Sunday, March 10, 2013

BOYS BASKETBALL NOTEBOOK: Change of scenery suits Pope John Paul II

By Jeff Stover
Pope John Paul II's Nick Demeno (right)

 A change of scenery proved therapeutic for Pope John Paul II this week ... a lengthy commute notwithstanding.
After two years of venturing to Philadelphia for the opening round of the PIAA Class AAA playoffs, the Golden Panthers got a different venue this season. They traveled north Friday afternoon to face off against Bethlehem Catholic at Bethlehem Freedom High School — a 55-mile one-way trek, which took the team bus about 1½ hours to make.
But it’s a safe bet the players, coaches and faithful fans didn’t bemoan the extensive travel time for PJP’s latest state opener. Not after the Panthers came home with a 59-56 victory over the Golden Hawks that was the program’s first ever at the state level.
“The last couple years, we didn’t get it done,” head coach Jack Flanagan said afterward. In its two previous visits to South Philadelphia High School, PJP saw its season ended by losses to Philadelphia Electrical (62-56) and Boys Latin (70-49). 

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