Ed Croswell (above) and St. Joe's Prep battle Abington in the second round of the 6A bracket. (Photo: Josh Verlin/CoBL)
CoBL Staff (@hooplove215)
The second round of the PIAA high school boys’ basketball tournament continues on Wednesday night, with the 16 teams remaining in the 2A, 3A and 6A 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:
Abington (1-1, 23-5) vs. St Joseph’s Prep (12-3, 19-8) at Archbishop Ryan HS, 7
The Ghosts of Abington, champions of District One, avoided a first round scare against Harrisburg, but snuck away with a 61-57 victory. Junior Eric Dixon, a powerful 6-7 forward, led the way with 26 points, and senior guard Robbie Heath added 23. The matchup to watch in this one is Dixon against St. Joe’s Prep’s senior big man Ed Croswell, a La Salle University commit. Croswell had a double-double with 12 points and 11 rebounds in the Hawks’ opening-round win over Northampton. Sophomore guard Trevor Wall boasted a career-best 21 points in the win, and seniors Kyle Thompson and Darius Kinnel contributed 14 and 11, respectively. Prep has the advantage in the backcourt, but Abington with Dixon and 6-6 junior Lucas Monroe, can cause nightmares for opponents in the paint. Abington can also very dangerous when it gets out on a run, as evidenced in the District 1 final, beating Plymouth-Whitemarsh 29-8 in the third quarter alone.
Pocono Mountain West (11-3, 17-10) vs. Hazleton (2-1, 24-1) at Wilkes University, 7:30
Although this is a different Pocono Mountain West side than the one that last season reached the second round, there’s still a few guys around from that club capable of making an impact for first-year skipper Rich Williams. And two returning seniors — 6-6 Travis Elmore and 6-4 Lee Mosley — played big roles Saturday as the Panthers bumped Chambersburg 53-52 in OT. While Elmore popped a double-double highlighted by 21 points and 11 boards, it was his free throws with eight seconds left in the extra session that ultimately scuttled the Trojans. Mosley added 12 points in the victory, while others such as 6-0 senior Josiah Burns, 5-9 junior Eddie Germosan, 6-0 junior Ishyne Pilgrim and 6-1 senior Shermar Ernest authored timely shots as PM West rubbed out a 10-point deficit that stood with 2:49 left in the third quarter. Hazleton, meanwhile, was busy using its mix of length and 3-point shooting to down Norristown 62-45 in another first-round game. Joey Grula, a 6-5 senior, topped Mike Joseph’s Cougars with 19 points — with nine coming in the opening quarter on a trio of triples as the District 2 champs constructed a 17-6 lead. Da’mir Faison added 16 points and Jeff Planutis chipped in 15 for a Hazleton squad that starts four players 6-5 or taller. By the way, a quartet that also includes 6-8 West Chester commit Josh Samec, combined for six treys as Hazleton notched its first state victory in four years.
Tyree Corbett (above) and Lincoln dispatched Upper Darby in the first round. (Photo: Josh Verlin/CoBL)
Abraham Lincoln (12-1, 21-6) vs. Hempfield (3-3, 24-6), at Pottstown HS, 7:30
Unbelievably dominant on the glass, Lincoln parlayed its advantage (65-24) into a 67-46 victory over Upper Darby that wasn’t even that close. Tyree Corbett, a 6-6 senior who checked in from Philly Public League playmate Frankford midway through the season, scored 16 points and hauled 14 rebounds as the Rail Splitters opened a 43-16 lead by halftime. Shikier Morrison, a 6-0 senior, led the District 12 champs with 21 points and 6-3 senior Khalif Mears chipped in 10 points. An additional eight boards were split by 6-7 starting junior Aseem Lucky and 6-7 soph reserve Pat Obogo. Yes, Lincoln can run out all sorts of length. As for Hempfield, Ryan Moffatt collected 21 of his 29 points from the free-throw line as Danny Walck’s Black Knights sidelined Coatesville 66-53. The 6-5 Moffatt, who also grabbed 10 rebounds and dished out four assists, was 21-for-24 from the stripe — 10 of 12 just in the fourth quarter — for a Hempfield squad that’s trying to reach the state quarters for the second straight season. Anthony Alston, a 6-1 senior, added 15 points and 10 rebounds, nailing a deep trey just before halftime that pushed the Black Knights to a 32-20 lead. While Adam Wernoch and Ronnie Swantner gave the Lancaster-Lebanon League entry good minutes off the bench, Walck’s group can ill afford to have 6-4 Temple football recruit David Martin-Robinson and 5-11 junior lead guard Elijah Washington limited by the foul issues that troubled them in the opening round — especially with Lincoln’s formidable length and depth. Also possible that 6-2 senior Teagan Hazel, who has been out with an ankle injury, could be available Wednesday night.
