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To all scorekeepers: PLEASE try to make sure that correct info on scoring is called into the Score Service (215-854-4570). Part of my daily routine, especially after full-scale Pub days, has turned into this: answering multiple emails from coaches/players reporting mistakes in boxscores. We are reaching the point of no return. For years I've asked the leagues to make a rule that would force scorekeepers to sit next to each other with the scoreboard operator to one side or the other. It would thus be much easier for the scorekeepers to coordinate fouls/timeouts, not to mention cross-check info on which players actually make the field goals/free throws. Supposedly, that IS now the rule in the Pub, but many refs aren't enforcing it. Please remember, we want the info to be correct and making that happen is only fair to those involved. When the game is over, the scorekeepers should confer and make sure that their point totals for all players match up. Sounds simple, right? (smile) One more thing: Generally, it's better when the winning team calls in the results. That way the papers receive info to explain HOW the game was won because representatives of the winning team will usually be in a better mood (just human nature) to provide extra details such as rebounds, assists, etc., or the identity of someone who maybe hit a winning shot. Thank you.
While killing time last night, I was checking out old clippings of games that decided Inter-Ac championships. And I found the nugget below to the left . . . In an Inter-Ac game near the end of the 1956-57 season, Germantown Academy and Penn Charter combined to shoot 103 free throws! (Or maybe 101 - smile. GA's total says 57, but the individual numbers add up to 55.) The recap, as published in the Inquirer, says four players from each team were ejected. Not sure if that's a misstatement. Maybe they meant four players from each team fouled out? If eight players had been tossed, it's hard to believe all 32 minutes would have been played. Either way, what a messy game! Meanwhile, in quarters/semis/finals/CTs involving Public and Catholic teams going back to the mid-1970s, the highest number of free throw attempts has been "only" 75. And that game went overtime. As did others on the Top 10 list. Going back a little further: in a '69 Pub semi, Edison and Gratz combined to shoot 77 free throws. Then, in the City Title that followed shortly thereafter, Edison and Roman combined to shoot 70 free throws.
The Donofrio Classic, held each spring in Conshohocken, honors two MVPs -- one apiece from the teams that advance to the championship game. Below are "Our Guys" (Public/Catholic/Inter-Ac) who've won MVP honors going back to 1982.
|"Our Guys" MVPs in This Century in the Donofrio Classic|
|Year||--- Winning Team in Final ---||--- Losing Team in Final --|
|2015||Tony Carr||Roman||Team Hardnett|
|2014||Lamar Stevens||Haver. School||Old School Cavs|
|2013||Ja'Quan Newton||Neumann-Goretti||I-3||Rysheed Jordan||Vaux||Team Philly|
|2012||Rysheed Jordan||Vaux||Team Philly|
|2008||Novar Gadson||Bartram||Waterview Phoenix||*Maalik Wayns||Roman||Team Philly|
