Upset alert: Expect Pennsbury win

Pennsbury junior Derrick Woods, a 6-foot-8 transfer from Trenton High, has been the X-factor for the Falcons in their last two games.
Pennsbury junior Derrick Woods, a 6-foot-8 transfer from Trenton High, has been the X-factor for the Falcons in their last two games. (RON CORTES / Staff Photographer)
Posted: March 01, 2014

In preparing his team to meet Chester for the PIAA District 1 Class AAAA boys' basketball championship, Pennsbury coach Bill Coleman said he hoped his Falcons did not get caught up in the "mystique" surrounding the Clippers.

That's not easy to do. Chester has captured three straight district titles, 10 of the last 12, and 22 overall. It's quite a resumé.

"We have to treat it as just another game," Coleman said Thursday. "The way we see it, when you make it to the district final, both teams are part of the show. You have to be in the moment."

The second-seeded Clippers (21-5) and fifth-seeded Falcons (21-4) will vie for top honors at 9 p.m. Friday at Villanova's Pavilion.

Pennsbury, which placed second in the Suburban One League National Conference, has won four playoff games by an average of 17.3 points.

"What's gotten us this far is our defensive intensity and the way we've shared the ball," Coleman said.

The Falcons are seeking their first district championship. In 1999, they reached the final before losing to - you guessed it - Chester by 59-47.

Pennsbury is propelled by junior guards Cameron Jones, who averages 18 points and has drilled an area-best 82 three-pointers, and Mekhi Bryant (14.9 ppg., 43 treys).

The X-factor of late for the Falcons has been 6-foot-8 junior center Derrick Woods. He produced 15 points and 10 rebounds Tuesday vs. Conestoga, and totaled 16 points and 13 boards last Friday against Spring-Ford.

Woods, who transferred from Trenton High last year, has a scholarship offer from Binghamton. He also has drawn interest from Drexel and Quinnipiac.

"I think it's mostly maturity and understanding what it takes to battle for the entire 32 minutes," Coleman said of Woods' recent play.

Chester is fueled by three seniors: guards Mahir Johnson and Conrad Chambers, and 6-8 center Tyrell Sturdivant.

Johnson and Sturdivant, a Stony Brook recruit, joined the rebuilding Clippers this season after playing for Glasgow (Del.). They combined for 50 points in Tuesday's 72-56 romp over West Chester Rustin.

Larry Yarbray's squad has another 6-8 force in Gabe Adesina. He blocked six shots vs. W.C. Rustin.

Said Coleman: "We have to gang-rebound and limit their second chances. That means every player finding a body and boxing out."

Chester arrives as a slight favorite, but we expect Pennsbury's backcourt, and another solid effort from Woods, to spark a surprise victory.

Pick: Pennsbury, 57-53.

Here is a look at this weekend's other district championship games:

Friday

District 12 Class AAAA final: Martin Luther King (23-4) vs. Roman Catholic (21-4), 8:30 p.m. Friday at St. Joseph's University. The Cahillites easily handled the Cougars, 69-53, last year. Expect a similar result.

Pick: Roman, 65-47.

District 12 Class AAA final: Philadelphia Electrical (16-10) vs. Neumann-Goretti (21-4), 7 p.m. at St. Joseph's. The Saints have to guard against a letdown after claiming their sixth straight Catholic League title.

Pick: N-G, 56-51.

District 12 Class AA final: Constitution (22-5) vs. West Catholic (11-12), 5:30 p.m. at St. Joseph's. Constitution's Ahmad Gilbert and Raheem Liggins will be a handful inside for Jahmil Harris and the Burrs.

Pick: Constitution, 61-42.

District 1 Class AA final: Bristol (15-8) vs. Calvary Christian (20-4), 5 p.m. at Villanova. The play of the Cougars' Jon Boback, a 1,000-point career scorer, will be the difference in this all-Bicentennial Athletic League tilt.

Pick: Calvary Christian, 49-47.

Saturday

District 1 Class AAA final: Lower Moreland (16-8) vs. Holy Ghost Prep (21-6), 8 p.m. at Villanova. Matt England and the Firebirds are 3-0 vs. Lower Moreland this season, including a 24-point romp two weeks ago.

Pick: Holy Ghost, 55-45.

District 1 Class A final: Phil-Mont Christian (19-4) vs. Church Farm (22-4), 4 p.m. at Villanova. With Aondofa Anyam as the catalyst, Church Farm has won 19 straight games.

Pick: Church Farm, 63-46.


robrien@phillynews.com

@ozoneinq

www.inquirer.com/ozone

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