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PIAA 1A: Swider, Bratten power Phil-Mont into quarterfinals

03/14/2023, 11:45pm EDT
By Joseph Santoliquito

Joseph Santoliquito (@JSantoliquito)

COATESVILLE — Jack Swider watched like everyone else on the bench last February as Phil-Mont Christian’s season went to dust in an opening-round PIAA District 1 playoff loss to Faith Christian. It was not Swider’s choice to watch. It was more he was forced to, because the 6-foot-5 forward was recovering from a concussion.

A transfer from Archbishop Carroll, Swider never played in a postseason—until this season. Perhaps it may explain why the senior is playing with such gusto this March.

Jack Swider (L) and Kendall Bratten combined for 45 points in Phil-Mont's second-round win. (Photo: Joseph Santoliquito/CoBL)

Swider dropped in a game-high 28 points, supported by 6-5 sophomore Kendall Bratten’s 17 in leading Phil-Mont to the PIAA state Class 1A quarterfinals for the fourth time in the last seven years with a convincing 57-46 victory over Mount Calvary Christian, the No. 5 from District 3, on Tuesday night at Coatesville High School.

Phil-Mont (20-9), the No. 2 seed from District 1, will now play Berlin Brothersvalley (24-2), the District 5 champs, on Friday at a venue and time to be determined.

“This is my first postseason and I want to go far, because it is the only one I have,” said Swider, who is committed to Division III Washington College in Chestertown, Maryland. “I had to watch last year because I had a concussion and my first two years I was on junior varsity at Carroll. It was frustrating (last year) watching.

“I’m glad to be here with my teammates and I want to win a state championship.”

Against Mount Calvary Christian, Swider said the Falcons main objective was to keep moving the ball and that they are a team that enjoys rebounding. The Falcons are also a team that’s come together at the right and most important time of the season.

“I remember walking off the court last year and it hurt a bunch of us,” said Bratten, a sweet shooting, athletic lefty wing. “We shared the ball and we git a lot of good passes from Jameer (Zachary) and Ewan (Chi). Earlier this year, we were struggling with chemistry, not sharing the ball as much. We have come around.”

And at the right time.

Chi nailed four free throws in the fourth quarter to clinch a game that Phil-Mont controlled from start to finish. Though Calvary Christian, led by quicksilver guard Avery Kopcha, who dropped in 19, would not go away easily.

The Falcons would build a lead, and minutes later, Calvary Christian would shrink it to within 10.

“We had a really good start in the season, and there was a little lull there, and we’ve gotten that back,” Phil-Mont coach Glenn Dolton said. “I knew going into the season the key word was being able to trust each other, and our game against Greenwood (in the first round of the state playoffs, a 46-45 Phil-Mont victory) typified that.

“Jack scores a ton of points, but he came off a high ball screen and fed Peter Haviland, who hit a three with 20 seconds left to win the game. We had 17 assists tonight and it’s how we got the lead. We’re going to continue to play well as long as we trust each other. We’re doing it on defense and now we’re doing it on offense.”    

It got a little close there in the last two minutes, when Calvary Christian pulled to within 51-44, but three turnovers, two created by Bratten, on four trips gave the Falcons some breathing room.

Chi then knocked down four of six free throws to get Phil-Mont into the Elite Eight for the first time since 2018.

“I’m excited to be here,” Swider said.

It is a lot better than watching.

By Quarter
Mount Calvary Christian 12  |   9   |   8   |  17  ||  46
Phil-Mont Christian:        20  |   9   |  13  |  15  ||  57

Calvary Christian: Avery Kopcha 19, Brett Taylor 13, Trey Robinson 11, Reagan Mummau 2, Talan Uselton 1.

Phil-Mont Christian: Jack Swider 28, Kendall Bratten 17, Jameer Zachary 6, Ewan Chi 4, Julian Ray 2.

Joseph Santoliquito is an award-winning sportswriter based in the Philadelphia area who began writing for CoBL in 2021 and is the president of the Boxing Writers Association of America. He can be followed on Twitter here.


Girls 6A
(3-1) Cedar Cliff 39, (1-6) Upper Dublin 26
(7-2) Upper St. Clair 42, (1-4) Pennsbury 31
(1-9) Abington 40, (1-8) Springfield-Delco 35
(12-1) Cardinal O’Hara 42, (1-3) Spring-Ford 39
(12-3) Archbishop Carroll 41, (1-1) Perkiomen Valley 38 (OT)

Boys 5A
(1-1) Radnor 75, (12-3) West Philadelphia 61
(12-2) Archbishop Ryan 59, (1-5) West Chester East 46
(12-1) Imhotep Charter 68, (3-5) Muhlenberg 32

Boys 4A
(3-5) Eastern York 75, (12-2) Overbrook 54
(11-1) Allentown Central Catholic 49, (12-3) Cardinal O’Hara 46
(12-1) Neumann-Goretti 74, (11-2) Bethlehem Catholic 49

Girls 3A
(4-1) Mt. Carmel Area 48, (12-2) West Catholic 38
(3-1) Lancaster Catholic 64, (1-1) New Hope-Solebury 54

Girls 2A
(1-1) Faith Christian 35, (4-1) South Williamsport 28
(1-2) Sacred Heart Acad. 42, (4-2) Line Mountain 40

Boys 1A
(1-1) Chester Charter 56, (4-2) Northumberland Christian 38
(3-1) Linville Hill 50, (12-1) City School 42
(1-2) Phil-Mont Christian 57, (3-5) Mount Calvary Christian 46

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