SHILLINGTON>> Kutztown’s finest basketball season in 33 years came to a thudding end Saturday night in the first round of the PIAA 3A playoffs.
The Cougars were outclassed by District 12 entrant Bishop McDevitt (Philadelphia), 59-42, in a PIAA 3A first-round encounter.
The result drew the curtain on a campaign in which Kutztown (20-5) won Berks League Section 3 and made the finals of the District 3 tournament for the first time since 1985.
“I’m very proud of our kids,” Kutztown head coach Ted Snyder, a program alum, said. “And the thing is, they’re even better kids than they are players. It’s a really nice group. No problems all year. I really enjoyed coaching these kids.”
The Philly Catholic League squad (not to be confused with the Harrisburg diocese school of the same name) never trailed in the nightcap of a state playoff tripleheader held at Governor Mifflin Intermediate School.
The Lancers — deeper, stronger, quicker — were on cruise control by the break by opening up a 31-14 halftime lead on the Cougars.
“It was disappointing, the first half,” Snyder said. “We just didn’t play well.”
Kutztown played much better ball during the third quarter, but could only manage to reduce the deficit by two points when the period ended.
“I thought in the second half, our offense was much better,” Snyder said. “We got better looks. But the shots have to go in for you and unfortunately, they didn’t. We had a couple of opportunities to get it under 12 or 10 and it didn’t happen.
“When you’re down by that much, you don’t really look at the score, you’re just doing a one-possession-at-a-time thing.”
Kutztown’s star junior Lorencz Jean-Baptiste was hampered by a jammed thumb, which Snyder said he had suffered in practice this week. Jean-Baptiste wore a blue-colored wrap on the thumb and could never find a groove, finishing with just eight points. Five of those points came from the free throw line; he hit just one field goal, a 3-pointer, early in the second half.
“That bad thumb probably led to his poor shooting night,” Snyder said of Jean-Baptiste. “He’s been really good for us all year.”
McDevitt’s squad depth was on display at Mifflin. The Lancers played 11 with no drop-off in quality. Perhaps the best example was the entrance into game of guard Tahmir Thompson late in the third quarter.
Kutztown’s 1-3-1 look had managed to keep the Cougars tethered, if not totally in reach, at 40-28. Thompson blew that up by hitting three deep-corner 3-balls on three consecutive trips down court after not seeing the floor at all in the first half. Ballgame.
“He hits those three threes and that was the killer,” Snyder acknowledged. Those were Thompson’s only baskets of the game.
McDevitt moved its lead to 20 for the first time, 51-31, early in the fourth quarter following a layup by Shamir Moseley, who was in a stretch of six straight points on his way to 10 for the night.
McDevitt’s Robert Smith led all scorers with 16. Brayden Eck’s 10 paced Kutztown, with teammate Matt Angstadt chipping in nine.
PIAA 3A boys
Bishop McDevitt 59, Kutztown 42
McDevitt – 13 18 12 16 — 59
Kutztown – 6 8 14 14 — 42
D Williams 1 0-0 2, Harris 2 0-0 5, Smith 6 2-4 16, Manigo 3 0-0 6, A Williams 2 0-0 4, Gardner 1 2-2 4, Willougby 1 0-0 3, Mosley 5 0-0 10, Thompson 3 0-0 9, Boone 0 0-2 0, Greenberg 0 0-2 0. Totals: 24 4-10 59.
3-pointers: 7 (Thompson 3, Smith 2, Harris, Willoughby)
Eck 3 2-2 10, I Fegely 1 0-0 2, Fenerty 1 2-4 4, Jean-Baptiste 1 5-6 8, Angstadt 3 2-2 9, D Fegely 3 0-2 6, Floyd 1 1-2 3. Totals: 13 12-18 42.
3-pointers: 4 (Eck 2, Jean-Baptiste, Angstadt)