|2007||Kashief Edwards||Imhotep||Positive Image|
|2005||*Gerald Henderson||Episcopal||Playaz||Ameer Ali||Gratz||Sonny Hill Srs.|
|2004||Mark Tyndale||Gratz||Sonny Hill Srs.||*Rob Kurz||Penn Charter||Playaz|
|2003||Wayne Marshall||King||Positive Image|
|2000||#special situation||Mike Slattery||Gtn. Academy||Conshy Express|
|1999||Jermaine Robinson||Gratz||Hunting Park||Khalid Bray||Central||Waterview|
|1998||Kevin "Buzzy' Forney||Straw. Mansion||D-V Blazers|
|1997||Chris Krug||Gtn. Academy||Conshy Express|
|1996||Petrick Sanders||Frankford||Sonny Hill Srs.||Donnie Carr||Roman||PI Point Breeze|
|1995||Donnie Carr||Roman||PI Point Breeze|
|1994||Fred Warrick||Bok||Sonny Hill Srs.|
|1993||Tyrone Weeks||Franklin LC||Sonny Hill Srs.|
|1992||Rondell Turner||Univ. City||Sonny Hill Jrs.||*Adonal Foyle||O'Hara||R/Way Gasket|
|1991||Paul Burke||Chestnut Hill||Sonny Hill Srs.|
|1990||*Aaron McKie||Gratz||Sonny Hill Srs.|
|1989||Carlin Warley||Frankford||Sonny Hill Srs.|
|1988||*Randy Woods||Franklin||Sonny Hill Srs.|
|1987||Clayton "Stink" Adams||Roman||Austin's SG|
|1986||*Lionel Simmons||Southern||Sonny Hill Srs.||@Brian Shorter||Gratz||HBA Crusaders|
|1985||*Greg "Bo" Kimble||Dobbins||Sonny Hill Srs.||*Paul "Snoop" Graham||Franklin||HBA Crusaders|
|1984||Howard Evans||West Phila.||Sonny Hill Srs.||Jody Johnson||Southern||Canaan Baptist|
|1983||Rico Washington||Franklin||Sonny Hill Srs.|
|1982||Darren Keith||Mastbaum||Moore Funeral Home|
|*-advanced to NBA|
| #-Sonny Hill Srs. won title; all players on team named MVP to honor the memory of long-time coach/mentor Tony Samartino, who'd |
passed away in October of 1999.
|@-named a tri-MVP; team did NOT advance to the championship game.|
Here are the top scoring performances by Pub/Cath/Int guys in Donofrio Classic championship games over the last 16 years. Four of the players -- Episcopal's Wayne Ellington and Gerald Henderson; Penn Charter'sRob Kurz; Northeast's Steve Smith -- advanced to the NBA. Let's hope a couple more join that club.
|Rysheed Jordan||Team Philly||Vaux||48||2013|
|Rysheed Jordan||Team Philly||Vaux||34||2012|
|Tony Chennault||Team Philly||Neumann-Goretti||32||2008|
|Brandon Austin||Team Philly||Imhotep||28||2013|
|Ameer Ali||Sonny Hill Srs.||Gratz||28||2005|
|Tony Carr||Team Hardnett||Roman||27||2015|
|Shaun McKie||Sonny Hill Srs.||Gratz||26||2000|
|Ahmad "JR" Gilbert||Team Hardnett||Constitution||26||2015|
|Brian Wanamaker||Positive Image||Roman||25||2007|
|Mark Tyndale||Sonny Hill Srs.||Gratz||24||2004|
|Wayne Marshall||Positive Image||King||24||2003|
|Velton Jones||Team Philly||North Catholic||21||2008|
|Jamal Wilson||Team Philly||Neumann-Goretti||21||2008|
|Kashief Edwards||Positive Image||Imhotep||21||2007|
|Scott Rodgers||Sonny Hill Srs.||Central||21||2005|
|Bradley Wanamaker||Positive Image||Roman||20||2007|
|*Rob Kurz||Playaz||Penn Charter||20||2004|
|*advanced to NBA|
Below you'll see my choices for (to borrow -- smile -- from baseball specialist Randy Seidman) the Hometown Philly College Basketball Team. The top player nod goes to Penn State sr. guard D.J. Newbill. To be considered for this list, a player must have played in the Pub/Cath/Int through his senior year of high school.
