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Goals met as Bonner-Prendie rolls in PIAA Class 4A opener

Bonner-Prendie's Tyreese Watson, seen against Roman Catholic in January, scored 18 points in a states-opening win over Eastern York Friday. (Pete Bannan/MediaNews Group)

PHILADELPHIA — The Monsignor Bonner-Archbishop Prendergast boys basketball team had two goals as it made the trip to St. Joseph’s Preparatory School’s Kelly Gymnasium Friday afternoon.

“The coaches wanted us to play our game and do what we know how to do,” senior Tyreese Watson said. “And we know that this is our head coach’s gym, so we couldn’t leave here without a win for him.”

Friars head coach Kevin Funston played at The Prep under the legendary head coach Speedy Morris then coached under Paul Romanczuk at Archbishop Carroll. He had to be happy after his team, the District 12 champion, rolled to a 78-40 victory over District 3’s fifth-place team, Eastern York in the opening round of the PIAA Class 4A tournament.

With the win, MBAP (19-5), which placed second in the 2019 PIAA tourney, qualified for a second-round match with District 2 runner-up Valley View (18-8), a 70-58 winner over District 4’s third-place team, Athens, Friday night.

“I have so many good memories of being in this place,” Funston said off Kelly Gymnasium.

Add Friday’s game to his list. Bonner-Prendergast shot only 4-for-14 from the floor in the opening period but closed the quarter with an 8-0 run to go up, 14-8.

“We haven’t played many games lately and I think that showed the way we started,” Funston said. “We read what we could about that team on-line, and then we just put things together to get ready for this game.”

The Friars came up with 11 of the first 14 points of the second period, forced the Knights into 1-for-6 shooting from the floor and nine turnovers in those eight minutes, and went into the halftime break with a 23-point lead.

Watson got all but two of his game-high 18 points in the opening half, hitting four of his seven field-goal attempts and going 8-for-8 at the foul line.

“We know how everything we do is set up by our defense,” Watson said.

Donovan Rodriguez had seven points at the break and boosted his total to 14 with seven more in the third period. He made his first nine foul shots before mixing in a miss.

The Friars’ bench enjoyed playing time throughout the final period, and each of the five players who came in after the team’s first six got their minutes scored during the last quarter. Gestin Liberis, who was scoreless at halftime, was 4-for-4 from the floor and knocked down three free throws for his 11 points while Mandon Seapoe scored six points and made a pair of steals in the second half.

“We love seeing those other guys doing that out there,” Watson, who paced the Friars with seven rebounds and three assists, said. “Even if they’re not making their shots, it’s fun seeing them doing things when they get the chance to play.”

Funston knew his starters would get their rest after halftime.

“We knew we wouldn’t have to take many threes then,” he said. “We have a senior-led team and they came here and got the job done tonight.”

Trevor Seitz was the high scorer for Eastern York with 15 points.

Watson smiled when he was asked if he and his teammates would get some rest this weekend.

“We’ve got practice 8:30 (Saturday) morning,” he said. “No days off.”



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