St. John’s Takes Down Defending WCAC Champs, Paul VI

It was an interesting off season for the Paul VI Panthers, who after last season were thought to be national contenders coming into this season.  But over the summer six top players transferred out of PVI and one big time transfer came in.

St. John’s, on the other hand sent their entire starting five from last year’s squad go on to play division 1 this year.  Both programs have gone through major changes.  However Paul VI comes into this year with serious expectations, as many considered them the pre-season favorite to win the WCAC this year.  They are led by two blue chip prospects in senior Frank Howard and junior VJ King, neither of whom played for PVI last year.  Howard missed the season while rehabbing from a torn ACL, and King is a transfer from Ohio.  This pair is arguably the best teammate tandem in the DMV.

On Thursday evening PVI hosted St. John’s and the Panthers fully expected to give the Cadets their third third loss in four games in the young season.  St. John’s had other ideas.  The Cadets got off to a fast start, going up 10-2 in the early goings.  But tut the Panthers fought back and tied it by the end of the first frame.  PVI would build a three possession lead by the half and it looked like they had things in control.  In the third quarter St. John’s took over, outscoring PVI 20-6 in the quarter.

In the final quarter Paul VI would fight back and cut it to a one possession game for almost all of the last three minutes. They would never tie or take the lead.  They had many opportunities but they missed some free throws and failed to secure rebounds late when St. John’s missed their free throws.  Two of PVI’s key players would foul out, Howard and big man Corey Manigault.   St. John’s led by junior point guard Anthony Cowan Jr. who finished with 22 points and 8 assists would go on to win 60-56.\

It was a huge win for the St. John’s program, who many people were counting out after losing so many players from last seasons squad.  St. John’s junior big man Kylia Sykes went for a season high 14 points and 12 rebounds.  PVI was led by Syracuse commit Frank Howard who finished with 21.  VJ King added 13.

Up next for PVI is one of their biggest games of the season, a match-up on Saturday night at DeMatha in the National High School Hoops Festival versus Oak Hill.  Two Years ago PVI upset Oak Hill in double over-time in the same event.  St. John’s plays Largo in the opening game in the same event.