William Penn basketball seniors staying together?
William Penn's extremely successful group of six seniors saw their high school careers come to an end Wednesday night, in the form of a 58-54 state playoff loss to Bethlehem Liberty. Those seniors were a part of 56 wins the last two seasons, and helped propel the Bearcats to last year's PIAA Class AAAA title game.
The good news for those departing Bearcats? It sounds like four of those seniors may end up continuing their careers together at the next level. Three -- guards Jevaughn Murphy and forwards Tyvon Efferson and Malcolm Murray -- plan to play together at Northampton Community College in Bethlehem. After Wednesday night's game, guard Ryan Matthews also said he was "leaning toward" Northampton.
A few Northampton coaches were at the Geigle Complex Wednesday, and hung around outside William Penn's locker room afterward to greet some players.
A fifth member the Bearcats senior class, point guard Chemin Lambert, also will likely play college basketball. Two weeks ago, he mentioned McDaniel College as a possible destination.
In the aftermath of his team's loss to Liberty, William Penn coach Troy Sowers spoke at length about what this senior class has meant to the program.
"That's the most difficult thing right now," Sowers said of bidding goodbye to this group. "When we play that hard, it is what is with the final score. I'm proud of the effort.
"We're sending a lot of good, positive, adult men out into the world. That's the thing I'm most proud of. We've been able to do York City proud and do things the right way.
"I couldn't be more proud of the effort they give. It's a sad feeling now, but it's a proud feeling that they're prepared and they've seen some life lessons the last few years. And if you've come to any of our games, you see our guys never quit."
As for next year? William Penn has one starter (junior Kelvin Parker) returning. Junior foward Zachary Newby was a key reserve this year and figures to step into a starting role. Fellow juniors Willie Hicks (junior), Jalin Williams (guard) and Dontae Davis (guard) played sparingly this year, and will likely have to step up. And don't forget, the Bearcats JV team went undefeated this year (albeit with some of those juniors playing key roles).
Point is, while some rebuilding will be in order, the cupboard isn't completely bare. Sowers will find a way to keep his team competitive, even with such a stellar senior class to replace.