PIAA Class A boys basketball championship preview: Imani Christian vs. Berlin-Brothersvalley

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Wednesday, March 20, 2024 | 10:28 PM


For the first time in nearly 25 years, the same two teams are playing for state gold in the PIAA Class A boys basketball championship game two years in a row.

WPIAL champion Imani Christian will battle District 5 winner Berlin-Brothersvalley in the Class A boys basketball state title game again.

Last season, the Saints crushed the Mountaineers in the final in Hershey, 81-64, to capture their first PIAA championship.

The last rematch in boys Class A was when Kennedy Christian (now Kennedy Catholic) defeated Bishop Hoban in both the 1999 and 2000 state title games.

PIAA Class A boys basketball championship

Imani Christian vs. Berlin-Brothervalley

2 p.m. Thursday at Giant Center in Hershey

PIAA titles: Imani Christian 1 (2023), Berlin-Brothersvalley 0

Imani Christian (18-10)

Coach: Khayree Wilson

Projected starting lineup

No., Name, Ht., Yr., Pos.

0, Markus Williams, 6-3, jr., G/F

1, R.J. Sledge, 5-11, jr., G

2, Kylan Holmes, 6-3, sr., G

4, Avery Wesley, 6-0, sr., G

5, Nate Brazil, 6-0, sr., G

How they got here: The District 7 champions have won four games by an average margin of victory of 23.75 points. The Saints rolled past a pair of District 9 teams in Union-Rimersburg, 88-65, and Clarion, 79-46. Imani got past District 10 champion Farrell in the quarterfinals, 70-60, before crushing District 6 champion Bishop Carroll in the state semifinals, 98-69.

What coach says: “They are relentless, they don’t back down from a fight, and they play fast like us,” Imani Christian coach Khayree Wilson said. “They shoot well, and if you don’t contain (Pace) Prosser, he can be a problem.”

Notable: Imani Christian is the defending PIAA champion after beating Berlin-Brothersvalley in the 2023 state title game, 81-64. Alier Maluk led the Saints with 22 points while Avery Wesley had 16 points and Dame Givner scored 15 points. This year’s leading scorer for Imani, senior Nate Brazil, had a game for the ages in the PIAA semifinals. He reached 1,000 points for his career in the first quarter, then ended up with 48 points as the Saints crushed District 6 champion Bishop Carroll. Brazil’s big playoff run (96 points in his last three games) is making up for the fact he had to sit out last postseason because of PIAA transfer rules. Imani coach Khayree Wilson was an assistant coach under Omar Foster a year ago.

Berlin-Brothersvalley (28-2)

Coach: Tanner Prosser

Projected starting lineup

No., Name, Ht., Yr., Pos.

1, Joey Richardson, 6-2, jr., F

3, Craig Jarvis, 6-2, sr., G

4, Mac Foor, 6-1, sr., G

5, Hayden Hutzell, 6-0, jr., G

22, Pace Prosser, 6-2, sr., G

How they got here: The District 5 champions came through the eastern side of the bracket on their way to Hershey. The Mountaineers defeated Conemaugh Valley, 81-53, Lancaster Country Christian, 71-53, Lancaster Country Day, 75-48, and District 3 champion Linville Hill in the semifinals, 77-65.

What coach says: “They do a great job of pressuring the ball, creating turnovers and playing in transition,” Berlin-Brothersvalley coach Tanner Prosser said. “They also are playing with more shooting and more ball handing than they did last year, which creates problems for any defense.”

Notable: This is the third PIAA championship game in the last four years for Berlin-Brothersvalley. The Mountaineers lost in the champions-only 2021 Class A finals to Nativity BVM, 51-47 in overtime. Then they reached the title game again last year and lost to Imani Christian. Senior Pace Prosser scored 35 points in the Berlin-Brothersvalley victory over Linville Hill in the semifinals. Senior Craig Jarvis scored 21 points. Prosser has averaged 31.2 points per game in the four state playoff wins for the Mountaineers. Prosser leads the team in points, rebounds, assists and steals. Berlin-Brothersvalley coach Tanner Prosser is the husband of Mountaineers girls basketball coach Rachel Prosser.

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