Lower Merion (1-3, 24-5) vs. Neshaminy (1-9, 18-10) at Council Rock South HS, 7:30
Thanks to junior guard Steve Payne’s layup with three seconds remaining in overtime, Lower Merion pulled away from Manheim Township in the first round, 88-86. Payne was phenomenal in the second half and overtime, scoring 24 points and hitting eight crucial free throws down the stretch. His classmate Jack Forrest, a 6-4 sharpshooter, added 14 points, and Julian Hairston chipped in 12. Neshaminy opened state play by sidelining District 11 champ East Stroudsburg South 62-47, as 6-3 senior Chris Arcidiacono banked 27 points and Anthony Papeo racked up 15. Both Lower Merion and Neshaminy are guard-oriented teams, neither having a true force in the paint. Lower Merion won by nine earlier in the year, but if Arcidiacono can hit his shots he can change the outcome of the game by himself.
Reading (3-1, 25-4) vs. Central Bucks West (1-4, 22-7) at Bethlehem Liberty HS, 7:30
Daniel Colter posted nine of his 13 points in the pivotal third quarter as Reading opened defense of its 2017 crown by using a productive second half to belt Bensalem 63-38. Larry Wingo hopped off the bench to add 13 points and seven rebounds for the District 3 champs, who led by just five (25-20) at the halftime break. While lead guard Wesley Butler was bothered by first-half foul issues that put him on the bench for a lengthy stretch, the 6-0 junior still finished with 11 points and seven assists as Rick Perez’s Red Knights extended their lead to 41-24 after three quarters. Senior Xavier Starks tacked on eight points for Reading, which popped 10 players into the scoring column. Getting 16 points from Shane McCusker — including a trio of triples in the opening quarter — Central Bucks West dispatched Emmaus 53-35 in its state opener. McCusker’s early burst helped the Bucks open a 16-11 lead after one quarter and head for the locker room at halftime up 32-16. Jake Reichwein, Collin MacAdams and Jack Neri shared 27 additional points for CB West, which absorbed an Emmaus run before pulling away down the stretch to move into the second round for the second time in three seasons.
Plymouth-Whitemarsh (1-2, 28-1) vs. Roman Catholic (12-2, 20-6) at Bensalem HS, 7
Until its loss to Abington in the District One final, Plymouth-Whitemarsh had been undefeated, and considered a top-25 team in the nation by USA Today’s rankings. Even though the Colonials lost to the Ghosts, they bounced back in the first round of states by beating Dallastown, 71-47. Ahmin Williams scored a game high 15 points, and his twin brother Ahmad scored 14. Senior Danny Cooper had 12 and Ish Horn finished with 11. 7-foot-1 junior Naheem McLeod did not get into double figures, but will need a big game to defeat Roman Catholic, which doesn’t have a player in the rotation taller than 6-6. That 6-6 player is Seth Lundy, a junior guard/forward and high-major recruit. Lundy spends more time in the backcourt than McLeod, but can still make an impact in the paint. Roman will counter P-W’s senior laden backcourt with some talented youngsters of its own. Sophomore point guard Lynn Greer III, who made a pass to junior guard Hakim Hart for the game-winning shot in the Catholic League championship, is a talented and athletic floor general. Hart led the way with 22 points in Roman’s defeat of Pennridge in the first round. Greer posted 16 points and Lundy chipped in 15.
