Bishop Shanahan’s Kevin Dodds missed two games during the regular season, including a key matchup against Ches-Mont League National Division rival Coatesville, because of illness.
“I was pretty sick for about five days, had a 102-degree fever and lost 12 pounds,” he said. “The doctors weren’t able to figure out if it was the flu or something else.”
Unfortunately for Chester, Dodds played at full strength in Wednesday night’s PIAA District 1 Class 5A semifinal at Temple’s Liacouras Center.
The 6-foot-7, 220-pound senior forward registered 15 of his game-high 23 points in the second half and collected 14 rebounds (six on offense) as the No. 2-seeded Eagles topped the No. 3 seeded Clippers, 61-47.
Last year, Dodds and company were defeated by Upper Merion, 45-30, in the semis and placed fourth in districts. “That loss really had a big impact on us,” the 18-year-old said. “We worked really hard in the offseason to try to get over the hump.”
Trailing Chester by 39-32 with 4 1/2 minutes remaining in the third quarter, Shanahan responded with a 9-0 burst that included Dodds’ three-point play and was capped by his putback.
The Eagles (22-4) began to pull away from the Clippers (18-7) midway through the final stanza. Point guard David Angelo’s three-pointer and Dodds’ two buckets produced a 52-45 advantage.
Dodds, who will continue his career at Division II Gannon, posted 11 third-quarter points. Overall, he shot 10 for 13 from the field and 3 for 3 from the line.
“He’s been the backbone of our team the last three years, and he’s really stepped up his game in the playoffs,” Shanahan coach Ken Doyle said. “He wants to keep this thing going.”
The Eagles will take on No. 1 seed and defending champ Penncrest (24-3) in Saturday’s 2 p.m. final at Temple. The Lions advanced with a 45-40 victory over No. 4 Wissahickon (18-7).
Senior floor general Tyler Norwood fueled Penncrest with 18 points, three boards, and two assists. Malcolm Williams, a 6-3 junior forward, notched eight of his nine points in the first quarter.
Chester, which was trying for its first district crown since 2014, shot a miserable 2 for 17 from the field (0 for 11 from beyond the arc) in the last frame.
Dodds, Angelo (15 points, with three treys), 6-4 forward Thomas Ford (11 points, five boards, five assists), and wing guard Dan DiBeneditto (two points, two assists, two boards) are senior mainstays for Shanahan.
“These kids have been resilient all year,” Doyle said. “They don’t allow anything to faze them. They find a way to keep things together.”
Dodds, a first baseman and southpaw pitcher on the diamond, chose Gannon over Kutztown and University of the Sciences. He plans to major in business.
Chester 15 13 14 5-47
Bishop Shanahan 15 11 17 18-61
C: Michael Smith 8, Brian Randolph 11, Rahmee Gilbert 10, Timothy Johnson 2, Karell Watkins 4, Rahmad Dejarnette 11, Javan Graham 1.
BS: David Angelo 15, Dan DiBeneditto 2, Kevin Dodds 23, Thomas Ford 11, Joe Malley 4, Phil Chenard 6.
Wissahickon 7 10 9 14-40
Penncrest 12 9 12 12-45
W: Max Rapoport 9, Eddie Fortescue 5, Zach Reiner 11, Anthony Lawrence 3, Carmen Ostroski 6, Donovan Oliphant 6.
P: Tyler Norwood 18, Justin Heidig 5, Malcolm Williams 9, Matt Arbogast 7, Chris Mills 2, Giavanni Antonelli 4.