"They're really level-headed," Sowers said Wednesday after the Bearcats' 91-32 semifinal thrashing of Northeastern. "The first thing Tavon (Parker) said when we got in the locker room was, 'We still have Friday, we still have Friday.'"
That day is here, as the Bearcats (22-2) and Mustangs (17-6) meet at York College for the second straight year to decide the YAIAA tournament crown. Here's how it happened:
How William Penn got here
Making teams look worse than they are, perhaps? The Bearcats' 59-point semifinal win came against a Bobcats squad that entered on an eight-game winning streak.
"We talk about defense winning championships, and I like the defense we're playing right now," Sowers said.
Since William Penn's Division I title-clinching win at South Western, the Bearcats have held opponents to 43 points or fewer in each of their four games. They've kept their last two in the league tournament, Bermudian Springs and Northeastern, to fewer than 40.
They are outscoring teams by an average of 76.5 to 54.6.
How South Western got here
Winners in 13 of their last 14 games, the Mustangs' only loss in that stretch was to William Penn. As Sowers indicated Wednesday, his
The most noticeable difference he likely found was 6-foot-6 senior center Parker Bean. In their December meeting, Bean scored just eight points and left the game early with a hurt ankle. However, he poured in 29 points in their next meeting.
"We're going to have to play good, sound fundamental defense off of Bean and (Mike) Duffy Friday and try not to let those role guys step up and kill us," Sowers said.
This will be William Penn's fifth straight league tournament final, and the Bearcats have not received much variety in opponents. Before facing South Western last year, they played Eastern York for three straight years.
William Penn enters with a five-game winning streak against South Western, but the Bearcats' success didn't change what either side wanted. Bearcats senior forward Derek Wilson said he wanted South Western, feeling the Mustangs - who were 12-3 in league play - provided the best competition for the final. South Western coach Nate Brodbeck said he and his players wanted one more shot at the Bearcats for the challenge it presents - one Mustangs guard Mike Duffy said he wanted more than any other team.
"We need it," said Duffy, whose team last won at William Penn when he and Bean were juniors. At the time, South Western hadn't beaten the Bearcats since 2001. "This is me and Parker's last chance. It's not about just us, but everybody knows we've been working since fourth grade for this chance and we're not going to let it slip away this time. We're going to play our hardest."
Watch the YAIAA boys' championship game at 7 p.m. Friday live at GameTimePA.com.
YAIAA ticket information
Tickets are still available for tonight's game and will be on sale at 6 p.m. at York College.