Plymouth Whitemarsh boys lose to Reading in state quarterfinal

Reading celebrates its win against Plymouth Whitemarsh.

Another spectacular, come-from behind victory was within Plymouth Whitemarsh's reach.

Two days after surviving a thriller against Pocono Mountain West in Bethlehem, the Colonials were on the verge of beating Lonnie Walker and Reading in Sunday's PIAA quarterfinal at Temple's Liacouras Center.

PW was ahead by a bucket with 2 minutes, 10 seconds to play. But the Red Knights closed with an 11-0 spurt, converting 7 of 8 free throws down the stretch, and left North Broad Street with a 70-61 victory.

"In a month, you'll look back and say, 'We had a good run,' " veteran PW coach Jim Donofrio said. "But right now, I'm upset that we weren't able to close out that game."

The Colonials, who were down by 47-41 midway through the third quarter, ended the frame on a 9-3 spurt to even things.

PW's rally was surprisingly sparked by Kevin Tilghman. The junior reserve guard - and fifth man off the squad's bench - posted nine of his 14 points in the third quarter.

Tilghman drilled a right-wing trey to forge a 57-57 tie with just less than 5 minutes to play. His two freebies gave the Suburban One League American Conference champs a 61-59 edge with 2:10 remaining.

"If you have a two-point lead and the ball in your hands with 2 minutes remaining, you have to win the game," Donofrio said. "It's that simple."

Donofrio said Tilghman got his chance to play when fellow reserves Kareem Breeden (groin injury) and Jason Paul (asthma) were not able to go at 100 percent.

"If Kevin gets it going, he's a combination of those two players," Donofrio said. "He's a three-point threat and he can also run the point."

The Colonials' 23 turnovers, including eight in the second stanza and seven in the fourth, played a big role in their demise.

Did the physical and mental energy they exerted in their 66-63 victory over speedy and talent-filled Poconco Mountain West play a factor in their sloppiness vs. Reading?

"It's hard to say," Donofrio said. "We were trying to win our third game in five days. And Friday night's game was like a 17-round boxing match."

Walker, a 6-foot-4 wing who will continue his career at Miami, and fellow senior Tyrone Nesby, a 6-5 forward, each netted 20 points for the Red Knights.

"Every game is a test," Reading coach Rick Perez said. "We weren't very smart in the way we tried to maintain our lead. But our seniors stepped up in the end."

Next for Reading (28-3) is a Tuesday semifinal at a back at Temple vs. Archbishop Ryan (23-5).

Ahmad Williams spurred PW (25-6) with 15 points, eight boards, and four assists. Fellow junior guard Ish Horn notched nine points, nine caroms (five on offense), and four blocked shots.

Plymouth Whitemarsh 16 16 18 11 - 61

Reading 13 24 13 20 - 70

PW: Ahmad Williams 15, Ish Horn 9, Naheem McLeod 2, Cheo Houston 4, Matt Walker 4, Alan Glover 6, Kareem Breeden 2, Jason Paul 5, Kevin Tilghman 14.

R: Wesley Butler 4, Tyrone Nesby 20, Jose Genao Batista 12, Isiah Cook 11, Lonnie Walker 20, Hector Dixon 3.