State College (6-1, 24-1) vs. Pine-Richland (7-2, 21-6) at Pitt-Johnstown, 7:30
Thanks to a 24-point explosion from Princeton-bound forward Drew Friberg — and double-figure performances from three others — Joe Walker’s State College Little Lions are back in the second round for the second consecutive March following a 73-65 conquest of Woodland Hills. Tommy Friberg (14), Ryan McNulty (13) and Keaton Ellis (12) also netted 10-plus points for State High, which led by just four (34-30) at the break before a 20-10 burst over the course of the third quarter created some separation (54-40) for the District 6 champs. It was the second year in a row that Walker’s bunch eliminated Woody Hills. Pine-Richland took step No. 1 toward a possible return trip to the state title game by riding 26 points from 6-4 junior Dan Petcash to a 75-64 victory over Pittsburgh Central Catholic. Notre Dame football recruit Phil Jurkovec tacked on 18 points, junior lead guard Greg Shulkosky popped a double-double (13 points/11 assists) and 6-6 junior Andrew Kristofic wound up with 10 for Jeff Ackermann’s Rams. Kristofic and the 6-5 Jurkovec also grabbed a combined 17 rebounds.
Penn Hills (7-1, 24-3) vs. Allderdice (8-1, 25-2) at Baldwin HS, 8Just one week after capturing its first WPIAL championship in 15 years, Penn Hills needed a buzzer-beating layup from Keyshawn Adams to squeeze past Fox Chapel in Saturday’s first round. Daivon Stephens’ 17 points paced Dan DeRose’s Indians, while Cory Fulton wound up with 16. Stephens’ dish also set up Adams’ game-winning hoop, a bucket that moved Penn Hills into a duel with an Allderdice squad the Indians defeated 54-40 just before Christmas. ‘Dice, meanwhile, chalked up its 22nd straight victory by besting Mount Lebanon 63-54. Jackson Blaufeld poured in 22 points, including 12 straight just before halftime as Buddy Valinsky’s Dragons opened a 35-29 lead. Burly 6-5 senior Shaun Morris checked in with 13 points and 6-3 junior Bobby Clifford netted 12 for the Pittsburgh City League champs.
Dymir Montague (above) and Neumann-Goretti are looking to win their eighth state title in 10 years. (Photo: Josh Verlin/CoBL)
Neumann-Goretti (12-1, 19-6) vs. Wyoming Seminary (2-1, 22-4) at Bethlehem Freedom HS, 7:30
The Saints are in pursuit of their eighth state title in the last ten years, and got off to a great start Saturday by beating Steelton-Highspire 80-59. Senior Noah Warren hit five 3’s en route to a career-high 28 points. Junior Ja’Cor Smith added 18 points and nine rebounds. Besides 6-8 senior Marcus Littles, who returned Saturday after missing the District 12 title game while recovering from injuries suffered in an auto accident, the Saints’ attack mainly comes from the backcourt. Warren, junior Chris Ings, and senior Dymir Montague all play big roles in why the Saints are the favorite to repeat as state champions. Jeremy Callahan, a 5-10 sophomore, scored 21 points for the Blue Knights in a win over Mastery Charter South, and junior forward Dimitri Gnall added 13 points and seven rebounds as the District 2 champs, in their first state playoff game since 1992, moved forward.
Bishop McDevitt (12-3, 15-10) vs. Notre-Dame Green Pond (11-1, 19-8) at Council Rock South HS, 6
The Lancers won their first state playoff game since 2012 with a win over Kutztown. Three sophomores, Robert Smith, Jamil Manigo, and Shamir Mosley reached double figures for McDevitt, which finished 4-9 in the Catholic League. NDGP, which upset Wellsboro in the first round, is led by a heavy junior class that includes Filippo Baldo and Zach DeFoe, two players capable of lighting up the scoreboard. DeFoe collected 17 points in Notre Dame’s first-round success, while Billy Cornish tacked on 13 and Baldo added eight. If McDevitt were to win this one, it would tie the 2012 team for the farthest run into the state tournament in school history.
Dobbins Tech (12-2, 19-10) vs. Trinity (3-1, 21-5) at Governor Mifflin IS, 7:30
Even though 5-9 senior Dashawn Hockaday bucketed 25 points, Lou Williams’ Mustangs parlayed some stingy defense in the final few minutes and wound up turning back Southern Columbia 61-50. James Lewis added nine points and Antonio Lewis tacked on eight points for Dobbins, which led by a mere five points (55-50) with just under three minutes to play. Since the Philly Public League program was able to hold Southern scoreless the rest of the way, Dobbins set up its second-round date with the five-time District 3 champs. Flashing its balance throughout, Trinity scored a 63-47 victory over Pub entry Tacony Academy Charter in its opening-round fixture. Senior Jack Bucher dropped in 19 points, while 6-11 Lafayette recruit Sean Good popped a double-double (14 points/13 rebounds) and junior Patrick Walker wound up with 10. Another 14 points came from the duo of Kalen Veres and Mike Scarpelli — Scarpelli also dished up four assists and Good blocked four shots — as the Shamrocks presented veteran head coach Larry Kostelac Jr. with his 697th career victory.