|HOMETOWN PHILLY COLLEGE BASKETBALL TEAM|
|D.J. Newbill||Penn State||Sr.||Strawberry Mansion||Big 10||18-16||2nd team|
|First in scoring (20.7); first in assists (3.1) and steals (1.3); shot .455 percent from floor; averaged 37 minutes per game|
|Juan'ya Green||Hofstra||Jr.||Carroll||Colonial Ath.||20-14||1st team|
|First in scoring (17.0); first in assists (6.5); tied for first in steals (48); posted first triple-double in school history (15 P, 10 R, 10 A)|
|Earl Brown||St. Francis (Pa.)||Sr.||Imhotep||NEC||16-16||1st team|
|First in scoring (15.9); first in rebounds (8.0); first in blocks (31); first in FG percentage (.539)|
|Savon Goodman||Arizona State||So.||Constitution||Pac-12||18-16||None|
|Second in scoring (11.2); first in rebounds (7.6); shot .578 from floor; sat out first nine games due to transfer rules|
|Jerrell Wright||La Salle||Sr.||Dobbins||Atlantic 10||17-16||None|
|Second in scoring (12.1); second in rebounds (6.5); shot .524 from floor|
|Ameen Tanksley||Hofstra||Jr.||Imhotep||Colonial Ath.||20-14||2nd team|
|Second in scoring (16.2); third in rebounds (5.5); tied for first in steals (48); shot 40 percent on threes|
|Rysheed Jordan||St. John's||So.||Vaux||Big East||21-12||None|
|Second in scoring (14.1); first in assists (3.1); second in steals (54)|
|Nick Lindner||Lafayette||So.||Germantown Academy||Patriot||20-13||3rd team|
|Third in scoring (12.5); first in assists (5.2); shot 85 percent at foul line; led team in minutes played (32.1)|
|Stephen Vasturia||Notre Dame||So.||St. Joseph's Prep||Atlantic Coast||32-6||None|
|Fifth in scoring (10.1); averaged 1.7 assists; first in FT percentage (.864)|
|John Davis||Towson||So.||Neumann-Goretti||Colonial Ath.||12-20||3rd team|
|Second in scoring (11.8); first in rebounds (8.1); first in FG percentage (.468)|
Like myself and others going back to the early '70s, Aaron "Ace" Carter again decided to list his All-City selections in what he saw as the proper order. With that in mind, here is an updated list that shows which guys have accumulated the most All-City "power points." In most years, the three teams have included 16 players. So, the Player of the Year earns 16 points, the runnerup 15 and so on. Co-Players of the Year split 31 points (or 29, in years when only 15 players were honored). The top spot, and oldheads won't be surprised, was claimed by '77 West Philly grad Gene Banks with 46 points. This year's "most honored" senior, SJ Prep's Chris Clover, checks in with 30 points (all earned in the last two seasons).
|Leading "Power Points" Guys on All-City Teams, 1974-2015|
|Gene Banks||West Phila.||1977||46||16||16||14|
|Maureece Rice||Straw. Mansion||2003||41.5||15.5||15||11|
|Eggy Tillman||West Phila.||1978||40.5||15.5||15||10|
|Tyrone Weeks||Franklin LC||1993||39||14||14||11|
|Lynn Greer||Eng. & Science||1997||33||16||9||8|
|Meatball Hand||Franklin LC||1992||32||15||13||4|
|Stephen Vasturia||SJ Prep||2013||32||15||14||3|
|Chris Clover||SJ Prep||2015||30||15||15|
|Sean Singletary||Penn Charter||2004||28||16||12|
|Derrick Jones||Carroll||2015||27||14||11|| |
|*Carlin Warley||Frankford||1989||26||X||16|| |
|*-transferred out of city leagues after junior season|
Yesterday brought great news for all folks who know the wonderful Clark family! Jeffery (a k a "Monk") was chosen to referee one of the games in the upcoming Final Four. Monk starred at Frankford (first team All-City) and St. Joe's and was preceded by two brothers, Dana (Olney '73, also first team All-City, Cheyney) and George (Edison '74, three-year starter, Slippery Rock). George's son, Chris, was a first team All-City honoree at St. Joseph's Prep and then played at Temple. He's now an assistant at Campbell, of the Big South Conference. I decided to figure out how many points were scored by the Clarks just in league play (not counting playoffs) and the total came to 1,855. Pretty darn impressive. (If playoff points can be nailed down, I'll add those later. Perhaps the total will rise to 2,000!)
