On the floor of the Palestra, the Friars of Monsignor Bonner-Archbishop Prendergast advanced to their first Philadelphia Catholic League championship game appearance in 30 years on Wednesday night after defeating the Archbishop Carroll Patriots 48-45.
Bonner has not appeared in the Catholic League title game since they won their last league championship back in the 1988 season.
“It’s been 10 years since we were last at the Palestra and 30 years since we last won it in ‘88, so it means a lot to us as a team like I said, and it means a lot to the Bonner community,” said head coach Jack Concannon.
Bonner and Carroll recently faced each other just two weeks ago, with the Friars edging out a narrow 79-72 victory. Just like their previous matchup, their semifinal matchup was tight throughout.
The game was tied at halftime and Bonner only held a three point advantage going into the fourth quarter.
In a low scoring game, offensive runs were hard to come by, but the Patriots seemed to find one at just the right time.
Carroll went on an 11-2 run late in the fourth quarter to tie the game with less than a minute remaining.
Bonner brought it up the floor, and with just 45 seconds left in regulation, star junior guard Isaiah Wong became a clutch hero.
Wong had not scored since the first half, but came alive when it counted most. At the top of the key, he shook off one defender with a spin move, then split two defenders in front of the basket, and while falling down, scooped in a layup for an unbelievable play and the lead.
“I knew that we just needed a bucket that play,” said Wong, “When I threw it off my hand, I knew it was going in.”
With the defense keyed in on stopping Wong for most of the second half, Bonner’s offense came from spreading the ball around. Wong tied for the lead in scoring with junior forward Tariq Ingraham’s 10 points. Junior guard Michael Perretta was right behind them with nine points after hitting three 3-pointers.
Carroll sophomore guard AJ Hoggard led all scorers with 17 points.
On Monday, February 26 at 8:30 p.m., Bonner will return to the Palestra for a chance to win its first Catholic League championship since 1988. They will play against the Roman Catholic Cahillites, who they defeated back in January in a classic 68-66 overtime game.
Photo Credit: Jack E. Kapp