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Westtown explodes in fourth quarter to defeat Perkiomen in PAISAA semifinal

Whitpain >> Top seed Westtown School exploded for 23 points in the fourth quarter to break open a close game and earn a 71-54 win against No. 4 seed Perkiomen School in the PAISAA boys’ basketball state semifinal Friday at Montgomery County Community College.

The Moose (22-7) will face No. 3 seed Malvern Prep in the PAISAA championship final Saturday evening at Montgomery County Community College. In the other semifinal Friday, Malvern Prep (27-4) beat No. 7 seed Phelps, 72-56.

Westtown outscored Perkiomen 23-11 in the final period, and Moose junior Jalen Warley scored 12 of those points, breaking open what was a close game (48-43) at the end of the third quarter. Warley tallied 20 points after halftime.

“Jalen I think is arguably the most improved [high school] basketball player in the nation,” said Westtown head coach Seth Berger. “He can be a great passer, a great shooter, a great scorer – there’s nothing he can’t do on the court offensively, and he’s starting to set his mind to it defensively as well. So I’m not surprised by anything that Jalen does.”

The Moose suffered a temporary blow midway through the third quarter when 6-foot-11 junior Franck Kepnang dropped to the floor after injuring his ankle. He was taken to the sideline, and did not return to the game. Westtown held a 39-36 lead at that point.

Westtown 7-foot sophomore Dereck Lively replaced Kepnang, and did a solid job, blocking several shots and pulling down some key rebounds.

“Dereck just turned 16 years old, and for him to turn in that performance tonight in the state semifinal, with that kind of pressure, is amazing,” said Seth Berger. “He did a great job.”

With the score tied 41-41 late in the third quarter, Moose 6-foot-8 senior Noah Collier put Westtown ahead for good when he scored from underneath to give the Moose a 43-41 lead. Collier finished the night with 20 points.

“I thought Noah Collier was fantastic tonight, both scoring and rebounding,” said Seth Berger.

A split-second before the buzzer sounded ending the third quarter, TJ Berger nailed a timely trey from the left corner to give the Moose a 48-43 lead.

“I thought that was a monstrous shot for us, it stretched the game by one possession,” said Seth Berger. “I’m not surprised when TJ makes big shots, but that was one of the biggest shots of his career.”

TJ Berger finished the night with four treys and 14 points.

At the beginning of the fourth quarter, Perkiomen cut Westtown’s lead to 48-46 on a trey by senior Gilbert Otoo.

Westtown began to pull away. Warley scored inside, then Lively blocked a shot and TJ Berger hit a trey to make it 53-46.

With Westtown leading 59-48, the Moose fans stood and cheered as Kepnang rejoined his teammates on the bench.

“We’re going to get [Kepnang] an Xray, and hope for the best,” said Seth Berger after the game.

After a trey by Perkiomen 6-foot-10 junior Philip Byriel cut the Westtown lead to 59-51, the Moose went on a 7-0 run, punctuated by a Warley dunk following a Lively offensive rebound.

Perkiomen, trailing 66-51 with 2:36 left, had to keep pumping up three-point attempts, and only one of them fell in the final 2 ½ minutes.

The Panthers (21-7) tallied 10 treys Friday, five by Byriel, who scored 17 points. Ibrahima Bayu scored 10 points for Perkiomen.

Perkiomen head coach Thomas Baudinet said, “We were unable to contain the ball one-on-one in the fourth quarter, we guarded really poorly [then]. I thought we played OK in the first three quarters, and just could not guard the ball at all in the fourth quarter. We needed some stops then, and we couldn’t put any together.”

Seth Berger said, “I want to tip my hat to Thomas [Baudinet], they had a great season. Thomas does a great job and Perkiomen’s program gets better year after year. They’ll certainly win state titles in their future.”


Westtown 71, Perkiomen School 54

Perkiomen School    12     11     20     11     –        54

Westtown                  13     17     18     23     –        71

Perkiomen School (54): Payne 2 0-0 6, Huff 1 0-0 3, Patnode 2 0-0 4, Odunowo 1 0-0 2, Otoo 2 0-0 6, Bayu 4 2-2 10, Johnson 3 0-0 6, Byriel 6 0-0 17, Totals 21 2-2 54.

Westtown (71): Little 0 0-0 0, Collier 7 5-6 20, Warley 11 4-5 26, Q. Berger 1 0-0 3, TJ Berger 4 2-4 14, Kepnang 2 0-0 4, Lively 2 0-0 4, Totals 27 11-15 71.

3-point field goals: Perkiomen School – Payne 2, Huff, Otoo 2, Byriel 5. Westtown – TJ Berger 4, Collier, Q. Berger.


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