READING, Pa. – Bernard Lightsey’s long-range marksmanship and late-game poise played a key role in Imhotep Charter’s latest playoff victory.
“He was huge for us,” Panthers coach Andre Noble said. “When we were struggling, he made some big shots.”
Lightsey drilled four three-pointers en route to 17 points as the Public League champions moved closer to a second straight PIAA Class 4A crown with a 65-60 defeat of District 11’s Bethlehem Catholic in a semifinal Monday night at the Geigle Complex.
The 6-foot, 185-pound senior guard netted 11 points, including three shots from behind the arc, in the first half. He went 3 for 4 from the line in the last 45 seconds to help clinch the victory.
After the Golden Hawks raced to a 14-1 advantage, Lightsey nailed two treys to ignite Imhotep’s 10-0 burst.
“I just had to aggressive,” he said. “The team needed me to score for us to stay in the game.”
At the start of the third quarter, Lightsey’s right-wing three-pointer put Imhotep (30-2) ahead by 36-24. The second-year starter added two rebounds and an assist.
After being held scoreless in the opening 11 minutes, the Panthers’ Donta Scott, a 6-foot-7 junior wing, totaled 27 points, nine boards (three on offense), four assists, and a blocked shot.
“Donta Scott loves basketball, is a hard worker, wants his coaches to be happy, and always does the best he can,” Noble said.
Scott missed his first five field-goal attempts. From there, the Division I recruit shot 11 for 16 from the floor (1 for 1 from downtown) and 4 for 4 from the line.
Imhotep will take on District 10 titlist Sharon (27-2) for top honors at 8 p.m. Thursday at Hershey’s Giant Center.
Noble’s squad was ranked No. 7 in the country in USA Today’s most recent Super 25.
“We play a national schedule, hold each other accountable in practice and games, and find a way to overcome adversity,” Lightsey said.
Imhotep is seeking its sixth state crown. Last year, with Scott contributing nine points and Lightsey seven, it hammered District’s 10’s Strong Vincent, 80-52, to capture gold.
Bethlehem Catholic (28-4) mustered an 11-0 spurt in the third quarter to trim the Panthers’ advantage to one point, 44-43. The Golden Hawks made it 50-50 on 6-8 junior Kyle Young’s two free throws with six minutes left in the contest.
The Panthers responded with a 9-4 run that began with Dahmir Bishop’s trey and was capped by reserve Jamil Riggins’ two free throws. Scott’s driving layup produced a four-point edge, 61-57, with 2:18 to go.
Young paced Bethlehem Catholic with 14 points, 12 boards, and three blocks. His brother Ryan, a 6-foot-10 senior bound for Northwestern, managed 11 points and 10 boards.
Imhotep’s Elijah Taylor, a 6-8 sophomore, contributed nine boards and seven points.
“He rumbles, plays hard, and makes things happen for us,” Noble said.
Imhotep Charter 11 22 13 19 – 65
Bethlehem Catholic 15 9 19 17 – 60
IC: Donta Scott 27, Bernard Lightsey 17, Elijah Taylor 7, Chereef Knox 4, Dahmir Bishop 3, Jamil Riggins 3, Fatayn Wesley 2, Marquise Greenwood 2.
BC: DeAndre Gardner 14, Scott Kuna 6, Ryan Young 11, Kyle Young 14, Justin Paz 12, Ryan Santana 1, Julian Thomas 2.