While Bucks County eventually pulled away from the Roadrunners in the quarterfinals of the 54th annual Albert C. Donofrio Classic basketball tournament, for 20 minutes, the Pennsy team played the part of Wile E. Coyote, not able to outrun the opposition.
Despite the fact that the Roadrunners were playing with the minimum of five players, the opponent stayed right there with Bucks County, thanks to 14 points in the first half from Newark East side senior Akbar Hoffman and 10 more from teammate Angel Delgado, a Patrick School senior committed to Seton Hall.
Tied at 41-all at the break, Bucks switched its defense in the second half to a full-court zone press to put the clamps down on Hoffman and Delgado and in order to cut down on fouls. Its point guard, Cherry Hill East junior Jake Silpe, had incurred five infractions by halftime.
"Hoffman and Delgado, especially down low, were killing us so we had to try something else,' said Bucks County co-coach Gary Jones.
The results were positive, to say the least, with Bucks launching a 16-6 run to start the second half and also limiting the Roadrunners to 23 points after the intermission on its way to an 81-64 triumph Wednesday, April 9 at the Fellowship House in Conshohocken, Pa.
"Being that they had only five players, I figured we could wear them down and that's what happened,' said Jones, after the game.
"That's a very good team but with only five players, it would have been very hard to beat our nine.'
The victory puts Bucks County in Monday's semifinal against Team Philly, a 107-102 victor over Team Hardnett.
As usual, Ewing High junior Trey Lowe led Bucks, this time with 25 points including 16 scored in the second half. Indeed, Lowe came alive after the break, hitting six field goals including a pair of three-pointers. As a team, Bucks hit seven shots behind the arc including five 3-pointers after the break.
"The first half, we weren't hitting threes. I think Cam (Jones) had one and Jake (Silpe) might have banked one in but the second half, we started hitting them,' said Coach Jones.
"Once we started hitting threes, the game got broken open; it went from a close game to a 10-, 15-point game.'
"After that, they were tired.'
Matt Klinesewski, a senior from Eastern Camden High who is committed to Lafayette, dominated the first half for Bucks, crashing the boards and accounting for 16 of his 22 points before halftime. Klinesewski hit six field goals in the first half and shot 4-of-4 from the foul line.
"Matt is a D-1 player. He is going to Lafayette,' said Jones. "He plays hard; he's 6-foot-7 — he plays hard and he's tough.'
Pennsbury juniors Cameron Jones (9 pts.) and Mekhi Bryant (4), after combining on 25 points in Bucks' previous win over Waterview Triple Threat, hit for just 13 in the quarterfinal. Falcon teammate Derrick Woods, who hit for 16 points in the team's opening win over Hunting Park-II, was kept off the board in this game.
FIELD WIDE OPEN
On Tuesday, April 8, the Old School Cavaliers defeated the five-time defending champion I-3 All-Stars, 87-73. WeR1, another top seed, was also eliminated in the Round of 16. That leaves the field wide open with Bucks, Team Philly, Blazers Red and Old School the only teams remaining.
The tournament wraps up with the championship on April 15.
"We're looking forward to playing our next game. We don't care who it is; we'll play anybody,' said Jones. "We like to play the best — the teams that are left, they beat the best so they must be the best.'
In the April 10 matchup with the Roadrunners, Bucks was missing Tim Delaney but hopes to have the Villanova-bound senior from Pittman High back for Monday night's semifinal.
Last year, after getting past Waterview Dan Rumph in its tournament opener, Bucks was ousted in the second round by Chester County, a team loaded with talent from Chester High, PIAA finalists from 2011 to 2013 and state champs in ' 11 and ' 12.
Two years ago, Bucks made it as far as the quarterfinals after getting a first-round bye and beating DeStefano's 101-90 in a second-round pairing. Now a sophomore at Villanova, Neshaminy product Ryan Arcidiacono appeared in both games for Bucks, scoring 17 in the opener and 20 in a losing effort vs. Team Philly.
Three years ago, led by Bethlehem Liberty product Darrun Hilliard, now a junior at ' Nova, along with Council Rock North standout Aaron Morgan (UMBC) and Eastern York's Andrew Nicholas (Monmouth), Bucks beat DeStefano's Electric, Team Philly and Positive Image to reach the final, where it lost in a shootout, 103-99, to I-3, winners of the last five tournaments.
Now Bucks County — which has never won the tourney — is hoping to make its way to the finals and hopefully, win this time.
Bucks All-Stars 81, Roadrunners 64
(April 10 at Fellowship House)
BUCKS COUNTY 41 40 — 81
ROADRUNNERS 41 23 — 64
Bucks: Jake Silpe 13, Eric Stafford 5, Mekhi Bryant 4, Justin McFadden 3, Matt Klinesewski 22, Trey Lowe 25.
Roadrunners: Taj Price 10, Ismael Sanago 9, Akbar Hoffman 20, Angel Delgado 20, Isaiah Avent 2
Bucks All-Stars 102, Hunting Park II 49
(March 27 at Fellowship House)
Bucks All-Stars 106, Waterview Triple Threat 73
(April 1 at Fellowship House)
2014 Bucks Donofrio All-Stars
NAME, HIGH SCHOOL, COMMITMENT
Derrick Woods, Pennsbury
Mekhi Bryant, Pennsbury
Cameron Jones, Pennsbury
Trey Lowe, Ewing
Jake Silpe, Cherry Hill East
Tim Delaney, Pitman, Villanova
Eric Stafford, Pitman, Lafayette
Matt Klinesewski, Eastern Camden, Lafayette
Devon Moore, Delone Catholic
Justin McFadden, Lower Merion, Binghamton
Simeon Fryer, Upper Dublin, Binghamton
Blazers Red vs. Old School
7 p.m. April 14 at Fellowship House (semifinal)
Bucks All-Stars vs. Team Philly
8:30 p.m. April 14 at Fellowship House (semifinal)
FINAL: 7:30 p.m. April 15 at Fellowship House