Evans, Cotellese combine for 33 points, 9 treys to help PJP knock off Spring-Ford



UPPER PROVIDENCE – Jeff Evans sat out Pope John Paul II’s Final Four-clinching victory over Pottsgrove Saturday with an ankle injury.

It was a short and unpleasant stay on the bench and in the training room for the steady senior guard.

Nothing was going to keep Evans on the sidelines Monday night. His terse response to getting hurt - inflicting some pain on neighborhood rival Spring-Ford in a Pioneer Athletic Conference matchup between divisional leaders.

For more photos by Janet Jones on this game, visit our photo gallery.


Showing the steady hand of a neurosurgeon, the deft touch of a maestro and the dead-on aim of a gunslinger, Evans ripped the nets for 19 points, knocking down 5 of 6 shots from beyond the arc to carry the Golden Panthers to an emotion-charged 55-46 victory.


“I was a little sore, but I couldn’t stand sitting on the bench,” said Evans, whose trio of trifectas in the second quarter helped PJP surge in front 25-24 at the break. “Shooting is my game and I was focusing more on my mechanics, using my legs and following through on my shot. I got in the groove early.”

With Evans moving and grooving, his backcourt mate, Dave Cotellese was also in bombs-away mode. Cotellese finished 4 of 6 from distance, including a 30-footer from a different area code, en route to 14 points. The junior had three treys during a tide-turning 21-7 run in the first 5:17 of the third quarter that put the Golden Panthers in front to stay.

PJP pushed out to a 48-33 lead after three quarters, and withstood a furious Spring-Ford (11-2 Liberty, 15-7) comeback that simply ran out of time. When it was over, the amped-up PJP student body rushed the floor like they’d just hit the lottery.

“We have the potential to shoot the ball well,” said PJP coach Jack Flanagan after his club reached 9-3 in the Frontier, 13-6 overall. “But we’ve had some games where we haven’t shot it all that well.”

Monday wasn’t one of those nights.  The Golden Panthers, who can clinch the Frontier Division title Tuesday with a win over Owen J. Roberts, finished 10 of 16 (63 percent) from the arc.

There is no denying the power of three.

 “Some possessions, we weren’t getting out on their shooters,” Spring-Ford coach Mike Young said. “But on others, they were just unconscious. You have to give them credit.”

There was enough credit to be spread all over the floor. The Rams trailed by 15 entering the fourth quarter, but used a 13-2 run to close within 50-46 on Steve Joyce’s strong take and make with 51 seconds left. But Spring-Ford, which got 19 points and 9 rebounds from Zameer McDowell and 10 more from Joyce, would get no closer.

The Panthers slammed the door shut with five free throws in the final 46.8 seconds.

“We told our guys, ‘don’t be thinkers, be shooters,’” Flanagan said. “This was our biggest win to date. It was a great atmosphere, and we responded. They’re the No. 1 seed in our league.”

Like his near-perfect marksmanship, Evans was on the money with his assessment of how this very big strike was achieved.

“The 3-point shot is a big part of our game, it’s probably the biggest part,” Evans said. “It’s a nice asset to have.”

Spring-Ford (46) – O’Hara 0 0-0 0, Dishman 2 0-0 6, Keys 0 2-2 2, Joyce 3 4-5 10, Lacy 0 0-0 0, McDowell 9 1-2 19, McLaughlin 1 0-1 3, Branch 2 0-0 4, Keefe 0 0-0 0, Scanlan 1 0-0 2. Totals 18 7-10 46.

Pope John Paul II (55) – Cotellese 5 0-0 14, Evans 6 2-2 19, Mahoney 0 0-0 0, Gribb 3 1-2 7, Mills 3 1-3 7, Malescio 0 0-0 0, Taylor 0 0-0 0, Stinson 0 0-0 2, Mansur 2 3-9 8. Totals 19 7-15 55.

Spring-Ford               13 11 9 13 – 46

Pope John Paul           6 19 23 7 – 55

3-point goals: Evans 5, Cotellese 4, Dishman 2, McLaughlin, Mansur.