PHOENIXVILLE >> Down in an early hole to host Phoenixville during Wednesday’s District 1-5A quarterfinal and trailing at halftime, the Bishop Shanahan boys basketball team relayed a simple message to each other when they exited the locker room before the start of the second half.
“We told ourselves at halftime as players walking out that we gotta get one stop at a time,” Shanahan senior Will O’Loughlin said.
The Eagles trailed nearly the entire three quarters, but with less than 30 seconds left they held a two-point lead, needing likely one more defensive stand to punch their ticket to the PIAA Class 5A playoffs and District 1-5A semifinals
It turns out it took one really long defensive possession as Phoenixville ended up with a trio of chances to tie the game. Still, the sixth-seeded Eagles, who didn’t score four the final four and a half minutes, hung onto that halftime message and made one stand at a time to preserve a 39-37 victory over the third-seeded Phantoms.
“That really carried us through the second half and even all the way to the end there,” O’Loughlin said. “Just one stop at a time, and we just kept doing it and doing it.”
.@BSHS_Eagles_BBB’s Zane Domsohn scored nine of his team-high 16 points in the fourth quarter as Bishop Shanahan knocked off Phoenixville in Wednesday’s District 1-5A quarterfinal. pic.twitter.com/Y9OiOXBZ1P
— Owen McCue (@Owen_McCue) February 24, 2022
Shanahan senior Zane Domsohn led the way for the Eagles (13-11), scoring nine of his team-high 16 points in the fourth to help Shanahan advance to Saturday’s District 1-5A semifinal against second-seeded Chester, a 59-50 winner of seventh-seeded Marple Newtown.
Wednesday’s win pushed Shanahan to its first district semifinal and state playoff appearance since finishing as the District 1 runner-up in 2018.
“We had a good year last year and had high hopes,” Domsohn said, alluding to the fact the Eagles were bounced early from the district tournament after most of the rotation had to sit out their second-round game due to COVID protocols. “We came out here, and played it all out, so I’m really glad we made it.”
Phoenixville senior Zavier Mayo was the only other double-figure scorer in the low-scoring affair with a game-high 19 points. He and the Phantoms (16-7) will face Marple in Saturday’s district playback, needing a victory to keep their season alive and punch their ticket to states.
They haven’t reached the state playoffs since 2009.
“This group has been truly special from the middle school all the way up,” Phoenixville coach Eric Burnett said. “They’ve stuck together. They’ve been so much fun to coach. … They knew that this was going to be their year, and they had a special year together. They’ve had a good run.
“And I know they’re the kind of kids who are going to show up to practice tomorrow and we only have three more guaranteed days together as a basketball family. I know they’re going to buy into that.”
Mayo scored 11 first-quarter points and helped the Phantoms to a 20-10 advantage by the middle of the second quarter.
The Eagles trailed the entire game until junior Ben Rodner-Tims went full-court and beat the buzzer at the end of the third to give Shanahan a 28-27 lead. Following a pair of lead changes, the two teams were tied 30-30 with about six minutes left.
That’s when Domsohn got hot, first knocking down a shot from the wing to put Shanahan up three, then banking in another from the top of the key to increase the lead to five and finally putting the Eagle up 39-33 with his third straight triple at the 4:20 mark in the fourth.
“The past two games I’ve been struggling from three, and I just needed to see one go in and one went in and then I made three in a row,” said Domsohn, who also knocked down a triple in the third quarter. “
Leaving the Eagles’ sharpshooter open certainly wasn’t part of the Phantoms’ defensive game plan.
“(Domsohn) is a good player and he got going,” Burnett said. “I think the one banked in and from there he got going, he saw the basket and I think we lost him a couple times in the zone. He’s the one shooter we had circled on the board and we lost track of him.”
The Phoenixville defense stiffened, however, not letting the Eagles score for the rest of the game. A bucket by Mayo cut lead to four and seniors Jackson Kuranda and Gabe Massenburg added a free throw apiece, to pull the Phantoms within two with 46.8 seconds left.
Domsohn had a chance to seal the game at the line but missed the front end of a one-and-one with 21.7 seconds remaining to give Phoenixville a shot to win or tie.
Shanahan forced a tough shot by Massenburg on the first play, which went out of bounds to give the Phantoms the ball with four seconds left. The Eagles fouled Chase McDonnell with 2.5 seconds to go, but he missed the first and an intentional miss on the second resulted in Phoenixville still with the ball with 0.8 seconds to go.
Kuranda had a three rattle out on the final possession (though it may have come after time expired anyway) and the Eagles sprinted down the other end of the court to celebrate the victory.
“We strive ourselves on defense, and we came up with three stops at the end,” Domsohn said.
The Eagles were bounced in the first round of the District 1 playoffs a season ago as they had a number of players missing due to COVID-19 protocols.
O’Loughlin said the seniors who missed out on a deep run a season ago are tuned in to see how far this Shanahan squad can go.
“It means a lot,” O’Loughlin said. “I know the guys from last year have been watching us and following us. They’ve been texting us. We would have done really well with them last year, so I’m just happy that we’re back this year doing it again.”
District 1-5A playoffs
Bishop Shanahan 39
Bishop Shanahan: L. Kapczinski 1 0-0 3, Domsohn 6 0-1 16, E. Kapczynski 0 1-2 1, O’Loughlin 2 0-0 4, Saggs 2 1-2 5, D’Addezio 1 0-0 2 , Rodner-Tims 2 2-4 6, Fedrico 0 0-0 0, Jordan 1 0-0 2, Totals 15 4-9 39.
Phoenixville: Savage 1 0-0 2, Stec 1 0-0 3, Bruni 0 0-0 0, McDonnell 2 0-2 4, Mayo 6 2-3 19, Massenburg 2 1-2 5, English 0 0-0 0, Kuranda 1 1-2 3, Lebisky 0 1-2 1, Totals 13 5-11 37.
Bishop Shanahan 9 10 8 12-39
Phoenixville 16 6 4 11-37
3-point goals: BS – Kapczinski, Domsohn 4; PHX – Stec, Mayo 3.