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As starts go, things couldn’t have went worse for William Penn, nor could they have been any better for Reading, during Saturday’s championship game of the Bearcat Basketball Tip-off Classic.

The Red Knights scored the game’s first 11 points and finished the opening quarter with 25.

The rest of the night wasn’t much better for William Penn either as Reading had more runs to follow, and went on to post a 76-57 win.

Tournament MVP Lonnie Walker scored 12 of his game-high 25 points during the first quarter, including seven in the initial 11-0 run.

“He’s as good as his teammates elevate him to be,” Knights coach Rick Perez said of Walker.

Bearcats coach Troy Sowers added more when asked about one of the top players in District 3.

“When he plays games like that, I don’t know what to do,” Sowers said. “He has four guys around him, and everybody else can shoot.”

William Penn’s defense came alive in the second quarter, limiting Reading to only six points, however the Bearcats only managed seven, and trailed 31-16 at the break.

If the deficit wasn’t tough enough, Walker opened the second half by finding Damon Stern (17 points), who knocked down a 3-pointer after a William Penn miss. The next time down, Stern hit Walker for a trey.

Khary Mauras dropped a layup off a terrific feed from Stern, before Walker finished the 8-0 run by tipping in an offensive rebound.

A Jacquez Casiano free throw stopped the blitz for the Bearcats, but only momentarily as Stern and Mauras hit layups and Stern added a pair of free throws and the visitors led 47-18.

“We started the second half, we missed an open 3, they hit an open 3. We missed an open 3, they hit an open 3,” Sowers said. “Reading played well. We didn’t.”

The exclamation point came with a minute to play in the quarter when Walker took off from outside the lane and threw home a thunderous dunk and was fouled.

Montrel Morgan led William Penn with 20 points, despite receiving a nasty cut above the eye after a collision under the basket.

“We’ve got to go back to the drawing board on Monday,” Sowers said. “The three times Reading won this tournament, we went on to the district title. We feel bad now, but we know we can turn it around.”

Reading 76, William Penn 57,  

Reading (76)

Starks 0 0-0 0, Khary Mauras 6 0-0 12, Lonnie Walker 11 0-0 25, McCutchen 1 0-0 2, Anderson 0 0-0 0, Dixon 1 0-0 2, Damon Stern 6 2-2 17, Butler 0 0-0 0, Whitfield 1 0-0 2, Cook 2 2-2 6, Abreau 2 0-1 4, Gar 0 1-2 1, Comfort 0 0-0 0, Medina 2 1-2 5. Totals — 32 6-9 76.

William Penn (57)

Snyder 1 0-0 3, Casiano 1 2-4 4, Smallwood 1 0-0 2, Kris Johnson 5 1-4 11, Iturmindi 1 1-2 3, Montrel Morgan 8 3-4 20, Shifflett 0 1-4 1, Wilson 1 0-0 2, Coleman 0 0-0 0, Messiah Anderson 3 5-7 11. Totals — 21 13-25 57.

Reading _ 25 _ 6 _ 28 _ 17 _ — _ 76  

William Penn _ 9 _ 7 _ 17 _ 24 _ — _ 57  

3-point goals — Reading 6 (Walker 3, Stern 3); William Penn 2 (Snyder, Morgan).

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