Connect with us

Boys Basketball

Archbishop Wood brings Penncrest’s season to close

Penncrest's Malcolm Williams scored 10 points in a season-ending loss to Archbishop Wood in the second round of the PIAA Class 5A tournament Tuesday at Harriton High School.

LOWER MERION — There wasn’t much Penncrest could do.

The Lions knew they were in for a battle Tuesday night at Harriton High against District 12 champion Archbishop Wood.

The Lions also knew they had to play a flawless four quarters of basketball to have any shot at winning their PIAA Class 5A second-round playoff game.

Early on, it wasn’t looking too bad. The Lions were ahead by five points in the opening minutes and trailed by two at the beginning of the second quarter.

But Penncrest could only hang on for so long. Wood forced turnovers, popped 3-pointers and scored fast-break points during a game-changing run in the second quarter. The exclamation point was a steal and a one-handed slam dunk by Daeshon Shepherd in the last seconds of the first half.

Penncrest headed into the locker room down eight points and never recovered. Archbishop Wood ended the Lions’ season with a 61-38 victory.

Another 20-win season by coach Mike Doyle’s squad was in the books as the Lions finished with a 23-8 record. The Vikings (18-8) advance to the state quarterfinal round to play District 11 champion Pottsville.

“We knew our backs were up against the wall and we knew we had to play a better game than Villanova played in Rollie Massimino’s national championship game,” Doyle said. “That’s just an amazing team; I mean, four of those kids are going to be on ESPN. So, we gave it a shot. We tried to be patient, thought we had a solid game plan. …”

Doyle stopped mid-sentence and collected his thoughts. He opined about the Catholic League’s ability to recruit future Division I stars such as sophomore forward Daeshon Shepherd and sophomore guard Rahsool Diggins, who were the team’s star playmakers Tuesday, and the PIAA’s unwillingness to make any serious changes that will impact the way non-boundary schools recruit players.

“It’s insane that we’re playing them,” Doyle said. “My thing is, where else do we set our kids up to fail like that in education? It’s just bizarre that we have to play that team. (Archbishop Wood’s) John Mosco is an amazing coach, an amazing person, an amazing program but we have no business playing them.”

Simply put, Wood is on another level than Penncrest, which had embraced the underdog role before the game.

“We always come in feeling like we’re the underdogs,” junior guard Marquis Tomlin said. “We knew we had to match their energy, so we came out and played really hard. They started to make shots and the game was high flying. In the beginning we tried to slow them down and control the clock … but they’re hard to slow down. That was the hardest task.”

Doyle was proud of the way his team responded and battled all season long after losing star Tyler Norwood to graduation. Coming off back-to-back District 1 championships, the Lions had to re-establish themselves as an elite team in Class 5A. They did just that thanks to players such as Williams, who scored 10 points Tuesday, and junior guard Marquis Tomlin, who netted nine of his team-high 12 points in the fourth quarter.

“I was just saying to the guys that I’m proud of them, I’m proud of the program and proud of the effort they put in,” Doyle said. “They have nothing to hang their heads about.”

Williams flourished this season as an all-purpose threat on the floor.

“These past three years, all 20-win seasons, and people kept telling us that without Tyler Norwood that we won’t do this or do that. But we did,” Williams said. “Coming into the season, as seniors, we had the mentality that we didn’t need Tyler to be successful.”

The Lions didn’t exit the gymnasium believing they didn’t give it their best shot. Unfortunately, the shots just didn’t fall for the Lions, especially in the middle two periods when Wood outscored them, 31-12. Penncrest shot 13-for-37 from floor (35.1 percent), including 5-for-9 from 3-point range. Wood was 22-for-53 (41.5 percent), but did most of its damage running the floor and capitalizing on Penncrest turnovers.

“I kept telling myself that we’re underdogs because they’re an all-star team, basically,” Williams said. “We watched the Holy Ghost Prep game (in the first round) and they were sticking with them, so Coach Doyle was saying that we can do this, we just need to believe in ourselves. We just couldn’t keep it going all four quarters.”

Shepherd and Diggins each scored a game-high 17 points for the Vikings. They hooked up on a spectacular alley-oop in the third quarter, with Diggins feeding an airborne Shepherd for the dunk.

Senior guard Dylan Bittle had five points and senior forward Matt Arbogast added three points and five boards for the Lions. Senior guard Isaiah Rich chipped in with two points, five rebounds and two assists.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

20 + 18 =


More in Boys Basketball