CHELTENHAM >> Coming into their District One Class A semifinal matchup with Faith Christian, the Delco Christian Knights knew they were going to be undermanned.
Starters Grant Fischer and Devin Hill would not be playing for the remainder of the season because of off-the-court issues. Without two of their top three scorers, the Knights knew they were going to be short a few players, but received big production from two unexpected sources.
Jordan Parks scored 16 points and backup guard TJ Tann chipped in 10 to help Delco Christian pull out a 63-54 victory to advance to its second consecutive district final while locking up a berth in the state playoffs in the process.
Tann seemed to ignite a fire under the Knights (14-11) as soon as he stepped onto the floor as he recorded four points and three steals in the first quarter alone to give his team a one-point cushion. Parks tallied three steals, all of which he converted into layups at the other end.
Parks’ and Tann’s biggest moments may have been in the fourth quarter when Delco Christian hit 15 of 16 from the foul line. Parks was 4-for-4 and Tann was 3-for-4 in that quarter. Delco Christian head coach Don Davis was thrilled with the way Parks and Tann filled the void left by Fischer and Hill.
“It’s good that we have two other really good scorers that are healthy now. TJ and Jordan are going to step up and they’re going to fill those roles,” Davis said. “We’re going to miss (Grant and Devin.) We’re not the same team without them but we’re a very good team. We might have a little different style and strategy with the guys we have but I have a lot of confidence in TJ and Jordan’s ability to get up and down the floor, attack the basket and shoot the ball. I still think we’re as effective as we were before.”
Leading scorer Wyatt Harkins, who finished with a game-high 19 points after a career-best 40 against Calvary Baptist in the quarterfinals, believes what Tann and Parks accomplished speaks to the maturity of his team.
“We lost two of our brothers this week in Grant and Devin. They weren’t able to play with us in either game,” Harkins said. “So for us to make it back to the championship and being down our second and third leading scorer, it just says so much about this team and about the guys who stepped up in the way they did.”
Bryce Shook also provided a nice spark with 16 points and five rebounds but Harkins was the difference maker down the stretch scoring 10 of the Knights’ final 15 points, which included a layup and an 8-for-8 effort from the foul line.
Faith Christian, behind Zeke Snowden (15 points) and Chris Clark (17), only held the lead at 5-0 to start the game but never led in the final three quarters. The Knights showed a lot of toughness and Davis is pleased with how his team has excelled despite their recent misfortunes.
“It just shows a ton of character. The grit and determination we showed,” Davis said. “It just shows what type of season we’ve had. Through injuries and off the court stuff, we just have never quite gotten our feet under us having everybody healthy but we just have multiple guys who will step up when need be.”