William Penn's basketball team has had many memorable moments during the last seven YAIAA tournaments, but Friday's quarterfinal matchup against Northeastern is one the Bearcats would like to forget.
Northeastern dominated from start to finish, seeking and finding revenge against the only team to beat them in the regular season. And when the dust settled, the Bobcats were victorious, 76-47, ending William Penn's streak of seven straight YAIAA championship appearances.
"They've been beating us for the past three years," said Northeastern's Donovian Maxfield, who scored 11 points. "We wanted to get back and prove we could play with the best of the best because they're considered one of the best teams in the county. So in order for us to get respect, we have to beat one of the best."
Northeastern advances to Tuesday's semifinal round against Spring Grove, a 61-44 winner against Hanover on Friday night.
When Northeastern and Wiliam Penn met in December, it was the Bearcats who jumped out to a fast start and shot above 50 percent. Friday was virtually the complete opposite. While every bounce seemed to go Northeastern's way, the Bearcats shot under 30 percent from the floor and missed nine layups in the pivotal second quarter when they were outscored, 27-5. Northeastern led by 31 at the half, then pushed the lead to 40 in the third before celebrating a victory with the rowdy Northeastern student section.
"The fact that we got to play them earlier helped us tonight," Northeastern head coach Jon Eyster said. "We don't play anyone like York (William Penn) on our schedule. It was important for us to get that game in December. It wasn't a revenge factor. We just wanted to play well because we didn't that first time."
Northeastern jumped all over William Penn right from the tip and led 11-0 before Jacquez Casiano scored the Bearcats' first points of the game with three minutes left in the first. Seven Bobcats scored in the second quarter while the Bearcats shot 1-for-13. Bearcats fans sat in shock while the volume on the Northeastern side got higher with each fastbreak and dunk.
"We looked scared," William Penn head coach Troy Sowers said. "We looked scared from the start. We couldn't catch a pass. We missed nine layups in the first half. If you can't catch a pass or make a layup — which we didn't — then there's not a whole lot you can say."
Brandon Coleman opened the second half with six straight points, then Kobi Nwandu, who finished with 15, scored nine in a row including an alley-oop dunk.
"We said it was 0-0 so we had to come out just like we did in the first half," Maxfield said of Northeastern's mentality coming out of the locker room. "We knew they weren't going to give up without a fight so we had to keep going."
Sowers admitted it will be a weird feeling for the Bearcats to go home early and start preparing for districts instead of continuing in the league tournament. It's the first time since 2008 that William Penn won't be in the YAIAA title game.
"It was a helpless feeling tonight," Sowers said. "Whatever defense we threw at them, they attacked us. They beat us on the glass. They beat us in every part of the game and every hustle play. ... They did everything right. They were hungrier and they outplayed us."
Northeastern 76, William Penn 47
William Penn (47)
Montrel Morgan 4 3-4 13, Jacquez Casiano 5 0-0 14, Shifflett 2 2-4 7, Wilson 0 2-2 2, Colston 2 0-0 4, Snyder 1 0-0 3, Anderson 1 0-1 2, Johnson 0 2-2 2, Iturmendi 0 0-0 0. Totals — 15 9-13 47.
Kobi Nwandu 5 4-5 15, Donovian Maxfield 4 1-2 11, Antonio Rizzuto 5 0-1 10, Fred Mulbah 2 5-6 10, Reynolds 4 1-2 9, Coleman 4 1-4 9, Zirkle 2 2-2 7, McCarter 2 0-0 5. Totals — 28 14-22 76.
William Penn_ 11 _ 5 _ 14 _ 17 _ — _ 47
Northeastern_ 20 _ 27 _ 19 _ 10 _ — _ 76
3-point goals — WP 8 (Casiano 4, Morgan 2, Shifflett, Snyder), NE 6 (Maxfield 2, Nwandu, Mulbah, Zirkle, McCarter).
Here are the matchups for the YAIAA boys' basketball semifinals, set for Tuesday night at Red Lion.
Spring Grove vs. Northeastern, 6 p.m.
Central York vs. Eastern York, 7:30 p.m.