MC&S falters in title game

Keith Griffin puts up a lefthander. "I think some guys might have thought that we had the game won, and stopped playing hard," an MC&S player said.
Keith Griffin puts up a lefthander. "I think some guys might have thought that we had the game won, and stopped playing hard," an MC&S player said. (BRADLEY C. BOWER / For The Inquirer)
Posted: March 23, 2014

HERSHEY, Pa. - Math, Civics, and Sciences forward Mike Watkins stood alone in the entry way adjacent to the Giant Center court, tears welling in his eyes, the hood of his sweat jacket over his head.

"We should have won," the junior said, barely audibly. "We got here, but that doesn't matter now. Not at all."

Ahead by as many 16 points in the first half, Watkins and the Mighty Elephants ended up bowing to District 7's Lincoln Park Charter, 70-66, Friday in the PIAA Class A boys' basketball final.

"I think some guys might have thought that we had the game won, and stopped playing hard," said Watkins, a Penn State recruit who produced 17 points, 17 rebounds, and 5 blocked shots.

Lincoln Park, about 45 minutes northwest of Pittsburgh, claimed its first title. Maverick Rowan, a 6-foot-7 sophomore guard and Pittsburgh recruit, led the Leopards with 37 points.

"They weren't backing down at all," Lincoln Park athletic director and assistant coach Mike Bariski said. "We had to match them punch for punch. We didn't back down, and we ended up winning."

With a 22-2 explosion, spurred by the 6-9 Watkins and junior guard Samir Doughty, MC&S (15-15) comfortably led, 31-15, with 41/2 minutes left in the second quarter. Late in the third, a 10-2 spurt gave Danny Jackson's squad a 54-42 advantage.

"I think we came out and punched them in the face," Jackson said. "But they weathered the storm, fought back. They slowly chipped away at our lead."

Down by 57-51 after three quarters, the Leopards, who shot 13 for 34 from the field in the first half, started the fourth quarter with a 12-2 run. They took the lead for good, 61-59, on Rowan's two free throws with 2 minutes, 37 seconds to play.

Doughty, with 26 points and three steals, sat out 31/2 minutes of the fourth quarter because of foul trouble.

"Having him sit that length of time hurt us severely," Jackson said.

Rowan was supported by 6-9 senior forward Elijah Minnie (nine blocks, eight points, eight boards) and 6-7 senior forward Ryan Skovranko (10 points). Lincoln Park went 17 for 21 from the line.

Doughty shot 12 for 19 from the field and 2 for 2 from the line.

"We knew he was a stud. We really did," Bariski said. "When we started being aggressive with him, he got in foul trouble. That worked to our advantage."

Nazeer Bostick, a 6-5 sophomore who joined Doughty in defending Rowan, contributed eight rebounds, seven points, five assists, and four blocks.

"I think we put up a good fight," Jackson said. "I think we were the more imposing team. But when you have chemistry and continuity, that sometimes beats talent and ability."

Lincoln Park 15 18 18 19 – 70

Math, Civics & Sci. 18 10 19 9 – 66

LP: Antonio Kellem 5, Ryan Skovranko 10, Renell Cummings 8, Elijah Minnie 8, Maverick Rowan 37, Chris Pipkin 2.

MCS: Tyrese Hester 8, Nazeer Bostick 7, Mike Watkins 17, Samir Doughty 26, Donovan Barnes 4, Louis Myers 2, Keith Griffin 2.


robrien@phillynews.com

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