King turns tables on Plymouth Whitemarsh

WEST NORRITON — For four months now, the Plymouth Whitemarsh Colonials have been cutting, driving, shooting and all-around dominating as they’ve navigated through their best season in about half of a decade.

Saturday afternoon at Norristown High School though, they got away from everything that made them great, and Martin Luther King made them pay in their season-ending 59-43 loss at the hands of the Cougars.

“We’re used to doing to people what they did to us,’ PW coach Jim Donofrio said. “… it’s hard to say to your guys to change who we are.’

They hit just eight buckets in the first three quarters (they had nearly three times that amount after three frames against Pennridge Wednesday), leading to an uncharacteristically low 27-point output through three. Martin Luther King held a 15-point lead at that point, and most of the gym knew that the game was likely finished.

“We came out in the third and got completely away from what let us (tie the game at 20-20 after a 17-4 deficit),’ Donofrio said. “On paper, they’re the better team. They’re bigger, they’re faster … and we were going to have to be 60 percent from the field.’

PW might have needed to triple their shooting percentage to reach that mark. The Colonials didn’t hit a single three — despite numerous attempts — in what was a seriously difficult shooting display. Long-range sniper Jimmy Murray was handcuffed throughout, and only made one from the field on his way to a four-point outing.

MLK’s defense had something to do with it — the swarming Cougars attacked the ball and clogged the lane, keeping a clearly rattled Xzavier Malone (the former Cougar was a target of the King student section from the get-go) from doing what he does best and holding him to 11 incredibly battled-for points.

Instead, Malone, Murray, and co. settled for a spattering of long, step-back, contested two pointers that ended possessions early and let King keep control of the tempo.

The ball-handling was sloppy too — the rock slipped around PW’s hands, leading to numerous turnovers throughout.

“For Xzavier to deal with his former team and try to handle that correctly, he’s doing the best he can,’ Donofrio said. “But in the end, (MLK) has big, quick, strong guards who have been here a year ago and have a hunger to go further.’

It was a tough way to cap what has been a stellar season, but Donofrio is proud of what his group, particularly his stellar group of third-year starting seniors, accomplished nonetheless.

“Kids like Andre (Mitchell) and Jimmy and Cam (Johnson),’ he said, “I’ve been so lucky to have the opportunity to play with them.’

“It’s why you do it.’

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