Jenkintown knocks off top-seeded Phil-Mont Christian in District 1-A semis

WHITEMARSH — For the Jenkintown boys basketball team, Wednesday night was two games in the making. Saturday, it will be 24 years.

After losing the first two contest to Phil-Mont Christian this season, the Drakes defeated the Falcons at the most important time.

The 61-58 win in the District 1-A semifinals sends them into the championship game, back at Plymouth Whitemarsh noon Saturday, where they plays Delco Christian. They will be going for Jenkintown’s first district title since 1991.

“That is the greatest win in 25 years,’ Drakes coach Wes Emme said. “Phil-Mont has some talented players. All you hear about is cliches like survive and advance, take care of the ball, it is hard to beat a team three times and tonight they all came true.’

The win wraps up a 21-7 season for the Falcons, who fall short of their ultimate goal. They fell behind early and the Drakes’ foul shooting did them in. Jenkintown (12-12) shot 26-32 from the foul line to close out the historic win — which clinched also clinched a state berth. Junior 1,000-point scorer Colin Mulvaney led the way with 25 points despite picking up his fourth foul in the third quarter.

“We took a new free-throw style this year,’ Emme said. “We adopted UConn’s free-throw style. We only shoot for a minute, just step to the line and shoot. It’s muscle memory. We finished the game.’

While Mulvaney was on the bench the Falcons made their run. Led by their own 1,000 point scorer, 6-foot-7 Sean Griffin, the Falcons found a way to tie the game with five minutes remaining in the contest. Griffin had 25 points, but could not rescue his team from a difficult defensive night.

“I feel disappointed in myself and as a team,’ Griffin said. “When you play a team three times, they figured out what we were doing. They collapsed on me and tonight I just did not do enough.’

The Drakes continued to drive right at Griffin to get to the foul line. They also nailed five three-pointers when the Falcons collapsed too quickly. On the other end, the Falcons were dared to drain three-balls and long-range jumpers and were not as successful as they typical are.

“They are well coached and executed with precision.’ Falcons coach Glenn Dolton said. “Their drives hurt us. We were waiting for somebody to do that to us all season. We did not get as many transition scores as we normally would. It was a big year, but there is still stuff we can clean up.’

While Mulvaney sat on the bench, it was the rest of the Drakes that did enough to make the top seeds go down and force a final between them — the fifth seed — and No. 3 seed Knights, who beat Christopher Dock 52-20 in double overtime in the first game of the doubleheader at Wednesday. Frank Sobolewski and Jameson Kolb both hit big shots and big heart led to a place where no boys team from Jenkintown has gone in a while.

“A lot of it had to do with how mentally tough they were,’ Emme said. “Frank was 7-of-8 in the fourth quarter and that is mental toughness. I challenged him a lot. He executed down the stretch and he was big. It is the first time we advanced this far in a long time.’

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