Boy’s Consolation Game – #4 Evangelismos Philadelphia (5-4) vs. #6 St. Luke Broomall (3-6)
Two teams that have a lot to be proud of for sure, as Evangelismos battled hard last week in one of the games of the year, falling just two points short of an upset over second-seeded Egg Harbor in a see-saw battle for four tough quarters. Meanwhile St. Luke’s has done what no team has done before, and that is, advance to the semi-finals as the six seed in the playoffs, which is an accomplishment for the ages.
Seeing as how we do not fully know which team will be facing the boys from the Northeast, I will focus squarely on the boys in black (and pink), as they look to clinch their third-straight third place finish, which is truly a testament to their consistency as a top team in the Delaware Valley. Antonio Nakos has been arguably the top post player in the league this year, as he is pound for pound the toughest person to keep out of the paint in the league. Also a tough matchup is the superior guard play of Evangelismos, led by the senior trifecta of Cameron Elliott (who has played like an MVP these last few weeks), Vasili Mantsos, and Cole Pletscher. Should this in fact be the matchup, I think the size and speed combo of Evangelismos would be a little too tough for St. Luke to handle, especially having just played a game an hour before, which I’m sure, especially for whomever comes up short, will be both physically and emotionally draining. For that fact I actually like Evangelismos as the favorite to win either scenario, but with this being my prediction I will ride it and say that Evangelismos will defeat St. Luke’s and take home their third straight consolation game victory.
Mr. GOYA’s Prediction – Evangelismos Philadelphia – 48, St. Luke Broomall – 39.
Girl’s Championship – #2 St. Thomas Cherry Hill Girls (5-2) vs. #5 St. George Media Girls (4-4)
The girl’s championship game will feature two of the historically-greatest girl’s programs in league history, as St. Thomas of Cherry Hill will enter the game looking to take home their league-record 9th girl’s championship (based on the league website’s historical data) and first since 2009. Their opponents from St. George will be looking to close the gap and take home their 7th league championship, and first since 2012. For the girls from St. Thomas, who were in the finals last year, their success starts with the guard play of Maria Kokolis, but it certainly doesn’t end there. Maria Ana Pantelous might be one of the hardest-working players in the league, and I think her inspired play has been one of the rallying points for these girls getting back to the championship game, along with an overall commitment to hard team defense. For the girls from St. George, throw that 5-seed out the window because this team is playing like a top team right now. Two players who I have really been impressed with in the postseason have been Corina Bourantas, who has really stepped her game up in January, and Alexis Terris, who has anchored the St. George Cinderella run to the finals. Having relied heavily on guard play early this year, it has actually been in the interior where St. George has found a winning strategy, as they have dominated the paint offensively and defensively in rattling off four wins in five games down the stretch.
In the regular season contest between these two teams back on November 30th, St. George’s tough defense neutralized the Cherry Hill attack on their way to a gritty 20-11 victory. Holding Cherry Hill to 11 points is no small feat, as they were able to swarm and contain Kokolis for four quarters, which is not an easy thing to do twice.On Sunday I have to think that the defending runners-up will come with a gameplan to neutralize that defensive strategy, much like they did in the semi-finals two weeks ago. Despite the obvious impact that both teams’ guards have on the game, I think this game is going to be won or lost in the trenches, where offensive and defensive rebounding will be key. I’m thinking back historically to Media’s last championship, where they held their opponents scoreless in the second half on their way to a one point low scoring victory, and I can actually see the same thing happening on Sunday. If you’re a fan of defense, this is the game to watch, as I think St. George will complete their historic run and emerge as league champions in a hard fought game over St. Thomas
Mr. GOYA’s Prediction – St. George Media – 18, St. Thomas Cherry Hill – 16.