Colzie, Plymouth Whitemarsh pour it on in 2nd half, take down North Penn in SOL semifinals

WHITEMARSH >> Jaden Colzie finds his coach, Jim Donofrio, to be hilarious and could listen to the veteran Plymouth Whitemarsh boss tell any of his stories at any time.

Saturday afternoon, it was no laughing matter as Donofrio addressed Colzie and several of his top-seeded Colonials teammates in his classroom ahead of their Suburban One League tournament semifinal game against No. 5 North Penn. In the previous two games, narrow wins over Wissahickon to close the regular season and No. 8 Neshaminy in the SOL tournament first round, Donofrio had seen a lack of heart from his guys.

Colzie is the first to say that’s not acceptable in PW’s program, so he went out and got things turned around after halftime as the Colonials buried the Knights in a barrage to take a 75-57 win and advance to the SOL title game.

“We decided to play with very little heart our last two games, so we had to have a conversation,” Donofrio said.

Colzie, who is as upbeat as they come, said it was a tough talk but definitely one he and his teammates needed. A timeout early in the third quarter with the game tied 30-30 helped reinforce that earlier discussion and it was a tipping point for the Colonials, who closed the quarter on a 27-9 run with the talented junior point guard leading the way with 13 points on a perfect 5-of-5 effort from the floor during the run.

Three Colonials players — Colzie, Qudire Bennett and Lincoln Sharpe — were perfect from the floor in the quarter while Chase Coleman added four points and three steals that turned the run into an avalanche. The genesis wasn’t Bennett’s bucket out of the timeout or the back-to-back and-one layups Colzie created, but a frank talk a few hours prior in an otherwise empty building.

“He brought the main six to his classroom at like, 2:30, and he gave us hell,” Colzie said. “It was crazy. He was saying we were playing lazy, we weren’t getting back on defense and all of it was facts. I won’t even lie. The past two games, we weren’t playing as hard as we’ve been all season and I feel like, that, anger he gave to us – he could have been way worse – I think it was an example of, we needed that.

“It’s the energy part. We needed energy and we weren’t playing with fire. That’s all he cares about.”

Scoring 27 points in six minutes of a high school game is not an easy task, especially when it comes against a team like North Penn that had been keeping pace with the Colonials the entire first half. So, the PW point guard noted the other end of the floor as the offensive catalyst.

It didn’t hurt that the rim probably looked like a hula-hoop for him and his teammates the entire quarter. At one point, Colzie came off a baseline curl and caught a pass at the three-point line in front of PW’s student section with someone immediately yelling “shoot it!”

Of course, he did and of course, it went in.

“It was our defense, really,” Colzie said. “We were all fired up. We have a bunch of defenses that affected how we played on offense and I think I got some easy runouts, some threes, it got me in an easy rhythm.”

The third quarter came undone for North Penn but the Knights had a strong first half thanks to a spark off the bench from Corey Meade. Meade finished the game with 15 points, two blocks and two steals and his energy at times still looking like Donofrio’s message had yet to sink in as he gashed the Colonials for a couple late first half hoops.

Ryan Deininger led the Knights with 17 points, North Penn now turning its attention to the District 1-6A playoffs following their likely first-round bye.

Colzie didn’t just get it done with his scoring either. The guard doled out six assists, a few going to Bennett for part of his team-high 23 points, one found Jahseir Sayles for a three that beat the halftime horn and gave PW a 28-26 and perhaps the best was a third-quarter dime to Sharpe that got the big man an and-one of his own.

That pass, when mentioned, prompted a beaming Colzie to shout out to assistant coach Chuck Moore sitting nearby in the coaches’ office.

“Hey Chuck, you loved that pass to Lincoln, didn’t you?”

Moore couldn’t help but reply, “I did. I was very impressed.”

“This tournament, in general, is great prep for what we’ll have going on in districts,” Colzie said. “We’re going to see all these teams in the next few weeks or so, all the main guys, we’re getting more reps in.

“I’m really happy we’re in the ‘chip, I just want to win. I want win every ‘chip we can get.”

Plymouth Whitemarsh 75, North Penn 57
Plymouth Whitemarsh 16 12 29 18 — 75
North Penn 12 14 13 19 — 57
Plymouth Whitemarsh: Jaden Colzie 7 4-6 19, Mani Sajid 1 0-0 3, Qudire Bennett 9 1-2 23, Jahseir Sayles 1 0-0 3, Lincoln Sharpe 3 1-1 7, Chase Coleman 9 0-1 18, Ben Marscio 1 0-0 2. Totals: 31 6-10 75.
North Penn: Mario Sgro 1 0-0 3, Norman Gee 0 4-4 4, Teddy McAllister 1 0-1 2, Ryan Zeltt 2 0-0 5, Ryan Deininger 7 2-2 17, Corey Meade 6 3-6 15, Nicholas Hoffman 0 2-2 2, Lee Hammond 0 2-2 2, Ahmaar Godhania 2 0-0 5, Luke Cody 1 0-0 2. Totals: 20 13-17 57.
3-pointers: PW – Bennett 4, Colzie, Sajid, Sayles; NP – Sgro, Zeltt, Deininger, Godhania.

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