EAST WHITELAND- That loud thud you may have heard from the Great Valley High School Gymnasium Friday night was the sound of the third-seeded Great Valley boys basketball team being bounced out of the Class AAAA District 1 playoffs in the first round by underdog No. 30 Wissahickon, 55-51. The loss ends the Patriots' dreams of winning the District 1 title and advancing to the PIAA playoffs for the second year in a row.Wissahickon will now await the winner of Sunday's West Chester Rustin-Radnor game for a second-round matchup Tuesday.The Trojans (14-9) put three players in double figures, hit nine 3-pointers and forced the Patriots (22-3) into a 15-for-49 (31 percent) shooting nightmare. Wissahickon took charge of the game in the third period after leading by two points (19-17) at halftime. Chris Carradorini (14 points) hit four threes and Chase Wilson, who led all scorers with 16 points, ran the show for the charged up Trojans."We saw a lot of film on Great Valley,' Wilson said. "They played teams like Upper Moreland and Upper Dublin and they are team in our league (Suburban One American), so we said that we played these teams well too so we had no fear of them. We came in and wanted to limit any runs by them and play good defense and close out on their outside shots, and that is what we did.'
Wissahickon started to edge away in the third after Chris Villa drilled one of his three 3-pointers from the left corner for a 27-21 lead. Wilson then added a 3-ball of his own to bump the lead to 30-21 and the third-seeded Patriots appeared to get tight. The Trojans missed just three of nine shots in the third and was 18-for-35 (51 percent) on the evening.
Cyree Ames, who added three 3-pointers of his own, hit a long one to end the period and cut the Trojans advantage to 35-27. Great Valley shot 4-for-12 in the period and and was outscored, 16-10."We wanted to force them to make outside shots tonight,' Wissahickon coach Kyle Wilson said. "We believed we could come here and win if we did not let them go on any spurts. And make no mistake, Great Valley is a very good team and well deserving of being 22-2. We just had a lot of kids that believed in themselves and I have been coaching those guys since travel basketball in the fifth grade. I am blessed to have them. We tried to close out on their outside shots and it worked out well.'
The final period started out the same way as the third as Carradorini got things going for the Trojans with a long 3-pointer for a 40-31 lead. Meanwhile, Great Valley did not look comfortable on offense and continued to miss from the outside. Carradorini hit another three to make it 43-34 with 4:37 to play as the Wissahickon bench erupted and Great Valley called timeout.Great Valley's leading scorer Mikal Bridges was held to 14 points and had to work very hard for everything he got. "With Chris (Carradorini) and (Chris) Villa hitting those outside shots, we really got our confidence going,' Chase Wilson said. "I could hug both of them. We had a lot of momentum and we kept it going from there.'
Great Valley mounted one final run as the Ches-Mont League champions got the lead down to six points (50-44) after Ricky McQuay (12 points) drained a 3-pointer with 1:08 to play. Wissahickon helped out the Patriots by missing the front end of two one-and-one's to give them life. Jared Reed did hit two free throws for Wissahickon and the lead was 52-45 with 55 seconds left. Nate Cohen scored in tight, and after a turnover, McQuay was fouled on a drive to the basket and hit both free throws to cut the lead to four (52-48) with with 45 seconds to play.
Tom Aloia missed another one-and-one and McQuay's 3-pointer brought the crowd to its feet and sliced the lead to 52-51 with 18 seconds left. Aloia went back to the line moments later and made one of two.
Great Valley fans were thinking about a great escape, but Cyree Ames was called for a double dribble with six seconds left, which forced Great Valley into one more foul. Chase Wilson, the coach's son, hit both free throws to send the Trojan players into a celebration and usher the favored Patriots out of the playoffs."We kind of did not take care of the free throws late in the game,' Chase Wilson said. "I told my guys after the double dribble too inbound the ball to me and that I wanted the ball and I made the two free throws to ice the game.'
The Great Valley locker room was somber after the loss as they expected to be playing basketball for a few more weeks.
"They just outplayed us and we struggled with mental toughness tonight,' Pats coach Jim Nolan said. "This is a good group of kids and it is tough to end things this way.'
Wissahickon 55, Great Valley 51
WISSAHICKON: Carradorini 5 0-1 14, Villa 5 0-0 13, Wilson 5 5-5 16, Pace 0 2-2 4, Reed 1 4-4 7, Bentley 0 0-0 0, Aloia 0 1-3 1, Driscoll 0 0-0 0, Dudley 0 0-0 0. Totals 18 10-15 55.
GREAT vALLEY: Bridges 4 5-6 14, Ames 4 0-0 11, Mcquay 3 4-8 12, Cohen 2 5-9 10, Bucholz 2 0-0 4, McGlond 0 0-0 0, Alston 0 0-0 0. Totals 15 14-23 51.Wissahickon 6 13 16 20-55
Great Valley 6 17 10 24-51
3-point goals: Carradorini 4, Villa 3, Wilson, Reed, Ames 3, Mcquay 2, Bridges, Cohen.