Greenville (10-2, 16-9) vs. Lincoln Park (7-1, 20-6) at Butler HS, 7:30
With Joe Batt dropping in 25 points — including an 11-for-12 performance at the free-throw line — Greenville ensured its berth in Wednesday’s second round by rallying for a 63-51 victory over Cardinal Wuerl North Catholic. Michael Blaney added 17 points for the Trojans, who will meet Lincoln Park in the second round of states for the second straight year. Batt and Blaney each bagged four treys for the District 10 runners-up — Greenville also canned 21 of its 23 free-throw attempts — who trailed 30-26 at the break before rallying for the victory. Lincoln Park had a fairly easy time advancing, as Mike Bariski’s Leopards wheeled past Mount Union 86-59 behind 34 points from 6-3 junior Keeno Holmes. Andre Wilder and Thomas Melonja also reached double figures for the WPIAL champions, sharing 26 points for a Lincoln Park squad that’s trying to return to the Class 3A championship game.
Mercyhurst Prep (10-3, 15-11) vs. Richland (6-2, 22-4) at Butler HS, 6
Guards Joe Dombkowski, Alex Miklinski and Griffin Herron netted 17, 15 and 12 points, respectively, and nearly outscored the opposition as Mercyhurst Prep derailed District 9 champ Karns City 78-47 in its opening-round scrap. Prep, which canned 16 3-pointers, led 42-16 at the break. Up next for the District 10 third seed is a date with Richland, which built a sizable lead en route to a 65-57 triumph over perennial WPIAL power Aliquippa. Trevy Hardison (18 points/10 rebounds) and Caleb Burke (17 points/10 assists) recorded double-doubles for Greg Burke’s balanced Rams. Richland, which led by double digits entering the fourth quarter yet had to fend off a late Aliquippa surge, also picked up 10 points apiece from Tyler Zimmerman and Collin Instone. Instone also bagged nine boards for the District 6 runners-up, who dropped their state opener a year ago.
Seton-La Salle (7-2, 20-6) vs. Fairview (10-1, 23-3) at Sharon HS, 7:30
Ousted in the opening round a season ago, Seton-La Salle made certain that did not happen again as Mark Walsh’s Rebels outlasted District 6 entry Central Cambria 75-67 behind 26 points from high-scoring 6-3 senior Jakob Richardson. George Mike IV tacked on 16 points for Seton, the WPIAL runner-up, while 6-4 senior Kaleb Krebs chipped in 12. Up next for the Rebels is a scrap with District 10 champ Fairview, which avenged its first-round loss of a year ago by knocking off Shady Side Academy 47-31. The Tigers’ productive trio of Nick Franos, 6-10 Army recruit Sam Parini and Jamison Cook shared 37 points to lead Pat Flaherty’s club, which pulled away to the victory behind a 19-10 surge in the final eight minutes.
Math, Civics, & Sciences (12-1, 15-13) vs. Dock Mennonite (1-2, 24-5) at Harriton HS, 6
With 12 players landing in the scorebook before the opening-round contest reached a conclusion that had been been determined much earlier, Math, Civics & Sciences opened state play by rolling over Panther Valley 101-57. Semaj Mills rang up 22 points for Dan Jackson’s Mighty Elephants, who led 44-26 at the half and 71-39 after three quarters. Jihad “Squid” Watson, Kwahzere Ransom, Zahir Jackson and Tealang Lloyd also reached double figures for MCS while combining for 50 additional points. Denied in the District 1 title game, Dock Mennonite rebounded from that setback by popping District 3 champion Halifax 67-45 in its state opener. Miz Nyagewegwe, a 6-0 senior, scored 20 points to lead Mike Fergus’ balanced bunch. The Bicentennial Athletic League champions, who led 30-20 at the half and 48-28 after three quarters, also picked up 15 points from 6-6 sophomore Darius Ellis and nine apiece from juniors Jackson Scialanca and Nolan Bolton.
