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PIAA Second-Round Preview: Class A/4A/5A

03/12/2018, 6:00pm EDT
By Michael Bullock & Tyler Sandora

CoBL Staff (@hooplove215)

The second round of the PIAA high school boys’ basketball tournament starts on Tuesday night, with the 16 teams remaining 1A, 4A and 5A classifications playing for the right to get into Friday’s quarterfinals.

Below are links to the full brackets, as well as previews of some of the more notable games around the state:

Class A Bracket
Class 4A Bracket
Class 5A Bracket

Tyler Norwood (above) and Penncrest face Albany commit Antonio Rizzuto and Northeastern in the second round. (Photo: Josh Verlin/CoBL)

Penncrest (1-1, 26-3) vs. Northeastern (3-3, 27-3) at Garden Spot HS, 7:30
Denied a berth in last season’s second round by District 3 No. 10 seed Hershey, two-time District 1 champ Penncrest didn’t allow that to happen this time around as Mike Doyle’s Lions churned out a 49-36 victory over Shippensburg. All-time leading scorer Tyler Norwood added to his impressive total by collecting 20 points for the Central League entry. What enabled Doyle’s Lions to gradually add to their lead over the course of their 32-minute effort was nine points apiece from 6-2 senior Chris Mills and 6-3 junior Malcolm Williams. Northeastern also found itself in a grinder with District 1 rep Sun Valley, but wound up logging a 69-60 victory that propelled the Bobcats into the Round of 16. Explosive 5-9 lead guard Fred Mulbah was troubled by first-half foul difficulties, but finished with a team-high 17 points. Albany-bound 6-3 wing Antonio Rizzuto chimed in with 16 points — despite playing with a fractured tailbone — while gritty 6-2 senior Nate Eyster added 15 more. Eyster was 9-for-10 from the free-throw line.

Abington Heights (2-1, 23-3) vs. Chester (1-4, 19-8) at Bethlehem Liberty HS, 8
While these highly successful programs collided in last year’s state quarterfinals at the same locale — Abington Heights utilized just five guys in a 65-60 victory that needed two overtimes to settle — Ken Bianchi’s District 2 champs are heading into Tuesday’s scrap after using a productive third quarter to pull away to a 75-46 triumph over Garden Spot. Jackson Danzig, George Tinsley, Jack Nealon and Corey Perkins combined for 59 points as the Comets booked their seventh straight victory. Tinsley, a 6-5 junior, also stuffed 13 rebounds and nine assists into his crowded stat line. As for Chester, 6-4 soph Karell Watkins hopped off the bench and popped a double-double (20 points/10 rebounds) as Keith Taylor’s Clippers pounded out a 61-47 victory over Martin Luther King. Eight of Watkins’ points arrived in the second quarter, as Chester opened a 23-19 halftime lead. Brian Watkins III chipped in 14 points and Rahmaad DeJarnette added nine as first-year skipper Taylor logged his first state playoff win.

York (3-2, 17-10) vs. Bonner-Prendergast (12-1, 23-4) at Reading HS, 7:30
Finding itself in a game-long scrap with Holy Ghost Prep, York High was able to fend off the feisty Firebirds 63-59 behind 28 points from sizzling 6-2 senior Kyree Generett (20.5 ppg). Generett is averaging 24.6 points per contest in five postseason outings for a York squad that finished second in the District 3 playoffs. Burly 6-3 Marquise McClean (13.0) and 6-4 Clovis Gallon Jr. (10.6) shared an additional 20 points against Holy Ghost, while 5-10 soph Cameron Gallon buried a pair of timely third-quarter treys as Clovis Gallon’s Bearcats landed a date with a taller Bonner-Prendergast bunch that closed the regular season as the top-ranked Class 5A side in Pennsylvania. Junior 6-3 wunderkind Isaiah Wong rang up 22 points in the Friars’ 56-45 conquest of a stubborn New Oxford side, while 6-8 Rider recruit Ajiri Johnson chipped in 10 points and 6-9 junior Tariq Ingraham finished with nine. Jack Concannon’s Friars have won 10 of their last 11, losing only in the Philly Catholic League final. York split its regular-season set with New Oxford, then bested the host Colonials in the opening round of the District 3 playoffs.

Milton Hershey (3-1, 24-5) vs. Bishop Shanahan (1-2, 23-5) at Reading HS, 6
Although electrically charged 5-9 senior Don’yae Baylor-Carroll poured in 35 points — including 21 from beyond the arc on 7-for-12 shooting — he and his Milton Hershey teammates are hardly satisfied after wheeling past West Chester Rustin 75-52 for this group’s first state victory. Soph Josh Parra hopped off the bench and pitched in with 14 points and seven boards for Mark Zerbe’s Spartans, while senior Pedro Rodriguez added 10 points, six boards and four assists for a Milton Hershey group that led by just four (34-30) early in the third quarter yet was able to separate behind 62 percent shooting from the field after the break. Junior guard Jaiden Young added eight second-half points and senior Treyvon Ferguson tacked on six points, eight rebounds and six assists for the District 3 champs, who want to play at an unbelievably fast pace against their second straight Ches-Mont League opponent. Shanahan raced past Hershey 76-38 — Milton Hershey owns two victories over its crosstown rivals — for its first state playoff victory since 1985. Gannon-bound 6-6 forward Kevin Dodds reached the 1,000-point plateau on the nose by netting 21 points. Tom Ford added 14 points and Phil Chenard chipped in 11 as Ken Doyle’s Eagles shot 66 percent from the floor.

