READING >> Four days after earning their first PIAA tournament win in program history, Bonner & Prendergast’s boys revealed themselves as viable state contenders via a 93-73 victory over William Penn York in the second round of the PIAA Class 5A tournament Tuesday night at the Geigle Complex.
With the victory, the District 12 champions (24-4) now will face District 11 champs Allentown Central Catholic (25-4) in the state quarterfinals Friday. Allentown CC edged Dallas, the second seed from District 2, 61-59, in double overtime Tuesday.
Against William Penn, the Friars relied on a red-hot second quarter to make the difference, outscoring their opponent 25-10. Speaking of scoring, Bonner & Prendie’s 6-foot-3 junior guard Isaiah Wong followed up his great performance last Friday night against New Oxford (22 points, 12 rebounds, seven steals) with a 32-point effort Tuesday.
“The key in the second quarter was our defense,” Wong said. “We’d get the ball back on fast breaks, and I kept dumping it off to Ajiri (Johnson).”
Johnson tallied 26 points Tuesday night, punctuated by several emphatic dunks that electrified the crowd.
The Friars enjoyed a sizable height advantage against William Penn York, the No. 2 seed in District 3, led by Johnson and 6-foot-9 junior Tariq Ingraham, and Bonner outrebounded the Bearcats 43-27.
“Our bigs are the best big men in Philly,” Wong said. “Other teams don’t have bigs like us.”
While William Penn York (17-10) didn’t have great size, it did feature a sharpshooter in 6-foot-1 senior guard Kyree Generett, who finished with 35 points. Generett’s treys in the first quarter helped to give the Bearcats a 17-15 lead at the end of the first quarter.
Wong’s coast-to-coast drive early in the second quarter gave Bonner a 21-19 lead, and the Friars were on top the rest of the way. They increased their margin in the second quarter thanks to Ingraham and Johnson getting underneath for scores.
“York was playing a man-to-man defense, and I was scoring on it,” Wong said. “Then they switched to more of a help defense in the second quarter, and I started dumping it off to Ajiri.”
PHOTO GALLERY: William Penn vs. Bonner & Prendergast
“I think I’ve seen only one game this year when (Wong) hasn’t scored about 20 points,” Johnson countered. “He’s always the 20-point guy for us, but tonight he did a good job looking for us.”
By halftime, Bonner had a 40-27 lead and a 22-10 advantage in rebounding. The Friars also had a huge advantage in fouls, taking 32 more free throws than William Penn York.
“York was trying to get us in foul trouble, but we focused on making those tough twos, and managed to stay out of trouble,” said Johnson.
The third quarter was a fast-paced, back-and-forth affair in which both teams combined for 58 points.
“It seemed like everyone was scoring,” said Wong. “I think we all were hyped up tonight for this game.”
While York’s outside shooting was an occasional thorn in the side of Bonner (Generett finished with six treys), the Bearcats held only a 7-3 edge in the 3-point department.
In the final few minutes of the third quarter, the Friars put on a bit of dunking exhibition, with Johnson going up twice and Ingraham once. Johnson’s tip-in in the final minutes of the third period gave the Friars a rousing 21-point lead.
“The community is really getting behind us,” Johnson said. “The community loves it; they’re going crazy about it.”