Roman Catholic is in position to claim its third state basketball championship in four seasons and gain payback for its loss to Abraham Lincoln in the District 12 final.
The Cahillites (23-6) will clash with the Railsplitters (24-6) for top PIAA Class 6A honors at 8 p.m. Wednesday at Hershey’s Giant Center. Lincoln topped the Catholic League champs, 86-76, on March 3.
Both squads needed overtime on Saturday to earn a trip to Chocolatetown. Roman outlasted District 7’s Pine-Richland, 81-73, at Chambersburg; Lincoln survived District 2’s Hazleton, 76-74, at Bethlehem Freedom.
Allen Betrand and Hakim Hart each netted 25 points in the Cahillites’ taut victory over the Rams. Lynn Greer, who fouled out late in regulation, and sixth man Louie Wild each added 11 points.
Returning from the left ankle injury he suffered in a 75-56 quarterfinal triumph over Central Bucks West, Seth Lundy chipped in eight rebounds and seven points.
Hart, a 6-foot-5 junior, is averaging a team-high 22.3 points per game in the state tournament. Betrand, a 6-4 senior who is ticketed for Towson, has averaged 24.7 points in the last three wins.
Lundy, a 6-6 junior, is averaging a team-high 15.4 points this season; Greer, an ever-improving sophomore floor general, is next in line at 15.1 points per game.
Lincoln is trying to become the first Public League team to win a state crown at the highest classification. Martin Luther King advanced to the 4A final (the PIAA switched to six classifications last school year) in 2015 before losing to Roman, 62-45.
The catalysts for the Railsplitters are senior guards Khalif Meares, Shakeir Morrison and Sanhei Day, 6-6 forwards Tyree Corbett and Jahi Randall, and junior guard Emeul Charleston.
The speedy Meares delivered 20 points, five steals, three assists, and two rebounds vs. Hazleton. His runner in the lane with 10.7 seconds remaining in OT was the difference in the back-and-forth thriller.