The Penn Wood boys’ basketball team advanced to the 2nd round of the PIAA District 1, 6A playoffs on Friday night as the Patriots came from behind to defeat the Neshaminy Redskins 59-51.
With a 16-7 record, the Patriots came in as the favorite and quickly employed a tough full court press defense. They appeared to be in control until Neshaminy Captain, junior guard Chris Arcidiacono, hit a three-pointer from half court at the buzzer to give the Redskins an 11-10 lead after the 1st quarter.
After that shot, Arcidiacono took the game over and showed shades of his older brother, former Neshaminy and Villanova star, Ryan Arcidiacono.
He led all scorers with 25 points, despite being double-teamed throughout most of the game. In the 2nd half, the Neshaminy fans that had traveled for the game broke into chants of “you can’t guard him!”
The Penn Wood crowd seemed stunned to be tied at halftime and trailing to 36-34 at the end of the 3rd quarter to a Neshaminy team with a 9-13 record
Both the crowd and the Patriots offense woke up after a 4th quarter alley-oop to senior guard, Sharif Goff.
With just over 4 minutes to play, Neshaminy held a four-point lead. After a timeout, Penn Wood began their come back when senior guard Kairi Jones stole the inbounds pass.
With only 1:36 seconds left, the Patriots took their first lead since the 2nd quarter.
Strong defense on Arcidiacono and solid rebounding from Penn Wood prevented Neshaminy from regaining the lead. Senior Vincent Smalls led the Patriots with 5 rebounds and senior Rashaad Anderson grabbed 4.
Trailing by 5 with only 46.3 seconds remaining, Arcidiacono stepped to the free throw line, hoping to put Neshaminy within striking distance.
He had carried his team all night but couldn’t knock down this crucial late free throw. It was his first missed free throw of the night.
When Anderson brought down the rebound and was quickly fouled, the Penn Wood faithful knew they were moving on.
While Arcidiacono carried the Neshaminy offense, Penn Wood’s offense was more evenly distributed. Senior forward Pernell Ghee led the team in scoring with 17 points. Smalls finished second with 15 points, and Anderson and senior guard Jay Fitzgerald both contributed 7 points.
In the 2nd round, the Patriots will travel to Bucks County to play the 6th seeded Pennsbury Falcons. Tip off is Tuesday, Feb. 21st at 7pm.
(Photo Credit: Wave Lane)