Ethan Meuser and Justice Shoats led the way Thursday night as NEPA Elite overcame a halftime deficit on the way to its third straight victory during its first appearance in the Albert C. Donofrio High School Classic, 83-72, over Cool Hoops.
NEPA Elite used the victory to advance to the semifinals of Monday’s 60th annual event at the Fellowship House in Conshohocken.
The Hill School post-graduate student Meuser and Holy Redeemer senior Shoats each finished with 18 points.
Meuser had 14 points and Shoats 12 when NEPA Elite outscored Cool Hoops, 47-34, in the second half. Meuser made a pair of 3-pointers in the second half.
Abington Heights sophomore Ryan Nealon and Hill School junior Augie Gearhart kept NEPA Elite in the game in the first half and finished with 14 points each.
Nealon scored nine points, Gearhart had eight and Mikey Cumbo, a sophomore from Dallas, had all seven of his points in the first half. Nealon scored his points on three long 3-pointers, then added another 3-pointer in the second half.
Cool Hoops led, 38-36, at halftime.
Gearhart had six points in the second half.
Two more sophomores, Will Marion from Abington Heights and Gabe Tanner from Mid Valley, joined Nealon with five points each in the second half. Tanner also supported Gearhart in controlling the boards and set up teammates.
NEPA Elite will play Raw Sports Monday at 8:30. Raw Sports won, 103-98, over M-Sport during Wednesday’s semifinal doubleheader.
Chance Westry, an Auburn commit from Arizona who played for Trinity High School in Camp Hill, led Raw Sports with 31 points.
The other semifinal will feature Gibbs Elite against Love Basketball-Team Hardnett.
The Donofrio Classic, a 26-team, single-elimination event is not AAU sanctioned. NEPA Elite is a team made up of current and former players from the AAU club out of Riverfront Sports in Scranton.