Chel­tenham ends long los­ing streak against PW

The Globe - - OPINION - By Mike Prince

The last time Chel­tenham de­feated Ply­mouth Whitemarsh in a boys’ bas­ket­ball game, it was the 2006 play­offs and Chel­tenham had a dif­fer­ent head coach.

Six years later and in Brian John­son’s sev­enth year at the helm, and the Pan­thers were fi­nally able to ac­com­plish that feat again.

For the first time in seven sea­sons, the Pan­thers man- aged to fig­ure out a way to beat the Sub­ur­ban One Amer­i­can Con­fer­ence pow­er­house Colo­nials, as se­nior guard Aaron McGlawn led the way with 16 points in a 48-38 Chel­tenham win at PW on Tues­day night.

The Pan­thers (3-3, 1-1F used a 10-1 run to open the third quar­ter to build a seven-point lead and even­tu­ally come out with the rare vic­tory over the host Colo­nials.

“We just sat and watched PW bat­tle it out with Arch­bishop Wood and we saw how good PW was and how spe­cial and ath­letic their kids are,” John­son said. “We knew it would be a tough task, but we have a young group and ev­ery game, we’re learn­ing some­thing about our­selves and what we have. And we just beat PW and any time you beat them, it’s spe­cial. That’s a great pro­gram.”

Early on, it ap­peared that Chel­tenham’s head-to-head los­ing streak with the Colo­nials might con­tinue, but things quickly changed.

PW (3-2, 1-1F opened the game by go­ing up 7-2 and man­aged to hold a lead for most of the first half, but led by only two, 22-20, at the half.

In the third quar­ter, Chel­tenham’s de­fense came up big, not al­low­ing the Colo­nials to score a field goal un­til only 36 sec­onds re­mained in the pe­riod, when PW se­nior for­ward Dee Ben­nett hit a layup. It would be the Colo­nials’ only bas­ket un­til the fourth.

“It was real big for us to open the sec­ond half the way we did,” McGlawn said. “It was even bet­ter for us to fin- ish the game the way we did. PW has a lot of good play­ers and it was im­por­tant for us to get off that start. I had never beat PW be­fore and this was one of my goals. It feels great.”

In the fourth, PW man­aged to cut the deficit to three points, but a huge de­fen­sive ef­fort from Guy Hen­der­son and John Howard helped Chel­tenham to hold onto the lead and build on it un­til the end, with McGlawn knock­ing down five of his fi­nal six

free throws to open the Chel­tenham lead.

With Chel­tenham cling­ing onto a two-pos­ses­sion lead, Howard came up with two huge blocks in the fi­nal 90 sec­onds to help the Pan­thers se­cure the win.

McGlawn added three as­sists and three re­bounds to his game-high 16 points, while Hen­der­son fin­ished with 13 points (while hit­ting 5 of 6 free throws) and seven re­bounds be­fore foul­ing out. Howard added eight points and five re­bounds, while Aaron Bur­ton added nine points.

The Colo­nials were led by se­niors Michael Red­dick and An­thony McKie, who fin­ished with 10 and nine points, re­spec­tively. Sopho­more Cameron John­son recorded four points and brought down 10 re­bounds.

PW coach Jim Donofrio was un­avail­able for com­ment af­ter the game.

The Pan­thers, who were able to even their over­all record at 3-3, will face Up­per Dublin on Fri­day in an­other Amer­i­can Con­fer­ence matchup.

“This win was huge, but we have an­other big game on Fri­day,” John­son said. “Our con­fer­ence is un­be­liev­ably tough and ev­ery­body in our con­fer­ence goes to the play­offs. I’d put our con­fer­ence up there with any other in the state. This was a great win and beat­ing PW is al­ways spe­cial, but we have to turn around and get an­other one on Fri­day.”

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