A return trip to the state playoffs is not an ironclad guarantee for the Methacton boys basketball team this year.
But that hasn't discouraged the Warriors from giving it their best shot. And they did just that Friday, outlasting Penn Wood 42-41 in a District 1 Class AAA bracket 9/10 playback game.
With a 26-19 edge in second-half scoring, Methacton overtook a PW unit that built a 22-16 lead at the midway point. Cutting the deficit to 35-30 prior to the fourth quarter, the locals completed the comeback in a 10-6 stretch run that ended the season for their eighth-seeded hosts.
Zach Jenkins had a game-high 14 points for Methacton, which garnered the AAA bracket's 17th seed. Though he was their only player to hit double figures, the Warriors got other scoring balance from Joe Ruhl (seven points), T.J. Tornetta (six) and Dillon Alderfer (six).
Methacton (17-9) continues in playback mode Tuesday by visiting 12th-seeded Oxford for a 7 p.m. clash. It needs another win to qualify for states as either the district's ninth- or 10th-place team ... a contrast to the 2012-13 season, when the Warriors punched their ticket to states early by winning their first two district games.
National Preps: The Hill School got off to a promising start in the National Prep Wrestling Championships, with five of its eight representatives reaching the quarterfinal round in their various brackets. But all five got dropped into the consolation bracket, faced with wrestlebacks to continue their medal bids at Lehigh University.
Four of them are still in the hunt. Chad Saunders (145), Brent Waterman (152), John Hill (220) and Kostya Golobokov (285) rallied from quarterfinal-round losses in their respective brackets, scoring victories in the fourth round of consolations to qualify for Saturday's action.
Saunders opened with decisions of Tyler Christopher (Belmont Hill, New England) and Sky Walker (McKinney Christian, Texas) before being decisioned by Alfred Bannister of Bishop McNamara (Md.), 13-7.
He responded with a 6-4 decision of Woodberry Forest's Jared Engh. Saunders' next opponent will be Paul Hutton of Good Counsel (Md.).
Waterman started out with decisions of Blake Sutherland (Baylor School) and Dylan Carpe (Peddie School, N.J), only to be Toby Hague of McDonogh School (Md.), 8-3. A 12-1 major decision over Ross Lopez of Trinity Christian (Tex.) got Waterman back on track. He will now face Walter Johnson of Loyola-Blakefield (Md.).
Hill started with a pin of Clark Osborn (Lawrenceville, N.J.) and decision of John Argast (Poly Prep, N.Y.) before being decisioned by Mike Smith of McDonogh School (Md.), 4-1. He opened in wrestlebacks with a 9-3 decision of Andy Reineger of John Carroll (Md.) to face David Giovannacci of Landmark School (New England).
Golobokov scored pins of Dan Herman (Heights School, Md.) and Tommy Connolly (Brooks School, New England) at the start. He then was decisioned by Wyatt Cook of McDonogh School (Md.), 17-4, but qualified for the medal round with a 12-1 major decision of Shane Lowman of Mount St. Joseph (Md.).
Nick Flanigan ended up going 2-2 at 160, opening with decisions of John Fergusson (St. Christopher's, Va.) and Braxton Cody (Episcopal, Tex.). But he was decisioned by Andrew Konovalchik of Brooks School (New England), 8-3, and Christian Almony of John Carroll (Md.), 3-2.
The Hill's other national qualifiers — Xavier Friel (120), Zach Sheehan (126), Cameron Dewey (170) — went out early in the double-elimination tourney.
Zach Coffey of West-Mont Christian got an opening-round forfeit before being decisioned, 21-3, by Quinn Devaney of McDonogh School (Md.). In wrestlebacks, Coffey decisioned Sheehan, 7-4, and Julio delPeon of Episcopal Academy, 6-4, before losing to Mike Berkowitz of Long Island Lutheran (N.Y.), 15-0.