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Carroll’s double-overtime shot helps Penncrest move on

Penncrest's Aidan Carroll, right, shoots in the third quarter of the Central League final as Lower Merion's Steve Payne defends. (Pete Bannan/Digital First Media)

MIDDLETOWN — The Penncrest coaches and fans will be talking for a long time about the shot Aidan Carroll made against West Chester Rustin in the second overtime period of the District 1 Class 5A boys basketball quarterfinals at Kaufman Gymnasium Saturday night.

Carroll made the first shot he attempted in the game, then didn’t connect again until 1:56 remained in the second extra period. The 3-pointer put the two-time defending district champion Lions ahead to stay as Penncrest prevailed, 58-49, and earned a semifinal matchup with No. 1 West Chester East at Norristown High Wednesday night.

“Things kind of just happened,” Carroll said. “I try to get to open spaces and be confident and keep shooting. They came back on us, but everybody had to stick with the game plan and stay confident.”

Penncrest (20-6) took an eight-point lead into the fourth period before freshman IV Pettit, who shared scoring honors with senior Jake Nelson for the Knights (16-8) with 14 points, came up with eight points to get his team even at the end of regulation. Two free throws by the Lions’ Isaiah Rice with 1:00 on the clock were the last points scored before overtime.

Taj Asparagus (eight points, six rebounds, two assists, two steals) came up with four points for Rustin while Malcolm Williams (27 points) had three of Penncrest’s four points in the first overtime period.

Rustin’s Griff Barrouk, who made two 3-point attempts in the second half, hit for two points 45 seconds into overtime No. 2. Each team then missed from the floor before Carroll drilled his corner attempt to put the home team ahead by one. Williams was 4-for-4 at the foul line, and Marquis Tomlin scored his only three points as Penncrest closed out its 10th consecutive district playoff victory.

Winning coach Mike Doyle has seen these things over his years in basketball.

“(Jefferson University coach and shooting guru) Herb Magee always says that shooters have to shoot,” Doyle said. “And (Carroll) has that shooter’s mentality. And what a great atmosphere we had in here tonight. We had grads coming back to watch us play. And did you see all those kids from Media Youth Center and the CYO programs cheering for us? They’ll be the ones playing on this court before long.”

Before those young players become Lions, the 2019 Lions will be in action against West Chester East in a district semifinal match Wednesday. East is coached by Tom Durant, a member of the Penncrest faculty who has coached boys and girls teams at the school.

“That will be interesting,” Williams said. “Tonight we played a really physical team. And when they came back on us, it was all heart that brought us back. I’ve seen (Carroll) make shots like that before. I know some of the turnovers I had weren’t good. My game has to be to defend and score.”

Rustin coach Keith Cochran used only seven players in the long contest and lost two to foul outs during overtime.

“I’m proud of the effort they gave,” said Cochran, whose team will host Penn Wood Wednesday for a play-back game. “We’ll get back to work at practice Monday, and our seniors will have another chance to play at home. The ball just bounced the wrong way for us here tonight.”

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