It took overtime, but the Imhotep Institute Charter High School Panthers basketball team won its second consecutive PIAA AA state championship on Saturday, defeating Beaver Falls at the Bryce Jordan Center in State College, 56-54.
Imhotep twice held big leads in the game, leading by 10 in the second quarter before a 13-0 run by Beaver Falls, and again by seven with just 5 minutes left to play.
Beaver Falls would score the first basket in OT before a dunk by Brandon Austin, who had 13 points and 13 rebounds on the night, put Imhotep up for good en route to the victory.
Sheldon Jeter had a game high 22 points for Beaver Falls, including 11 in the fourth quarter and OT, but was held to 0-10 shooting from beyond the arc thanks to Imhotep’s stingy 3-point defense.
The victory gives the East Germantown high school its second consecutive state title and its third in four years.
On Monday, Imhotep Coach Andre Noble was asked about how his team was able to recover from its Feb. 14 Public League playoff loss to Communications Tech and go on to become state champions.
“I always felt we had enough talent to put something together. After that loss, I told the players ‘one of two things can happen. We can lose in the first round, or we can make a serious run,'” Noble recalled. “It was the little things that helped us make a run. Stand up, clap, when your teammate’s come out of the game. You had to shake someone’s hand when you came off the court. Team building.”
A celebration is tentatively scheduled at the school for Thursday. NewsWorks will be there to cover it.