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PIAA: Jalil Bethea, Archbishop Wood survive Methacton in 6A; Devon Prep wins 3A opener

03/09/2024, 9:30pm EST
By Josh Verlin

Josh Verlin (@jmverlin)

SPRINGFIELD — Jalil Bethea didn’t expect he’d need to provide fourth-quarter heroics in Archbishop Wood boys basketball’s state opener against Methacton. 

When called upon, the Vikings’ superstar provided them anyways. 

The Miami (Fl.)-bound guard stepped up with one big play after another down the stretch as Wood held off a Methacton squad which led through 27 minutes, advancing to the second round of the PIAA Class 6A tournament with an 81-73 win Saturday afternoon at Cardinal O’Hara.

Bethea scored 12 of his game-high 31 points in the final stretch, turning what was nearly a shocking early exit for the Philadelphia Catholic League squad into a learning lesson if it wants to win its first state championship since 2017. 

“We were down and losing to a team we weren’t supposed to be losing to, so I felt like I had to just take over the game,” Bethea said. “I feel like the whole game I had to let the game come to me, and the fourth quarter, that’s what I did.”

Archbishop Wood's Jalil Bethea had a game-high 31 points against Methacton in Saturday's PIAA Class 6A first-round win. (Photo: Josh Verlin/CoBL)

Trailing by two, Bethea got his closing run started when he got free in the corner in front of his bench, knocking down a 3-pointer as he got fouled. The free throw put the Vikings up 68-66 with 4:20 to play. He followed that up with another and-one, then dished his fourth dime of the afternoon to Deuce Maxey (10 points) for a layup that put Wood (17-8) up 74-68 with 2:50 remaining. 

Bethea added another three-point play on a put-back with 49 seconds left, a critical bucket that put Wood up 77-73. And he sealed the game with a steal-and-dunk with nine seconds left for the final margin. 

“He’s where he’s rated and ranked for a reason,” Mosco said of the five-star prospect and No. 6 player in ESPN’s 2024 rankings, “and he just took us home.”

Bethea and fellow Division I commit Josh Reed (24 points, 12 rebounds) did much of the heavy lifting for Wood, which got upset by Father Judge in the Catholic League quarterfinals on Feb. 16 and had only played one game since, against Northeast in a state play-in game Feb. 27.

Methacton (19-9) was in it the whole way thanks to a tremendous team effort, with six different players contributing seven or more points. No doubt the standout was sophomore Christian Matos, who nearly matched Bethea with 28 points of his own, the lanky left-hander knocking down five 3-pointers. 

Methacton's Christian Matos had a team-high 28 points Saturday against Archbishop Wood. (Photo: Josh Verlin/CoBL)

Matos got the Warriors started with 12 first-quarter points, but he was also clutch down the stretch, including a deep pull-up 3-pointer with less than two minutes left. Sal Iemmello followed that up with a steal to get Methacton within a point before Bethea’s final three-point play. 

“He’s been our leading scorer all season for a reason,” Methacton coach Patrick Lockard said. “He’s always dangerous with a basketball in his hands. For him to be able to stand up and help us compete in this game today, that was a heck of an effort from a sophomore.”

Iemmello, a junior point guard, added 13 points, four rebounds and four assists. Alex Hermann added 10 points and four rebounds, while seniors Manny Rodriguez (eight points, two steals) and Anthony Daddazio (seven points, three rebounds) and sophomores Wes Robinson (seven points) and Mason Conrad (five rebounds, five assists) all made a mark. 

The Warriors shot better than 50% from the floor against Wood, turned it over fewer than 10 times and grabbed eight offensive rebounds. The only weakness was from the foul line, where they shot 13 of 25; the Vikings were 19 of 22.

“I know the guys in our locker room are hurting right now, there’s a lot of tears in the locker room with the effort they put in,” Lockard said. “Once they allow a few days, maybe a couple weeks, I think they’ll understand the effort they put in against a caliber of team like that is something to be proud of.”

Archbishop Wood, which is District 12’s No. 3 seed in the tournament, advances to face District 1 champion Lower Merion in the second round Wednesday at a site and time to be announced. It’s a rematch of the 2021 state semifinals, which Wood won 72-68 before losing to Reading in the championship.

Though Wood’s main goal this season was a Catholic League championship, the Vikings know that a state championship is not a given. As good as Mosco’s program has been over the last decade, it’s only got one successful trip to Hershey, led by Collin Gillespie back in 2017.

If this run in states isn’t successful, Bethea and Reed graduate without adding a trophy to the Wood case. 

“We’ve been (to Hershey) a lot, as the program, since I took over, but we only won once,” Mosco said. “And that’s what I told them the other day at practice. Collin is one-up on everybody because he won both. Rahsool [Diggins] only won the Catholic League. Jalil, you’re zero. Josh, you’re zero.”

“Going into the state run, that’s the highest goal right now,” Bethea said. “So I’m going to do everything that it takes to win.”

