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PIAA Class 5A: Brown returns to help Mastery North past Shanahan

03/09/2022, 1:45am EST
By Jerome Taylor

Jerome Taylor (@ThatGuy_Rome)

DOWNINGTOWN — It was a month ago, in a game against South Philadelphia HS, that Mastery North senior Thomas Brown caught some friendly fire.

“I ran into [classmate Cole Beasley], his elbow hit the side of my face,” Brown said of the injury. “I came down and hit my head on the floor… and I woke up in an ambulance; that’s all I can remember.”

Thomas Brown (L) and Paris Boyette after Mastery North beat Bishop Shanahan in the opening round of the PIAA Class 5A tournament. (Photo: Jerome Taylor/CoBL)

Brown required 16 stitches over his left eye and four in the left corner of his lip, taking him off the court for a considerable period of time. But he wasn’t going to miss the state playoffs, with his Pumas traveling to Bishop Shanahan for a PIAA Class 5A first-round game Tuesday night.

“I was actually nervous to put him in, I’m not going to lie,” Mastery North coach Terrence ‘Nip’ Cook said. “But after speaking with [his] mom before the game and him coming with his doctor’s note, he drilled it into me and made me believe he was ready.”

It’s a good thing Cook listened to his senior, who came up with the most crucial of points in Mastery North’s 51-48 road win at Bishop Shanahan.

In the final minute of Tuesday night’s game, Brown sealed the victory for the Pumas. 

After Bishop Shanahan’s Zane Domsohn brought the game within one point with 1:57 remaining, Brown drilled a three with 58 seconds remaining to extend the Pumas’ lead to 49-45 — and more importantly, it forced Shanahan out of their zone. 

“The three was big because it meant they had to start chasing us a little bit more,” Cook said. “We play better when we’re being chased… once we get a team to open up and go man, we know things can go in our favor if we do the right things.” 

However, the Pumas still had to contend with Domsohn on the other end, who hit his final three with 10.7 seconds remaining to make it a one-point game. 

But on the next possession, Brown drew a foul and calmly knocked down two free throws to make it a three-point game with 9.2 seconds remaining. 

“Believe it or not, I’m telling myself ‘swish, swish’ [at the foul line],” Brown said. “I’m picturing the ball going in every time. That’s what I'm thinking during those shots.”

“He’s a clutch player, no matter what,” senior Paris Boyette, who’s played with Brown since seventh grade, said. “Ever since I’ve known him, he’s always been there for us.”

In the end, Brown’s free throws would be enough to push Mastery North (14-5) into the second round of the state tournament after Domsohn missed two game-tying shots. The Pumas thought they were out of the tournament last week after losing to Bonner-Prendergast in a District 12 play-in game, but the Friars had to forfeit after it turned out they were using an ineligible player, giving Mastery North another chance.

It’s just another turn in the page for a team that didn’t play from Dec. 16 until Jan. 24 due to COVID, and had only played two games — losing both — between a Feb. 15 win over Southern and Tuesday’s state playoff game.

“This is pretty big for these guys. They never made it to states,” Cook said. “This game right here, the seniors weren't letting it go.” 

After defeating Pottsville, Marple Newtown (17-10) will be the Pumas' next matchup in the second round of the state tournament. 

Down three, with nine seconds to go, Domsohn sprinted up the court, got to his spot, used a ball fake to discard the defenders and fired a three. The shot bounced off the back rim, but luckily after a battle for the rebound, the ball went out of bounds off a Mastery North player. 

Bishop Shanahan (14-13), the No. 3 seed out of District 1 got another chance. And Eagles head coach John Dougherty drew up a play to get his senior another opportunity to send the game to overtime.

After shaking his defender, Domsohn — the future Bucknell soccer player who led Shanahan with 18 points in his final basketball game — caught the inbound pass, took one dribble further into the left corner to get a cleaner look than his first attempt; he fired up a shot, but this one nicked the near side rim – off. 

“I thought he was going to make it, and we were going to go to overtime,” Boyette said.

Boyette finished with 12 points, and his play throughout the game played a considerable role in the Pumas’ win. The senior found holes in Bishop Shanahan’s 2-3 zone, specifically in the middle of the paint, where he relied on his floater and mid-range jumper. 

“We saw that they ball-watched a lot… so every time we drove the middle was wide open, and they kicked it to me - floater. My floater is my favorite thing to do,” Boyette said.

The players responsible for getting the ball into Boyette throughout most of the game were fellow seniors Brown and Tracey Knight

But both guards’ scoring in the fourth quarter is what carried Cook’s team to the victory. 

After an 11-2 fourth quarter Shanahan run erased an eight-point Puma lead, it was Knight who took matters into his own hands to put his squad back on top.

The guard drove through a series of Eagles’ defenders and finished through contact at the rim, earning a three-point opportunity, he converted, and the Pumas went up 43-41 with 5:10 remaining. 

And thanks to Brown, the Pumas would never trail again.

By Quarter
Mastery North:  12  |   8   |  18  |  13  ||  51
Shanahan:        11  |  11  |   8   |  18  ||  48

Mastery North: Knight 12, Boyette 12, Williams 10, Brown 8, Robinson 5, Cain 2, Beasley 2

Bishop Shanahan: Domsohn 18, Rodner-Tims 10, O’Laughlin 6, Federico 4, Kapczynski 4, Scaggs 2, Jordan 2, Diaddezio 2

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Tag(s): Home  Boys HS  Ches-Mont National (B)  Bishop Shanahan  Public League (B)  Public League A (B)  Mastery North  High School