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Reporter/Times Herald/Montgomery Boys Basketball Tournament of the Decade down to Final Four

La Salle’s Shawn Witherspoon drives downcourt past New Castle’s Jake McPhatter during the PIAA Class AAAA championship game at the Giant Center in Hershey on Saturday, March 22, 2014. (Bob Raines/MediaNews Group File)

Voting is open for the semifinals of the Reporter/Times Herald/Montgomery Media Boys Basketball Team of the Decade bracket. Visit @ReporterSports on Twitter to choose which teams advance to the championship game. Polls close Friday at noon.

The Final Four features the three top seeds in the tournament and one underdog. Top-seeded Plymouth Whitemarsh 2009-10 and No. 2 Archbishop Wood 2016-17 are both state champions while No. 3 Archbishop Carroll 2014-15 and No 13. La Salle 2013-14 are state runner-ups.

Let’s take a look at the two individual matchups.

(1) Plymouth Whitemarsh 2009-10 vs. (13) La Salle 2013-14 >> The Colonials and the Explorers will tip off the doubleheader at Cheltenham High School. It’s a short trip for La Salle and a familiar one for Plymouth Whitemarsh.

Plymouth Whitemarsh (30-2) was close to having a perfect season. The Colonials first loss came against St. Benedict’s, nationally ranked in the top 10 and coached by Dan Hurley, by one possession and the second came in overtime in the District 1-4A championship game against Penn Wood when they missed more than 20 free throws. The Suburban One League American Conference champs avenged the district title defeat in the state championship game, beating Penn Wood, 58-51. Other impressive wins included regular season and state playoff victories over Roman Catholic and Philadelphia Catholic League MVP Rakeem Brookins and a holiday tournament win over Chester. In the first two rounds of the Best of the Decade tournament, PW beat Lower Moreland 2018-19 and Plymouth Whitemarsh 2017-18.

La Salle (23-7) hit its stride at the end of the 2013-14 season — winning state playoff games over District 1 powers Lower Merion and Chester before losing in the championship to undefeated New Castle. The Explorers carried that momentum into the Best of the Decade tournament, knocking off Abington 2013-14 and Abington 2017-18 in the first two rounds.

PW would have a size advantage in this matchup. Forwards CJ Aiken and Jaylen Bond measured in at 6-foot-10 and 6-foot-7, respectively, both weighing over 200 pounds and both with the ability to play the point. La Salle’s tallest players were Dave Krmpotich at 6-foot-7, Langston Ellison at 6-foot-6 and Jalen Herdsman at 6-foot-5, none of which weighed over 180 pounds.

Plymouth Whitemarsh’s CJ Aiken takes a shot during the PIAA Class AAAA championship on Saturday, March 27, 2010 at the Bryce Jordan Center in State College. (John Barry/MediaNews Group File)

The Explorers had a pair of All-Philadelphia Catholic League guards in juniors Najee Walls and Shawn Witherspoon, who was also named to the league’s all-defensive team. The Colonials were deep at guard — trotting out Whis Grant, Sam Pygatt, Stephon Baker, Marcus Badger, Brandon Dixon and Julian Bond.

Krmpotich and Walls led the Explorers in scoring during league play with 11.9 and 11.8 points per game, respectively, while Aiken and Bond paced PW with 16.8 and 16.4 points per game, respectively.

(2) Archbishop Wood 2016-17 vs. (3) Archbishop Carroll 2014-15 >> The Vikings and the Patriots will meet in the second game of the doubleheader at Cheltenham High School for a spot in the Best of the Decade championship game.

Archbishop Wood (28-3) won Philadelphia Catholic League, District 12-5A and PIAA-5A state championships in 2017. The Vikings ended the season on a 21-game winning streak after starting 7-3. They stayed hot in the beginning of the Best of the Decade tournament with wins over Archbishop Carroll 2016-17 and Pennridge 2018-19.

Archbishop Carroll (23-7) was a couple baskets away from having an argument for the top seed in this tournament. The Patriots lost by three points in the Philadelphia Catholic League semifinals to eventual PCL and PIAA-4A state champion Roman Catholic. After winning PIAA-3A state playoff games by 34, 29, 29 and 27 points, Carroll suffered a two-point defeat against Neumann-Goretti in the state championship game.

Archbishop Carroll’s Derrick Jones (24) dunks a rebound over Roman’s Nazeer Bostick (4) during their PCL semifinal at the Palestra in Philadelphia on Wednesday, Feb. 18, 2015. (Tom Kelly IV/MediaNews Group File)

Wood was led by senior guard Collin Gillespie and junior guard Tyree Pickron. Both players earned First Team All-PCL honors and Gillespie (22 points per game) was named league MVP. Senior guard Matt Cerruti and junior center Seth Pinkney were second team selections.

Derrick Jones led the Patriots, scoring 19.2 points per game. He was a First Team All-PCL selection while Josh Sharkey and David Beatty earned second team honors. Ryan Daly also played a key role for Carroll, before being voted PCL MVP in 2016.

PCL scoring and all-league information found on legendary sports writer Ted Silary’s website, tedsilary.com.

First Round
(1) Plymouth Whitemarsh 09-10 def. (16) Lower Moreland 18-19
(9) Plymouth Whitemarsh 17-18 def. (8) Germantown Academy 12-13
(5) Abington 17-18 def. (12) Archbishop Wood 18-19
(13) La Salle 13-14 def. (4) Abington 13-14
(3) Archbishop Carroll 14-15 def. (14) Germantown Academy 15-16
(11) La Salle 18-19 def. (6) Abington 18-19
(10) Pennridge 18-19 def. (7) Plymouth Whitemarsh 15-16
(2) Archbishop Wood 16-17 def. (15) Archbishop Carroll 15-16
Quarterfinals
(1) Plymouth Whitemarsh 09-10 def. (9) Plymouth Whitemarsh 17-18
(13) La Salle 13-14 def. (5) Abington 17-18
(3) Archbishop Carroll 14-15 def. (11) La Salle 18-19
(2) Archbishop Wood 16-17 def. (10) Pennridge 18-19

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