Kehler on Hoops: Roman Catholic 75 Cheltenham 62

Written by: on Thursday, March 17th, 2022



Roman Catholic built a big early lead then repelled a furious second half rally by Cheltenham to win a PIAA Class 6A state championship tournament quarterfinal on Wednesday night at Cardinal O’Hara. The game was the second of a doubleheader and was played before a capacity crowd. Roman scored first and led for the entire game.

Roman opened the contest with a 14-2 run, scoring on a three pointer by 6′ 3″ senior Khalil Farmer, a drive by 6′ sophomore Toby Ojukwu, a free throw by 6′ 2″ senior Quadir Brown, a free throw by Farmer, a drive by 6′ 1″ junior Xzayvier Brown, a drive by 6′ 6″ senior Daniel Skillings, and another three pointer by Farmer. It was clear from this opening blitz that Cheltenham would have great difficulty defending against Roman. By the end of the first quarter, Roman led 25 to 10, and Skillings had notched 10 points.

Cheltenham’s offense began to click in the second quarter, but their defense continued to be porous. Roman led by 17 points at halftime, and all facets of the Roman attack were working very well.

Significantly aided by some inconsistent officiating, Cheltenham made a strong run in the third quarter. Six Cheltenham players scored in the third frame, and they were twice able to cut Roman’s lead to five points. Roman was charged with five fouls in the third quarter, and Cheltenham made all four of their free throw attempts in the third period. The momentum of the game had changed in Cheltenham’s favor in the third quarter, to the delight of the largely pro-Cheltenham crowd.

Leading 53-48 early in the fourth quarter, Roman recaptured control of the game with a 9-0 run on a reverse layup by Farmer, a fast break dunk by Skillings, a drive by Farmer plus a free throw, and a drive by Xzayvier Brown. That made it 62-48, Roman, and the game was out of reach for Cheltenham, in spite of their sinking three three pointers late in the contest.

Roman Catholic had a 33 to 28 edge on the boards. Each team committed 11 turnovers. Roman was 20 of 27 from the free throw line, and Cheltenham was 13 of 20. Roman made seven three pointers, five by Farmer and two by Skillings. Cheltenham also made seven shots from beyond the arc: three each by 6′ 3″ senior Rasheem Dearry and 5′ 8″ freshman Josiah Hutson and one by 6′ 3″ Brandon Bush. There were no ties and no lead changes.

Roman Catholic scoring: Khalil Farmer 23, Daniel Skillings 16, Xzayvier Brown 16, Toby Ojukwu 13, Shareef Jackson 4, and Quadir Brown 3

Cheltenham scoring: Rasheem Dearry 17, Justin Savage 14, Josiah Hutson 12, Brandon Bush 7, Nasir Edens 6, Elias Walker 4, and John Fedrir 2.

Cheltenham 10 14 22 16-62
Roman Catholic 25 16 10 24-75

Roman Catholic, now 22-4, advances to the PIAA Class 6A final four and will play Lower Merion on Saturday at a place and time to be determined. Cheltenham’s fine season concludes with a 30-2 record.

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