Josh Verlin (@jmverlin)
The Pennsylvania Independent School tournament’s Final Four takes place this weekend at Malvern Prep, and the semifinals on Friday night feature quite a bit of talent from across the state.
1) Germantown Academy (21-6) v. 4) The Haverford School (17-8), 6:30 p.m.
A retooled Haverford School gets a chance to exact some revenge for two previous defeats this season, but it certainly won’t be easy against experience-laden Germantown Academy.
The Patriots start four seniors, including a pair of D-I signees in Nick Lindner (Lafayette) and Julian Moore (Penn State). Senior wing Greg Dotson has numerous offers throughout the NEC, CAA and A-10 but has yet to make his collegiate decision.
Moore, a 6-10 forward with range out to the 3-point line, presents an interesting matchup for Haverford center Sema’j Reed, three inches shorter than Moore but at 270 pounds easily has 40 pounds on his lankier opponent. Both played well in the teams’ first matchup this year, with Moore scoring 18 to lead GA and Reed pouring in a game-high 22 in a 60-57 Germantown win back on Jan. 15.
The rematch, on Jan. 31, was a 78-53 GA romp thanks to a combined 46 points from the backcourt of Lindner (24 points) and 3-point expert James Drury (22 points), plus 13 from Moore and 11 from Dotson.
Haverford has gotten a nice boost in the playoffs with Sean Lloyd, a 6-5 sophomore guard, in the rotation; the transfer from Franklin Learning Center was ineligible for the conference season due to Inter-Ac transfer rules.
“There’s a certain characteristic that we have to have as a team, that (Lloyd) brings to us,” Haverford coach Henry Fairfax told CoBL after Haverford’s quarterfinal win over Westtown. “The little things, diving on the floor, talking on defense, playing with his hands up, moving his feet, being active, all of those things that don’t show up in the stat book but he does it, and then he does more.”
Lloyd, who has 12 points in each of the Fords’ first two playoff games, is still the third option on a talented Haverford squad that features high-scoring sophomore Shawn Alston and versatile junior Eric Anderson, both of who have 38 points so far in the playoffs.
Alston, a 6-3 guard and son of former Temple Owl Levan Alston, averaged 16.5 ppg this season and is drawing D-I collegiate interest from all over the region. Anderson, at 6-6, is very good off the catch-and-shoot and also displays some good athleticism on both ends of the court.
Haverford is in uncharted territory–they haven’t won a league title since 1999–but they don’t want to let that inexperience count against them.
“We’re trying to turn Haverford School around right now,” Alston said. “We’re (known as) a lacrosse school and an academic school. We’re trying to keep the academic part and put the basketball on the side…we’re just trying to make people recognize that we’re here.”
2) The Kiski School (21-6) v. 6) Penn Charter (15-8), 8:15 p.m.
Following a game with two teams all-too-familiar with each other is one with almost no familiarity between the two teams on the court.
“Nothing about them,” Penn Charter coach Lynard Stewart told CoBL when asked what he knew about his next opponent, but he wasn’t worried.
“They don’t know nothing about us either, so that’s the good thing about the tournament. They’ve never seen us, we’ve never seen them, so it’s going to be a good game I think,” he added.
Kiski features a senior who will become quite familiar to Philadelphians over the coming seasons: Major Canady, a 6-4 combo guard headed to Drexel in the fall.
This is the furthest in the postseason that Kiski has gotten in the three years that Canady, the school’s only 1000-point scorer, has been at the school. They already have scored some major wins earlier in the season, knocking off prep powerhouses Tilton (N.H.) and Brewster (Mass.) in the span of one weekend back in November.
Look for a good battle in the post between Penn Charter’s Mike McGlinchey and Kiski’s Satchel Pierce. McGlinchey, a 6-9 senior, is headed to Notre Dame next year on a football scholarship while Pierce, a 6-11 junior, could be the best collegiate prospect on the floor.
Penn Charter has their own high-scoring guard in Sean O’Brien, a 6-3 junior combo guard who averaged 15.2 ppg this season. O’Brien dropped 20 points in Penn Charter’s quarterfinal win over Malvern Prep; like Kiski, the Quakers have never appeared in the PAISAA semifinals.