CB West puts clamps on Plymouth Whitemarsh
It was a game where every single possession mattered so much to each team. Every missed layup, turnover, unforced foul or missed free throw left the game in the balance for both Plymouth Whitemarsh and Central Bucks West.
All season long, the Colonials continually dictated the pace of the game defensively. Yet on Tuesday evening, it was the Bucks who came out and forced the Colonials to play their game, and in the end the Bucks walked out of Colonial Middle School victorious.
Central Bucks West defeated Plymouth Whitemarsh 37-35.
“We just seem to be gelling at the right time,” said C.B. West coach Adam Sherman. “We’re just happy to be in states.”
With the win, Central Bucks West earns a trip to the state tournament while also continuing the campaign in the District One Class AAAA tournament. Plymouth Whitemarsh, meanwhile, will move to the play-in bracket to earn an invite to states.
Jared Kelly was the differ- ence maker for the Bucks. His 16 points — 13 points in the first half — gave CB West at 19-12 lead at the break after the Bucks held PW scoreless in the second quarter.
Taking the early lead, the Bucks were able to force the Colonials into an uncomfortable situation. Playing against the Bucks’ matchup zone defense proved increasingly difficult, especially in the second quarter. At one point, PW did not score a field goal in more than 10 minutes.
Kelly beat Andre Mitchell on
three backdoor cuts in the first half, and then the Bucks began the third quarter with yet another.
The Colonials made it a game in the third quarter when they finally broke the ice and then went on a 10-0 run to bring the score to within three prior to the start of the fourth.
Tied at 28-28, TJ Minetola went to the free throw line and missed both, while Kelly responded at the other end with yet another layup. PW attempted to respond with Mitchell finding Cameron Johnson in the paint, but the forward lost his grip on the ball and turned it over. That hurt.
Jimmy Murray caught fire in the fourth, draining three threepoint shots in a three-minute span to give the Colonials their first lead since nailing a shot at the buzzer to end the first quar- ter. The turning point came after Murray hit his third to give the Colonials a 31-30 lead, but then Kelly found CB West point guard Kyle Salvitti in the corner who responded with a trey of his own.
PW had a prayer with just seven seconds remaining in the game, but Murray passed on a double-contested shot inside the key, dishing to Manuel Herezi, whose baseline jumper rimmed out at the buzzer.
Donofrio looked to 2009, the year prior to his state championship run as head coach with the Colonials, when the team lost in the state semifinals. He referred to it as “trial by fire” in which the players had learned what it took to be champions by virtue of falling short, but “not getting burned too badly.”
Referring to this game as the matchup between the immovable object versus the irresistible force, Donofrio said he was forced to turn his team up to an impossible pace to get the Colonials back in the game.
“Down six points to West with three minutes left in the third, you might as well be down 15 or 16,” Donofrio said.
The full-on full-court press gave the Colonials a winning chance, but far too many mistakes down the final stretch, the stretch in which the Colonials had the opportunity to seize, doomed their chances to accomplish an ugly win.
“It was trial by fire. We looked like understudies out there, nervous in the moment, this was the kind of game you hope you grow and steal the win,” Donofrio said. “Teams that go deep in the playoffs have gone through the trial by fire.”
Germantown Academy’s Devon Goodman fires a pass in front of Shipley’s John Parker during PAISSA tournament action onf Friday.