Plymouth Whitemarsh rallies past Pocono Mountain West, reaches PIAA 6A quarters
BETHLEHEM >> It’s something Ahmad Williams has done before.
The junior captain looks to inbound the ball and can’t find anyone open. He throws the ball off his defender – hard.
When he did it in the second round of the PIAA Class 6A tournament against Pocono Mountain West at Freedom High School it brought the crowd to its feet and swung the momentum to PW in what turned out to be a 66-63 win Friday night.
“I see my guys not set right and I need more time,” Williams said. “Just throw it off him to get more time and get re-set. Value the possession.”
The Colonials were trailing by five and had been behind since the game was scoreless.
The player Williams threw the ball at – 1,000-point scorer Lance Singh – fouled out two possessions later in the third quarter on a double technical with Williams.
“I kept my cool,” Williams said. “Coach and everybody told me they’re going to try box me in. Just relax, use your teammates, trust your teammates, make open shots and trust yourself. I just listened to coach’s plan.”
“You think it’s easy to crank up the energy and play that way for long stretches but it really has to be a mind set,” PW head coach Jim Donofrio said of the inbounds play. “I expect too much — I expect you to do it every play when all you really need is three or four of those moments that kind of offset a team’s rhythm.
“We have no idea how far this thing is going to go, but it’s not going to go with us laying back.”
The Colonials finished the third quarter on a 16-4 run and carried that momentum to the finish.
(1-3) PW took its first lead of the game, 52-50, when Ish Horn made two free throws late in the third quarter. He finished the third with a half-court heave to put his side up, 55-50, with eight minutes left.
Horn scored 18 of his team-high 20 points in the second half after getting sat in the first. He scored nine of PW’s 11 fourth quarter points.
“I told (Horn) you can’t play in this game — you’re not ready for this game,” Donofrio said. “That’s why I sat him down. He has a really beautiful soft side and he has a really tough side. He decided to bring the soft side. I said, ‘You can sit and watch. All the assistant coaches want you in the game, but I don’t believe you can play in this game.’ Then someone got in foul trouble and I had to put him in.”
“Wake up,” Horn said of his mentality. “If I don’t wake up, we lose. I had to wake up.
“(The half-court shot) really woke me up. After I got yelled at I made that shot. I’m like, ‘Here we go. It’s coming.’ I knew it was. After that my confidence was just up.”
Colonials’ Williams and Cheo Houston scored in double figures – adding 15 and 14, respectively.
PW faces (3-3) Reading in the quarterfinals Sunday.
Isaiah Wiggins scored a game-high 28 points for (11-1) Pocono Mountain West. Jalen Vaughn added 24 and Singh 11. All three are 1,000-point scorers and were the only players to score for the Panthers in the game.
Plymouth Whitemarsh 66, Pocono Mountain West 63
Pocono Mountain West 16 17 17 13 – 63
Plymouth Whitemarsh 8 19 28 11 – 66
Pocono Mountain West: Vaughns 10 4-10 24, Wiggins 10 5-8 28, Singh 4 3-4 11. Total 24 12-22 63.
Plymouth Whitemarsh: Horn 6 7-7 20, Breeden 1 0-0 2, Walker 2 1-2 7, Williams 6 2-5 15, Houston 6 1-3 14, Glover 3 3-4 9. Total 24 14-21 66.
Three-point goals: PMW: Wiggins 3. PW: Horn, Walker 2, Williams.
Top Photo: Plymouth Whitemarsh’s Cheo Houston passes to Naheem McLeod during the Colonials’ PIAA Class 6A second round game against Pocono Mountain West on Friday, March 17, 2017. (Bob Raines/Digital First Media)