UPDATED at 10:30 . . . The final total is 2,158!! Aside from the playoff points, Chris' 77 CL points as a freshman have been added. On more modern computers, website pages from 2001 turn up as gibberish (ugh). I was able to nail down the number with a search on my older computer.
UPDATED on April 7. Monk was an alternate for all three games at the Final Four.
|Points Scored by the Clarks in League Play and Playoffs|
|---- Regular Season ----||---- Playoffs ----|
|Chris||SJ Prep '04||77||109||151||199||none||38||24||47||645|
|*-includes 118 points in Sonny Hill Winter League|
|#-includes 245 points in Sonny Hill Winter League|
|+-all points in Sonny Hill Winter League playoffs|
|Note: In the 1972-73 season, a teachers' strike ended the official PL season after two games. The SHWL took over, with each PL school competing under Hill League coaches. Olney lost to Gratz in the final.|
|Note: In the 1970s, ninth grade was not part of public high schools.|
Below is a chart that shows the overall records, year by year in this century, for all Catholic League schools. The four lines at the bottom show wins, losses, winning percentage and ranking based on that winning percentage. N-G is No. 1 at .815, followed by Roman at .751 and St. Joseph's Prep at .731. N-G has averaged just over 24 wins per season. Records highlighted in yellow are each school's best during this time frame (by percentage). Three schools -- Conwell-Egan (21-8), Roman (29-2) and Wood (18-6) -- this season posted their best records of the century.
What are the chances? Though the circumstances of their high school/college careers have contrasted in big-time fashion, Ja'Quan Newton and Jesse Morgan are only five points apart as they prepare for Tuesday night's NIT semifinal at Madison Square Garden. Newton owns 2,088, counting 1,972 at Neumann-Goretti and 116 so far this season at Miami. Morgan owns 2,083 -- 601 in three years at Prep Charter, 559 in one at Olney, 608 in three at Massachusetts and 315 so far this season at Temple. Best of luck to these Philly guys Tuesday night!
Carroll's Derrick Jones did not conclude his career as the Catholic League's top scorer in state playoffs, but he was in the ballpark, er, arena. Jones wound up scoring 281 points, nine short of the total racked up by N-G's Ja'Quan Newton, now a freshman at Miami. N-G senior Lamarr "Fresh" Kimble (152) now owns a spot in the top five, also. The Pub's top spot now belongs to Constitution senior Ahmad "J.R." Gilbert (239) and fellow 12th grader Samir Doughty of MC&S is right behind at 232 (191 with the Mighty Elephants; 41 at now-closed Comm Tech in '12-'13). The top spot previously belonged to '13 Imhotep grad Brandon Austin (215).
|CL's Leading Career Scorers in State Playoffs|
MARCH 24 (Evening)
Here are the rosters for Friday night's Public League Coaches' All-Star Tripleheader, at Ben Franklin High.
1st Game 5:30PM
2nd Game- 7PM
3rd Game- 8:30PM
Neumann-Goretti's dominance of Carroll continued through the just-completed season, but there was little margin for error. The Saints edged Carroll by two points in the regular season and again by two in the Class AAA final. Starting with the 2001 CL quarterfinal, N-G has captured 30 of the teams' last 31 meetings. The lone exception was the '09 state quarterfinal. Carroll rolled onward to win the state title. N-G has won five of the last six state crowns (missed in '13). Here are N-G's 10 closest wins among the 30.
N-G's Ten Closest Wins vs.
