PHILADELPHIA ELECTRICAL 53, HOLY GHOST PREP 52 (OT)
After transferring to Philadelphia Electrical and Technology Charter for this school year and joining the basketball squad, Larenz Thurman mostly flied under the radar while serving as floor general.
"It was a big transition for him," Chargers coach James "Flames" Lewis said. "He didn't want to do too much too soon. He's starting to come into his own now."
With the poised Thurman producing 18 points, including the deciding bucket with 24 seconds left in overtime, PET held off Holy Ghost Prep, 53-52, in a PIAA Class AAA second-round thriller at Colonial Elementary School.
"The coaches have pushed me all year to be more of a scorer," said Thurman, who came over from Wilmington Friends (Del.).
"When I first got here, I was just trying to adjust to a new setting."
Before his game-winner from near the foul line, Thurman, who said he moved in with his grandparents in the Overbook section, was 4 for 13 from the field, including 3 for 9 from beyond the arc.
"My three-point shot wasn't on, so I was looking for a mid-range shot," the 6-foot, 185-pound senior said.
In a Friday quarterfinal, at a neutral site and time to be determined, the Chargers (18-11) will take on Archbishop Carroll (23-4). The Patriots advanced Tuesday with a 59-55 victory over District 2 champ Abington Heights.
Against Holy Ghost, Thurman, who added two assists and two steals, was supported by junior guard Devante Truitt (14 points, five steals) and 6-6 senior forward James Suber (12 rebounds, nine points, four blocks).
"I think we did a very good job of slowing the game down," said Lewis, whose squad committed just two turnovers.
After Thurman's go-ahead bucket in OT, the Firebirds, unable to get off a shot and trapped on the left wing, called a timeout with just 2.3 seconds to go. Matt England's three-point try at the buzzer, with Thurman defending, was way short.
Down by 43-37 in the fourth quarter, Holy Ghost (23-7) rallied to force an extra session. Zahir Watkins evened things on a right-side drive at 0:21.
"It was anybody's game down the stretch, and they just made one or two more plays than us," Firebirds coach Tony Chapman said.
England, who sat out the last 7 minutes of the first half after picking up his third foul, posted 10 of his 20 points in the fourth stanza. Watkins and reserve Joe Braun (16 boards, three blocks) each scored nine.
For the Chargers, who advanced to the state quarterfinals for the first time, junior guard Jihad Barnes chipped in six points, four assists, and four steals.
Tim Brennan grabbed eight boards for Holy Ghost Prep, which was hurt by 14 turnovers; Mike Kirby, who fouled out in the late going, had seven first-half points; and Andre Puleo dished four assists.
The District 1 titlists nearly reached the state quarterfinals for the second time in three seasons. In 2012, they won two games before bowing to eventual champ Neumann-Goretti.
Holy Ghost Prep 12 7 9 16 8-52
Philadelphia Electrical 17 8 8 11 9-53
HGP: Mike Kirby 7, Matt England 20, Zahir Watkins 11, Joe Braun 11, Liam Brennan 3.
PET: Larenz Thurman 18, Jihad Barnes 6, James Suber 9, Nysir Marshburn 4, Devante Truitt 14, Anthony Harris 2.