The matchup between Plymouth Whitemarsh and Ridley was expected to be an up-tempo, high scoring matchup of two teams fighting for a chance to face off against Abington in the District 1 AAAA title game. However, that was not the case on Wednesday night as the game turned into an old fashion city brawl between two teams who ratcheted up their defensive efforts in a battle that came down to the shot. Plymouth Whitemarsh held off the scrappy Ridley bunch 44-41 to advance to the title matchup against another scrappy team in Abington.
The difference in the game was 2016 guard Xzavier Malone aka (X-Factor) who finished with 19 points. Malone lived up to his nickname as he was the x-factor in the game hitting a number of big shots in the 4th quarter to lead Plymouth Whitemarsh to the win. When asked about his performance down the stretch he said “Confidence is every man, like my dad says follow through and just pray for the best. Follow through and keep your form up there shoot with confidence thats the most important thing.”
Malone transferred to Plymouth Whitemarsh after being disappointed with his playing time at Martin Luther King. He talked about why he transferred and how he has benefitted from the change of scenery saying “I started my freshman year there, my 9th grade year I got about 5 minutes a game, my 10th grade year I jumped up to about 10-12 minutes a game but I wasn’t really getting to showcase my skills so I wanted to get out of there. I wanted to go to Plymouth Whitemarsh because I wanted to go to school where they have a great education and a place that would get me ready for college and the next level and now I am here and I am doing what a lot of people though I couldn’t do.” Malone is now thriving at Plymouth Whitemarsh and has a chance to make his mark on Friday in the PIAA District 1 championship game under the bright lights of the Liacouras Center.
Ridley had a chance to take the lead as they held possession with 17 seconds left in the fourth down 42-41 however they were called for a walk driving to the basket with just 7.6 seconds to go in the contest. Plymouth Whitemarsh knocked down both free throws on the other end and Julian Wing’s last second shot didn’t fall as Ridley lost in a heart-breaker. Ridley dropped to 20-5 on the year after the tough loss to Plymouth Whitemarsh and will face off against Pennsbury in a state play-back game. Plymouth Whitemarsh moves to 24-2 on the year and will have a chance to capture the District 1 AAAA title on Friday against Abington who is 23-3 on the year.