A.J. Hoggard (above) and Archbishop Carroll made it to the quarterfinals a year ago. (Photo: Josh Verlin/CoBL)

Archbishop Carroll (12-3, 19-7) vs. Lampeter-Strasburg (3-6, 26-4) at Gov. Mifflin IS, 7:30
Back in the chase for state playoff gold for the 10th time in 10 seasons, Paul Romanczuk’s Carroll Patriots slipped through the opening round by turning aside a determined Wissahickon bunch 66-59. Luke House netted all 20 of his points after the break for Carroll — the 6-4 junior was troubled by foul difficulties in the first half — which led by just two (26-24) at halftime. Dandy 6-2 soph lead guard A.J. Hoggard added 16 points for the perennially powerful Patriots, one more than 6-2 senior Justin Anderson. Eager to respond following a difficult run in the District 3 playoffs — Ed Berryman’s Pioneers finished sixth — L-S pulled off a minor surprise in Friday’s opening round by upending District 11 runner-up Bangor 54-42 in Easton. East Stroudsburg recruit Ryan Smith, a 6-10 senior who can punish opponents in the blocks and from the arc, scored 26 points as the Pioneers rallied for the victory after opening the fourth quarter in a slight 34-33 deficit. Smith, in fact, was a perfect 10-for-10 at the foul line. Lancaster Bible College recruit Isaac Beers added 13 points, including nine from beyond the arc, for the Lancaster-Lebanon League champions.

Mars (7-1, 22-4) vs. Trinity (7-3, 21-5) at Moon HS, 7
Open the state tournament by sidelining an adversary you’d just popped in the WPIAL quarterfinals and what’s your reward? How about a date with an opponent you just decked in the WPIAL semis? Hardly a settling situation for Rob Carmody and his Mars coaching staff as they try to devise a schematic for getting the Planets another round deeper in the state playoffs. Although Mars popped Hampton 68-47 in Friday’s opening round behind 25 points from 6-5 Notre Dame recruit Robby Carmody, 16 more from 6-2 senior Cade Hetzler and 13 from 5-10 junior Andrew Recchia — it was the fourth time in four tries that Mars bested Hampton — the Planets will find Trinity in the other locker room Tuesday night. Carmody pocketed 30 points in Mars’ 56-39 victory two weeks ago, but seasons and careers will be on the line this time, not just a state seed number. Senior Joey Koroly, who banked 10 points in the earlier scrap with Mars, netted 23 in Friday night’s opener as Trinity rallied from a 36-32 deficit after three quarters to sideline Erie’s Cathedral Prep 45-42 and set up the rematch. The 6-7 Elker twins, seniors Jeff and Zach, can create matchup advantages for Tim Tessmer’s Hillers.


Imhotep Charter (12-1, 27-2) vs. Scranton Prep (2-1, 21-5) at Bethlehem Liberty HS, 6:30
Imhotep did what it’s done all year against Kennard-Dale on Friday, winning 76-30. Blowing teams out has become a regular occurrence for Andre Noble’s Panthers, but Scranton Prep might give Imhotep its toughest test yet in postseason play. It’s going to take a lot to slow down Imhotep, which boats no less than six Division I prospects, as 6-7 Donta Scott, 6-5 Dahmir Bishop and 6-6 Chereef Knox (6-5) are all part of a loaded junior class that powers the Panthers. While Leo O’Boyle has been splendid all season, matching what Imhotep has up front will be a real test for the Prep junior, 6-5 senior Wes Simons and 6-6 sophomore Rhys Merritt. Those three shared 37 points Friday night — O’Boyle paced the Cavaliers with 17 points — in Prep’s 69-35 thumping of Tamaqua. Andrew Kettel’s squad will need someone from the backcourt to really pitch in, and that someone could be 6-2 junior Brian Boland. Boland added eight points in the Cavs’ opening-round success.

Overbrook (12-3, 14-8) vs. Middletown (3-3, 18-7) at Garden Spot HS, 6
Overbrook has been making history all year long, and continued that on Friday against Lower Moreland, winning 76-51. Junior Khalif Washington led with 21 points off the bench, and Cyrie Coates and Raquon West each chipped in 12. The Panthers are best in transition, when Washington can do his thing in the open court and that often leads to easy buckets. Middletown bested Montoursville 66-57 in the first round, as Ursinus-bound 6-4 senior backcourt standout Ryan Hughes rolled up 33 points and snared 12 rebounds for Chris Sattele’s experienced Blue Raiders. Senior gamer Tre Leach added 19 points for a Middletown side that returned a number of players from a group that last season reached the state quarterfinals before colliding with WPIAL hammer Quaker Valley. And while 6-3 senior Chris Plummer finished with just six points in the Blue Raiders’ state opener, he’s capable of really going off and may need to do just that. Overbrook has been battle tested in the Public League this year, and certainly has the talent to make a deep run. Middletown has tournament savvy socked away, however, and many of these Blue Raiders have played in two state championship football games.

