An in-depth preview of the Public League boys’ basketball championship game:
Simon Gratz (20-4) vs. Math, Civics and Sciences (21-5)
7 p.m. Saturday at Liacouras Center, Temple University
Coaches: Gratz, Lynard Stewart; MC&S, Lonnie Diggs.
Semifinal results: Gratz handled Lincoln, 70-39, in the nightcap of a doubleheader Tuesday night at South Philadelphia High. In the first game, MC&S beat three-time league champion Imhotep Charter, 75-65, in overtime.
Hot streaks: Gratz is 12-2 since the new year. MC&S has won seven in a row and 11 of 12.
Last meeting: In the regular-season finale, MC&S beat host Gratz, 70-69, on Jan. 30, on Marcus Middleton’s buzzer-beating layup in overtime off a dish from Naieem Edwards.
History: Gratz is seeking its first PPL title since 2008. MC&S is seeking its first league title.
Gratz projected starting lineup: 5-11 senior Yassir Stover (17.2 points per game), 5-7 senior Yasir Rowell (12.2), 5-7 senior Edward Harris (5.7), 6-4 senior Ross Carter (10.3), 6-4 senior Kyyon Gordon (6.7).
MC&S projected starting lineup: 6-4 junior Nisine Poplar (20.0), 6-4 senior Tvon Jones (11.9), 6-8 senior Naadhir Wood (6.9), 6-1 senior Marcus Middleton (8.3), 6-0 senior Naieem Edwards (4.2).
They said it: Stewart: “I’m kind of glad it’s MCS. They’re the ones who gave us our one loss [in Public League regular-season play]. I’m looking forward to that. I think the city is looking forward to it, too — two teams that they probably didn’t have picked to be in the final.”
Breakdown: Expect fast-paced, end-to-end action when these teams get together with the Public League title on the line. Gratz relies heavily on its three-guard attack of Stover, Rowell and Harris to generate defensive pressure and ignite transition offense. MC&S needs strong, steady work from chief ball handlers Middleton and Edwards to handle the Bulldogs’ traps and scrambling double teams and get the basketball to Poplar and Jones in position to score.