PIAA 5A Boys Championship Preview: Franklin Regional vs. Imhotep

Franklin Regional last played in the state final in 1997 losing to Plymouth Whitemarsh

Fri Mar 22, 2024 - 12:03AM

Sean Meyers Sean Meyers

Last Updated: Fri Mar 22, 2024 - 2:04AM

Franklin Regional Panthers (27-3) vs Imhotep Charter Panthers (28-3)

Date: Friday, March 22nd

Location: Giant Center in Hershey

Tip-Off: 8:00 p.m.

Live WSN Broadcast: LISTEN LIVE

About the FR Panthers: Franklin Regional advanced to the state final, courtesy of a 60-43 victory against WPIAL Champion Moon Area on Monday at Peters Township High School. The Panthers held a 17-2 lead late in the first quarter, but the Tigers rallied in the second quarter, and took a 28-25 lead into the locker room. The second half belonged to FR, though, a reversal of the first meeting this season, when Moon staged a fourth-quarter comeback at the Petersen Events Center. In the triumph, Cam Rowell netted 17 points for the Panthers, while Cooper Rankin added a dozen points and Colin Masten and Fin Hutchison each contributed 11 points. Earlier in the state playoffs, Franklin Regional defeated Shaler Area 63-51, Selinsgrove 56-45, and Warwick 68-53. Rowell and Rankin pace the team in scoring, with averages of approximately 17 and 15 points per contest, respectively. Jesse Reed, who played in a state championship as a player at Greensburg Central Catholic, is in his third year leading the Panthers.

About the IC Panthers: Imhotep, the District 12 Champion, edged the D12 runner up Archbishop Ryan 52-48 in the semifinals on Monday at Bensalem High School. In that triumph, Ahmad Nowell poured in 20 points, including the final seven points for his team. Nowell, a UConn commit, is ranked the 36th-best player in the country among seniors, per 247 Sports. RJ Smith chipped in 11 points for the Panthers. Earlier in the state bracket, Imhotep bested Abington Heights 56-46, Exeter Township 83-40, and Pottstown 64-46. In the semis victory, veteran head coach Andre Noble captured his 500th career win.

About the Matchup: Franklin Regional is in pursuit of its first state title, as FR lost in its only PIAA title game appearance previously in 1997 to Plymouth Whitemarsh. Imhotep Charter, meanwhile, has claimed nine state titles, including the past two years. Imhotep also secured a PIAA three-peat from 2017-19 in Class 4A, took AAA gold in 2013, and registered three crowns in Class AA in 2009, 11, and 12, with the 2011 title win coming at the expense of Reed and GCC