ALLENTOWN — Style doesn’t matter now. Only winning does.
And as shaky as things became in the fourth quarter Saturday afternoon, Meyers managed to recover enough to win in double overtime.
Shahee Aurelus saved the season with a three-pointer to end the first overtime and assisted Tyriek Steward with the go-ahead basket in the second extra period as Meyers outlasted Delaware Valley Charter 52-50 in the PIAA Class 2A boys basketball quarterfinals.
District 2 champion Meyers (22-7) will play D12 champ Constitution (26-5) on Tuesday in the semifinals. Constitution defeated Meyers 73-47 on Jan. 4 in Philadelphia and defeated D2 runner-up Holy Cross 72-62 in the opener Saturday at Allentown Allen High School.
“It was intense, so intense,” said Steward a 6-foot-4 senior whose inside basket off a pass from Aurelus at 2:52 of the second overtime gave Meyers the lead for good. “This was probably the most intense game we played all year. I loved it. Just the feeling to play in a game like this, it feels good.”
Meyers had a pretty good feeling entering the fourth quarter. Tyon Thomas converted a steal into a layup and Steward followed with a short jumper to close out the third and give the Mohawks a 32-28 lead. The four-point advantage was the biggest Meyers had to that point. Moreover, the Mohawks appeared to finally seize the momentum.
Then came the fourth quarter and seven Meyers turnovers. That momentum was abruptly gone, and a pair of free throws by Del-Val Charter’s Shahid Adams with 8.6 seconds left tied the score at 39-39 and sent the game into overtime.
Del-Val Charter then took a 45-42 lead in the first overtime with 36 seconds left after Meyers missed a few opportunities to take the lead. The situation started to look dire for Meyers until Aurelus swished a three-pointer with 16 seconds left to tie the score 45-45. Del-Val Charter missed a hurried shot, forcing a second overtime.
“He was really struggling,” Meyers coach Pat Toole said, “and when he went to the bench, I keep telling him, ‘I’m going to put the game in your hands if I need a three or a foul shot.’ We went for him for the three and, boy, he buried a bomb.”
The basket was Aurelus’ only one of the game.
“Even though I missed all my shots and was struggling, I knew that it was a big play and was ready to go for it,” Aurelus said.
The Aurelus-to-Steward basket and a goaltending call on Dominic Pittman’s inside shot gave the Mohawks a 49-45 lead with two minutes left in the second overtime. Del-Val Charter moved within 49-48 on a three-pointer by Darius Wallace at 1:46, but Meyers managed to bump the lead to 52-48 with 29.8 seconds remaining. After pulling within two points, Del-Val Charter missed two chances to tie just before the buzzer.
“The experience I think of the Mid Valley (District 2 semifinal) game came back,” Toole said. “We talked about that afterwards. Hey, we won double overtime games before, we know what we have to do. We have to take care of the basketball, we have to defend and rebound.”
And, perhaps, do all of the above better on Tuesday against Constitution, the top-ranked team in the state in Class 2A and the preseason favorite to win the title. A victory would put Meyers in the Class 2A state championship game for the first time since the 1996-97 season when the Mohawks lost 57-50 to Aliquippa. The championship game is 2 p.m. Saturday, March 22, at the Giant Center in Hershey.
“I think we just gutted it out,” Toole said. “I don’t know any other way to say it. We just gutted it out. Sometimes we play very ugly, but we play hard and I have a group of kids who always find a way to win. And I believe I have the best player on the floor every night and that’s Tyriek Steward.”
Meyers 52, Del-Val Charter 50 (2OT)
DEL-VAL CHARTER (50) — Dashon Giddings 1 1-2 3, Shahid Adams 7 4-6 20, CJ Wolfe 1 0-0 2, Bysil Northern 1 0-0 3, Dwine Walls 0 3-8 3, Karl Lewis 2 2-4 6, Darius Wallace 1 4-6 7, Sheldon Stroman 3 0-0 6, Bariq London 0 0-0 0. Totals 16 14-26 50.
MEYERS (52) — Shahee Aurelus 1 0-0 3, Matt DeMarco 1 2-2 5, Lamont Twyman 1 7-14 10, Tyriek Steward 7 9-11 24, Ryan Wasley 1 1-2 4, Tyon Thomas 2 0-0 4, Dominic Pittman 1 0-0 2, Raheem Twyman 0 0-0 0. Totals 14 20-32 52.
Three-point goals — DVC 4 (Adams 2, Northern, Wallace); MEY 4 (Aurelus, DeMarco, L.Twyman, Steward).