Among 30 Total (in Last 31 Meetings)
|Year||Occasion||Margin||Score||N-G's Leading Scorer(s)||Pts|
|2015||Reg Season||2||71-69||Quade Green||26|
|2015||3A Final||2||69-67||Zane Martin||26|
|2001||Reg Season||4||43-39||Brandon Brigman||13|
|2011||CL Final||4||59-55||John Davis/Lamin Fulton||16|
|2011||Reg Season||6||74-68||Lamin Fulton||22|
|2014||Reg Season||6||64-58||Ja'Quan Newton||29|
|2003||Reg Season||8||60-52||Tabby Cunningham/Adon El||15|
|2010||Reg Season||8||66-58||Danny Stewart||16|
|2004||Reg Season||9||58-49||Adon El||15|
|2008||Reg Season||10||66-56||Tony Chennault||21|
Below are lists that show the Top 10 Pub/Cath champs, by overall winning percentage, over the last 41 seasons. Interesting to note: An overall Top 10 list would feature only one Cath team (N-G's 30-1 squad in '10). Roman's 2015 squad (29-2) now owns the No. 3 spot. Neumann-Goretti achieved the same overall record, but fell in the CL final before storming onward, as did Roman, to win a state championship.
Pub Champs With Best Overall
Winning Percentages, 1975-2014
Cath Champs With Best Overall
Winning Percentages, 1975-2014
PIAA CLASS AAAA FINAL
Roman 62, King 45
(At Hershey's Giant Center)
Thank goodness Roman's victory celebration was very pleasing to the eyes. The ballgame certainly wasn't. For now, here's all you need to know about the latter: King missed 27 of its first 29 shots in the second half. Ouch. When the buzzer finally sounded, the fun began. Great sights were everywhere as the Cahillites rejoiced with themselves and then with their rabid student/adult supporters. As teacher John Pensabene happened to mention, "When your school's 125 years old, you can't do too many things for the first time." Roman has won millions (slight exaggeration) of championships in many sports, but this was the first state title in the school's PIAA era, which began in the 2008-09 school year, as it did for all Catholic League schools. The coolest visual involved the interaction between the players and students, and those groups just kept having fun and more fun and MORE fun even though the students had to stay behind the hockey boards. Finally, the lights dimmed slightly and the security guards let it be known that everyone needed to depart. Otherwise the great vibrations might have continued 'til midnight (smile). There was also a wonderful moment in the last half-minute. Waved to the scorers' table was sr. F TreVaughn Wilkerson (Hartford commit), who'd been sidelined since early December due to a severe knee injury. (To honor TreVaughn, assistant Thomas "Hockey Puck" McKenna spent much of the day/night wearing a Hartford shirt. Classy move, Puckster!) The coaches and starters were hoping the ball would find its way to TreVaughn, who was camped out near the bench on the left side. But things were so crazy by that point, I'm not even sure the deep subs realized TreVaughn was out there. The ball went to the right and soon the buzzer was sounding again. TreVaughn, who's still limping slightly, left the game and exchanged a healthy hug with coach Chris McNesby. Here's the answer to the trivia question, How long did TreVaughn Wilkerson play as Roman won the state championship in 2015? 16.1 seconds (from 26.7 to 10.6). Well before the game began, there was interesting viewing. For all championship games in the Giant Center, rooting sections are catty-corner. But the Roman kids wound up right next to King's and it didn't take long for PIAA officials to stride over and say, quite forcefully, "Go back to the other end, guys. Now!" As for the game itself . . . It just never truly got going. Even though the score was close throughout the first half, rarely did we see two consecutive special moments, let alone three or four. A classic just wasn't in the cards, folks. Off