Pennsbury pulls semifinal upset

Hang time: After dunking in traffic, Pennsbury's Derrick Woods waits for the coast to clear. He and teammate Cameron Jones led all scorers with 15 points.
Hang time: After dunking in traffic, Pennsbury's Derrick Woods waits for the coast to clear. He and teammate Cameron Jones led all scorers with 15 points. (RON CORTES / Staff)
Posted: February 27, 2014

After gaining a feel for Conestoga in a nonleague loss earlier this month, Pennsbury coach Bill Coleman said he expected Tuesday night's rematch "to be a back-and-forth type of game."

It was anything but.

Taking control early in the second quarter, the No. 5-seeded Falcons, looking nothing like they did in the earlier meeting, blasted the top-seeded Pioneers, 58-36, in a District 1 Class AAAA boys' basketball semifinal at Temple's Liacouras Center.

"We thought we'd be successful if we controlled the tempo, and we did," said Coleman, whose squad reversed a 52-43 home defeat against Conestoga.

Derrick Woods, a 6-foot-8 center, and Cameron Jones each netted 15 points. Fellow junior Mekhi Bryant scored eight of his 10 points in the first half.

Pennsbury will face No. 2 seed Chester, which handed No. 14 West Chester Rustin a 72-56 loss earlier at Temple, for the district championship at 9 p.m. Friday at Villanova's Pavilion. It's the Falcons' first trip to the final since 1999.

"It's been a mental thing after we lost in the first round of districts last year," Bryant said. "We've been determined since the first day of practice. Our No. 1 goal was to make it to Villanova."

Watched by Binghamton assistant coach Ben Luber, a former standout at Council Rock North and Penn State, Woods posted 11 of his 15 points in the second half. He totaled 10 rebounds.

"I didn't play that well against them the first time," Woods said. "I had, maybe, nine points and six rebounds. I knew I had to do better than that."

Pennsbury (22-4) sprinted to an early lead, with a three-pointer from Jones making it 17-9 late in the first quarter.

Early in the second, a 6-0 burst bumped the advantage to 23-11. The run consisted of Bryant's driving layup, Lewis Troh's inside bucket, and Jones' floater.

"We got things rolling with our defense," Bryant said. "We got after them, and that created some easy run-out baskets for us."

Of the earlier loss to Conestoga, Coleman said, "It was probably our worst game from an execution standpoint. To their credit, they played well defensively and capitalized."

Junior swingman Andrew Diehl scored 10 points to pace the Pioneers, who were hurt by 15 turnovers. Sophomore point guard Darryl Caldwell was next in line with nine points.

Pennsbury 17 12 16 13 – 58

Conestoga 11 5 11 9 – 36

P: Steve Ciotti 6, Mekhi Bryant 10, Derrick Woods 15, Cameron Jones 15, Nigel Johnson 7, Walter Allen 2, Lewis Troh 2, Bobby Wagner 1.

C: Darryl Caldwell 9, Zach Yonda 2, Dan Vila 3, Andrew Diehl 10, Martin Dorsey 6, Andrew Utter 2, Tyler Knight 2, Chris Novak 2.


robrien@phillynews.com

@ozoneinq

www.inquirer.com/ozone

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