Looking back at Penn Wood's 2009 title run

Posted: March 08, 2010

Set to enter another PIAA Class AAAA boys' basketball state tournament Saturday, Penn Wood can have only one thing on its mind - repeat.

The Patriots' 72-53 victory over York last March at Penn State's Bryce Jordan Center was the climax of what was a thrilling state tournament for teams from both District 1 and District 12.

While Penn Wood beat District 3's York to bring the trophy back to District 1, the Patriots almost squared off against a familiar foe in the final.

Plymouth Whitemarsh earned a reputation as the dark horse in last year's tournament - and it was well-deserved. The Colonials, who lost to Penn Wood, 54-49 in overtime Friday in the 2010 district title game, began their 2009 run to the semifinals by beating District 12's Southern in the first round before squaring off against Norristown in the second round.

While Plymouth Whitemarsh had beaten Norristown a few weeks earlier, the Eagles had been responsible for one of the Colonials' four regular-season losses.

Plymouth Whitemarsh beat Norristown handily and went on to face Williamsport in the quarterfinals. Led by the scoring of Sam Pygatt and Whis Grant, the Colonials defeated Williamsport, 65-64, in a classic overtime thriller.

Although the Colonials lost to York four days later, their run was still one of the most exciting in last year's state tournament.

This year, Plymouth Whitemarsh goes into the state tournament as the second team from District 1, while Penn Wood goes in as the district top seed.

The 2009 tournament's runner-up, York, almost didn't get the opportunity to play either Plymouth Whitemarsh or Penn Wood. In fact, it barely escaped the second round. York squared off against Central Bucks South in round two. The Titans had just beaten Roman Catholic in the first round and proceeded to take the eventual finalist to three overtimes.

The Titans outscored York, 21-14, in the fourth quarter to force the first overtime. Greg Johnston scored 21 points in the game to keep his team close. But in the end, it wasn't enough to beat York. Central Bucks South lost, 87-83.

Even eventual champion Penn Wood, which suffered only four losses all season, barely escaped the quarterfinals. The Patriots squared off against Pennsbury after beating the only District 12 team - Bartram - to advance past the first round.

Against Pennsbury, the Patriots trailed, 40-36, heading into the final quarter. On the back of Dwayne Johnson, Tyree Johnson and Aaron Brown - who all scored in double digits - Penn Wood was able to overcome the Falcons. By outscoring Pennsbury, 18-10, Penn Wood advanced to the semifinals with a 54-50 win.

The Patriots breezed through their semifinal against Mount Lebanon, winning by a score of 79-58 before beating York in the finals.

While Penn Wood went the distance, area schools such as Southern, Roman Catholic, Lower Merion and Glen Mills could not escape the first round. And Norristown, Central Bucks South, Conestoga, and Bartram didn't make it past round two.

Now the question is: Can Penn Wood repeat?

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