Quaker Valley (7-2, 24-1) vs. Hickory (10-2, 21-5) at Slippery Rock University, 7:30
While that may not have been the path Quaker Valley wanted to travel, Mike Mastroianni’s Quakers are going to need to knock off another District 10 entry if they hope to move deeper in state tournament play. Up just 41-40 after three quarters, QV held Grove City scoreless for nearly seven minutes in the fourth quarter while Ryan Stowers scored nine of his 22 points as the WPIAL runners-up finally emerged with a 54-48 victory. Drexel recruit Coletrane Washington added 12 points as the Quakers moved into their second-round scrap with the District 10 runners-up. Hickory had a much-easier time in its opening-round skirmish, as the Hornets buzzed Belle Vernon 92-52. Brandon Beader, Donald Whitehead and Jaylen Jarvie reached double digits for Hickory, sharing 52 points as Chris Mele’s bunch bolted to a 46-23 halftime lead. Peyton Mele, a 6-2 freshman, added nine points for a Hickory club that split a pair of regular-season outings with Grove City.


Millville (4-2, 22-3) vs. Faith Christian (1-1, 26-2) at Martz Hall, Pottsville, 7:30
First-year head coach Corey Sweeney may not have the biggest roster around, but his Millville Quakers have dealt with taller teams fairly successfully all season and they certainly understand the concept of playing at a comfortable pace. They also opened state play by socking Lincoln Leadership 59-40. So while it might be difficult to speed up the likes of 6-3 senior Jaylen Reichner, 6-3 junior Tyler Johnson, 6-3 junior Drew Shultz, 5-10 senior Casey Steinhoff and 5-9 sophomore Will Holdren, here’s a guess that a longer Faith Christian side will want to impose its will quickly, get the Quakers out of their comfort zone and play downhill. Tony DaCosta’s Lions certainly had a much-easier time in Friday’s opening round as the District 1 champs popped 11 players into the book and bounced Berks Christian 80-34. Owen Bradford and Charles Ervin shared 29 points for Faith, which zipped to a 41-13 halftime lead. Landon Coyle, Josh Forker and 6-7 Sawyer Smith added 25 more points for DaCosta’s bunch.

Lourdes Regional (4-1, 23-4) vs. Sankofa Freedom (12-1, 18-7) at Hamburg HS, 7:30

Sometimes one just has to wonder how the brackets get drawn up if the idea is to have your four best teams playing in the semifinals. Lourdes will try to get there behind 6-5 junior Thomas Schultz, who netted 18 of his 26 points in the second half of the Red Raiders’ 71-33 mashing of Greenwood. Schultz did not work alone, though, as 5-10 junior Ty Klembara and 5-7 soph Adam Sandri added a combined 30 points for James Sandri’s District 4 champs. As for the bracket thing, Sankofa already ousted 2017 finalist Girard College 80-59 in the opening round, so that ouster sent one hammer to the sidelines and another will go here. Scott Spann popped a double-double for the Warriors in Round 1, scoring 25 points and grabbing 11 rebounds. He had plenty of help, as 6-4 soph Derrius Ward finished with 18, 6-6 junior Khalil Turner checked in with 14 and 6-3 senior Omar Long wound up with 12. Pace will be critical here and which side controls it for longer stretches likely will move on to Friday’s quarterfinals.

Vincentian (7-1, 19-7) vs. Shade (5-1, 23-3) at Armstrong HS, 8
Here’s another intriguing second-round skirmish as Vincentian will try to best the District 5 champs after absorbing 11 treys and a strong second-half surge before sidelining Cameron County 60-53 in Friday’s opener. Kyler Fedko, Zach McDonough, Angelo Reeves and Nathan Cullo posted double-digit outings for Tim Tyree’s Royals — those four combined for 56 points — who were leading 35-16 at the halftime break before the District 9 entry turned to its long-range shooting and made its second-half push. Shade was engaged in a tight-fisted affair, as Wade Fyock’s Panthers were locked in a 48-all tie with WPIAL entry Cornell after three quarters before pocketing a 67-63 victory. Vince Fyock’s conventional three-point play with 20.5 seconds remaining pushed Shade in front 64-63. When Cornell missed a potential go-ahead shot moments later, Shade rebounded the ball and was fouled. The Panthers also benefited from a technical foul, making three freebies to polish off the opening-round victory. A 5-10 freshman, Fyock finished with 31 points while 6-3 junior Brady Fyfe added 12 and 5-10 senior Michael Hartman added 11. For those searching for another nugget, Vincentian defeated Cornell three times, winning by 10, 12 and 14 points.

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