BENSALEM >> Archbishop Wood was in the driver’s seat all game during its 65-43 Philadelphia Catholic League quarterfinal win over Bonner-Prendergast Friday night at Bensalem High School.
But it wasn’t until the fourth quarter that the top-seeded Vikings pulled away to a comfortable win.
It started with center Seth Pinkney. The 6-foot-11 junior started the fourth by scoring Wood’s first six points — all on vicious dunks — to maintain a 10-point advantage.
“It swings the momentum,” Pinkney said. “It gets the crowd excited, it gets the bench excited and it gets me excited. Just keep going for more. It gets the coaches excited too.”
The No. 8 seeded Friars cut the deficit to eight points a few times in the final quarter, but their chances went out the window when junior Ajiri Johnson fouled out with 5:29 left in the game.
Wood senior Collin Gillespie scored 11 points in the fourth on driving layups and 5-for-5 free-throw shooting to help build the lead up to 25 at one point.
“We were able to get the floor spread and Collin was able to get by his guy and he’s so unselfish like the rest of our team,” Wood coach John Mosco said.
Johnson was in foul trouble all game. He picked up his third personal with 3:49 left in the first half with Bonner trailing, 20-17. The Friars got within two a couple possessions later, 22-20, but the Vikings finished the half on a 9-0 run to head into the locker room with an 11-point lead, 31-20.
“Once (Johnson) got in foul trouble — he got three early in the second quarter — it’s hard for us,” Bonner coach Jack Concannon said. “We struggle to score as it is. (Wood is) just too big and strong without him in the game. It was definitely an uphill battle. Then he got his fourth early in the third quarter. It’s a struggle for us when he’s not on the court, no doubt.”
The Friars trailed by eight for most of the second half with chances to get closer in the fourth quarter, but without their leading scorer on the floor they were no match for the best team in the PCL’s regular season.
“I thought we competed,” Concannon said. “That’s what I told the kids — it’s all about the fight to me. What the scoreboard says is what it says. We played hard and I think we had it to eight in the fourth quarter with an open three to cut it to five. When you play a team like that you have to match them almost shot for shot — it’s hard to do. They’re so explosive.”
Gillespie — a Villanova commit — scored a game-high 21 points for Wood and Pinkney joined him in double figures with 10.
Johnson led Bonner & Prendie with 16 points and senior Christian Lane added 10.
The loss brings Bonner & Prendie’s season to an end.
“I thought we had a successful season,” Concannon said. “If you look at the teams we lost to, we lost to some really high-level teams. Some of the teams we beat in the nonleague and the league, we beat some high-level teams. All-in-all, I thought it was a successful year. I’m happy for the kids.”