District 2 in Boys 3A Semi-Finals (Holy Redeemer vs. Devon Prep)

Written by: on Sunday, March 20th, 2022



March 19, 2022


Tide Breaks Royals Title Dreams


Devon Prep 73, Holy Redeemer 72 (OT)


BETHLEHEM – Glancing around the spacious and historic Bethlehem Liberty Gymnasium, one realizes that there have undoubtedly been many memorable hoops games played in front of those iconic (and steep) wooden bleachers.  On Saturday afternoon, another chapter was added to that list as Holy Redeemer and Devon Prep staged a PIAA Boys 3A Semi-Final instant classic that needed overtime to gets things settled.  This one left both teams and their fans emotionally exhausted as the Tide prevailed for the 73-72 victory.  Few Royals supporters left until long after the final buzzer sounded as their dreams of getting to Chocolatetown were dashed mostly via a pair of clutch triples by Devon Prep’s Jacen Holloway, one in the closing moments of the fourth quarter and another in the overtime period that gave the Tide a lead they would not relinquish. 
The game began as a back-and forth slugfest.  Justice Shoats would make his presence known quickly as his jumper and drive to the hoop put the Royals up 4-0.  Scores by Holloway and IV Pettit plus a triple by Allen Cieslak wrapped another basket by Shoats gave the Tide their first lead (7-6).  Shoats would continue to dominate the first stanza, scoring 4 more (of his 14 points in the period) to put HR up 10-9.  Devon Prep would then go on a 7-0 run by getting scores from Lucas Orchard and Pettit (a triple + two free throws) to move out to a 16-10 advantage.  The Royals would close out the period on a 6-2 spurt to cut the deficit to 18-16.
The second quarter featured Devon Prep grabbing a pair of six-point leads (28-22 and 30-24) before Holy Redeemer used a 10-0 run, including back-to-back triples by Darryl Wright, to finish the opening half with a 34-30 lead.  Royals big man Matt Prociak would get on the scoreboard establishing his versatility with a triple, baseline basket, and a tip-in as he scored 9 points in the frame.  Triples by Pettit and Cieslak came from the warp speed, pinpoint accurate Tide passing game which repeatedly found the open player.  And, more importantly, their ability to connect when given the opportunity would eventually become the overriding storyline of this matchup.
Following a trey by Holloway to begin the second half, a pair of baskets by Shoats would be followed by another triple by Wright to give the Royals their largest lead of the game, 41-33.  After a timeout to adjust their strategy, the Tide proved their resiliency in this tilt by going on an impressive 11-0 run to take a 44-41 lead.  HR would dust themselves off to tie the game at 44 with a Perta free throw and layup off a steal by Wright.  A triple and driving score by Cieslak wrapped around a basket by Shoats put the Tide back up 49-46.  Undeterred, Holy Redeemer worked for a pair of tip-ins by Prociak and Jacob Hunter (just before the buzzer) to give the lead back to the Royals, 50-49, heading to the final eight minutes – or not.
The 4th period had Holy Redeemer taking a three-point advantage on five different occasions (52-49, 54-51, 57-54, 59-56, and 61-58) with the Tide fighting back each time to keep this as a single possession affair.  The Royals would get to the charity stripe, hitting 7 of 8 opportunities.  Devon Prep would get key scores from Orchard (including a triple), Mishok, and Pettit.  But, the biggest of all came from a nothing-but-net dagger from Holloway that knotted this one at 61.  A roll around the rim miss by Holy Redeemer with 15 ticks left and the Tide not getting a shot off before time expired sent this one, quite appropriately, headed to overtime.
A pair of scores by Perta around a basket by Pettit gave HR a 65-64 edge.  On their next possession, Devon Prep found Holloway open for another triple to put his team up 67-65.  Cieslak would make it 69-65 before Perta cut it to 69-67 with 56 seconds left.  Holloway would then calmly convert four free throws to put this one away, 73-69 with 3.7 remaining.  Shoats would sink a triple at the buzzer (73-72) as the wild celebration began for the Tide and their passionate student support group.   
Holy Redeemer was led by a spectacular performance by Justice Shoats with 29 points.  Darryl Wright and Matt Prociak would each contribute 13 points.  Zach Perta added 9.
Devon Prep was the epitomy of teamwork, both on the floor and in the scorebook.  Jacen Hollowey netted a team-high 19 points.  Lucas Orchard added 18.  IV Pettit contributed 16 while Allen Cieslak chipped in 15.  Overall, the Tide connected on 11 triples.
Devon Prep (18-7) will take on Aliquippa (21-8) for the PIAA Boys 3A State Championship on Saturday afternoon at 2:30 (Hershey Giant Center).  


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