By: Dustyn Green
Playoffs are in full swing for the PA teams and Mercer County also kicked off the postseason this week with the MCT! The time has officially come, it is now or never if these teams want to make a run at a championship.
WC Rustin vs Pennsbury
Frank Sciolla made his 18th district game appearance and the Lady Falcons came in as the #4 seed with a 19-3 record, they took care of business against the 15-7 #14 seed West Chester Rustin Knights defeating them by a score of 58-30.
The game was certainly highly anticipated as the Falcons Nest was hosting a very good crowd. The ball handling was a little bit sloppy to start things off for both teams. Both teams were really pushing the floor early, Grace Plona was able to capitalize to show that Rustin may hang around as they had a early lead. After one quarter, despite stellar defense by Pennsbury, Shivers was shooting the lights out and the Falcons trailed 12-11, Frank Sciolla knew something quickly needed to change.
Despite a strong showing from Plona early she went quiet for much of the second frame. Plona woke up late and had double digits before the end of the first half. Momentum went to Pennsbury for most of the second quarter and they took a 29-22 lead to the locker room.
Bella Arcuri was ready to rock and roll getting the three pointer immediately out of the half time break! Pompilli would then take her turn from three point range and Pennsbury went from down one to up 13 in a blink of an eye! More than halfway through the third frame, Rustin only had two points as Pennsbury buckled down!
As for the adjustment Arcuri said it was coming down the floor and getting the best shot she could for her team. She was responsible for 16 points for her squad who is now locked into the PIAA state bracket!
Arcuri remarked “it’s just something that doesn’t happen around here for Girl’s Basketball, for the Pennsbury team, and it happened… I don’t even know what to say about it.”
The ball just kept falling for Pennsbury and teamwork led them to the win! The team was locked in and ready to continue forward!
Hamilton West vs Notre Dame
Despite a very strong effort from Hamilton West, two made free-throws by Jason Weber at the end sealed the deal for the Irish to pull away with the 60-56 victory. It was Mike Jean who was the biggest difference offensively for the Irish as he came out firing right away and hit the triple, the three was part of his crucial 19 points. Less than five minutes in it is 10-2 Irish with the early lead. It was a 12-8 game at the change of quarters, both teams were really pushing the pace and being competitive. Shooting was the biggest thing for West while the Irish were able to get inside, get the bucket and go to the line with ease! Those three things are what kept this game intact. Ultimately, the Irish got 34 points from two of their biggest threats and were able to seal the deal after coming from behind and advancing to play Nottingham.
Nottingham vs Notre Dame
You would think one game of mayhem would be enough, the Irish thought otherwise and had another strong showing in the quarterfinal round of the MCT but came up short 55-52. The way that all of these teams have been playing is unreal. Everyone is hungry and fighting for a title, the Nottingham North Stars and standout player Brandon Raba were able to get a few balls to fall when they needed to. Teamwork was another huge asset to this game, especially for Nottingham as Raba and his teammate Javon Jenkings combined for 40 points! Head Coach Chris Raba and his crew certainly have something special brewing right now, the question is how much longer can the special storm brew? Nottingham will take on Robbinsville on Wednesday at Cure Insurance Arena.
Pennsbury vs Methacton (Girls)
Pennsbury and Nethacton both came out with a ton of rust on the court. Despite that Pennsbury was victorious by a score of 43-34. The possessions were very slow and patient for both teams for most of the front half of the game. In fact, the first quarter was so slow that the score was 4-3 in favor of Pennsbury. The biggest game changer was a ton of missed shots by Methacton. The Lady Warriors were in the double bonus for most of the second quarter. The physicality was on display in the second quarter when each team was awarded a technical foul after an incident. About six minutes into the second quarter it looked like the Falcons were going to take a 13-6 lead and extend it to run into the break with a commanding lead. The Warriors had a different idea of fun as they held the Falcons scoreless for the remainder of the half and clawed back to tie it up at 13 all.
Nicole Pompilli and Ava Sciolla were the reason Pennsbury pulled away for most of the season, aside from the stardom of Bella Arcuri. This one though was Abbi Nessiverra who drove her team to victory. If Methacton could have taken her out of the equation, this game would have been very different. On the flip side, if Methacton would have made free-throws this could have been very different as well. Nearly seven minutes into the third quarter Arcuri got a three point play off of and an and-one. Nessiverra then came up with a huge score allowing Sciolla to hit a three and pull ahead by seven! Despite Methacton pulling within four, Pennsbury got the victory to move forward.
A Look Ahead: MCT Semifinals
The MCT has been nothing short of spectacular, I expect the two semifinals on Wednesday to turn the heat up even more!
Robbinsville vs Nottingham
This one is certainly going to be a thriller, perhaps it is one of the top candidates for game of the year. These two teams saw each other in the first game of the year and it ended 52-41 in favor of Robbinsville. The Brandon Raba was only able to stamp two points into the book. Each piece of the North Stars system has developed, if Robbinsville does go on any runs I expect them to be very short and much more contained. This one is going to be so unpredictable that you need to see it for yourself, tipoff is set for 4:30 on Wednesday.
Hightstown vs Trenton Catholic
This matchup will be far less entertaining than the first matchup on the menu. Hightstown has performed very well in the last five games. Four out of the five have been highly contested, included the 67-64 victory of Notre Dame to get them here. Trenton has not really had any close high pressure games as of late besides a 58-51 loss to Westampton Tech. Experience with tight games that are high pressure will allow Hightstown to set the bar high and move on.