By Rich Flanagan
For Digital First Media
SPRINGFIELD TWP. >> Having to play a game following only one day of preparation can be difficult for any team. Having to play a game against the same team with only one day of preparation can be even more difficult.
For the Bonner & Prendergast Friars, they played West Catholic for the second time in a three-day span. By defeating the Burrs on Sunday in their regular-season finale, the Friars forced a tie with West in the final Philadelphia Catholic League standings. Bonner had three players score in double figures and finished off a strong fourth quarter en route to a 54-49 win to claim the 10th seed in the PCL playoffs.
West Catholic (4-17) trailed by one at halftime before going on a 13-2 run to claim a six-point lead heading into the final quarter. Led by senior John Herndon, who scored 14 points in the second half, the Burrs looked to pull away but the Friars (12-11) stuck to their game plan.
Having changed to a fullcourt press to begin the second half, Bonner’s pressure began to wear down West Catholic. Senior Keith Washington accounted for 10 points, five rebounds, three assists and three steals while fellow senior Christian Lane scored a team-high 15 points to go along with two steals. The Friars held the Burrs scoreless for the first two minutes and put up 24 points in that final quarter.
Washington said the pressure he and his teammates applied seemed to rattle Herndon, who finished with a game-high 19 points.
“The only (player) who could really get the ball up the court with confidence was (Herndon),” Washington said. “We tried to trap him in the corners and it shook him up a little bit. It forced turnovers and stopped him from scoring.”
Bonner head coach John Concannon felt the changes his team made in the second half completely turned the game around.
“I thought when we went into the full court press in the second half, we were able to get a couple steals and quick, easy baskets,” Concannon said. “We got the momentum going our way.”
The Friars received big contributions from John Hargraves, who finished with eight points, nine rebounds and five blocks, and Dylan Higgins, who scored 12 points and grabbed six boards. In the fourth quarter, Higgins scored on a layup late to tie the game at 36 and on the next possession Hargraves’ putback gave the Friars their first lead since halftime.
Despite receiving contributions from a number of players, Lane was the one who carried Bonner after intermission. After scoring 10 points in the first half, the lefty only had five in the second and was tasked with guarding Herndon down the stretch. Concannon praised his senior guard.
“All year, Christian has been our go-to guy offensively,” Concannon said. “When he makes shots, he’s a good player. He hit a couple big threes in the first half, and he’s a very good foul shooter. I thought he did a good job on Herndon in the second half. We had him face-guarding Herndon pretty much the whole second half.”
Lane talked about how he attempted to stifle the Burrs’ leading scorer.
“We just started going box-and-one on him so he didn’t get the ball as much,” Lane said. “When he gets pressed up, he likes to dribble a lot and force everything. I just tried to slow him down this game.”
Bonner advances to play Conwell-Egan on Wednesday. The Eagles defeated the Friars, 61-44, earlier this year.
In the Inter-Ac League:
Haverford School 61, Penn Charter 43 >> The Fords (9-13, 4-5 Inter-AC) raced to a 16-1 lead and never looked back. Gavin Burke led the way with 18 points. Jack Marshall added 13 points and Kharon Randolph had 10 points. Tommy McNamara (eight points, nine rebounds) and Micah Sims (eight points, six assist) also made key contributions.