Woods’ 36 helps Pennsbury topple CB South in District 1 opener

FAIRLESS HILLS — Central Bucks South came up with a way to slow down Cameron Jones. The Titans even managed to contain Mekhi Bryant, and together, Pennsbury’s top guard duo put together a combined four points in the first period of their opening round District I Class AAAA playoff tilt with the Titans.

What, or rather, who, CB South has no way of solving was Derrick Woods. Time after time, Woods found the basket, and his big but quick 6-8 frame was simply too much for the Titans to handle. The 6-8 senior center, who is headed to play at St. Bonaventure next season, wound up dropping a game-high 36 points. That proved to be more than enough for Pennsbury to pull away to a 70-53 win Feb. 13 at the Falcons’ Nest.

“They kept feeding me the ball,’ Woods said. “They knew I was on tonight.’

Indeed, this was a game in which seventh-seeded Pennsbury’s winning strategy developed quickly. Whether dunking, putting back misses, laying in open looks or burying free throws, Woods overwhelmed the CB South big men. He had 20 of the Falcons 33 first half points as the rest of the team struggled to get into an offensive rhythm. For the game, he shot 54 percent from the floor, had six dunks and made nine of his 13 free throw attempts.

There was even a long-range shot mixed into the performance. With Pennsbury up 10 points, Woods was given the ball as the first half clock ticked away. There was not enough time to go to the basket, so he opted to pull up and heave a 3-pointer. As he did, he was fouled, but the contact did not stop him from banking in the attempt as the home crowd erupted.

“I shot it and looked away. I really didn’t know it went in until I looked at the basket.’

Woods went on to hit the ensuing free throw, and the Falcons never really looked back from there.

“Unbelievable effort by Derrick,’ Pennsbury head coach Bill Coleman said.

“We knew what they were going to be doing,’ he continued, noting the Titans’ strategy of taking away Bryant and Jones. “That’s why we had the three guys.’

Woods, Bryant and Jones are all seniors who have been the foundation for the Falcons success for the past two years. How they fare in the playoffs will likely be the determining factor in how far Pennsbury ultimately goes. Last season, the Falcons reached the district championship game before losing by three points to Chester. Pennsbury recovered to win its first state playoff matchup, but saw their season end at the hands of Martin Luther King after that.

The Falcons are hoping for better results on both fronts this time around.

“We try to work on staying out of foul trouble,’ Woods said. “If we stay out of foul trouble, there’s no doubt we can go all the way, even through states.’

Jones did have four fouls by game’s end, but in the second half, finally heated up on the offensive end. After being shut out in the opening two quarters, he scored nine points in the third period before finishing with 15 points, eight of which were on free throws. Bryant, meanwhile, had eight points and gave Pennsbury the lead for the remainder of the contest early in the first quarter following a steal and easy finish at the other end. That play ignited the Falcons after a slow start, as Pennsbury picked up the intensity and pace on both ends of the floor. Eventually, its speed, along with Woods, wore down the Titans.

In the second quarter, Woods came out of the game for about one minute with a lower leg injury. In his place, sophomore Mark Flagg dropped in four points. Fellow reserve Juan Perez Jones added five points, while Joey Monaghan rounded out the scoring with two.

Defensively, Pennsbury held CB South to 28 percent shooting. Its aggressive pressure on the guards also helped force 22 turnovers, eight of which were steals.

Sean Gallagher led the way for the Titans with 13 points off the bench, while starting guard Josh Brodie added 12. The rest of the starters, however, were limited to a combined 13 points in the loss.

“Usually, we want to pressure the point guards and pressure the guard,’ Perez Jones said.

CB South, which came into the contest as the 26th seed, wrapped up its year at 12-11. The Falcons, though, improved to 20-5 and rebounded from a Suburban One League tournament final loss to Abington Feb. 10. They will now get ready to host 10th-seeded Downingtown West Feb. 17 in the district’s round of 16. Downingtown West upended Upper Dublin, 58-41, in its first-round matchup, and has four impact players including Josh Warren, Ryan Betley, Dom Guerrera and George Gordon who are at least 6-5. That said, the Falcons will have to counter a potential size disadvantage

If they do, Pennsbury will clinch a spot in the upcoming state tournament.

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