the course of the year,” Griffin said. “He’s played varsity minutes since his first game and he’s gotten a ton of experience. It never seems like he’s rattled.”
Seth Lundy (Penn State) led the way with 22 points, six rebounds and three blocks while 6-9 freshman forward Jalen Duren had 18 points, five boards and five rejections. Louie Wild had 11 points including three triples. Roman Catholic led by 20 points at halftime and by as many as 24 in the third quarter.
Up Next: The Cahillites will face off with La Salle in the state quarterfinals, a rematch of the Philadelphia Catholic League championship game, which Roman won, 64-50 for their second straight title.
Class 6A – Wednesday night La Salle College High School (24-3 overall, 12-4) took on William Allen (18-9 overall, District 11 champions) at the Reading Geigle Complex. The Explorers dominated against William Allen, winning 70-53. La Salle led by at least seven points the entire game after the opening few minutes.
Senior Allen Powell led the way in scoring with 22 points, hitting double digits in the first quarter. Fellow senior Konrad Kiszka put up 18 points as well.
Up Next: La Salle will face a familiar foe in Roman Catholic (24-4), the 2019 Catholic League champions. The Explorers and Cahillites will take the court on Saturday, March 16 at Archbishop Ryan High School at 2:00 p.m.
Explorer Chat: “Everything was working, shots were falling, people were going to the basket hard,” said Powell. “Fortunately we have a deep team, we were able to play more guys because we had some foul trouble.”
As for playing Roman in the quarterfinals…“You gotta believe. We gotta play well. We gotta come up with a good game plan. We gotta go at them a little bit. Hopefully our guys believe that if we play the right way and share the ball and execute and try to stop it every time, we’ll have a shot to win the game,” said La Salle head coach Mike McKee.
La Salle vs. William Allen Photos by Alec Kostival
Class 5A – Archbishop Wood (18-6; 12-1) walloped Penncrest (23-8; 1-3), 61-38, behind sophomores Rahsool Diggins (17 points), Daeshon Shepherd (17), Jaylen Stinson (9), and Muneer Newton(8).
Up Next: Pottsville (25-3; 11-1), March 16, at Reading’s Geigle Complex, 8:00.
Viking Chat: “It was a good team win. We all played hard from beginning to end and got the job done. For our next game, we have to bring the same intensity.” – Julius Phillips
Class 4A – It took two of its senior leaders awhile to get going but after halftime Bonner-Prendergast never looked back on its way to a 70-52 win over Nanticoke in the second round.
Miami (Fl.) commit Isaiah Wong was held scoreless in the first half and only attempted three shots while 6-8 forward Tariq Ingraham also did not record a point in the first 16 minutes. Wong tallied 11 points after the intermission to go along with nine rebounds and Ingraham had 10 points, nine boards and three blocks for the Friars, who outscored the Trojans, 45-19 over the final two quarters.
Ingraham noted that the Friars began to play with more urgency after taking things over at the break.
“We really wanted to keep this season going,” Ingraham said. “I know this is my last year and I really don’t want to leave so we have to keep our heads in it in order to keep it going.”
Bonner-Prendergast put together a very lackadaisical first half, trailing by as many as eight points behind Nate Kreitzer, who had 22 of his 29 points in the first two quarters. Donovan Rodriguez carried Bonner-Prendergast (20-5) in the opening half with 10 of his 16 points and Malik Edwards added 11 points including three shots from behind the arc.
Up Next: The Friars return to the state quarterfinals and they’ll face a familiar foe in PCL rival, Archbishop Carroll. Bonner-Prendergast won the regular-season matchup, 61-44 on January 18.
Friar Chat: “This is a battle-tested team. Even if we hadn’t made it to the state playoffs last year, the Catholic League is such a grind and every game was a big game. That was another thing to remind that the guys that we had been here before,” said head coach Kevin Funston.
Class 4A –Tuesday night Archbishop Carroll (16-10 overall, 12-3) took on the District 3 runner-up Lancaster Catholic (17-10) at the Reading Geigle Complex. Carroll never trailed in the game, beating Lancaster Catholic 74-62. Junior Tairi “Huss” Ketner kept tough in the paint, putting up 22 points in the process. Fellow junior Ny’Mire Little added 18 points of his own.
Up Next: Carroll will face Bonner-Prendergast (20-5) in the state quarterfinals on Friday, March 15 at 7PM at Cardinal O'Hara High School.
Patriot Chat: “We got a couple more runs than they did and I credit to how hard these kids work in the weight room and their conditioning,” said Carroll head coach Francis Bowe Jr.
“I just tried to dominate as much as I could in every possible way,” said “Huss” Ketner. As for playing Bonner in the quarterfinals… “This time, we’ll be ready to play [against Bonner],” said “Huss” Ketner.
Carroll vs. Lancaster Catholic Photos by Alec Kostival
Class 3A – Bishop McDevitt (20-7, 12-3) had no problem with Loyalsock Township (27-2; 4-1). Junior Robert Smith (22 points), junior Jamil Manigo (17), and senior Seneca Willoughby (10) reached double figures to employ a 73-47 win that sets up a classic quarterfinal against a very well known Catholic League opponent.
Up Next: Neumann-Goretti (21-7; 12-1), March 16, at Cardinal O’Hara, 2:30.
Lancer Chat: “Well, we will be playing Neumann-Goretti for the third time this year. We both split a game, but we know what we need to do to win – play hard play defense, be patient on offense, and just be efficient and play smart. It’s nice that we don’t have to travel far, and since we played them twice already, we know their strengths and weaknesses.” – Robert Smith
Class 3A – Five-time defending champion Neumann-Goretti (21-7; 12-1) survived a major scare in its 61-59 victory over Wyoming Seminary (26-3; 2-1), which gave coach Carl Arrigale his 500th career victory. Trailing by nine entering the fourth quarter, the Saints finished on a 21-10 run punctuated by a huge defensive block by senior Cameron Young (8 points) that set up senior Chris Ings’ game-winning bucket with 2.1 seconds remaining in regulation. Ings finished with 23 points. Teammate junior Hakim Byrd added 11.
Up Next: Catholic League foe Bishop McDevitt (20-7, 12-3), March 16, at Cardinal O’Hara, 2:30.
Saint Chat: “The comeback win was major for us as my partner Chris Ings hit the game winning shot. We know all about McDevitt, as we faced them two times this season already. We need to be tougher and more poised than them to win this game.” – Hakim Byrd
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