an inbound play that started with a half-second remaining, sr. PG Sammy Foreman drilled a trey to draw King within 30-29. No doubt all neutral observers, mindful that the recent City Title had produced a 58-57 win for Roman over King, were thinking, "OK, that sets up a great second half." Phew, talk about wrong. The Cougars shot 2-for-17 in the third quarter and then missed 10 more shots to open the fourth. The thoughts became, "Maybe this shot has a chance . . . Nope. Maybe THIS shot has a chance . . . Nope. Look at this shot. It's definitely going in . . . Nope." It was unbelievable. Maybe King's bad luck non-charm was Shep Garner. Shep, who starred for Roman and is now a Penn State frosh, was among the spectators throughout. Shortly into the third quarter, he sat between PSU coach Pat Chambers (Episcopal product) and assistant Brian Daly (Bonner) not too far from the Roman kids, who acknowledged his presence with wild applause. Soon, sr. swingman Gemil Holbrook (Rider) was nailing a left-corner trey to make it 39-31 and the game was en route to becoming a non-game. (Later, Shep scrambled over to greet the students.) Before the fourth quarter, the PA announcer, reminding the fans that championship shirts would later be available, said something like, "We know the colors on the shirts will be purple and gold. We just don't know what name will be on them." Alas, King never slapped together a hint of a run and Roman's fans safely were able to belt out the all-time jinx chant, "I Believe That We Will Win," with 1:56 remaining. The spread was 15 points, at 56-41. No chance for an epic collapse. Roman attempted just 28 shots from the floor (and made 17!) because major hacking took place; the Cahillites went an unsightly 23-for-41 at the line. King was very good at the stripe (10-for-12), but woeful (15-for-55) in other locales. Roman's top defender was soph WG D'Andre Vilmar, who was mostly responsible for making jr. G Jabri McCall go 0-for-9 from the floor. Starting PF-C Tyere Marshall also failed to notch a field goal (0-for-4), but his night was severely limited by foul trouble. Holbrook (20), jr. PG Tony Carr (14) and Vilmar (10) scored in double figures. Jr. WG Nazeer Bostick and sr. sixth-man PF-C Manny Taylor (Rutgers for football) claimed six rebounds apiece. Carr had six assists and three steals and missed just one shot total (4-for-5 floor, 4-for-4 line). Foreman (20) and sr. WG Tyheem Harmon (10, three treys) reached double digits for King and Foreman was the rebound leader with seven. This was quite the weekend for District 12. "Our Guys" won the title in every classification and that's a first since the expansion from three to four in 1983-84. Great job! Except for wrapup endeavors, this concludes my 44th season of covering high school hoops. Thanks to the website visitors for paying attention and to my assorted sidekicks for all the great help they provide.
ADDED MARCH 22 . . .
Thomas "Hockey Puck" McKenna, Roman's legendary assistant, video-taped the game from high above the stands. To come downstairs and join the players-coaches, he took n elevator. As the doors opened, he quickly scrambled through, looked around, saw a door and pushed it open. That left him outside the arena. "What da hell I doin' out hehe?" Puck barked at himself. He had to walk around the building and convince a security guard that he indeed deserved to be back inside.
Guard D'Andre Vilmar was en route to Roman via public transportation when the bus broke down in Camden. Knowing he was pressed for time, Vilmar hustled off the bus, then ran across the Ben Franklin Bridge and nine more blocks to Roman, so he would not miss the team bus to Hershey.
(Thanks to former coach Dennis Seddon and current AD Dan DiBerardinis for these nuggets.)
