Here’s hoping this weekend’s PIAA boys’ basketball quarterfinal playoffs match the drama and intensity associated with Wednesday’s night’s Class 6A second-round action.
Neshaminy outlasted Lower Merion, 88-87, in double overtime; Roman Catholic rallied from 15 points down to stun Plymouth Whitemarsh, 75-71; Central Bucks West fought past defending state champ Reading, 60-47, in OT; and Lincoln needed two extra sessions to escape Hempfield, 65-55.
The state playoffs resume Friday night at the Class 5A, 4A, and A levels, with five area teams are trying to take the next step toward Hershey.
Here is a closer look at the contests, along with our predictions. We will preview Saturday’s 6A, 3A, and A quarterfinal games on Friday.
Milton Hershey (25-5) vs. Archbishop Carroll (20-7), at Garden Spot in New Holland, 7 p.m. Carroll is aiming for its first state title since it beat Greensburg Salem, 75-54, for top Class 3A honors in 2009.
Senior forward Keyon Butler and sophomore guard A.J. Hoggard netted 21 and 19 points, respectively, as the Patriots downed Lampeter-Strasburg, 77-76, in OT in the second round. Senior guard Justin Anderson (17) and junior wing Luke House (14) joined the duo as double-digit scorers.
District 3 titlist Milton Hershey is keyed by 5-9 guard Don’yae Baylor-Carroll (23 ppg.) and 6-2 forwards Pedro Rodriguez and Treyvon Ferguson. Ferguson is the reigning Class 3A triple-jump champion with a mark of 47-1 3/4 inches.
Pick: Carroll, 75-72.
Bonner-Prendergast (24-4) vs. Allentown Central Catholic (25-4), at Reading’s Geigle Complex, 7:30 p.m. Bonner-Prendie has rebounded nicely after losing to Roman in the Catholic League final.
Isaiah Wong, a dynamic junior guard and Division I recruit, delivered 32 points in the Friars’ 93-73, second-round triumph over York. Next in line were 6-8 senior and Rider recruit Ajiri Johnson (26 points, nine boards), and 6-9 junior Tariq Ingraham (13,17).
District 11 champ Central Catholic is paced by guards Dat Lambert (12.6 ppg.) and Jay Vaughan (10.9) and 6-8 center Keeshawn Kellman (8.9)
Vaughn (three treys) and Kellman (10 boards) each scored 15 points as the Vikings advanced to the quarterfinals with a 61-59, double-OT win over Dallas.
Pick: Bonner-Prendie, 81-65.
Imhotep Charter (28-2) vs. Middletown (19-7), at Reading’s Geigle Complex, 6 p.m. Quick and deep Imhotep was ranked No. 8 in the country in USA Today’s most recent Super 25.
Senior guard Bernard Lightsey and juniors Donta Scott (6-foot-7), Chereef Knox (6-6), Dahmir Bishop (6-4), and Jamil Riggins (6-6) ignite the Panthers.
Scranton Prep slowed the pace and limited Imhotep’s offensive possessions in the second round. But with Scott managing 13 points, the Public League champs still prevailed, 44-32.
Middletown, District 3’s No. 3 seed, is spurred by 6-4 wing Ryan Hughes and 6-0 forward Tre’ Leach. Hughes and Leach netted 16 and 14 points, respectively, as the Blue Raiders nipped Overbrook, 47-45, in the second round.
Pick: Imhotep, 77-49.
Plumstead Christian (19-10) vs. Faith Christian (27-2), at Spring-Ford, 7:30 p.m. The Bicentennial Athletic League Constitution Division rivals clash in Royersford.
Plumstead is headed by Carson Curry, a 6-foot guard who averages 20.1 points per game. Floor general Kyle Elton and 6-3 wing Drew Grow have hit 73 and 55 threes, respectively.
Faith is paced by wings Charles Ervin (15.4 ppg.) and Derian Bradford, point guard Darius Forney, 6-3 forward Landon Coyle, and 6-7 center Sawyer Smith.
Pick: Faith, 69-56.