District boys hoops: Pat Dinan ignites Methacton to win over Springfield (D)

By DAVE KURTZ

pac-10sports.com

WORCESTER – Methacton had spent the first three quarters in a deep funk – missing shots, getting few stops and generally sleepwalking as Springfield (Delco) dictated tempo and controlled play with its deliberate style.

The Warriors were in urgent need of a wakeout call – trailing by 6 early in the fourth quarter with their season on live support - when the alarm went off.

Standing at the bedside of the slumbering PAC-10 champions with the bugle in hand was senior guard Pat Dinan, who didn’t want to say goodnight to this storybook season.

At a time when taps seemed to be more in order, Dinan sounded reveille, turning in three straight pivotal plays to revive Methacton and spearhead a 43-35 victory in the opening round of the PIAA District One Class AAAA playoffs Friday night.

“Pat Dinan came up huge, with three big momentum-boosting plays,” said Warriors coach Jeff Derstine, whose 16th-seeded club advanced to a second-round date at unbeaten and top-seeded Chester Tuesday night (7 p.m.). “He always does a great job defensively, and in other areas that don’t always get noticed in the boxscore.”

It was hard to miss the Dinan-generated sequence that began with a teardrop runner in the lane, continued with a triple from the right wing and concluded when he went to the floor to secure a steal, alertly calling timeout while maintaining possession.

Methacton came out of the huddle with renewed fire. Brendan Casper, who posted a double-double with 19 points and 10 rebounds, took over from there, burying a turnaround jumper in the lane and capping off the 10-0 run by drilling a three-pointer from the top left of the key.

All of a sudden, the Warriors (18-7) were up 32-28 and well on their way to a sixth straight victory. Springfield got back within 2 when Matt Pearse hit two free throws moments later, but that would be as close as the Cougars would get.

  

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“They had slowed the game down on us, and I felt like we needed to start making some plays to get us going,” said Dinan, who finished with 7 points, 3 assists and 6 rebounds. “Usually it’s a different guy every night that gets us going. We all feed off the play of our teammates.”

The feeding frenzy continued when Ryan McKee took it to the rim for a layup off a strong drive and Casper added another bucket for a 36-30 lead at the 3:37 mark. The Warriors’ advantage would never dip below 5 from there.

“The first half we missed shots that we usually make,” said Casper, who missed his first 8 attempts from the floor before recovering to hit 8 of his final 16, stuffing 11 points into the final 8 minutes. “They caught us falling asleep. We needed to get out and run, get them out of their comfort zone. When Pat dove across the floor for that steal and called the timeout, we got going. We fed off that energy.”

Methacton’s energy level was sapped by the Cougars’ patient attack through the first three quarters. After the first quarter ended in a 7-7 standoff, Springfield methodically pushed ahead 19-15 at the break, taking advantage of the Warriors’ shoddy shooting (6-30) and lack of defensive focus.

“You have to give Springfield credit,” said Derstine. “They were very disciplined and patient, waiting for us to make a defensive mistake. They made us defend for 30 to 45 seconds, and we allowed some easy baskets.

“We were a little confused by their 1-2-2 zone and we played a little tentative. You can’t let that happen – you have to attack.”

The attack finally came, with Dinan heading the front-line charge, and the results were devastating for the Delco League representatives.

“At the end of the third quarter we started cutting hard, finding our spots and hitting some shots,” said Derstine. “One of our goals was to win the PAC-10, and we did that. The other was to advance in districts."

Dinan was largely responsible for making that happen - fueling yet another comeback win for Methacton, which needed late rallies to overtake Pottstown and Spring-Ford for the PAC-10 crown.

“Pat sprained his ankle in the morning shootaround, but we needed him, and he came through.”

FREE THROWS: Methacton trailed by 8 midway through the third quarter when Pete Donahue connected on a timely trey from the right corner to start the awakening. “That was a big shot,” Derstine said. … The Warriors’ 6-foot-6 senior center Geoff Wittenberg had just 2 points, but ruled the paint with 13 rebounds to pace a 41-24 advantage on the boards … This was no shooting clinic – with Springfield finishing at 33 percent (14-43) and Methacton at 29 percent (16-56). The Cougars had 8 turnovers while the Warriors gave it away 10 times.

Springfield-Delco (35) – Devinney 1 0-0 2, Fox 2 1-3 6, Pearse 4 2-3 11, McKale 4 2-4 10, Rutecki 1 0-0 2, Achuff 1 0-0 2, Aungst 1 0-1 2. Totals 14 5-11 35.

Methacton (43) – Miller 1 3-4 6, Dinan 3 0-0 7, Forrest 0 0-0 0, B. Casper 8 2-2 19, Wittenberg 0 2-2 2, McKee 2 0-0 4, B. Casper 1 0-0 2, Donahue 1 0-0 3. Totals 16 7-8 43.

Springfield          7 12  6 10 – 35

Methacton         7  8  7 21 – 43

3-point goals – Springfield (2): Fox, Pearse. Methacton (4): Miller, Dinan, B. Casper, Donahue.