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Reading/Pine-Richland Game is Fantastic Finish to PIAA Playoffs

HERSHEY, Pa. – In a night that will be remembered by all in attendance and watching on TV, Reading beat Pine-Richland 64-60 in front of a nearly sold-out Giant Center in the PIAA Class 6A championship.

It was one of four games played Saturday, the final of day of the three-day tournament, but it was the game that was the most anticipated all weekend because of the expected Reading contingent that didn’t disappoint.

Here is a look at all four Saturday games.

Class 6A Boys: Reading 64, Pine-Richland 60

In what is easily the best atmosphere the PIAA has seen in decades, there was just a little too much Lonnie Walker as Reading held off a feisty and well-coached Pine-Richland team to get a 64-60 victory before over 9,500 at The Giant Center.

Walker scored a game-high 22 points, including 10 in the second half, as the Knights overcame a 30-28 halftime deficit to get the victory.

A 19-11 third quarter allowed Reading to build a 47-41 lead after three.

But Pine-Richland, which had four players in double digits, was within two, 54-52, after an Evan Luellen layup with 3:35 left.

Wesley Butler, however, went one-on-one and beat the Rams’ defender scoring and getting fouled. After the free throw, Reading’s lead was five, and it started a 7-0 run that put the game away.

Pine-Richland, which had just a tiny fraction of the 9,531 announced crowd, wasn’t intimidated by the sea of Reading red and played right with the Knights and their McDonald’s All-American Walker, who stayed at Reading despite assuredly plenty of opportunities to go to a private school, until the end.

Phil Jurkovec, a sophomore and Notre Dame football recruit, led the Rams with 14 points. Sean Colosimo and Andrew Petcash each added 11 with Nolan Rasuch chipping in 10.

Jose Genao Batista added 14 points for Reading with Tyrone Nesby IV contributing 11.

The announced crowd is the largest in the history of the PIAA playoffs at the Giant Center.

Class 3A Girls: Neumann-Goretti 62, Bishop Canevin 56

Neumann-Goretti won its third straight PIAA title and its first in the new 3A with a 62-56 win over Bishop Canevin.

The Saints, who won the Class 2A title in each of the last two seasons, used a 22-9 third-quarter advantage to build a 52-37 lead after three quarters and then held off a late charge by the Crusaders, who outscored Neumann-Goretti 19-10 in the fourth quarter.

Ashley Jones led the Saints with 20 points and five rebounds, while Chyna Nixon added 19 points, six rebounds, six steals and four assists.

Bishop Canevin was paced by a game-high 21 points from Shamyjha Price, who also had five rebounds and three steals. Brionna Allen added a double-double with 15 points and 11 rebounds.

Twenty-six turnovers hurt the Crusaders.

Class 4A Boys: Imhotep Charter 80, Erie Strong Vincent 52

There was too much Daron Russell and Dave Beatty for Erie Strong Vincent, as Imhotep Charter’s Division 1 duo combined to score 44 points in an 80-52 victory over the District 10 champions.

Russell, headed to Rhode Island, netted a team-high 25 points including 20 in the first half while adding six steals, while South Carolina commit Beatty chipped in 19 points.

That was more than enough to offset Strong Vincent’s David Morris, who is going to Tennessee State. Morris scored a game-high 26 points and grabbed six rebounds but also turned the ball over seven times part of 24 turnovers for the Colonels, who finished 27-4.

Aje Gore chipped in 11 points for Strong Vincent.

Class 5A Girls: Archbishop Wood 34, Trinity 26

Archbishop Wood hit just enough shots against a tough Trinity zone defense to pull out a 34-26 victory for the Vikings second straight PIAA championship and first in the new Class 5A in their fourth straight title game.

Archbishop Wood shot just 8 of 35 but six of those eight from 3-pointers and the Vikings went 12 of 14 from the free-throw line.

Trinity, the third-place team out of the WPIAL, nearly pulled off the upset and trailed by just two, 19-17, with just under five minutes to play.

The Hillers were still down four, 21-17, when a call went against them that could have closed the gap to one. Abbey O’Connor hit a shot and the whistle blew, but instead of a foul and a potential 3-point play O’Conner was nailed for a walk.

Cassie Sebold then put the nail in the coffin when she drained a 3-pointer on the other end to make it a 24-17 lead with 3:42 to play.

The Vikings looked poised to break the game open early hitting three 3-pointers in the game’s first 3:08 to take a 9-0 lead. But after going 3-for-4 from the floor to start the game they hit just 1 of 13 shots in the remainder of the first half to lead by seven, 14-7, at the break.

Trinity, which was a dismal 4 of 28 from the field for the game including 2 of 12 in the first half and 2 of 16 in the second, found itself right in the game thanks to a 17 of 19 performance from the free-throw line.

Sebold led Archbishop Wood with 12 points, while Riley DeRubbo had a game-high 13 points for Trinity despite shooting 1 of 9 from the floor. She was 11 of 13 from the line and added seven rebounds.

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