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Higson, Colucci get in on the scoring act for Haverford

Haverford's John Seidman reacts after being called for a foul attempting a steal on Ridley's Malachi Williams Tuesday evening. The Fords went on to a 61-43 victory. (Pete Bannan/Digital First Media)

RIDLEY — All season for Haverford’s boys basketball team, it’s been John Seidman and a question mark. Not in a bad way, since the identity of that secondary scorer has changed from game to game, with multiple players able to step up.

What the numbers show is a gulf: Seidman, entering Tuesday night, led the Fords at 17.9 points per game, with no one else cracking seven per game. But what those numbers hide is the potential of the supporting cast, especially around a leader like Seidman so adept at drawing out the best of them.

Haverford’s Will Higson goes up a for a basket in the fourth quarter. It was part of a 19-point, eight rebound performance in a 61-43 win over Ridley. (Pete Bannan/Digital First Media)

Tuesday, Seidman was in a facilitating mood as a pair of lesser-regarded Ford scorers turned in a pair of career days, with Nick Colucci and Will Higson fueling a 61-43 pasting of Ridley.

Higson poured in 19 points, on 8-for-9 shooting, and grabbed eight rebounds. The All-Delco linebacker’s previous high game was 12; the low-post work horse had only scored 46 points in 19 outings this season.

Colucci stepped off the bench to hit four 3-pointers and tally 14 points. His previous career-best was 10 points, and he’d tallied all of 37 points in this, his sophomore season.

For Higson in particular, Seidman’s influence is notable, since most of his baskets came with Seidman bombing to the rim and Higson separating from the guy rushing over to double Seidman for easy baskets.

“It’s awesome,” Higson said. “I don’t know if there’s anyone in the league that can cover him one-on-one. That always draws double coverage and opens up stuff for teammates and it opened stuff up for me tonight.”

Seidman scored 10 points and dished eight assists, needing only five field-goal attempts to get to double figures. But he wasn’t alone in the ball-movement category: Seven Fords had an assist leading to 17 dimes on 21 made baskets, which no doubt correlated to a 21-for-36 day from the field (58.3 percent).

“It’s great because we’ve got guys that, one night, one guy will step up and another night, another guy will step up,” Higson said. “So it’s nice to have consistency across the board. Obviously we have John showing up every night, but we have guys that can step up each and every game.”

Add a 27-14 edge on the boards and you can see why Haverford (12-8, 8-7 Central) led by as many as 24 in a win that all but seals a place for the Fords in the District 1 Class 6A playoffs.

The Fords’ sixth straight win was unique in another regard: No one dressed in red was left biting their nails late. This was the first of the Fords’ 15 Central League games to be decided by more than a dozen points either way. (Oddly, the previous most lopsided was a win at Lower Merion).

Of those 15 league contests, nine were decided by five points or fewer, two of them going multiple OTs.

At one point, the Fords dropped seven straight league games by a total of 31 points, including a 48-38 home loss to Ridley Dec. 20. But the luck has started to break their way in tight games, a reward for keeping the faith.

“We kept our head up and now we’ve been getting on the other side of it,” Seidman said. “We’ve just got to keep going with that and keep it going into the playoffs.”

Haverford jumped on Ridley (11-10, 7-8) from the get-go, slowed only by seven first-half turnovers. A 16-8 game exploded into a 30-13 halftime lead with six straight possessions with points, including Seidman getting intentionally fouled, a trip that ended with Sean Reynolds firing a cross-court dime to Colucci for a corner triple.

Haverford was content to trade baskets in the third quarter, and it took nine points in the frame from Ridley’s Khali Henson to even keep the Green Raiders in touch, mostly with starting guard Malachi Williams on the bench.

Haverford’s Nick Colucci hits a basket in the third quarter as Ridley’s Josh Hagan defends Tuesday night. The Fords went on to a 61-43 victory. (Pete Bannan/Digital First Media)

“Once my senior is out, I had to pick up the energy,” Henson said. “I had to make sure my team is still going, make sure we’re all together, make sure no one’s putting their head down, make sure we’re all good.”

Henson led the Green Raiders with 11 points. Williams had 10, though he attempted just eight shots, to go with four steals. Jack Grace and deep reserve Manny Marro hit two 3-pointers each, but the Green Raiders were just 17-for-42 from the field.

Hunter Kraiza tallied seven points for Haverford, which had 13 players check in and eight score.

That’s the kind of balance that Seidman strives for.

“It’s really cool to have somebody else step up every game,” Seidman said. “It’s different people, and it’s nice to be able to know that someone else will be able to pick it up.”

Also in the Central League:

Garnet Valley 62, Upper Darby 46 >> Neel Beniwal scored 22 points, and Carl Schaller added 20 as the Jaguars (20-1, 15-1) won for the 17th straight outing to clinch the program’s first 20-win season. Valantis Apostolopoulos added 10 points.

Iyan Joshuasville scored nine points, and Onyekachi Nzeh and Jamere Kosh added eight points each for the Royals (11-10, 6-9).

Penncrest 44, Harriton 40 >> Aidan Carroll hit four 3-pointers and tallied a career-high 21 points to go with five steals and five rebounds as the Lions (16-5, 10-5) pulled out a tight one late.

Marquis Tomlin added 10 points, and Saahir Lee chipped in eight.

Strath Haven 47, Springfield 42 >> Matt Shuler scored nine of his 12 points in the third quarter to spark the Panthers to their sixth straight win. Robbie Guilday tied a season-high with 10 points for the Panthers (15-6, 9-6).

Cole Rhodes led Springfield (1-20, 1-14) with 11 points, and Brian Ward added nine.

Radnor 42, Marple Newtown 40 >> Jack d’Entremont scored 17 points, and Lew Robinson added 12 as the Raiders held off a late Marple Newtown push. Colin Lane added 11 points for the Raiders (13-8, 8-7).

Joey Pettinelli hit four 3-pointers for 14 points for Marple Newtown (8-13, 5-10), which has lost five straight.

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