Prep Charter Boys Basketball
Pride of Philadelphia
PIAA Class AA Basketball Champions
By early-February 2006, the boys basketball team from Philadelphia Prep Charter had their eyes on the postseason. The Huskies cruised through the league with a 17-0 record and had impressive wins on the road against teams from Pittsburgh, Baltimore, the Bronx and Long Island. Coach Dan Brinkley felt that his squad was ready to run to the 2006 Philadelphia Public League Championship
While coasting to easy victories over Freire (81-48) and Masterman (77-54) in the early rounds the Huskies next faced Communications Tech with a shot at powerhouse Simon Gratz to follow. However, the CommTech Phoenix dealt Prep Charter a crushing 72-69 defeat in the Public League semifinals, leaving the Huskies on the sidelines questioning what went wrong. A 61-56 loss to Engineering and Science in the consolation game did nothing to quell the sudden doubts of Coach Brinkley and his squad.
The Pennsylvania Class AA playoffs were set for March leaving Prep Charter a week and a half to try to get ready to play the best schools in the state. The Huskies entered the tournament as the third seed out of District 12. Still feeling the effects of their playoff ouster, the Huskies battled to a tough 49-44 first-round victory over Reading Central Catholic. Now back on their game they posted one-sided, matter-of-fact victories over the Southern Columbia Tigers (61-49) and Camp Hill Trinity (77-60). Yet, their hard-earned experience from their bitter loss in the Public League playoffs just a few weeks prior would prove to be vital in their next game.
In the semifinals, the Huskies faced the York Catholic Fighting Irish, a team they lost to in the early rounds of the 2005 state tournament. Things started rather ominously for the bigger, quicker Huskies as the red hot Irish built a 12 point lead early. Prep Charter started to show some life as they scored the last five points of the first half. They would eventually go on a 16-2 run to take their first lead of the game with 5:13 to play.
But it was Marcus Morris, a 6-8 forward who scored six of his 13 points in the final three minutes, which keyed the comeback for Prep Charter. His offensive rebound put back tied the game at 48 with less than three minutes remaining. With the game tied at 50, Kevin Radford’s offensive rebound and bucket gave Prep Charter the lead at 52-50 with 2:14 remaining. True to its name, the Irish fought back to tie the game again at 52. Marcus Morris hit on another driving bucket while his brother Markieff hit both of his free throws late to seal the 56-53 win for the Huskies and propel them to the championship game. Penn Charter dominated York on the boards, holding a 36-17 advantage. Rodney Green again led the Huskies in scoring with 15 points even though he fouled out of the game late in the 3rd quarter.