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Plymouth Whitemarsh survives 2OT classic with Bonner & Prendergast

Plymouth Whitemarsh's Ahmad Williams lays up a shot past Bonner & Prendergast's Tariq Ingraham during their game on Friday, Dec. 29, 2017. (Bob Raines/Digital First Media)

PHILADELPHIA >> Alan Glover connected on his fly route pass to Ish Horn and could finally relax.

As Horn rose and dunked on the other end, putting Plymouth Whitemarsh up four points with 12 seconds left, the Colonials’ stiffest test of the season was nearly over. It had pushed them, taken everything they had and challenged them, but the Colonials endured it.

When the last buzzer finally sounded, a couple PW players put their hands in the air. Somehow, they had survived a 64-60 double overtime victory against Bonner & Prendergast at the Pete and Jameer Nelson Classic Friday night on the campus of Jefferson University.

“It feels good that we secured the win but it feels great that we know we can win a close game like that,” PW senior guard Ahmad Williams said. “That was a double overtime war and I’m just happy for my guys.”

Plymouth Whitemarsh led 35-25 with 6:03 left in the third quarter but would soon realize the Friars were only getting started. A team that sees itself as a contender in the Philadelphia Catholic League and wanting to take a trip to the Palestra in February and the state tournament soon after, this was the type of game Bonner & Prendergast needed.

Bonner & Prendergast’s Isaiah Wong goes up for a shot over Plymouth Whitemarsh’s Alan Glover during their game on Friday, Dec. 29, 2017. (Bob Raines/Digital First Media)

Playing PW is tough, with the Colonials bulldog mentality on defense meant to grind down the opposition’s will. The Friars just gave some of it back, using an effective half-court trap defense to slow down the Colonials in the third quarter and let guard Isaiah Wong lead the charge back into the game.

Wong led all scorers with 18 points, scoring five in the third and eight in a wild, back-and-forth fourth quarter as the teams kept trading blows trying to decide a winner.

“The effort was great and that’s the type of game you have to win in our league if you want to get to the Palestra and win a championship, that’s the type of team we’re going to be playing almost every night,” Friars coach Jack Concannon said. “It was a good experience for our kids. We learn from it, our December is over, it’s all about January and February so we learn from it and move on from it.”

While he would have taken a win, Concannon was very happy with the fight and effort his team showed.

“Sometimes you can learn more from a loss than you can from a win,” Concannon said. “We have to get better, but we’ll get better as we go along.”

Tariq Ingraham sent the game to overtime with a buzzer-beating bank shot off an inbound play given to the Friars by a PW turnover. The last few minutes of regulation and the ensuing eight minutes of overtime were by no means a work of art, but a game that would be decided by hustle, grit and whichever team caught a few more favorable bounces.

Plymouth Whitemarsh’s Ish Horn tries to steal the ball as Bonner & Prendergast’s Isaiah Wong drives for the basket during their game on Friday, Dec. 29, 2017. (Bob Raines/Digital First Media)

It was a perfect setting for Glover, a 6-foot-4 senior forward who continued to hurl himself around the Jefferson University floor, forcing a couple of pivotal late tie-ups.

“I feel like it shouldn’t have gotten that far in the first place,” Glover said. “There were a lot of miscommunications and a lot of turnovers on offense that led to double overtime. We had to get together and communicate. It takes the desire to win.”

Colonials coach Jim Donofrio set up his team’s December schedule to emulate a playoff run and to that end, stacked it with  heavy hitters from the PCL like Archbishop Carroll and Archbishop Wood earlier in the month and Neumann-Goretti waiting on Sunday. It was a challenge he felt his team could handle, but also admitted the Colonials could have played great and easily come out of it 4-4 or 3-5.

Friday, he saw a team that’s done well to get to 7-0, but also has quite a lot of room left to go.

“We just believe we should win basketball games and that’s an important trait,” Donofrio said. “At the end of the fourth and the two overtimes, we were just really bad with the basketball. A lot of it was shooting ourselves in the foot. We probably had eight plays that go in the Hall of Fame for not smart plays.”

The list of ways PW found to give the ball up was a little over the top, with two players grabbing the same rebound and getting called for a walk, a double dribble, committing three offensive fouls, twice rebounding and outlet passing right back to the Friars (7-2).

“It’s almost the Keystone Kops,” Donofrio said. “The piano music’s playing in the backround, we make the video go real fast and it looks kind of funny.”

Bonner & Prendergast’s Tariq Ingraham tries to turn for the basket against Plymouth Whitemarsh’s Naheem McLeod during their game on Friday, Dec. 29, 2017. (Bob Raines/Digital First Media)

After guard Horn put the Colonials up two in the first overtime, Ingraham again came up clutch for the Friars. It wasn’t a buzzer-beater, but the forward kept battling and dropped in the shot with 8.7 left to send it to double OT after a PW look didn’t go.

Having twice seen leads erased to extend the game, the Colonials didn’t let it deter them.

“Even when we were down, my brother (Ahmin) had a missed layup, I wanted to yell at him but I just threw the ball away twice myself when I didn’t have to,” Williams said. “It’s the saying, when you point a finger, there’s six pointing back.

“It’s like a new game, you get a fresh new start and whatever you did in the previous quarters doesn’t matter. As long as you have a chance to win the game and bounce the ball, you should be fine.”

Donofrio felt the difference in the game was his team’s ability to continue scoring throughout the two overtime periods. After Tyrese Watson tied it 58-58 at the foul line, the Colonials finally opened up what amounted to breathing room when Ahmin Williams found Horn for a hoops, got a stop and Glover set up Naheem McLeod for a score and 62-58 lead.

Plymouth Whitemarsh’s Ish Horn gets fouled by Bonner & Prendergast’s Tariq Ingraham during their game on Friday, Dec. 29, 2017. (Bob Raines/Digital First Media)

Watson hit two more free throws with 14 seconds left with the Friars calling timeout after. In the break, the Colonials drew up a play they wanted to ice the game with.

“The inbound pass I threw, I knew if I hit him and he made it, it was over,” Glover said. “It was a big moment of relief right there. We drew that up in the timeout.”

PW is back in action Sunday, when it faces Neumann-Goretti at 1 p.m. at Chestnut Hill College.

“We feel tested,” Williams said. “This was the real challenging one, going double overtime. We showed we have the character to win.

“We have a lot of room to improve and they best thing about it is January hasn’t even come yet. When January comes, we’re going to be a different team. This schedule is helping us for January, February and March.”

PLYMOUTH WHITEMARSH 64, BONNER & PRENDERGAST 60
PLYMOUTH WHITEMARSH 15 14 8 13 6 8 – 64
BONNER & PRENDERGAST 9 16 9 16 6 4 – 60
Plymouth Whitemarsh: Ahmad Williams 7 1-2 15, Ish Horn 5 3-7 14, Naheem McLeod 6 0-1 12, Ahmin Williams 3 2-5 8, Alan Glover 3 2-2 8, Danny Cooper 2 0-0 5, Jason Cherry 1 0-0 2. Totals: 27 8-17 64.
Bonner & Prendergast: Tyreese Watson 2 4-6 9, Donovan Rodriguez 2 0-0 4, Ajiri Johnson 4 2-5 10, Isaiah Wong 7 2-4 18, Tariq Ingraham 7 1-6 15, Mahir Sharif 1 2-2 4. Totals: 23 11-23 60.
3-pointers: PW Horn, Cooper; BP – Wong 2, Watson.

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