WHITEMARSH >> When you walk into Colonial Elementary School to enter Colonial Gym, you’re greeted by a cutout of 7-foot-2 center Naheem McLeod.
Fans stand next to the cutout to see how their height matches up to Plymouth Whitemarsh’s star junior.
Tuesday night against Wissahickon, McLeod greeted the Trojans on the floor.
He had a double-double in the first half and finished with 18 points and 13 rebounds in the Colonials 70-50 Suburban One League American Conference win.
The Trojans (11-5, 6-3) tallest players are 6-foot-4 forwards Zach Reiner and Carmen Ostroski. Both of those players got in foul trouble early and left McLeod posting up against players a full foot shorter than him for long stretches of the game.
“If the (opponent’s) tallest guy is 6-4 we post up the whole game,” McLeod said. “We play off penetration.
“(Head coach) Jim Donofrio, he’s always yelling at me, ‘Go get the ball, go score, you have to do this, do that, play defense.’I just do what the coach says.”
“Reiner got a foul 90 feet from the basket,” Wissahickon coach Kyle Wilson said. “If there’s one thing you need in a game like this it’s your bigs. There were times we were playing with five guards out there against Naheem and that doesn’t work. I told our guys that we have a plan to go out there and do certain things. We go away from that by getting fouls. That foul does us no good when they’re 90 feet from the basket. That’s one we need to use when he’s around the basket because you have to use a certain amount of fouls on him just to contain him.”
The fouls played a big role. While McLeod shot just 4-for-8 from the charity stripe, his ability to draw fouls allowed PW to get into the bonus quicker and finish the game 26-for-38 from the free-throw line.
Ish Horn led the Colonials (15-0, 9-0) with 20 points, Ahmad Williams added 13 and Ahmin Williams 10.
Max Rapoport led Wissahickon with 15 points, Eddie Fortescue added 14 and Seth Compass nine.
After falling behind 3-0, the Colonials went on a 16-3 run to close out the first quarter. They added to the lead with a 25-point second quarter to take a 41-18 advantage into the half.
“If you can keep it close there’s at least a little pressure,” Wilson said. “Once you give them a 15 or 18-point lead, they’re playing with their ears pinned back — they can go all out. We got into a pattern of coming up and taking a quick shot, which for them is rebound and throw it and it’s off to the races. It just wasn’t a good gameplan. It’s tough to adjust once you’re down. Not a team you want to play from behind. People say, ‘Well the first time (you rallied from a big deficit to lose by one, 67-66, in December).’ Well they have the same film we have and they made their adjustments just like we did.”
PW sure did watch the same film.
“(Monday) we practiced from 6-10:30,” McLeod said. “We watched film for two hours and then got on the floor. We wrapped all the back-door cuts and everything so we just came out here, cut it off and stopped them.”
“We watched the entire game on film (Monday) piece-by-piece,” Donofrio said. “I know the guys — it was a very good reality check. They were bad at everything and Wissahickon out-thought us, out-played us, out-hearted us and we were fortunate that we were able to hold on for a win. Sometimes a game like that becomes a nice gift down the road.”
PW maintained a 20-plus point advantage in the second half and remained unbeaten.
The Colonials will remain No. 1 in the District 1 Class-6A power rankings after the dominant win.
Wissahickon entered the game ranked No. 3 in the District 1 Class-5A power rankings.
“We just want to finish as high as we can,” Wilson said. “Coming into a game like this in the grander picture, our kids feel pretty good about where they are.
“We’re happy to just keep playing hard and see where it is when the smoke clears.”
Plymouth Whitemarsh 70, Wissahickon 50
Wissahickon 6 12 14 18 — 50
Plymouth Whitemarsh 16 25 17 12 — 70
Wissahickon: Donovan Oliphant 0 0-0 0, Eddie Fortescue 5 3-4 14, Harrison Williams 0 0-0 0, Seth Compass 4 1-2 9, Maurice Willis 0 0-0 0, Tyler Caso 1 0-0 2, Max Rapoport 6 1-2 15, Cole Hirsch 0 0-0 0, Alex Catterton 1 0-0 2, Anthony Lawrence 1 0-0 2, Carmen Ostroski 0 0-0 0, Zach Reiner 2 0-0 6. Total 20 5-8 50.
Plymouth Whitemarsh: Ish Horn 5 10-10 20, Caelin Peters 0 0-0 0, Naheem McLeod 7 4-8 18, Danny Cooper 0 0-0 0, Kyrie Pendleton 0 0-0 0, Ahmin Williams 2 6-9 10, Ahmad Williams 4 5-8 13, Danny Green 0 0-0 0, Alan Glover 4 1-1 9, Jordan Evans 0 0-2 0, Jason Cherry 0 0-0 0. Total 22 26-38 70.
Three-point goals: W: Fortescue, Rapoport 2, Reiner 2. PW: None.
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