FAIRVIEW VILLAGE >> This weekend was going to be a good test for the Plymouth Whitemarsh boys basketball team, with back-to-back road games for the first time this season and the second coming against a strong Methacton squad.
But the Colonials did just what they needed to do on Saturday afternoon as they got off to a fast start, leading by 12 points after a quarter. Then they went on an extended run into the third quarter to wrap up what turned out to be an impressive 74-44 non-league win.
Jaden Colzie led PW (12-2) with 22 points, Qudire Bennett had 18 points and 12 rebounds and Chase Coleman scored 15. Sal Iemmello and Cam Chilson each scored 11 for the Warriors (11-5).
“We had a game last night against Springfield (a 70-33 win),” Bennett said. “But we were more worried about Methacton. We really hadn’t won games on the road back-to-back. We did really well. We locked down some of their players. We had a lot of energy in the game until the end.”
“It was a true road game for us, in terms of back-to-back from last night,” Colonials coach Jim Donofrio said. “We got back late last night and spent an hour on film study to see what we needed to defend.”
Colzie went inside for a basket and Lincoln Sharpe (six points, six rebounds)scored off a pass from Coleman to start the game. Then Bennett scored on a fast break, Sharpe scored again off a feed from Bennett and Coleman went inside for a bucket for a quick 10-1 advantage.
The lead was up to 20-8 after a 3-point play and a steal and a basket by Colzie as the opening quarter came to a close.
“Methacton, they’re 10-4 and they’re a confident team,” Donofrio said. “We want to be able to control the emotion of the game from the beginning. We’re learning fast. The light bulbs are going on.”
“After the West Chester East game (a 67-54 road loss on Dec. 30), we just have to get out from the jump,” said Bennett, a 6-foot-4 senior. “No matter how good or how bad they are. Our passing was good and we had open shots, even though sometimes we’re a little selfish.”
The Warriors showed some life at the beginning of the second quarter as Iemmello scored on a drive and then put in a layup off a pass from Preston Hull to cut the deficit to 20-12.
But Coleman scored two straight baskets, Jah Pendergrass-Sayles knocked down a 3-pointer from the left corner and Jimmy Flowers scored after a steal by Colzie to make it 31-12 and start a game-clinching 20-1 run.
“They’re definitely the best team we’ve played so far,” Methacton coach Pat Lockard said. “Speed and athleticism and they executed. We’ve played Upper Darby and Norristown and Spring-Ford, but PW is probably in a class of their own. You want to see the top of the district? There it is.”
The Warriors of course knew that they were going to be in for a tough game and tried to prepare for it the best they could. But they couldn’t seem to move the ball quickly enough to get open shots in the first quarter.
“We talked about that,” Lockard said. “We practiced against multiple defenses and more than five players. It’s different in game experience. We put our players on an island at times. We were reacting.”
Methacton high-scorer Matt Christian put up 10, but didn’t get his first shot until more than seven minutes into the game and had just three points and three shots heading into the fourth quarter.
“Last night we held Springfield’s high scorer, who had averaged 21 points over the last five games, to two or four,” Donofrio said. “We just wanted to stay at home on Christian and not draw fouls.”
The Colonials held the Warriors to 37% shooting from the floor, while shooting 51% themselves, including 60% (15-for-25) in the first half. PW also had a 30-25 rebounding advantage and turned the ball over only 12 times while forcing 18 Methacton turnovers.
Bennett, who topped the 1,000-point mark for his career on Tuesday, shot 7-for-12 from the floor.
“He does everything,” Donofrio said. “He’s inside, he’s outside, he rebounds, he defends.”
Plymouth Whitemarsh has now won five in a row and is No. 5 in the District 1-6A rankings. Methacton is ranked 10th.
“You’ve got to play good ball against a good team and we didn’t,” Lockard said. “Hopefully we can learn from this.”
Plymouth Whitemarsh 74, Methacton 44
Plymouth Whitemarsh: Colzie 8 5-8 22, Flowers 1 0-0 2, Coleman 7 1-8 15, Sajid 2 0-0 5, Ring 0 0-0 0, Marsico 0 0-0 0, Harris 0 0-0 0, Bennett 7 3-3 18, Pendergrass-Sayles 2 0-0 6, Sharpe 3 0-0 6, Willis 0 0-0 0, Totals 30 9-19 74
Methacton: Daddazio 1 2-2 5, Lagana 0 0-0 0, Iemmello 5 1-2 11, Spang 0 0-6 0, Chilson 5 0-0 11, Savage 0 0-0 0, Hermann 0 1-2 1, Christian 2 4-4 10, Rodriguez 1 1-2 4, Hull 1 0-0 2, Totals 15 9-18 44
Plymouth Whitemarsh 20 14 16 24 – 74
Methacton 8 5 13 18 – 44
3-point goals: Colzie, Sajid, Bennett, Pendergrass-Sayles 2, Daddazio, Chilson, Christian 2, Rodriguez