BETHLEHEM — A tremendous postseason run by the Central Bucks West boys basketball team came to an end Saturday night at Freedom High School's Joseph J. McIntyre Gymnasium, as the Bucks fell 63-51 to District 11 Champion Parkland in the opening round of the PIAA Class 4A State Tournament.
The win advanced the Trojans to a second-round matchup Wednesday with Bayard Rustin, a 54-47 winner over Central York. The Bucks finished their season 15-13.
"Our number-one goal is to be playing in March, and we made it," said Bucks senior guard Jared Kelly, who led the West attack with 15 points. "I couldn't be more happy about all the progress we made this year and where we got to."
West displayed the same kind of heart and determination that fueled upset wins of Penncrest and Plymouth Whitemarsh in districts, but Parkland's strong outside shooting coupled with the all-around play of Nicholas Rindock created a combination that was too much for West to overcome.
Still, after trailing by double digits for much of the second half, Kelly and the Bucks closed the gap to six with under two minutes to play.
"We had to fight for our lives," said Kelly, a 5-foot-9, 150-pound offensive force for the Bucks. "We knew we had to turn it on. We started focusing on getting some defensive stops, we got a couple, made a little run, but it just wasn't enough."
Rindock found several ways to score and ulimately led all scorers with a game-high 19 points. He allowed Parkland (22-5) to pull away after a back-and-forth first half that saw six lead changes.
West went ahead early on baskets by Kelly and Evan Dunn.
"We got the ball into the post to Evan a lot and he did really well,' Kelly said. "They started doubling him, and that helped us play our game, move the ball well, and it just came down to a couple turnovers, a couple offensive boards that we gave up."
Parkland got going behind the strong inside play of Nick Selvaggi, who was gobbling up rebounds and putting them back up for easy baskets. He had six points for Parkland in the opening quarter.
Three-pointers by Rindock, Sam Iorio and Kyle Stout pushed the Trojan lead to 27-17 late in the second before West closed to within five by halftime - Kelly scored on a tough, underhanded scoop to close the gap for the Bucks.
But the Trojans again stretched their lead after the break, as the versatile Rindock finished off a fast break to make it a 37-28 margin in the third, and a dunk by Sam Iorio gave Parkland a 51-39 lead midway through the fourth.
PIAAA Class AAAA First Round
Parkland 63, CB West 51
Central Bucks West 13 10 12 16 — 51
Parkland 10 18 15 20 — 63
Central Bucks West: Kyle Schechter 4 0-0 8, Jared Kelly 7 0-0 15, Evan Dunn 2 0-0 4, Pat Kelley 4 6-7 14, Kyle Salvitti 3 0-0 8, Cal Reichwein 0 0-1 0, Nico Munari 1 0-0 2. Totals 21 6-8 51.
Parkland: Devante Cross 0 2-4 2, Nicholas Rindock 7 4-7 19, Sam Iorio 5 0-0 12, Kyle Stout 2 0-0 5, Nick Selvaggi 4 2-2 10, Justin Zajko 2 3-5 7, James Hahn 1 5-6 8. Totals 21 16-24 63.
3-pointers: Kelly, Salvitti 2, Rindock, Iorio 2, Stout, Hahn.
Follow Kev Hunter on Twitter @khunter10.