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PIAA boys basketball tournament preview capsules: Wilson travels north; Becahi heads south

Allentown Morning Call logo Allentown Morning Call 3/13/2019 By Keith Groller, The Morning Call (Allentown, Pa.)

March 12-- Mar. 12--When they met in District 11 4A semifinals Feb. 26 at Whitehall, Wilson Area battled Bethlehem Catholic about as tough as any District 11 team has all season.

Becahi led 21-18 at halftime, and 35-31 after three quarters but the Warriors were still within 41-37 with 5:42 remaining before the Golden Hawks pulled away to a 55-44 win.

Bethehem Catholic and Wilson were the only two District 11 4A teams to advance past the first round. Should both win second-round games on Tuesday night they would meet again -- this time in the state quarterfinals.

Both the Golden Hawks and Warriors must defeat three-loss district champs in order to set up their rematch.

Bethlehem Catholic will face District One champ Lower Moreland at Souderton Area High School and Wilson battles District 2 champ Scanton Prep at Hazleton.

Here's a look at those matchups:

Bethlehem Catholic (District 11 champ, 26-3) vs. Lower Moreland (District 1 champ, 23-3)

When/where: 7:30 p.m. Tuesday at Souderton Area.

What's next: The winner will play the winner of the Wilson Area/Scranton Prep game in Friday's state quarterfinals.

Coaches: Becahi, Scott McClary (first season); Lower Moreland, Seth Baron (eighth season).

Becahi's key players: 5-11 Jr. G Ryan Santana (9.7 ppg); 5-9 Fr. G Jalil Schenck (2.9 ppg); 5-11 Jr. G/F Bryan Santana (4.3 ppg); 6-3 Sr. G Justin Paz (20.1 ppg); 6-9 Sr. C Kyle Young (13.6 ppg); 6-5 Sr. F/C Zamar Brake (4.1 ppg); 6-3, Jr. F Julian Thomas (9.3 ppg).

Lower Moreland's key players: 5-9 Sr.. G/F Joey Cerutti; 5-11 Sr. G/F Andrew Finnegan; 5-11 Sr. F Jake Himmelstein; 6-1 Sr. F/C Jordan Zoubroulis; 5-9 Sr. G Shane Cohen.

Things to know: Becahi has won 12 straight since losing to St. John's College of Washington, D.C., in the Lehigh Valley Hoop Group Showcase at Parkland on Jan. 27. ... Lower Moreland's three losses were all close defeats -- 66-65 to William Tennant in a Hatboro-Horsham Tipoff Tournament, 58-53 to Christopher Dock in January and 67-63 to Holy Ghost Prep Feb. 1 ... Lower Moreland won the District 1 title with a 49-48 win over Pope John Paul II on a last-second basket by Finnegan off a Zoubroulis pass. ... The Lions followed that up with a 75-61 win over John Bartram in the state opener. Cerruti had 25 points, including four 3-pointers while Cohen and Zoubroulis combined for 37 points. ... Becahi advanced with an 89-61 win over Prep Charter, placing four players in double figures led by Paz's 24. Paz now has 1,876 career points .... Becahi defeated Lower Moreland 79-59 in the District 1-11 subregional final last year. The Golden Hawks broke out to a 40-20 halftime lead and never looked back. Santana led Becahi with 16 in that game, while Cohen paced Lower Moreland with 16. ... Becahi also defeated Lower Moreland 71-48 in the District 1-11 subregional quarterfinals in 2017.

Keith Groller's prediction: Lower Moreland is vastly improved and feeling as though it has nothing to lose. Expect a much closer game than the last two years. Becahi 60-52.

Wilson (District 11, No. 3, 18-9) vs. Scranton Prep (District 2 champ, 23-3)

When/where: 6 p.m. Tuesday, Hazleton Area High School.

What's next: The winner will play the winner of the Becahi/Lower Moreland game in the state quarterfinals Friday night.

Coaches: Wilson, Mike Glovas (third season, 44-33); Scranton Prep Andrew Kettell (214 career wins, 137 in six seasons at Scranton Prep).

Wilson's key players: 6-1 Jr. G/F Matthew Glovas (3.0 ppg); 6-1 Sr. G Robbie Swiatek (18.2 ppg); 6-3 Sr. F Charbel Ghaleb (8.9 ppg) ; 6-1 Jr. G Derelle McKinney (4.2 ppg); 6-5 Jr. F Jihad Range (7.0 ppg) but not expected to play because of injury; 6-3 Sr. F Ben Hindmarch (5.0 ppg); 6-0 Jr. G Samuel Brown (14.7 ppg).

Scranton Prep's key players: 6-8 Sr. F Leo O'Boyle (16.9 ppg); 6-6 Jr. C Rhys Merritt (11.8 ppg); 6-2 Sr. G Greyson Schermerhorn (7.4 ppg); 6-2 Sr. G Brian Boland (11.2 ppg); 6-2 Sr. F Mario Rotell (9.7 ppg); 5-10 Sr. G Nick Genco (3.7 ppg); 6-4 Sr. F Jake Strong (1.0 ppg); 6-2 So. G Michael Skoff (4.0 ppg).

Things to know: Wilson's 67-56 first-round win over Shamokin was the program's first state playoff win since the 1998 team reached the state quarterfinals before losing to Dunmore. ... Brown continued his extraordinary postseason run with 28 points, following his 38-point effort against Northwestern Lehigh in the district consolation and 18 against Becahi in the district semis. ... Wilson has won 18 games in a season for the first time since 2012-13 when Gerald Terry was the team's standout. ... Swiatek has totaled more than 480 points in each of the last two seasons and is over 1,000 in his career, reaching the milestone against Bangor in the Colonial League tournament. ... Scranton Prep won its fifth straight District 2 title and has won 10 overall. ... The Cavaliers have an overall record of 22-19 in the PIAA playoffs and reached the second round last year before losing to Imhotep 44-32 in a game played at Liberty ... O'Boyle, who is headed to Lafayette College, has scored 1,020 points in his career despite missing time this season with an injury. He was also a Class 3A all-state selection in football this fall and was all-state in basketball last season. ... Boland and Schermerhorn have combined for 50 3-pointers this season. ... Only losses were to Abington Heights (twice) and Pennridge in a showcase event at Muhlenberg College just before Christmas.

Keith Groller's prediction: Mike Glovas has done a terrific job with the Warriors. Few would have thought they would be the last team standing from the highly-touted Colonial League East. The state playoff win over Shamokin was a signature victory for the program. The rise of Brown as a scoring force bodes well for the program's future. The Warriors will not go down quietly, but Prep's overall size may be too much. Scranton Prep 70-58.

kgroller@mcall.com

610-820-6740

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