WARMINSTER >> In the beast that is the Philadelphia Catholic League playoffs, every little thing matters.
The league’s quarterfinal round has some of the highest stakes of any postseason event anywhere in the state, with the winners given the opportunity to play on the hallowed hardwood of the Palestra and the losers left behind. to lament over what and where this chance has slipped away. PCL playoff games are usually won on the margins and after Friday night, Archbishop Wood’s margins will have plenty of red ink pointing to errors for the Vikings to turn on.
Archbishop No. 6 Ryan has compiled more little things that can transform a PCL game, using them to pass the No. 3 Vikings 74-73 in an instant classic in the 2021-22 PCL Quarter-Finals.
“The whole game was like six up, six down, six up and back and forth,” Wood’s coach John Mosco said. “We just lost control there at the end, missed a few lay-ups, missed a foul shot. They did the little things, did all the right parts. Joey (Zeglinksi) is a great coach with a great program, it was a Catholic League war.
BOYS BASKETBALL FINALS: (6) Archbishop Ryan 74, (3) Archbishop Wood 73
Instant classic in PCL quarter-finals as Raiders avenge regular-season loss to Vikings with trip to Palestra in semi-finals as Wood’s last shot out of place pic.twitter.com/giZXVbiKkw
— Andrew Robinson (@ADRobinson3) February 19, 2022
A few weeks prior, it was the Raiders who had to find the gaps in the margins after losing a late lead and losing to Wood 59-52 in the regular season. Every PCL playoff game is a rematch due to the league’s regular-season roster, but Ryan’s coach Joe Zeglinski felt the chance to reunite with Wood was one his team was up for. particularly interested.
Zeglinski, who celebrated his birthday with the win and the gift of being able to coach his next match at Penn’s legendary arena, could point to a handful of things in all but one of his side’s league defeats as where the match went. ran away. To correct the situation, his team and more particularly its promising young core, should win on the margins on Friday.
“It was the best game I think I’ve been in,” Zeglinski said. “These kids, blow for blow, they just countered and answered the bell. The last shot looked good, man. Congratulations to the Wood kids, they have a great team and it was a battle with every possession. I am so proud of our children, they have remained faithful.
Friday was a game with enough twists, turns, ebbs and flows for about three games, but that was just standard fare in the PCL playoff gauntlet. From Wood’s electric 8-0 start boosted by senior Tyson Allen, who was tremendous with 20 points, 12 rebounds and about three energy players at both ends of the court, to Ryan’s 23-point second quarter capped off by Darren Williams’ lay-up driving to level the 37-37 at the horn, the first half was just an appetizer.
Williams, a sophomore, is part of that promising young core and would play an important role in the final frame. In the third, it was classmate Thomas Sorber – the 6-foot-9 power center – who dominated early in a 14-7 run that ended with Ryan ahead 51-44. Sorber had 21 points and 13 rebounds, his second double-double against Wood this season.
It wasn’t his score, but his assist, that would have impacted the game in the fourth quarter.
Before that happened, the Vikings got hot again. Moore, who led all scorers with 26 points, found Allen for a bucket then buried a three-ball to start an 11-2 Wood run to end the third quarter with senior Mike Knouse putting in a trey with 24 seconds left in the frame for a 55-53 lead. Knouse opened the fourth with another trey and Moore converted three the hard way on the and-one that gave the Vikings a 61-54 advantage with 6:29 to go.
“The seniors played very well,” said Mosco. “The sophomores think they have another game and the seniors know this might be their last game. We could sit here and go over every foul or whatever, but we didn’t. a lot of little things and (Ryan) did a few more to win the game.
A three from Luke Boyd cut Wood’s lead to one then on the next possession, Williams intercepted a kicking pass from Wood and found Boyd flying downfield for a dunk. It was the first of three straight breakaway scores for the Raiders, with the other two coming on a dunk and a Euro-step layup by Williams, both on long out passes by Sorber off Wood misses.
Zeglinksi noted that his team was looking for every perk they could get and knowing that Sorber’s post presence and skill rebound would take a lot of attention, told his guys to look for a leak. Again, a few plays from the margins eventually turned into a 12-1 run that turned the tide.
“We got caught watching the ball and not watching the guys break, that’s what hurt us,” Mosco said.
Williams, who scored 10 of his 20 goals in the fourth quarter, rallied when he hit a wide open three on a pass from Jalen Snead with 2:13 remaining for a 72-66 lead.
“It was one of those times when we could make the best play, but only if you had confidence to make the shot and I had confidence,” Williams said. “No hesitation at all, like I said, trust and you can’t guess what you do best.”
Wood fought back once again, with Jalil Bethea hitting a clutch three then a Vikings steal leading to Moore scoring the tying bucket. But Snead returned the favor with the go-ahead on a drive and when Moore was fouled attacking the rim with 4.1 left, the guard left the first short on the line.
Yet he still found himself with the ball in the hands of a failed Ryan and even managed a good look for a three as time expired, but it wasn’t meant to be for Wood , a trip to the Palestra left on the sidelines of another classic PCL.
“The difference, in the fourth quarter today, we talked about it all week, we had to finish,” Williams said. “We had to stick together, we had to keep doing what worked throughout the game and just go out and finish the game.”
Wood will regroup for a District 12 ladder game before facing the PIAA 6A tournament, where the Vikings finished second last year.
Archbishop Ryan 74, Archbishop Wood 73
Bishop Ryan 14 23 16 21 — 74
Archbishop Wood 18 19 18 18 — 73
Archbishop Ryan: Darren Williams 8 1-2 20, David Wise 0 0-2 0, Luke Boyd 4 1-2 12, Jalen Snead 1 0-1 4, Thomas Sorber 9 3-3 21, Michael Paris 4 0-0 8 , Jaden Murray 3 3-7 9. Totals: 30 8-17 74.
Archbishop Wood: Justin Moore 9 4-6 26, Bahsil Laster 1 1-3 3, Tyson Allen 6 8-8 20, Mike Knouse 4 1-2 12, Carson Howard 0 4-6 4, Jalil Bethea 2 2-2 8 , Josh Reed 0 0-2 0. Totals: 26 20-29 73.
3 points: AR – Williams 3, Boyd 3; AW – Moore 4, Knouse 3, Bethea 2.