The PIAA District 1 Class AAAA boys' basketball championship game features a pair of guard-driven squads.
Plymouth Whitemarsh is spurred by the backcourt trio of Andre Mitchell, Xzavier Malone, and Jimmy Murray. Abington counters with a stellar one-two combo in Matt Penecale and Amir Hinton.
In an all-Suburban One League contest, the Colonials (23-2) and Ghosts (25-3) clash for top district honors at 8 p.m. Friday at Temple's Liacouras Center.
Hinton (990 career points) netted 25 points and 10 boards in Wednesday's 49-40 semifinal win over Pennsbury, while Penecale (1,188) produced nine points and the same number of assists.
The Ghosts are making their first appearance in the district final since they beat Ridley in 1986. Their other title came against Chester in 1982.
"I've been highly impressed with [Abington] coach [Charles] Grasty and what he's doing," PW coach Jim Donofrio said after his squad held off Ridley, 44-41, in the nightcap of Wednesday's semifinal doubleheader.
"He really has those guys playing with an edge and a chip on their shoulders. I think he's used that to carry them and I really love how they're playing."
Mitchell (15.4 ppg.), Malone (14.8 ppg., 34 threes) and Murray (13.5 ppg., 48 threes) are double-digit scoring threats for PW.
Abington's starting lineup is rounded out by freshman guard Robbie Heath, 6-foot-4 forward Brian Close, and 6-2 forward Brendan Gallagher. PW's Big Three is joined by 6-2 forward Cameron Johnson and 6-4 forward Devon Monteiro-Gray.
Because Donofrio kept the Colonials out of the Suburban One League postseason tournament, which was won by Abington, Friday's winner will be the unofficial league champ.
PW is trying for its first district crown since beating Hatboro-Horsham in 1998 and its sixth overall. The Colonials lost to Penn Wood in overtime in the 2010 district final, but went on to win a state championship.
Sticking with our pre-playoffs prediction, we expect PW, aided by its halfcourt trap and zone press, to claim the first-place hardware.
Pick: PW, 52-47.
Here is a look at this weekend's other District 1 championship games, to be played Saturday at Colonial Elementary School in Plymouth Meeting:
Class A. Jenkintown (12-13) vs. Delco Christian (13-13), noon. Key for Delco Christian is slowing Drakes junior Colin Mulvaney, a 1,099-point career scorer.
Pick: Delco Christian, 47-38.
Class AA. Bristol (14-12) vs. Church Farm (16-10), 2 p.m. Michael Mohamed and Church Farm moved up from Class A this season.
Pick: Church Farm, 50-46.
Class AAA final. Glen Mills (18-6) vs. Octorara (24-2), 4 p.m. The talents of Octorara's Tarojae Brake and Glen Mills' Anthony Johnson will be showcased.
Pick: Glen Mills, 57-55, in OT.
Friday at St. Joseph's University:
Class AA. Freire Charter (13-12) vs. Conwell-Egan (15-8), 5:45 p.m. The Eagles' strength of schedule reaps dividends vs. the Dragons.
Pick: C-E, 55-38.
Class AAA. Imhotep Charter (19-8) vs. Neumann-Goretti (23-2), 7:15 p.m. Daron Russell and the Panthers hope the Saints are still reeling from their loss to Roman Catholic.
Pick: N-G, 59-53.
Class AAAA. Martin Luther King (19-7) vs. Roman (23-2), 8:45 p.m. The Cahillites, fresh off earning their first Catholic League title since 2007, go for their third straight win over the Cougars.
Pick: Roman, 66-53.