There’s a familiarity between the Pennridge and Methacton boys basketball teams.
It’s not just that both teams were making the deepest playoff run in their schools’ histories, or the green and white that fills both student sections in the stands. It’s that the teams’ players have shared AAU courts for years -- and a practice court a couple weeks ago.
A buzzer-beating three-pointer from Pennridge senior Sean Yoder kept the Rams’ storybook season alive with a 50-47 win over Methacton Saturday in the PIAA Class 6A state quarterfinals at Plymouth Whitemarsh.
Leaving the final huddle of a tight game that never had either team lead by more than seven points, the Navy recruit knew he’d have the ball with the score tied at 47. He knew he’d dribble out the clock, and he knew he’d win the game.
“I actually told one of my guys, ‘This is game right here,’ ” Yoder said. “My teammates have confidence in me to knock down a shot, and I just wanted one shot.”
Pennridge and Methacton have both shattered expectations with their playoff runs, even their own. The teams scrimmaged before the start of the state playoffs earlier this month. Pennridge coach Dean Behrens and Methacton’s Jeff Derstine didn’t forsee a meeting in the future, so it wouldn’t matter.
"We were like, ‘Hey, if we meet up in the Elite Eight, we’re in, so who cares?' Behrene said.
“Our guys know each other really well. ... It was kind of ironic that we were playing each other. So that was neat, scrimmaging those guys a couple days before the first round."
But, after Pennridge downed Abington for the first time in four tries this season, and Methacton kept one of the best seasons in school history alive by beating Boys Latin, the two found themselves pitted against one another in the biggest game in both schools’ history.
“Nobody expects us to be here besides us, besides our community,” Yoder said. “We did it against Abington, just string a couple wins together, and that’s all you got.”
The game started slow. Both sides were scoreless in the opening two minutes, but the nervous, mistake-riddled performances finally turned into an up-and-down contest between two evenly matched teams.
The student sections filled opposite sides of the rafters, and the line into the gym curled outside and around the school. The floor shook on free-throw attempts, and the fans erupted on pivotal plays. They knew what was at stake.
Methacton junior Erik Timko was the Warriors’ steadying presence, netting a game-high 20 points including four three-pointers.
Methacton was in control with 25.8 seconds left. The Warriors had the ball and presumably the last shot. But they couldn’t get the inbounds pass two different times, the first time resulting in a timeout and the second in a devastating turnover.
The Rams needed strong efforts from big man John Post, who had 13 points, including a six-point effort in the fourth quarter while containing Methacton center Jeff Woodward to 12 points. Yoder finished with 17 points, pitching in seven in the fourth quarter.
Pennridge moves on to the state semifinals against La Salle on Tuesday. The championship game is Saturday.
“At this point, what the hell? Let’s go try to win the state,” Behrens said. “I know there’s other great teams out there, but, what the heck? There’s only four teams. We’re here now. Let’s go one more week.”
Methacton 10 13 14 10 -- 47
Pennridge 12 11 12 15 -- 50
M: Timko 20, Woodward 12, David Duda 10, Ben Christian 3, Owen Kropp 2