Rick O'Brien: For C.B. West, a historic win in playoffs

C.B. West's Derek Dyer (left) and Jared Kelly (3) celebrate a basket by teammate Tyler Schechter (rear) in Saturday's win.
C.B. West's Derek Dyer (left) and Jared Kelly (3) celebrate a basket by teammate Tyler Schechter (rear) in Saturday's win. (RON CORTES / Staff Photographer)
Posted: March 12, 2012

A combined 28 teams from District 1 and 12 earned berths in the PIAA basketball tournament. After the opening round, 20 are still alive in the hunt for state gold.

That's not too shabby, considering the highest possible number of remaining area squads was 26. Two contests pitted locals against each other: Central Bucks West vs. St. Joseph's Prep in Class AAAA, and Pope John Paul II vs. Boys' Latin in AAA.

Two locals were eliminated in double overtime. In Class AAAA, Wissahickon bowed to District 11's Easton Area, 49-43. In Class AA, Del-Val Charter fell to District 11's Pine Grove, 53-51.

Here is a review of the first-round action and a look ahead at some intriguing second-round matchups:

Historic win. Putting three straight defeats behind it, C.B. West, spreading the floor and, showing ample patience, earned the program's first state win with a 48-44 triumph over St. Joe's Prep.

Seniors Tyler Schechter (14 points, six rebounds, three assists) and Derek Dyer (nine, eight, two) led the way for the Suburban One League Continental Conference champions.

In 2000-01, a year before Adam Sherman took over, the Bucks went 18-12, placed fourth in districts and lost to District 3's Lancaster McCaskey in the opening round of states.

On Saturday, after leading the Hawks by 30-16 early in the third quarter, Schechter and company had to hold off a late rally by the District 12 titlists. The Hawks climbed back in with a 9-0 third-quarter spurt.

Cahillites vs. Aces. In a highly anticipated Class AAAA second-round tilt, Roman Catholic will square off against Lower Merion at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday at Norristown.

Way back on Dec. 10, in the Coatesville/Philly.com/Rally Classic, the Cahillites nipped the Aces, 78-75, in double overtime.

"I thought we got out well in transition, were able to get some turnovers and were able to get some baskets off the turnovers," recalled Roman coach Chris McNesby.

McNesby was at Villanova when Lower Merion lost to Chester, 61-53, in the District 1 final.

"They're going to look to get out and run, and we're going to do the same thing," said McNesby, whose squad ousted District 11 runner-up Parkland, 64-48, in the first round.

It's a good bet that the Roman-Lower Merion survivor will make it out of the Western half of the draw and be at Penn State (and taking on Chester?) on March 24.

Patriots vs. Braves. In Class AAA, Archbishop Carroll stands in the way of Octorara's bid to return to the quarterfinals for the second straight year.

The guard play in this one, set for 7:30 p.m. Tuesday at Coatesville, will be key. The Patriots revolve around junior Yosef Yacob, and the Braves are spurred by senior Charles Cooper.

Senior swingman Alec Stavetski, with 28 points and nine boards, was the catalyst for Carroll in a 63-40 romp over District 3's Trinity.

"I like our chances against anyone right now," Patriots boss Paul Romanczuk said. "We're playing good basketball. We've been doing that since the beginning of our league season."

In Octorara's 83-75, double-overtime defeat of District 3's Lampeter-Strasburg, Cooper led four players in double figures with 18 points.

Imposing figure. Next up for C.B. West is Central Dauphin, which features 6-foot-9, 235-pound center Devin Thomas.

In a 52-45 win over Abington, Thomas, ticketed for Wake Forest, totaled 15 of his 25 points in the second half, grabbed 18 boards (six on offense) and made two steals.

"It won't be the first time we've had to defend a big kid," Sherman said. "We'll watch film, prepare and go from there."

Thomas shot 10 for 21 from the field and 5 for 11 from the line against Abington. Nick Seefeldt, a junior point guard, dished 10 assists.

Central Dauphin has another athletic and board-crashing player in Zayd Issah, a 6-4, 200-pound junior who, as a multipurpose standout, helped the Rams claim the Class AAAA football title last season.

Extras. Representatives from Cornell and Bucknell watched Yacob on Friday against Trinity. He is also being recruited by Lafayette, Albany, and Rider. . . . St. Joe's Prep shot 4 for 18 from beyond the arc against C.B. West. In 27 games, the Hawks' Steve Vasturia (22 points against the Bucks) averaged 21.8 points and drilled 61 treys. Teammate Gene Williams closed with 48 treys. . . . In a Class A opener, Math, Civics & Sciences downed District 11 champ Pius X. One of the Royals' assistant coaches is Dallas Comegys, who starred at Roman Catholic (Class of 1983) and DePaul. The 47-year-old played briefly in the NBA. . . . In a 70-49 Class AAA win over Pope John Paul II, Boys' Latin guards Maurice Watson and Yahmir Greenlee combined for 38 points, 12 boards, and eight steals. Watson totaled 23 points, nine assists, five rebounds, and five steals in 31 minutes. He shot 7 for 10 from the floor (3 for 5 on treys). . . . Wissahickon's Jordan Reed and Abington's Anthony Durham averaged 23.7 and 19.1 points, respectively, this season.

Contact Rick O'Brien

at robrien@phillynews.com,

or @ozoneinq on Twitter.

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