Wissahckon opens the PIAA Class-5A state playoffs against Archbishop Carroll at 8 p.m. Friday night at Bensalem High School.
The (1-3) Trojans haven’t played the (12-3) Patriots since beating them in 2011, but head coach Kyle Wilson and his team know what they’re up against.
“They’re a tough team,” Wilson said. “It’s what we’d expect out of the (Philadelphia) Catholic League. They’ve got a solid five or six guys deep of talent. They’re disciplined, skilled. A few guys have D-1 offers. Strong caliber of play.”
Carroll has four players who averaged double figures in the always-competitve Catholic League. Senior forward Keyon Butler (second team All-Catholic) led the way with 15.8 points, sophomore guard AJ Hoggard (first team All-Catholic) had 14.8, senior guard Justin Anderson (second team All-Catholic) 13.5 and junior guard Luke House 12.3
“You basically talk to your guys about of all games you want to come up with your best defensive game, this is going to be it,” Wilson said. “When you know you’re facing a squad that’s that deep and talented, you want a little bit of luck on your side. Maybe some of the shots aren’t falling, maybe they’re not hitting the boards. There’s somewhere we have to win some of those battles — whether it’s on the boards, whether it’s defensively, offensively. Our goal is to have them play more of our style of basketball.”
Wissahickon will need contributions from everyone — especially leading scorers senior Max Rapoport and junior Eddie Fortescue — to come away with a win.
“We need to get our stronger players good shots,” Wilson said. “Our stronger offensive players need to get involved, be active. We’ve won a lot of games in the playoffs without sometimes our best player playing well because we had so many other players like a Donovan Oliphant or a Zach Reiner step up. It didn’t always have to be Max or Eddie — our top two scorers — playing their best. This is a game where we’re going to need everybody to step up a little bit because they have the type of team that does the same.
“We look at Friday night — we’re not heading there to lose. Our goal is to go there and win. We know there are about three or four games that may happen in the first round which can be some of the best basketball in the tournament. I always feel like anytime you face a District 1 team up against a District 12 team it’s going to be a good, competitive ball game.”
Abington vs. Harrisburg >> District 1 champion Abington faces District 3 sixth-place finisher Harrisburg Saturday at 4 p.m. at Cheltenham High School.
The Ghosts won their third district title in four years Saturday in an instant classic over Plymouth Whitemarsh, 75-73.
The last two times Abington won District 1 — in 2015 and 2017 — it lost in the first round of states.
Senior guard Robbie Heath and junior forward Eric Dixon — both top three scorers in program history — will try to make sure that doesn’t happen again. The Ghosts begin their journey with a Harrisburg team that finished the season 17-8.
The winner will face the winner of Northhampton and St. Joe’s Prep in the second round Wednesday.
Norristown vs. Hazleton >> District 1 seventh seed Norristown faces District 2 champion Hazleton Saturday at Berwick High School at 4 p.m.
The Eagles lost to Pennridge in its first playback game and beat Upper Darby to earn the seventh seed. Their district playoff run ended with a loss to eventual champion Abington.
Norristown’s core of Vernon Tubbs, Mikeel Allen and Darius Hopewell will have their hands full with a Hazleton team that finished 23-1 this season.
The winner will face the winner of Chambersburg and Pocono Mountain West in the second round Wednesday.
Pennridge vs. Roman Catholic >> District 1 sixth-place finisher Pennridge faces District 12 runner up Roman Catholic Saturday at 5 p.m. at Cardinal O’Hara High School.
The Rams split their playback games against Norristown and Coatesville after losing to Lower Merion in the district quarterfinals.
The schedule doesn’t get any easier in states. Roman Catholic won the Philadelphia Catholic league when Lynn Greer III found Hakim Hart for a layup at the buzzer to beat Bonner-Prendergast, 51-49. It was the Cahillites third PCL title in the last four years. The last two times they won they went on to win the state championship.
The winner will face the winner of Plymouth Whitemarsh and Dallastown in the second round Wednesday.
Plymouth Whitemarsh vs. Dallastown >> District 1 runner up Plymouth Whitemarsh faces District 3 fifth-place finisher Dallastown Saturday at 4 p.m. at Upper Dublin High School.
The Colonials suffered their first loss of the season against Abington in the district championship game, 75-73. The group has plenty of postseason experience — senior guards Ahmin Williams and Ahmad Williams and junior center Naheem McLeod won the district championship and made a deep state run in 2016. Last year those three — along with seniors Ish Horn, Alan Glover and Danny Cooper — reached the district semifinals and had another extended run in states.
PW looks to get back on track against a Dallastown team that finished 16-10 this year.
The winner will face the winner of Pennridge and Roman Catholic in the second round Wednesday.
Lower Moreland vs. Overbrook >> District 1 first-place finisher Lower Moreland faces District 12 third-place finisher Overbrook Friday at Bensalem High School at 6:30 p.m.
The Lions posted wins over NW Lehigh and Tamaqua before losing to Bethlehem Catholic in the District 1/11 Regional championship. LM had won five straight before losing to Bethlehem Catholic.
Overbrook posted a 16-8 record this season.
The winner will face the winner of Montoursville and Middletown in the second round Tuesday.
Dock Mennonite vs. Halifax >> District 1 runner up Dock Mennonite faces District 3 champion Halifax Saturday at 4:30 p.m. at East Pennsboro High School.
The Pioneers enter the state playoffs off a hard-fought 44-40 loss to Delco Christian in the District 1 championship game. Prior to that loss, Dock had won eight straight games, including overtime victories over District 1-4A first-place finisher Lower Moreland and District 1-A champion Faith Christian Academy.
Halifax went 24-2 this season.
The winner will face the winner of Math, Civics and Sciences and Panther Valley in the second round Wednesday.
Plumstead Christian vs. York Country Day >> District 1 third-place finisher Plumstead Christian faces District 3 champion York Country Day Friday at 6 p.m. at Northern York High School.
Plumstead lost to Girard College in the District 1 semifinals and beat Phil-Mont Christian to earn a spot in states.
The Panthers will have their hands full with York Country Day, a school that defeated the top two seeds in the District 3 tournament to earn the title.
The winner will face the winner of Nativity BVM and Sullivan County in the second round Tuesday.
Faith Christian Academy vs. Berks Christian >> District 1 champion Faith Christian Academy faces District 3 fourth-place finisher Berks Christian Friday at Central Bucks West High School at 7:30 p.m.
The Lions are coming off their first district championship in school history — a thrilling 48-46 overtime win over Girard College last weekend. Seniors Landon Coyle, Charles Ervin, Sawyer Smith and Darius Forney give FCA the experience it needs to make a deep run in the state tournament.
The path begins with a Berks Christian team that went 22-6 this year.
The winner will face the winner of Millville and Lincoln Leadership in the second round Tuesday.
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