Constitution (12-2, 17-11) vs. Bishop Guilfoyle (6-1, 22-5) at Cumberland Valley HS, 7:30
Ramping up its defensive pressure while popping four players into double figures, Constitution overwhelmed District 1 champion Delco Christian 86-53 in its opening-round contest. Rob Moore’s Generals, who led by as many as 37 points before closing out the 32-minute exercise, forced Delco Christian to commit 20 turnovers. KeShaun “Champ” Hammonds rang up 27 points to lead Constitution, which tumbled in OT to Sewickley Academy in last year’s state final. Damon Wall (13), Jabari Merritt (12) and Jahmir Marable-Williams (11) also reached double digits for Moore’s Generals. While an intersectional matchup with Bishop Guilfoyle is rather unique for the second round, it’s not the only such scrap in the Class 2A bracket. Nonetheless, Guilfoyle collected its ninth consecutive victory on Saturday, racing past Brockway 80-45 behind 24 points from Saint Francis (Pa.) commit Luke Ruggery. The 5-10 Ruggery, a junior who knocked down seven of the Marauders’ nine treys, also reached 1,000 career points in the Marauders’ opening-round success. Mark Conrad and A.J. Labriola added 13 points apiece for Chris Drenning’s club, while Nick Scaramozzino finished with 12.
Sewickley Academy (7-1, 22-4) vs. Ridgway (9-2, 26-1) at Armstrong HS, 6
Flashing all sorts of balance throughout its opening-round victory, reigning Class 2A champion Sewickley Academy opened defense of its 2017 crown by pelting Cochranton 83-33. Soph Isiah Warfield tossed in 18 points to lead Win Palmer’s Panthers, while soph Isaiah Smith tacked on 17. Sewickley, which needed overtime to best Constitution in last year’s title game, also picked up 14 points apiece from 6-6 junior Nate Ridgeway and 6-1 senior Dave Groetsch. Ridgway used a similar approach in turning back North Penn-Mansfield for the second straight year, but the Elkers needed to come from behind after the break in order to reach the second round. Daunte Allegretto’s 12 points led Ridgway, which was down by a single point (22-21) before rallying. Tony Allegretto’s District 9 runners-up also received 11 points from Neil MacDonald and nine apiece from Andy Breier and Johnny Mitchell.
Jeannette (7-4, 20-4) vs. Cambridge Springs (10-2, 21-5) at Farrell HS, 7:30
Jeannette shrugged off its recent opening-round woes by jumping out to an early lead against District 6 runner-up Purchase Line and turning that cushion into a 63-45 victory. Adrian Batts’ Jayhawks had lost four of its previous five opening-round games before sidelining Purchase Line. Tre Cunningham netted 20 points, Jackson Pruitt hopped off the bench to add 19 more points and Robert Kennedy finished with 16 points and six dimes for Jeannette, which played without leading scorer Anthony Johnson (21 ppg). Johnson, who was serving a one-game suspension after receiving two technicals in the WPIAL semis, should be back for Wednesday’s outing against Cambridge Springs. Cambridge Springs also dropped its 2017 state opener, but this time around the Blue Devils used their length to coast past Leechburg 77-54. Guard Noah Reisenauer bagged 28 points for the District 10 runners-up, but it was the 6-8 senior duo of Tanner Kurt and Reese Eakin that really troubled Leechburg. Kurt finished with 24 points, while Eakin checked in with 14 for a Blue Devils group that led 41-29 at the break.
Coudersport (9-1, 23-3) vs. Our Lady of the Sacred Heart (7-2, 23-3) at Brookville HS, 7
Holding a sizable lead after three quarters, Coudersport withstood a valiant fourth-quarter rally before claiming a 71-60 victory over Wilmington. Owen Chambers continued his recent run by pouring in 25 points to lead the Falcons, while Hunter Ricke pitched in with 17 as the Falcons constructed what seemed to be a comfortable 55-32 lead after three quarters. Hoping to reach the state semis for the second year in a row — and with the Class 2A title game obviously in their collective sights — Mike Rodriguez’s Chargers popped four players into double figures while wheeling past Homer-Center 81-62. Daren DiMichele rang up 21 points and Donovan Johnson finished with 20 for senior-less OLSH, which led 42-24 at the halftime break. Dante Spadafora and Ricco Tate also reached double figures, sharing an additional 23 points.