Boys' Hoops: Woods, Falcons cruise past turnover-prone Rams


The recruiting stock of Pennsbury's Derrick Woods is steadily rising, and he showed why in Friday night's PIAA District I Class AAAA boys' basketball quarterfinal playoff against Spring-Ford.

With an all-out approach on both ends of the floor, Woods, a 6-foot-8, 205-pound junior center who came over last year from Trenton High, produced 16 points, 13 rebounds, and four blocks as the Falcons raced past the host Rams, 69-52, in Royersford.

"I came in looking forward to contesting every shot and trying to get a lot of rebounds," the 17-year-old said. "I also wanted to run the floor hard."

Woods, who earlier this month picked up a scholarship offer from Binghamton, posted 12 points, including a pair of emphatic dunks, in the second half. Five of his 13 boards came on the offensive end.

"Derrick has improved greatly since he's gotten here," Pennsbury coach Bill Coleman said. "From the beginning of this season to now, it's been huge."

In a semifinal at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday at Temple's Liacouras Center, the fifth-seeded Falcons (21-4) will take on top-seeded Conestoga (23-4). Conestoga topped ninth-seeded Lower Merion, 68-60, Friday night.

Woods shot 7 for 11 from the floor and 2 for 2 from the line. His two fourth-quarter slams were part of a 10-0 run that put the visitors comfortably ahead, 63-45.

Junior guard Mekhi Bryant also played a key role in the triumph, producing 17 points, seven boards, four steals, and three assists. His performance included a fastbreak dunk.

"I was pretty shocked by that," Woods said of the slam. "I didn't think he was going to try it. The fact that he threw it down like that, I was like, 'Wow.' "

Pennsbury, which placed second in the Suburban One League National Conference, stormed out to a 21-7 lead. A 15-0 spurt was highlighted by Steve Ciotti's three-pointer, Walter Allen's three-point play, and Cameron Jones' driving layup.

Spring-Ford (23-3) battled back, putting together a 15-2 run to trim the gap to one. "We knew they were going to make a run at us," Coleman said. "When you get to this point in the playoffs, it's something you expect."

Jones, another junior guard, contributed 13 points and five boards; Ciotti, a senior floor general, notched 12 points and four assists; and Allen, a reserve senior guard, pitched in five first-half points.

For the fourth-seeded Rams, who committed 15 turnovers in the first three quarters and struggled defending in transition, 6-4 seniors Nick Stanek and Gary Hopkins netted 16 and 11 points, respectively.

Next for Spring-Ford, which won the Pioneer Athletic Conference title, is a playback game Tuesday against Lower Merion. The Rams clinched a berth in states by beating Harriton in the second round.

Pennsbury advanced to the district semifinals for the first time since 2009.

Pennsbury 21 14 16 18-69

Spring-Ford 7 18 14 13-52

P: Steve Ciotti 12, Mekhi Bryant 17, Derrick Woods 16, Cameron Jones 13, Nigel Johnson 4, Walter Allen 5, Lewis Troh 2.

SF: Drew Kakareka 2, Ryan Cass 4, Gary Hopkins 11, Nick Stanek 16, Josh Tupper 4, Alex Epps-Ortiz 4, Mike Olsen 6, Matt Gnias 4, Cameron Phillips 1.

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