DiGIOVANNI: Great Valley, Bishop Shanahan hope to meet in 5A final

Both Great Valley and Bishop Shanahan will meet tough — but familiar — opponents Wednesday night, under the bright lights of Temple’s Liacouras Center in the District 1 Class 5A semifinals.

Both are seeking a spot in Saturday’s final at Villanova, and if the chips fall in the right way, we could see an all-Ches-Mont final.

Great Valley opens the night against Penncrest at 6 p.m., followed by Shanahan’s date with Upper Merion at 7:30.

Patriot coach Paul Girone says his team is ready for the Lions.

“We have scrimmaged Penncrest in the preseason the last three years, and what strikes you first is how good a coach Mike Doyle is,” Girone said. “His kids are well disciplined on the offensive end. Their execution is usually impeccable. In my mind, you can always tell good coaching by the way a team plays defense and Penncrest plays great help defense. Penncrest is not a big team but they are tenacious on the boards.

“Trying to contain Tyler Norwood, one of the best shooters and players in the area will be key,” Girone said. “Penncrest is not where they are solely because of him, they have a cast of solid basketball players that play as a team.”

Norwood is a 1,000-point scorer in his junior season and the Lions’ offense revolves around him as he averages 16.5 points per game. Great Valley will have to play its halfcourt game and not let Penncrest speed up the game and play at a high tempo. Great Valley will have to loosen up the Lions’ zone defense with some 3-point shooting from Liam Ward and Alex Capitano. Great Valley will slow the game down and if the Patriots play their usual tough defense they will come out on top.

The Pick >> Great Valley 46, Penncrest 43.


In the nightcap, Bishop Shanahan takes on an Upper Merion team that upset Chester on its home floor in the quarterfinal round, and that is not an easy task. It was only the Clippers’ second home loss in district play in school history. The Vikings are fueled by a strong and big front line, led by Holy Cross recruit Matt Faw. The 6-foot-7 senior just returned from a foot injury and he was key for Upper Merion in the win over Chester.

Bishop Shanahan coach Ken Doyle is well ware of howe good the Vikings are.

“Upper Merion beat us the last two years so we know them pretty well,” Doyle said after the Eagles’ win over West Chester Rustin in the quarterfinals. “They have a very good front line and Faw is an excellent player. We are going to have to do the job on the boards against them.”

Faw will be the best player on the floor but the Eagles guards — David Angelo, who has 59 three-pointers; Joe O’Malley, who is a 3-point threat himself; and Brendan Dearing, who had 10 points in the win against Rustin — will be enough to combat the Upper Merion front line.

The Pick >> Bishop Shanahan 57, Upper Merion 52.

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