Written by: on Sunday, December 19th, 2021



Reading looked every bit the favorite to retain the Pennsylvania PIAA Class 6A state championship in their magnificent performance in the opening game of the Diane Mosco Foundation Shootout at Archbishop Wood on Saturday afternoon, defeating LaSalle College 52-32. With this win, Reading remains undefeated on the season. If anything, this year’s edition of the Red Knights may be stronger than the team that defeated Archbishop Wood in Hershey in March to claim the Class 6A state title. Six of the eight players who competed in last season’s state championship game are on this season’s squad, and, as last season, they are guided by outstanding coach Rick Perez. Reading was comprehensively impressive on Saturday afternoon.

Reading’s defensive pressure overwhelmed LaSalle College. LaSalle committed three turnovers in the first minute of the game, and they quickly fell behind 8-0. Early in the game, Reading pressed after every made basket, and LaSalle had great difficulty coping with Reading’s quickness. By the end of the first frame, it was clear that Reading was too quick for LaSalle, and a jumper at the buzzer by 6′ 1″ Reading junior Ruben Rodriguez put the Red Knights up 18-9. LaSalle never found an answer for 6′ 5″ junior Daniel Alcantara, who scored nine points for Reading in the first stanza, on his way to 28 points in the game. Alcantara scored on show stopping dunks, short jumpers, and three shots from behind the arc.

LaSalle College switched to a zone defense in the second quarter, and that slowed Reading’s attack and kept the score down. However, a 3 pointer from Alcantara gave Reading a 23-11 second quarter lead, and LaSalle College rarely again got within 10 points of the champs. At the beginning of the fourth quarter, LaSalle College rushed some shots, none of which fell, and Reading’s lead became insurmountable.

On offense, Reading can play both fast and slow. Their fast break attack is terrific. In a half court set, they are unselfish, smart, and able to move the ball quickly. For years, Coach Perez has used a version of the four corner offense late in games with a lead, and this season’s team deployed it a bit on Saturday. On the boards, Reading was quick to the ball. They had 14 offensive rebounds vs. LaSalle. Too often, LaSalle players waited for a carom to come to them, only to have the ball grabbed by a hustling Reading player. Reading’s defense in this game was superb, closely guarding LaSalle players man-to-man. Only four LaSalle College players scored in the game.

Reading had a 40-29 rebounding advantage. LaSalle College committed 23 turnovers to 13 for Reading. Reading was 4 for 10 from the free throw line, while LaSalle was a perfect 8 for 8. Reading made four 3 pointers, and LaSalle made two from behind the arc.

Reading scoring: Daniel Alcantara 28, Ruben Rodriguez 7, Myles Grey 7, Xavier Davis 4, Amier Burdine 2, Justin Walker 2, and Aris Rodriguez 2.

LaSalle College scoring: Sam Brown 12, Horace Simmons 11, Nick Varano 6, and Ryan Sorge 3

Reading 18 9 9 16-52
LaSalle College 9 7 8 8-32

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