PIAA district and subregional basketball finals on tap this weekend

Junior center Naheem McLeod (10) and Plymouth Whitemarsh will face Abington for top District 1 Class 6A honors on Saturday.

It’s the second year for six PIAA boys’ basketball classifications, and five District 1 championship games and a District 1-11 subregional final, in Class 4A, are on tap this weekend. Four District 12 title contests are also part of the busy slate.

Here is a look at three intriguing title game  matchups.

District 1 Class 6A

No. 7-ranked Abington (21-5) vs. No. 2 Plymouth Whitemarsh (27-0), 6 p.m. Saturday  at Temple.

Abington is seeking its third large-school district crown in four seasons and fourth overall; PW, which is ranked No. 19 in the country in USA Today’s Super 25, is trying for its second in three years and seventh overall.

The Ghosts, who defeated PW by 53-35 in the Class 4A final in 2015, are sparked by 6-foot-7 forward Eric Dixon and savvy guards Lucas Monroe and Robbie Heath.

Camera icon LOU RABITO
Abington senior guard Robert Heath.

Heath produced 24 points, six assists and three steals in a 72-61 semifinal win over Lower Merion. Dixon (22 points, 12 rebounds) and Monroe (seven boards, three assists) were next in line.

The Colonials’ Naheem McLeod, a 7-foot-2 junior center, has shown vast improvement since last season. He netted 21 points in a 68-46 semifinal romp over Central Bucks West.

PW also has capable scorers in twin guards Ahmin and Ahmad Williams, lightning-quick guard Ish Horn, and 6-4 senior forward Alan Glover (12 rebounds vs. C.B. West).

Pick: PW, 71-62.

District 12 Class 5A

No. 12 Martin Luther King (18-9) vs. No. 4 Bonner-Prendergast (21-4), 7 p.m. Friday at Father Judge.

Can the Cougars find a way to rebound from a 66-37 blowout loss to Imhotep Charter in the Public League title game? The Friars look to do the same after bowing to Roman Catholic, 51-49, in the final seconds of  the Catholic League final.

M.L. King will need solid efforts from 6-9 center Will McNair and guards Denelle Holly Jr. and Ricardo Montereiro to overcome Bonner-Prendie.

Camera icon ELIZABETH ROBERTSON
Bonner-Prendergast junior guard Isaiah Wong (21) is being courted by Villanova and other Division I schools.

The Friars are spurred by Isaiah Wong, a junior guard who netted 18 points against Roman while being watched by Villanova head coach Jay Wright and assistant Ashley Howard.

Pick: Bonner-Prendie, 66-57.

District 1 Class 5A

No. 13 Bishop Shanahan (22-4) vs. No. 19 Penncrest (24-3), 2 p.m. Saturday  at Temple.

Shanahan last won a district title in 1995; Penncrest nipped Upper Merion, 39-37, last year for its third championship

Camera icon CHARLES FOX
Bishop Shanahan’s Kevin Dodds, (10) battles for a rebound against Chester’s Rahmee Gilbert.

The Eagles looked sharp in turning back Chester, 61-47, in the semifinals. They are led by 6-7 forward Kevin Dodds (14.6 ppg.), point guard David Angelo (13.7 ppg., 69 treys), 6-4 forward Tom Ford, and 6-foot wing Joe O’Malley.

Behind 18 points from whirlwind floor general Tyler Norwood, who averages 21.5 points and has buried 57 threes, the Lions downed Wissahickon, 45-40, in the semis.

Camera icon CHARLES FOX
Penncrest senior guard Tyler Norwood has 1,634 career points.

Norwood, a 1,634-point career scorer, is supported by 6-3 forward Malcolm Williams, guard Justin Heidig, and 6-5 forward Matt Arbogast.

Pick: Shanahan, 54-47.