White scores 23, Cheltenham beats Wissahickon

LOWER GWYNEDD >> Cheltenham did not win the Suburban One League American Conference championship this year. In fact, it will not even get an invite to the SOL postseason tournament.

None of that takes away from the fact the Cheltenham boys basketball team took a step towards finishing up a strong SOL American showing by beating Wissahickon 73-67 Thursday night.

Kalil White paced all Panther scorers with 23 points as he led a high-flying offensive attack that operated with efficiency all night as Cheltenham (16-5, 10-3 conference) registered quality possession after quality possession. Justin Sutton had a favorable matchup against the smaller Wissahickon (10-12, 5-9) team, supplementing White’s 23 points with 16 of his own.

“Kalil White is our designated scorer,” Cheltenham coach John Timms said. “Other than that any one of the other nine to 10 kids that play can be our second leading scorer.

“What I noticed on tape in the first game was we controlled the offensive glass, so therefore we wanted to pound the ball into Justin, who’s in my biased opinion, the best post player in Suburban One.”

Jack Clark hit three three-pointers and knocked down both of his fourth quarter free throws to round out the trio of Cheltenham scorers that ended with double figures. The Panthers ended up with six players netting at least six points as they demonstrated excellent offensive balance.

Wissahickon fought back in the second half cutting into the Cheltenham lead significantly but because of the hole it dug itself in the first half the Trojans couldn not claw all the way back despite the best efforts of Zach Reiner. The sophomore was the best player on the court for the Trojans as he scored a team-high 16 points.

“We’ve done it the last three or four games, we fallen behind and tried to battle back,” Wissahickon coach Kyle Wilson said. “It’s such a young group. Reiner, I don’t know what he had, he’s a sophomore (and) or only returning varsity starter.”

The win for Cheltenham caps off the third regular season led by Timms. His first two years as the Panthers’ head man they finished at .500 and one game over, respectively. Over the past two years Timms has transformed a bunch of good athletes into a fairly polished basketball team.

“The reality of it is I’m in the midst of it,” said Timms of Cheltenham’s transformation. “I don’t really get a chance to reflect on it but whenever chance to, I’m excited at how the guys are being perceived throughout the conference and the reputation they’re building for the program.”

Timms brought the Panthers two win five points of going undefeated in the American Conference, a pair of two point losses to Plymouth Whitemarsh and a one point loss to Upper Moreland.  Last weekend, the Panthers knocked off rival and defending District-1 AAAA champion Abington 77-73.

No the Panthers didn’t win the SOL American but this team is not to be taken lightly come district playoff time.

“In our conference we’re five points away from sweeping the conference, how can you be down?” Timms said. “How can you not use that as a confidence builder? When we lost to PW what we understood is if we come out and give this type of effort then someone else is going to have to give 110 percent and also be very, very good to beat us.”

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