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Goff, rest of support staff boost Penn Wood to states

FALLS TWP. >> At halftime Tuesday night, Pennsbury coach Bill Coleman should’ve looked at the stats compiled by Penn Wood’s starters with glee.

Kairi Jones, Vincent Smalls and Pernell Ghee, three of the leading lights for the No. 11 seed Patriots, entered the break with a combined five points. Yet somehow, Coleman’s Falcons were staring at an eight-point deficit.

Sharif Goff, another of the Patriots’ passel of unassuming bench players that doesn’t headline any scouting reports, made sure the predicament only got worse.

Goff exploded for a team-high 18 points, spearheading a domineering show of depth that earned Penn Wood a 71-55 win in the District 1 Class 6A second round Tuesday night.

The victory books the Patriots (17-6) one of the district’s 10 berths in the state tournament and a quarterfinal date Friday against No. 3 Abington, which topped Norristown, 48-32.

While Ghee languished on the bench in foul trouble and Jones and Small deferred to others in the first half, a pair of subs provided the spark.

Javon Lindsey-Terrell led the way at the break with 11 points, including three 3-pointers that crushed the spirit of Pennsbury’s errant help defense.

“Javon played very big in the first half,” Jones said of Lindsey-Terrell, who finished with 15 points. “He was knocking down shots. He played really good for us tonight, and we appreciated it. With Pernell in foul trouble, Javon stepped up.”

The third-quarter onus fell to Goff, a lanky forward and streaky shooter who turned it on. He shot 6-for-7 on the night, including a pair of stab-in-the-heart 3-pointers from the left corner on consecutive trips late in the third, extending a 13-0 Penn Wood run that put the Pats up 17 and effectively sealed the game.

Goff, who averaged 8.9 points per game and for whom this is a season-high, had eight points in the third quarter — the same total as the No. 6 seed Falcons (15-9).

“He’s streaky, so when he gets hot, we try to get him the ball,” Jones said. “He’s a momentum player for us. He gets us a lot of momentum. He came up big in the third quarter. He scored a lot. We just kept giving him the ball, he was open and he kept knocking them down.”

“Sometimes it is hard to get in rhythm,” Goff said. “But we keep telling our teammates to keep shooting, keep them in the game.”

Goff also did some of the dirty work in the low post against Pennsbury’s only scoring option, senior forward Mark Flagg. The 6-foot-8 forward scored a game-high 22 points, but he slowed visibly after a 13-point first half to keep the Falcons in touch. By the third, he had to take a seat, gassed by the breakneck pace Penn Wood prefers and from having to work so hard to liberate himself from … you guessed it, Goff, with help from others.

Though Flagg added seven points worth of embellishment in the fourth, the game had long since been decided.

“That was the game plan, to come here and get (Flagg) out of the way,” Goff said. “We did our scouting, and we saw that he was all they really had. So we just came here to get him out of the way, and the rest would be easy.”

Beyond Flagg’s two made 3-pointers, the Falcons shot an anemic 2-for-14 from outside the arc, including 1-for-9 from Addison Howard. No one else approached double-figures for Pennsbury, with Coleman summoning the JV with three minutes to play.

Goff’s emergence on the defensive end helped compensate for Ghee’s two early fouls. The senior forward managed nine points despite being whistled for early fouls in the third and fourth quarters that limited his time on the court.

It typified the balance Penn Wood exhibits at its best. Rashaad Anderson scored seven points to go with seven boards. Jones tallied eight points, without even attempting a 3-pointer, and five assists. Smalls, despite just two points, contributed four assists and five rebounds as Penn Wood collected 19 assists on 26 made baskets. Jay Fitzgerald added seven first-half points as Penn Wood shot 6-for-12 from distance.

That balance sums to an offensive machine that is tough to stop once it gets in gear. And no matter what happens from here on out, that path will lead the Patriots back to states.

“Once we get hot, we just like to run, and that’s when we start to feel like we can do anything,” Jones said. “Pass it anywhere, and anyone can score. We like to play like that. It feels pretty good.”

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