PIAA basketball second-round previews
Math, Civics and Sciences (12-14)
vs. Sullivan County (20-6)
at Parkland High School, 6 p.m.
MCS road to 2nd round: in districts beat GAMP, 100-21; Sankofa Freedom, 65-45 and New Media, 64-49; in states beat Delaware County Christian, 100-50
MCS facts: The Mighty Elephants are a Class A program in name only, unrestricted by geographic boundaries like Sullivan County. They feature eight new non-freshman players this year, including their three leading scorers. Samir Dougthy, a 6-4 point guard, is coming off a 45-point performance against DCC in the first round of states while 6-9 Mike Watkins averages 10.8 points and 12.1 rebounds per game. They are the team’s leading scorers. MCS has reached two straight state semifinals and won the 2011 state championship. It defeated Sullivan in the 2012 second round and St. John Neumann in last year’s second round. The Elephants have been ranked No. 2 throughout the season despite a losing record since they play almost nothing but large schools in and around the Philadelphia area and also around the country. They have played seven games in New York, North Carolina and Florida while also meeting traditional big school powers like Chester and Imhotep. Because District 12 uses an open format, MCS is free to schedule those large schools without worrying about missing the playoffs. As usual, MCS features players who either will be going Division I or are receiving Division I interest. At least five players will be playing Division I basketball. Watkins is a Penn State recruit while Doughty has received offers from Rhode Island, Temple and St. Joseph’s among others. Louis Myers, a 6-3 guard averaging 9.6 points per game, is headed to Norfolk State.
Sullivan road to 2nd round: in districts beat Lourdes, 50-38; Galeton, 44-29 and lost to Neumann, 61-48; in states beat Mount Calvary, 52-47
Sullivan facts: The Griffins are playing in the second round for a third straight year and also have won at least 20 games for a third straight season. Sullivan, with none of the advantages the Public League schools have, has reached the state tournament four straight seasons and won 84 games during that time. The Griffins have come a long way this season, getting stronger as the year has progressed after losing four starters from last year’s team that set the program record for 23 wins. They excelled over the final four minutes last Friday, outscoring Mount Calvary, 14-6 after falling behind by a point. It was the second straight year, Sullivan traveled more than two hours to play a District 3 team near its home court and won. The Griffins have won 14 of their last 16 games with the only losses coming to undefeated Neumann. Senior forward Conner Wylie is having an all-state worthy season and is averaging a double-double. He dominated inside last Friday and scored 21 points while grabbing eight rebounds. Adam Szklanka has been strong in the playoffs. He, Bob Polcrack and Sean Flannery hit seven 3-pointers against Mount Calvary. Jordan Beinlich is a defensive stopper who could guard Doughty. He scored eight points on Friday too, his best production this postseason. Sullivan is seeking its first state quarterfinal appearance.
Winner plays: Either District 1 champion Church Farm (24-4) or District 11 champion Mahanoy Area (25-2)
St. John Neumann (28-0)
vs. Phil-Mont Christian (20-5)
at Central Dauphin East High School, 6 p.m.
Neumann road to 2nd Round: in districts beat Muncy, 71-57; Mansfield, 74-62; Sullivan, 61-48; in states beat Greenwood, 64-50
Neumann facts: The Knights are playing in the second round for a third straight year and are seeking their first quarterfinal appearance since 2000. Neumann leads the state in wins and used a 10-0 run to end the second half against Greenwood to start pulling away for a first-round win. Neumann has captured HAC-III, Heartland Conference championships and a district title this season. All-state candidate Alize Johnson nearly had a triple-double against Greenwood and is averaging 23 points, 15.5 rebounds and 7.2 rebounds per game in six playoff games. Point guard Richard Allen is having an outstanding season too and scored 20 points in the district final win over Sullivan. Nasza Short has come on strong in the postseason and scored a career-high 28 points against Mansfield. Njoku-Ibe Amanze, a 6-8 sophomore, played well off the bench against Greenwood, scoring 8 points and grabbing eight rebounds. He was one of five starters who scored at least nine points in the district final. Kevin Anderson dealt five first-half assists against Greenwood and scored 11 points against Sullivan. Kamaal Burkholder and Ryan Reid played solid defense against Greenwood and Noah Beiter has been a defensive stopper the last two seasons.
Phil-Mont road to 2nd Round: in districts beat Plumstead Christian, 65-41; beat Jenkintown, 63-38; lost to Church Farm, 68-60; in states beat New Media, 76-65, OT.
Phil-Mont facts: The Falcons are soaring into the second round after mounting a huge comeback against New Media last Friday. Phil-Mont outscored New Media 36-12 in the fourth quarter and overtime while overcoming a 13-point deficit. It was the first state tournament win in program history and has the team feeling good entering tonight’s game. The Falcons have a nice balance of height, speed and depth. Zach Dolton, a 6-6 senior guard, averages a team-high 16.4 points per game and is tough from inside or outside. He scored 19 points against New Media and had 28 in a season-opening win over Bishop McDevitt. Sophomore Sean Griffin has had a breakout year and averages 14.8 points per game. The 6-6 forward has elevated his performance in the postseason averaging 17.5 in the playoffs. He had 17 points and 15 rebounds in that season-opening win, scored a career-high 29 in a win over state qualifier Delco County Christian and added 16 against New Media. Senior point guard Micah Baldez runs the offense well and averages 12.7 points per game, 14 in the playoffs. He had eight rebounds and seven assists in the season opener and can score well while also facilitating the offense. Seth Brandenburg, a senior guard, was one of four players to score in double figures against New Media, producing 13 points.
Winner plays: Either District 3 champion New Hope Academy (15-9) or District 11 runner-up Pius X (20-4)