By Quarter

AW:   19  |  22  |  19  |  21  ||  81

MHS: 21  |  14  |  24  |  14  ||  73 


AW: 29-57 FG (4-14 3PT), 19-22 FT

MHS: 27-51 FG (6-18 3PT), 13-25 FT


AW: Jalil Bethea 31, Josh Reed 24, Deuce Maxey 10, Milan Dean 7, Tahir Howell 6, Mike Green 3

MHS: Christian Matos 28, Sal Iemmello 13, Alex Hermann 10, Manny Rodriguez 8, Anthony Daddazio 7, Wes Robinson 7


PIAA 6A Boys (local games)

First Round (Sat., March 9)
12-3 Archbishop Wood 81, 1-5 Methacton 73
1-1 Lower Merion 85, 3-6 Cedar Crest 55
1-3 West Chester Henderson 80, 2-2 Hazleton Area 73
3-4 Reading 65, 1-4 Chester 63
3-5 Central York 69, 1-2 Garnet Valley 60
12-1 Roman Catholic 63, 1-11 Downingtown West 37
1-6 Coatesville 57, 11-2 Liberty 46 (2OT)
1-8 Springfield (Delco) 59, 12-2 Lincoln 43
11-1 Parkland 65, 1-10 Plymouth Whitemarsh 35
3-1 Cumberland Valley 84, 1-12 Bensalem 59
1-9 Spring-Ford 55, 2-1 Scranton 52
3-2 Chambersburg 72, 1-7 Central Bucks East 41

Second Round (Wed., March 13)
1-1 Lower Merion vs. 12-3 Archbishop Wood
1-8 Springfield (Delco) vs. 1-9 Spring-Ford
1-3 West Chester Henderson vs. 12-1 Roman Catholic
3-1 Cumberland Valley vs. 1-6 Coatesville

Ayinde McClendon had 11 points in Devon Prep's PIAA Class 3A first-round win over Delone Catholic. (Photo: Josh Verlin/CoBL)

Class 3A boys: Devon Prep rolls into second round with big win

After an early season hip injury, Ayinde McClendon wasn’t sure how much he’d get to contribute in his first season with the Devon Prep boys basketball varsity squad. He had to wait until the postseason to make his biggest mark, but he’s making up for lost time. 

The junior guard had the best game of his varsity career thus far, contributing 11 points and a whole handful of other stats as the Tide flooded Delone Catholic 73-32 in a PIAA Class 3A first-round matchup. 

Coming off the bench, McClendon hit two 3-pointers as part of a Devon Prep onslaught that overwhelmed its District 3 opponent within the first few minutes and didn’t let up until the fourth quarter. The 6-foot-2 guard chipped in five rebounds, four steals and three assists as Devon Prep racked up 16 assists (on 26 buckets) and 11 steals.

“I’m not going to lie, it felt very good,” he said. “When I first got injured, I never imagined coming back and playing so much, contributing as much as I did today, but it felt good.”

McClendon was available for Devon Prep’s first two games of the season out in Pittsburgh, but an injury to the growth plate in his hip sidelined until Feb. 2. 

With juniors Calvin Smith and Mason Thear ineligible for states due to their transferring in this past offseason, head coach Jason Fisher is down a couple starters. He’s moved senior guard Zachary Orchard and freshman wing Cooper Fairlamb into the starting lineup, while reserves McClendon, Ben Costello, Mike Pergolis and Greg Perullo all got big minutes.

“It’s awesome for next year,” Fisher said. “We have a lot of guys who are young who are getting experience playing in the state tournament, district championship. It’s invaluable to be able to do this.”

The 2025 class is a big one for Fisher, whose juniors are no doubt the strongest part of his roster. Shane Doyle led Devon Prep with 19 points, adding five rebounds, five assists and three steals against Delone Catholic. Reece Craft added 14 points and nine rebounds, and Zane Conlon chipped in 11 points. All will return next year, along with Smith and Thear, plus McClendon, Pergolis and Fairlamb. 

“It gets me very excited, we’re going to have a nice team,” McClendon said. “We’re going to be able to compete in the Catholic League tournament, too, because we’re going to be a very experienced team.”

By Quarter

DP:  27  |  22  |  11  |  13  ||  73

DC: 10  |   6   |   5   |  11  ||  32


DP: 26-64 FG (7-22 3PT), 14-20 FT

DC: 11-38 FG (2-15 3PT), 8-11 FT


DP: Shane Doyle 19, Reece Craft 14, Zane Conlon 11, Ayinde McClendon 11, Greg Perullo 6, Ben Costello 5, Brian Kamara 5, Cooper Fairlamb 2

DC: Liam O’Brien 9, Braden Smith 6, Camdyn Kellet 5, Gage Zimmerman 4, Matthew Grenchik 3, Logan Sabaka 2, Brayden Clabaugh 1


PIAA 3A Boys (local games)

First Round (Sat., March 9)
12-1 Devon Prep 73, 3-3 Delone Catholic 32
12-2 Math, Civics & Sciences 67, 11-3 Saucon Valley 47
2-1 Riverside 75, 12-4 SLA-Beeber 51
3-1 Columbia 64, 12-6 Mastery North 46
11-1 Executive Education 76, 12-5 String Theory 42
11-2 Notre Dame-Green Pond 44, 12-3 West Catholic 39

Second Round (Wed., March 13)
12-1 Devon Prep vs. 2-1 Riverside
12-2 Math, Civics & Sciences vs. 3-1 Columbia

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