STATE COLLEGE, Pa. — Savon Goodman couldn't stop smiling, whether he was boxing out under the boards or gesturing to his vocal fans after a dunk.
The athletic 6-foot-6 forward and his teammates from Constitution will have quite the satisfying ride home to Philadelphia after winning a PIAA title on Friday.
Goodman scored 27 points and grabbed 10 rebounds — all on the offensive glass, and Constitution (23-9) never let up after building an early double-digit lead in a 68-49 victory over sloppy Lincoln Park to take the Class A championships at the Jordan Center.
"I wasn't backing down. I knew I had my team behind me," Goodman said after snapping pictures with the shiny new championship trophy with a teammate. "You're on that stage at Penn State, playing for the state championship for a reason."
Goodman twisted and turned in the lane for a variety of dunks and inside buckets and won the interior matchup against Lincoln Park's 6-foot-10 center Devontae Watson (nine points, 14 rebounds). Watson also had eight of his team's 10 blocks
It was the second straight loss in the finals for the Leopards (26-5) against a Philadelphia-area school, with Watson's team falling to Math, Civics & Sciences last season.
Ryan Skovranko had 15 points for Lincoln Park, which stayed within 10 of the lead in the third quarter but couldn't narrow the deficit after giving up four turnovers in five possessions.
It was game-long theme — the Leopards had 29 turnovers, including eight from Trey Hosack and seven by Skovranko. Constitution had 17 turnovers, too, making the contest look like a volleyball match at times with the way players were scrambling all over the floor for loose balls.
"Two times in a row is kind of difficult," coach Mark Javens said about the school's trips to the finals. "I know our kids are taking it hard, but when you get this far, you have to really take care of things. I told our kids it wasn't a very pretty game."
Hosack did add 14 points and seven boards before fouling out.
His team couldn't keep up with Constitution's lethal inside-outside duo of Goodman and Daiquan Walker (22 points, seven rebounds six assists).
A layup by Hosack got Lincoln Park within 37-27 at 4:16 left of the third quarter, though it was the lone bucket in a sloppy stretch for both teams.
But Constitution emerged from the muck to build the lead. Goodman said his coaches were harping on defense and getting ready for Watson all week.
"You've just got to keep attacking, go right after it, and that's what we did," Goodman said. "When you keep doing that and keep pounding on guys, they tend to lay down."
Goodman's dunk with 3 minutes left in the third ended a field-goal drought of 4-plus minutes. He hit a reverse along the baseline for another bucket, then picked up a loose ball following a steal by teammate Tamir Bolger and found Walker for an easy layup for a 43-29 at 1:53 of the third.
"I just told them Devontae Watson is going to block your shots, don't put your heads down," Constitution coach Robert Moore said about getting his team ready at the half for a potential Lincoln Park rally. "They're going to score, we just have to continue to play for 32 minutes."
Watson shot 3 of 11 from the field before taking a seat on the bench late in the fourth quarter with the game well out of hand. With a sullen look on his face, he leaned back on the bench as Lincoln Park fans still serenaded him to chants of "Number One! Number One!" after his jersey number.
"We came out and wanted to get out there 94 feet," Javens said. "We did it numerous times but we'd steal the ball and give it right back to them."