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PO boys win third playoff game since 1996

By Kenny Varner

PHILIPSBURG – They made history, again.

For the first time since 1996 and 1997, the Philipsburg-Osceola boys basketball team picked up a playoff victory. Making it their third ever and first in the 2000s.

That victory came Thursday night at the hands of Bellwood-Antis 60-39.

After a close first half that saw the Mounties holding just a 27-20 advantage, Philipsburg-Osceola came out firing on all cylinders outscoring the Blue Devils 33-19 en route to the victory in the District 6 Class AAA.

The Mounties dominated the boards, especially in the second half, finishing with a total of 48. Most of which were offensive, giving their team ample opportunities at second chance shots.

“I think that is great and it’s a testament to our kids and the coaches. We work hard,” said Philipsburg Coach TJ Anderson. “It showed tonight. Bellwood’s a good team and a great program and I felt like we came out and we were on fire. We wanted to make a statement tonight.”

Going down the roster, numerous players made statements starting with senior Ryan Whitehead who finished the contest posting a double-double of 15 points and 10 rebounds.

Brother Jeremy Whitehead led the Mounties in scoring as he finished with a game-high 17 points and had nine rebounds.

Jacob DeSimone was also all over the court offensively and defensively, posting a 14-point effort and nine rebounds to round out the double digit scorers for the Mounties.

Bellwood-Antis finished with one person in double figures and that was Trenton Pellegrino who tallied 11.

Heading out of the intermission, Philipsburg-Osceola went right to work offensively as the Mounties got consecutive buckets from Ryan Whitehead, DeSimone and Jeremy Whitehead, giving them a quick 6-0 run and caused the Blue Devils to call a time out.

The Mounties built up a 33-20 advantage with still almost seven minutes left in the third.

Coming out of the time out, Bellwood had regrouped and got the ball down inside to Evan Morris for the put in.

Offensively, the Mounties went to slowing down the pace of the game and worked the ball around to take time off the clock.

When they did shoot, they put it in the hands of Ryan Whitehead who stepped behind the arc and launched a three, upping it to 36-22.

But the Blue Devils bit back moments later when Pellagrino hit a triple, cutting it back to an 11-point game.

After battling foul trouble in the first half, Ryan Whitehead picked up his fourth foul and was taken off the court to save for a stretch run.

However, there was no drop in performance by the Mountie squad as they went right back to buisness.

After Whitehead left PO went on a 5-2 run, distancing themselves from the Blue Devils.

When the buzzer sounded ending the third quarter, with the Mounties holding onto a 45-27 advantage.

The fourth quarter belonged to the Mounties as they wore down the Blue Devils and held them to 12 points while PO tallied 15 with their back up players getting some valuable playing time in the hard fought victory.

The Mounties will face the winner of the Penns Valley/Westmont contest and will play Tuesday.

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