Tatnall 52, Tower Hill 48 - Thursday, February 13
With their postseason hopes hanging in the balance by a thread, the Tatnall Hornets boys varsity basketball team put together their finest buzzer to buzzer performance of the season, dominating the #3 team in the state, their conference rival Tower Hill, in front of an enthusiastic crowd at home. Balanced scoring, gritty defense, a renewed effort as a team on the glass, and clutch free throw shooting all were huge parts of the win. The teams felt each other out at the onset, with both teams struggling on the offensive end. Captain Omari Banks '21 patiently ran the offense before executing a gorgeous screen and roll and set up captain Bryce Scott '21 for the layup through contact as the first quarter ended, and Tatnall found themselves up 10-7. Consecutive feeds from Banks to Isaiah Sales '23 inside gave the Hornets a 17-9 lead in the 2nd, and Tatnall found themselves up 21-16 at the half. The Hillers tried to make a run, but the defense stood up. Sales packed two shots back to back to thwart a Tower run, and his pair of blocked shots helped contribute to a 29-18 Hornet lead with 1:22 in the third. Tower Hill never let it get out of hand and battled gamely, but every time the Hornets needed a play, they got one. Scott dropped a sweet no-look dime to captain Za'an Burrell, who smoothly laid it in for a 35-24 lead with 5:52 to go in the fourth. Burrell later made a massive steal after Tower tightened the score, and began a parade to the charity stripe as the Hillers desperately tried to extend the game. Banks, Scott, Burrell, and both Bryce and Tyler Flowers '24 were up to the task, however. Tower hit a meaningless three pointer at the buzzer to make the final score look closer than it was, but the result was the same nonetheless. Tatnall took the night, 52-48, providing a wonderful Valentine to the home crowd. The balanced Hornet attack was led by Banks and Scott, who each scored twelve points. Scott added fourteen rebounds, including a whopping nine on the offensive glass. Not to be outdone, Banks added twelve of his own and added five assists. Bryce Flowers had eight, his brother Tyler chipped in seven, and Sales and Burrell added five apiece. The win kept postseason hopes alive for the Hornets as the team continued their strong late-season play.
Tower Hill JV 49, Tatnall JV 40
A nightmare first quarter doomed the Tatnall Hornet JV squad, who fell by nine to Tower Hill. Caleb Sales '22 led the team with sixteen points, including a pair of long balls. Brandon Yu '22 bullied his way inside against the Hiller, pounding in twelve points of his own.
Tatnall 53, Dickinson 50 - Wednesday, February 19
With an excellent and gutsy performance in front of a buzzing Hive, the Tatnall Hornets boys varsity basketball team defeated the second top ten team in the state they faced in the course of a week, vanquishing the Dickinson Rams 53-50. The win continued the Hornets' strong late-season play and put the Hornets firmly in the mix for the postseason state championship tournament. Tatnall started sluggishly, feeling out their opposition, and struggling to figure out the lengthy and athletic Rams zone defense. The game was tied at the end of the first at ten, Tatnall trailed by a trey at the half, 20-17. In massive foul trouble, the Hornets required clutch performances from up and down the roster, and every player that entered the contest stepped up and shined. Captain Omari Banks '21 drove the zone for a soaring layup, then splashed a long three to put the Hornets up, 22-20 with 6:26 to go in the third. The Hornet faithful brought their energy, and the gym was as loud as it has been in years when Bryce Flowers '24 drained an enormous three of his own off a steal, then twisted through contact for a layup to give the Hornets a 32-29 advantage. Big men Devyn Benson '21 and Darien Henderson '21 locked down the taller Rams frontcourt and combined to force a turnover at the end of the third quarter, firing up the crowd as the game entered the final period. Dickinson didn't achieve their top ten status by accident, though, and having narrowly defeated Tatnall earlier in the season; they were confident in their chances. The contest was nip and tuck down the stretch, and tensions and emotions ran high on both sidelines. Flowers picked up the pace on offense, dusting his defender and converting consecutive layups, including a criminally gorgeous leaner off an uncalled push for a 39-35 lead with 4:09 left in the fourth. The defense would get the Hornets home, and hopefully to the postseason promised land, as captain Za'an Burrell '21 expertly anticipated and jumped a pass, swiping the ball and calmly laying it in for a 41-35 lead with a mere 2:50 left. Banks drove the lane and dished to captain Bryce Scott '21, who converted inside to put Tatnall up ten, ten seconds later. The caravan to the free throw line commenced, and Banks and Flowers drained clutch freebies to keep the lead intact. Dickinson scrambled to steal the game, but on this night, the Hornets would not be denied, and the celebration was on. Flowers led the team in scoring, pouring in sixteen points, with Banks adding fifteen, including a pair of treys and five rebounds. Henderson showed up huge for the Hornets, chipping in six points and five rebounds off the bench. He and Benson steadied the ship on defense and on the glass as well, providing critical minutes during the second half. It was a fantastic and clutch win for the team, who finished the season playing their absolute best ball.
The win gave the Hornets a real chance to qualify for the state tournament, although, with games left to play across the state, nothing is assured as of yet. Knowing they had done all they could do down the stretch, the Hornets now await their fate.
Tatnall JV 45, Dickinson JV 41
The Tatnall Hornets JV team finished their year with a flourish, besting the Dickinson JV 45-41 in a tough, hard fought contest. MarQuel Fitzgerald '23 led the team with ten points, and Brandon Yu '22 added eight of his own. Daniel Holland '21 added a season-high seven, and the Brothers Homer combined for double figures, with Jeff '23 scoring six and Matt '23 adding four of his own. The win concluded what was one of the finest JV seasons in recent memory, with the team ending with a 10-6 record and playing great team ball.