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BOYS BASKETBALL: Devon Prep Still Basking in Glory of Winning State Championship

By John Knebels, 04/04/24, 9:30AM EDT



(Photo by Jahmir Dunbar for PSD)

By John Knebels

(Photos by Jahmir Dunbar)

HERSHEY – When you win a state championship, time seems to stay still. The final seconds . . . the loud horn . . . the roar of the delirious crowd . . . the embraces on the court . . . the trophy presentation . . . the reception of medals.

Eventually, of course, life goes on. Celebratory din is replaced by mundane responsibilities. Schoolwork and household chores return to their rightful – albeit annoying – place in line.

Back on March 23 at the Giant Center, Devon Prep’s basketball team kicked aside the underdog label and secured the PIAA Class 3A state championship. The Tide’s final victory among a 32-team field, a tense 60-56 victory over Franklin Area in which four players reached double figures, placed a bold exclamation point on a superb five-game winning streak during the two-week tournament against opponents that collectively carried a record of 109-28 into their meetings with a Tide squad that, toughened by the Philadelphia Catholic League, entered with an extremely misleading 10-13 mark.

Devon Prep Wins PIAA 2024 State Title. (video highlights by John Knebels for PSD)

Although a little less than two weeks have passed since the Tide celebrated on the court and inside their prescribed locker room, the memory of the program’s second title in three seasons under head coach Jason Fisher still feels fresh.

“The last couple of days for me was kind of just trying to recover from the season,” said junior Zane Conlon, who tallied a team-high 20 points to go along with eight rebounds. “But I felt the accomplishment after the championship. I was also kind of sad because I won’t ever be able to get to play with that group of guys again. 

“I was on (the 2022 title team) as a freshman and I remember the brotherhood we all had with one another. It was pretty similar to this year. I think I was less sad as a freshman because I knew I still had three years left, but now with only one left, it really hit me.”

Zane Conlon's 20 points & 8 rebounds helped Devon Prep win State Title. (Video/ John Knebels for PSD)

Senior Zach Orchard scored all of his 11 points in the second half. (video/ John Knebels for PSD)

After scoring 11 points, grabbing three boards, and stealing two passes, Senior Zach Orchard spoke similarly about the immediate impact of this year.

“After winning the state championship, the next few days were absolutely incredible,” said Orchard. “With school off, I had the chance to rest and let everything sink in. I was away with my friend, and my dad texted me to check in and told me he was still smiling from that game.

“All the hard work, the early mornings, the late nights . . . it all paid off. It’s an amazing feeling to know that I played a role in bringing the state championship home and will be in the banners forever.”

Like Conlon, Orchard maintains a vivid recall from his first title two years ago, proving that the euphoria of seizing a state crown encompasses quite the shelf life.

“It was like something out of a movie,” said Orchard. “The whole state run was insane and the quarterfinals versus West Catholic and semis versus Holy Redeemer were unforgettable. Two of the best games I’ve ever watched.

“One moment that stuck with me from that year was when everyone was taking pictures with the trophy after we won. They asked if I wanted to take one, but I declined because I didn't feel deserving, as I wasn't on varsity and hadn't contributed to that championship. However, seeing that inspired me and made me give everything I could these past two years to get one that I could be proud of. I specifically envisioned the moment when the buzzer would sound and we would celebrate, get our medals, and hold the trophy. To go out there and actually do it . . . it’s still surreal to me."

While junior Reece Craft talked about Devon Prep’s disciplined possession-by-possession mindset – supported by his monstrous 11-point, 14-rebound, 3-block, 3-assist performance – classmate Shane Doyle pointed to using previous disappointment as a motivator.

“Falling short from our goals last year definitely fueled us coming into this tournament,” said Doyle. “Taking it one game at a time was very important for us to go far in this year’s state playoffs. There were definitely some nerves in the first couple minutes of the championship game, but we settled down a lot in the second half. Having four players in doubles digits makes us very hard to guard defensively; with multiple threats on the floor, it can really make it challenging.”

Devon Prep head coach Jason Fisher and Asst. Coach Kevin Carroll -(former high school Classmates) summarize 2nd STATE TITLE IN 3 SEASONS. (VIDEO/ JOHN KNEBELS)

With basketball temporarily on the mantle, Doyle has turned his attention to lacrosse.

“In my seasons playing basketball for Devon, I have learned what it takes to be successful and that applies to lacrosse and any other sport,” said Doyle. “Mental toughness is an important component, but a main thing I have learned through basketball are our four core values: hard work, accountability, gratefulness, and toughness. With these characteristics being a big part of our basketball program, it carries with me to lacrosse and other areas in my life.”

(Contact John Knebels at or on ‘X’ @johnknebels.)