UPPER MORELAND 57, POPE JOHN PAUL II 49
This time, Upper Moreland didn't need Matt Kohn to be a one-man show.
Saturday night at Villanova's Pavilion, boosted by an across-the-board effort, the fourth-seeded Golden Bears fought past third-seeded Pope John Paul II, 57-49, for their first PIAA District 1 Class AAA basketball title.
Kohn, who poured in 28 points in Wednesday's semifinal win over Octorara, was held to two points in the first half. He finished with eight.
"All my teammates stepped up," the senior point guard said afterward. "It was the ultimate team effort."
Upper Moreland was sparked by Kevin McFall, a 6-foot-4, 200-pound junior forward who delivered a career-high 20 points, seven rebounds, four assists, and two steals.
"Matt may not have been scoring much, but he was big for us the whole time," McFall said. "It's the leadership that he brings. That's invaluable."
Sophomore wing guard James Martin (four assists) and senior forward Mark Williams (seven boards) recorded 12 and 10 points, respectively.
Tommy Robinson, a junior swingman, chipped in six points and five caroms. His three-point play put the Golden Bears in front, 50-41, with 2 minutes, 45 seconds remaining.
Upper Moreland (14-11) gained distance in the third quarter. Buckets by McFall, Williams, and Kohn produced a 37-25 advantage.
After a three-pointer by PJP II's Brent Maloney, Martin's back-to-back treys and McFall's free throws left it at 44-28.
In the fourth quarter, the Golden Panthers (15-10) pulled to within seven (37-30) on Maloney's trey and fastbreak dunk. The closest they would get was 50-45, with 1:23 to go.
"They were making us play a little faster than we wanted," McFall said of his team's seven fourth-quarter turnovers. "We had to slow down and get our poise back."
For PJP II, which shot 5 for 22 from beyond the arc, Mahoney, a senior guard, totaled 17 points, three assists, and three steals. Stinson, a 6-4 senior forward, posted 10 points, eight boards, and three assists.
The Golden Bears took the lead for good late in the first half. A 6-0 run, which included Kohn's left-side banker and Martin's fastbreak layup, made it 27-21 at intermission.
Both teams are bound for the state tournament, which begins Friday night. Games are played at neutral sites.
Upper Moreland will meet Susquehanna Township, District 3's fourth-place finisher, and PJP II will face Bethlehem Catholic, District 11's runner-up.
Upper Moreland 13 14 17 13-57
Pope John Paul II 12 9 9 19-49
UM: Matt Kohn 8, Tommy Robinson 5, Kevin McFall 20, James Martin 12, Mark Williams 10, Chris Corr 2.
PJP: James Bleming 8, Mike Cianciulli 2, Jamel Stinson 10, Brent Mahoney 17, Tim Tadros 6, Nick Demeno 6.