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Team Hardnett, Raw Sports advance to Donofrio championship game

Team Hardnett’s Anthony McCall (Academy of the New Church) dunks against Gibbs Elite during Monday’s Donofrio Classic semifinal at the Fellowship House in Conshohocken. (Owen McCue - MediaNews Group)

CONSHOHOCKEN >> Team Hardnett defeated Gibbs Elite, 98-79, before Raw Sports handled NEPA Elite, 83-61, in the 60th Annual Albert C. Donofrio Classic semifinals Monday night at the Fellowship House in Conshohocken.

Team Hardnett and Raw Sports will meet in the championship game Tuesday at 7:30 p.m. The two teams met in an all-time Donofrio Classic final in 2015, when Tony Carr led Team Hardnett to a thrilling 86-83 win over Jahaad Proctor and Raw Sports.

Team Hardnett didn’t face much resistance in the first game of the doubleheader. They blew open a 22-16 game late in the first half with a 22-4 run, extending their lead to 44-20 and maintaining at least a 17-point advantage the rest of the way.

“We had a sub, it was Jerell Keel,” Hardnett’s Anthony McCall, a senior at the Academy of the New Church, said of the game-deciding run. “He came in and he is like a sparkplug. When he comes in he plays defense. He was playing defense, getting steals and starting fast breaks. When we run transition, we’re dangerous.

“The way we play, I don’t think most teams in the tournament can play with us. We play hard, physical, run up-and-down the court. It doesn’t matter if we’re tired or not.”

 

Keel, a junior at ANC, scored eight of his 14 points in the first half to help Team Hardnett put the game away early.

McCall scored a game-high 28 points, totaling 14 points on seven made field goals in each half.

“I just was playing,” he said. “I wasn’t really out there trying to get buckets, I was just playing as hard as I usually do.”

Rashon Locke-Hicks (Lincoln) and Gabe Harris (ANC) each added 15 points for Team Hardnett while Muhsin Muhammed (Germantown Friends School) added 13.

While Team Hardnett made it look easy, blocking shots on the defensive end and scoring easily in transition at the other end, this tournament is important to McCall.

 

“I feel like I’ve got something to prove, really, to everybody in the city,” he said. “I feel like I’ve been disrespected all my life in high school and playing in the area all year. I feel like I have something to prove to everybody.”

Will Anozie (Valley Forge Military Academy) and Jake Bolyn (Owen J. Roberts) led Gibbs Elite with 18 points apiece. Anozie scored all 18 of his points in the second half. Jake Kapp (Boyertown) added 17 points and Madison Tatom (Upper Merion) had 12.

Gibbs Elite’s Will Anozie (Valley Forge Military Academy) goes up for a shot against Team Hardentt during Monday’s Donofrio Classic semifinal at the Fellowship House in Conshohocken. (Owen McCue – MediaNews Group)

In the second game, Raw Sports quickly extended a seven-point halftime lead, 33-26, to double digits early in the second half and never looked back against NEPA Elite. 

“Honestly, we just started pushing,” Raw Sports’ Javon Adams said. “We started playing more basketball, started running them out of the gym, trapping them, getting on top of them.”

Adams (Olympus Prep) scored 20 of his game-high 29 points in the second half. NEPA Elite had no answer for the 6-foot-9 forward around the rim. 

“I was just trying to go and get it,” he said. “I was trying to win the game by more than 15, more than 20. I just had to go out there and score.”

Raw Sports’ Javone Adams (Olympus Prep), left, shoots a fadewawy over NEPA Elite’s Ethan Meuser (Hill School) during Monday’s Donofrio Classic semifinal at the Fellowship House in Conshohocken. (Owen McCue – MediaNews Group)

Chance Westry (AZ Compass Prep) added 26 points for Raw Sports. The Auburn commit had 18 points in the second half. Anthony Smith (Shippensburg), a Minnesota football commit, added 10 points, all in the first half.

Ethan Meuser (Hill) led NEPA Elite with 18 points. Ben Chilson (Tunkhannock) joined him in double figures with 11 while Justice Shoats (Holy Redeemer) and Jason Shields (Scranton) each added eight.

Adams, a senior who’s still undecided on where he’s playing next year, and Raw Sports will be ready for Team Hardnett in what should be a great championship game Tuesday night.

“This is something we want to win,” Adams said. “We want to win the whole thing. This is what we came here to do – we came here to win it all.”

Raw Sports’ Chance Westry (Arizona Compass Prep) goes up for a dunk against NEPA Elite during Monday’s Donofrio Classic semifinal at the Fellowship House in Conshohocken. (Owen McCue – MediaNews Group)

Team Hardnett’s Gabe Harris (Academy of the New Church) dunks against Gibbs Elite during Monday’s Donofrio Classic semifinal at the Fellowship House in Conshohocken. (Owen McCue – MediaNews Group)

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