Plymouth Whitemarsh enters District 1 playoffs with 49-game home winning streak

Plymouth Whitemarsh expects to be playing at a new, state of the art gym next season at the high school.

It’s going to be tough to say goodbye to Colonial Gym at Colonial Elementary School.

Located behind the high school, fans enter the elementary school and are greeted by a 7-foot-2 cutout of junior center Naheem McLeod. Programs are available with lineups for the night’s game and all the historic Plymouth Whitemarsh boys basketball information you can handle. “PW Pete” announces from the scorers table on the far side of the gym and the Plymouth Whitemarsh bench is directly to his left. Across from them is the student section.

No player on the roster has ever lost a varsity game at Colonial Gym.

The Colonials (24-0) are on a 49-game home winning streak heading into the District 1 Class-6A playoffs, where they have a first round bye as the No. 1 seed and will face the winner of No. 16 Bensalem and No. 17 Pennsbury Tuesday.

“This is a tough place to play,” head coach Jim Donofrio said. “I like it because all the newer gyms — we’re getting a new one next year — all the newer gyms they have that nice seating with the wide rows and it’s backed off 12 feet. I like this. The paint on the rows disappeared and people are right on top of you. When we’re going good … if your home can become a house of horrors, good. We’re very proud of high-level success, high level of winning. I never take it for granted.”

“From sophomore year, to junior year, we don’t want to lose at home,” senior Ahmin Williams, who joined Plymouth Whitemarsh as a sophomore and immediately made an impact, said, “especially with our amazing crowd. Every time we step on the floor we want give it our all, press 90 feet. It’s just a feeling about PW. That feeling makes you want to play harder. We don’t lose at the crib. We don’t lose at home.”

The second-round district game will be for 50 straight home wins. If all goes according to plan, the Suburban One League American Conference and Suburban One League Tournament champions will close out Colonial Gym with 51 straight wins and head to the district semifinals at Temple University for the fourth straight season.

The last time they lost at home was a 52-47 defeat to Wissahickon in the district playbacks on Feb. 21 2014. Since, they’ve gone 9-0 at home in the postseason — 3-0 in 2015, 2016 and 2017.

In the regular season this year, PW hasn’t even played a close game at home, averaging a 31.4-point margin of victory. The closest game at Colonial Gym was a 20-point win over Wissahickon — a school that went 16-6 and is the fourth seed in District 1 Class-5A — on Jan. 23.

“I like when you get on those streaks,” Donofrio said. “I actually don’t think we played a great game here all season. I think a lot of it has to do with this was a really disjointed kind of schedule. It was a lot of those neutral site games in December (wins over Archbishop Carroll, Archbishop Wood and Bonner-Prendergast) and the big-name teams we played it was either a Tuesday night or they were too far spread apart. I just think we’ve played relaxed here.”

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