Josh Verlin (@jmverlin)
Want to give a bunch of Villanova alumni some extra incentive to win a basketball game? Give them some Saint Joseph’s Hawks to play against. After all, the Holy War doesn’t end after graduation.
A Wildcat-heavy Omega Medical squad used that historic rivalry as some extra incentive, beating a Hawk-laden Radano & Associates 91-72 in the Delco Pro-Am Championship for its second title in the last three years.
Villanova alum Antonio Peña won the MVP award with a 25-point performance, an honor he also took home in 2011. His former Wildcat teammates, Reggie Redding and Shane Clark, also had strong performances with 24 and 17 points, respectively.
“We’ve played together for so long since we were younger, and it’s fun to be able to still play with these guys,” said Redding, adding he and Pena have lived together each summer since they graduated. “We’ve got a great friendship.”
Redding also got a chance to introduce one of the city’s new college ballplayers to arguably the most intense inner-city basketball rivalry. DeAndre Bembry, an incoming freshman at St. Joe’s, showed off his ignorance of the city’s hoops history before things tipped off.
“He was saying ‘It’s not even that serious,’” Redding told reporters. “I said ‘You’re going to be a freshman next year?’
“He said ‘Yeah,’ and I said ‘Then you don’t even understand yet.”
A few of Bembry’s teammates had a somewhat better idea of just what the Villanova/Saint Joseph’s rivalry means to both schools. Langston Galloway–Radano’s leading scorer with 23 points–is entering his senior year at St. Joe’s, as is Halil Kanacevic, who chipped in seven.
Villanova had one current player in the game as well; Wildcats senior James Bell had 10 points for Omega Medical.
The other three double-digit scorers for Radano were also former Big 5 standouts, including a pair of Hawks in Garrett Williamson (11 points) and C.J. Aiken (10 points), as well as former Temple guard Ryan Brooks (16 points).
As the championship game went on, Omega Medical just got stronger and stronger.
A 20-2 run to start the second half turned a one-point halftime lead into a 66-47 advantage with 10:45 remaining. That lead would grow as large as 24 as it took Radano until 5:30 was left in the contest to make its first field goal of the second half–by that point, all it did was make the score 75-54.
“We started playing a little bit better defense, getting out, getting steals, rebounding and getting on the run,” Redding said. “Once we started running, that’s when we opened it up a little bit.”
Really, the only thing that went wrong the entire second half for Omega Medical was the ejection of Virginia’s Sean Singletary midway through the period after Singletary had some choice words for the referee.
The addition of Hofstra guard Juan’ya Green and Shipley alum Ky Howard to the mix played a big part defensively, as Omega Medical used an 20-4 run to help them take a 46-45 lead at the half. Both players–the only two on their team still in college–finished with four points.
“(Juan’ya) and Ky Howard, they’re the young guys,” Omega Medical coach Kyle Sample said. “Just hungry guys that are humble and listen to the guys that came before them like Reggie and Shane and Antonio.”
Radano jumped out to a 19-6 lead due in large part to Galloway, who had 13 points early, but the savvy veteran squad of Omega Medical was clearly more than up for the challenge.
Omega Medical: Antonio Pena 25 (MVP), Reggie Redding 24, Shane Clark 17, James Bell 10, Sean Singletary 7, Ky Howard 4, Juan’ya Green 4
Radano & Associates: Langston Galloway 23, Ryan Brooks 16, Garrett Williamson 11, C.J. Aiken 10, Halil Kanacevic 7, DeAndre Bembry 5