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Methacton’s Woodward dominant in win over Pope John Paul as Warriors eye repeat

Pope John Paul II's Sean Bustynowicz goes for a layup as Methacton's Jeff Woodward defends during their PAC semifinal game Friday, Feb. 8, 2019 at Spring-Ford. (MJ McConney - For MediaNews Group)

UPPER PROVIDENCE >> Not much more needs to be said about what Jeff Woodward brings to the basketball court.

His physical attributes and game skills speak volumes.

Woodward — he of the solid 6-foot-9 frame and sizeable, if unmeasured, wingspan — was at his multitalented best Friday. The Methacton junior was an overwhelming force for the Warriors in their 77-49 roll over Pope John Paul II in a Pioneer Athletic Conference Final Six semifinal at Spring-Ford.

Woodward’s physical attributes produced a double-double of 21 points and 23 rebounds, both game highs. He also headed Methacton with four assists and three blocked shots, leading his third-seeded mates to a 39-19 halftime advantage that went to 62-36 after three quarters.

“Obviously, in my third year of varsity, I try at the defensive end to be a leader,” he said in elaboration of his role as a traffic director in the paint. “I play a big role on that.”

 

Methacton’s Owen Kropp (2) drives to the rim as Pope John Paul II’s Justin Green defends during their PAC semifinal game Friday at Spring-Ford. (MJ McConney – For MediaNews Group)

Woodward’s eye-popping statistics featured 13 points and 15 boards in the first half. He was particularly dominant off the defensive glass, getting all but four of his first-half rebounds at that end, and his assists all came before halftime.

“He’s been solid for us all year,” Methacton head coach Jeff Derstine said after seeing his club (19-5) position itself for another championship run.

Though he was a big part, Woodward wasn’t the whole story for the Warriors. Erik Timko chipped in with 20 points, many of them coming from the lane, and six rebounds; and David Duda got all nine of his counters on three shots in 3-point territory.

“Duda made a lot of good cuts out there,” Derstine said. “If teams try and take one thing away, we go to something else.”

“You pick your poison,” PJP head coach Brendan Stanton agreed. “They have four great shooters. If you keep them off the 3-point line, they can shoot twos.”

Methacton’s David Duda (10) shoots over Pope John Paul II’s Drew McKeon during their PAC semifinal game Friday at Spring-Ford. (MJ McConney – For MediaNews Group)

Asked if there is a way to deal with a multi-faceted opponent like the Warriors, Stanton affirmed there was.

“You let their four or five option guys shoot. You can have some success with that,” he said. “But they were getting 3s and offensive rebounds. They made us pay.”

PJP showed a bit more offensive balance. Sean Bustynowicz and Justin Green each scored 13 points while Drew McKeon was on back at 12.

Methacton’s David Duda (10) shoots over Pope John Paul II’s Drew McKeon during their PAC semifinal game Friday at Spring-Ford. (MJ McConney – For MediaNews Group)

The Golden Panthers, seeded second in the PAC playoff field after finishing as Frontier Division regular-season champion, was led in rebounding by Green (eight) and Tyshyre Malachi in assists (four). But they fell short of Methacton’s 32-for-61 floor accuracy (21-for-62) and were beat off the glass by the taller Warriors, 45-30.

“Our offense has not been super well this season,” Stanton said. “We have five new varsity starters, young guys at the end. I’m hoping we can build off this for the future.”

The PAC’s title game became one of the backyard-brawl variety with Perkiomen Valley outlasting Norristown in overtime, 55-51. The neighboring rivals split their regular-season meetings, the Vikings winning on Dec. 18, 44-39, and the Warriors prevailing on Jan. 19, 53-51.

NOTES >> Derstine, on PJP’s propensity for 3-point goals and going 3-for-12 Friday: “We knew that coming in. Our guys did a great job executing (defensively).” … While Methacton has six players 6-foot-3 and taller, the Panthers’ tallest are Green (6-4) and Buchler (6-6). “We came in knowing them as an undersized but great-shooting team,” Woodward said. “We worked down low to our advantage.”

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