Memorable moments in the PIAA boys' basketball state tournament
There were many highlights in the inaugural six-classification PIAA boys' basketball tournament. Three area teams returned from Hershey's Giant Center with first-place trophies: Neumann-Goretti, Archbishop Wood, and Imhotep. Two others, Girard College and Constitution, fell just short of statewide glory.
There were many highlights in the inaugural six-classification PIAA boys' basketball tournament.
Three area teams returned from Hershey's Giant Center with first-place trophies: Neumann-Goretti, Archbishop Wood, and Imhotep. Two others, Girard College and Constitution, fell just short of statewide glory.
Here is a look back at the 15-day event that included a snow-related postponement following first-round action.
Most valuable players
Class 6A: Reading's Lonnie Walker; 5A: Wood's Collin Gillespie; 4A: Imhotep's Daron Russell; 3A: Neumann-Goretti's Quade Green; 2A: Sewickley Academy's Justin Pryor; A: Kennedy Catholic's Drew Magestro.
Behind the 6-foot-5 Walker, a dynamic playmaker and Miami recruit, Reading won its first state title. The Red Knights topped Pine-Richland, 64-60, in Saturday night's 6A final before a capacity crowd.
Reading had last played for a state championship in 1973, when Stu Jackson's 38 points were not enough in a 63-62 loss to General Braddock in a 3A final at Harrisburg's Farm Show Arena.
With its 73-40 romp over Meadville in Friday night's 5A final, Wood, which also captured its first state crown, finished with 22 consecutive victories.
Following a 68-60 loss to Catholic League rival Father Judge on Jan. 3, the Vikings, without a place to call home after part of the wall in their gym collapsed, were perfect the rest of the way. They won their five state games by an average margin of 24.2 points.
Top non-area showing
Walker poured in 35 points, two shy of his career high, as Reading stormed past Archbishop Ryan, 56-51, in a 6A semifinal at Temple's Liacouras Center. He netted 15 markers in a 19-0 run that spanned the second and third quarters.
Top performance by an area player
Tyree Pickron exploded for 32 points, including the 1,000th of his career, to spark Wood past Spring Grove, 71-46, in a Class 5A quarterfinal at Reading's Santander Arena.
The 6-3 junior guard, who shot 13 for 17 from the field vs. the Rockets, has scholarship offers from Delaware State, Drexel, Fairleigh Dickinson, and Stony Brook.
Ish Horn sank a buzzer-beating shot from halfcourt to give Plymouth Whitemarsh a 55-50 lead on Pocono Mountain West going into the fourth quarter of a taut second-round contest. The Colonials went on to beat the speedy Panthers, 66-63.
Best effort in a loss
Tymair Johnson posted 26 points, seven caroms, five assists and two steals for Math, Civics and Sciences in a 73-70 overtime defeat against Public League rival Constitution in a fast-paced 2A semifinal.
2017-18 Preseason Top 10
1, Wood. 2, Imhotep. 3, Westtown. 4, Roman Catholic. 5, Abington. 6, Plymouth Whitemarsh. 7, Neumann-Goretti. 8, Martin Luther King. 9. St. Joseph's Prep. 10. Math, Civics and Sciences.
Father Judge senior guard Mike Power has committed to Holy Family. . . . Wood's Collin Gillespie and Neumann-Goretti's Dhamir Cosby-Roundtree, both Villanova recruits, will play for the United States all-Americans in the 44th annual Hoop Culture Capital Classic on April 8 at Washington's Verizon Center. N-G coach Carl Arrigale will direct the squad vs. the Capital All-Americans, with Wood boss John Mosco as his assistant. . . . Gillespie, Cosby-Roundtree, Imhotep's Daron Russell, who is bound for Rhode Island, and Hatboro-Horsham's Clifton Moore were selected to play in the Jordan Brand Classic regional game at Brooklyn's Barclays Center on April 12. The 6-10 Moore originally committed to Indiana, but may end up elsewhere following the firing of nine-year Hoosiers coach Tom Crean.