PIAA CLASS AA FINAL
Conwell-Egan 62, Aliquippa 51
(At Hershey's Giant Center)
The script could not have been written in more fitting fashion. With Aliquippa charging hard and threatening to cause major tears for C-E's players and fans, a big play was needed. The Terrific Trio obliged. PF-C Vinny Dalessandro, CG-SF LaPri McCray-Pace and PG Stevie Jordan -- juniors all -- have been starting for the Eagles since their freshman season. With C-E in front by only 50-48, Dalessandro blocked a follow and the rebound went to McCray-Pace. Already a good way downcourt on a leak-out, Jordan received a whipped-ahead pass and canned an easy layup. See, told you the script was good. More happened, of course, but for this man's money that was THE play and all three guys will no doubt remember it forever. Conwell-Egan, state champ. Let that sink in for a moment. Hard to believe, right? Impossible not to feel great about it, even more right? A short time ago, C-E (nee Bishop Egan) owned just one playoff win since joining the Catholic League for the 1963-64 season. And that one was claimed in a '64 semifinal. No. 2 came recently vs. Freire in the AA City Title. Five wins are needed to win a state crown and, boy, were they ever seized. C-E won every game by at least double digits and averaged a 21.2 margin. The release of major emotion was everywhere as the buzzer sounded. The players jumped around the court while exchanging/slaps/etc., then sr. WG Sean Kelly began a mad dash toward the student rooters. The other guys followed and the exchange of great-jobs!, thanks-for-your-support! was beautiful to watch. Janet Dollard, C-E's president, said seven buses, holding 44 students apiece, made the trip to Hershey. That's 308 kids, rumor has it (smile). Other kids probably came up with parents or buddies. Dollard said C-E's current enrollment is 544 and that the baseball team and an academic group were unavailable due to trips. "Almost 90 percent of the available students are here," she said. Wonderful support, troops! . . . And speaking of troops, the Eagles received their trophy from Damon Page, a member of the National Guard. Damon's a 2010 C-E grad and the son of Lee Page, a prominent multi-sport ref in the Philly area. Lee is also in the National Guard and he has been here throughout Finals Weekend, presenting the championship trophies. Said Lee, "I told Damon to come up here and make sure he was in uniform. I knew it would be very cool if he got to present the trophy to his old school." Indeed. I might have seen a tear or seven (smile). Aliquippa, a Pittsburgh suburb, entered perfect at 29-0. The Quips scored six of the first eight points as C-E went 1-for-6, looking the slightest bit unnerved. But soon, McCray-Pace canned a layup off a HARD drive and Jordan ended the first quarter with a right-corner trey and, just like that, Frank Sciolla's club was on top at 12-8. Things got better. The halftime count was 31-15, thanks in part to a trio of treys by sr. WG Chase Kumor. The third session brought a hint of discombobulation. The Eagles were not playing horribly, but neither were they in sync. Aliquippa also had a huge rooting section and those peeps were bringin' the juice. Ditto for the players. A few were talking trash to the Eagles. Shortly into the fourth quarter, a Quip hit a three and barked right in McCray-Pace's face, "How ya like THAT, b-tch?!" (It happened right in front of where I was sitting two seats away from the legendary Kevin "Sparky" Cooney, of the Bucks County Courier Times.) Pri gave the Quip a look that seemed to say, "Calm down, bro. I hope you enjoy our response." In high school, especially, free-throw shooting can be dicey when the tension mounts. Kudos to the Eagles! They drained their first 11 attempts of the last quarter and finished 15-for-17 (en route to 28-for-35 total). And one of the misses occurred after the issue had been decided. McCray-Pace (22) and Jordan (21) finished a close one-two in scoring. Kumor added 14 points. McC-P and Kelly halved 16 rebounds and the former, who often wound up with the ball out front, dished four assists. Dalessandro was credited with just two blocks in the official boxscore, but I'm pretty sure he had four. Sr. F Jordan Burney added grit as the sixth man and soph G Daniel Green claimed the game's last rebound as part of the Deep Subs Brigade. Enjoying the win in major fashion, up in the stands, were former baseball coach Rich Papirio, who still handles PA duties at basketball games, and '74 grad Brian Townsend, a former All-Catholic player who's a confirmed Eagle for life. Perched behind Brian was Leonhard "P.J." McCray, Mastbaum's former quarterback and LaPri's father. I'm guessing he yelled various comments 227 times over the 32 minutes. (Ha, ha. Always love the energy, P.J.!) Just three years ago, C-E was in MAJOR danger of closing. Now it owns a state championship. Very cool script as well, eh?
PIAA CLASS AAA FINAL
Neumann-Goretti 69, Carroll 67
(At Hershey's Giant Center)
Second verse, same as the first. Just three nights ago in the semifinal vs. Imhotep, Neumann-Goretti managed to claim a two-point halftime lead even though co-headliners Lamarr "Fresh" Kimble (sr. WG) and soph Quade Green (soph WG) owned just two points apiece. Flash ahead to the moment tonight when 6:01 remained in the third quarter. Kimble made the third of two free throws (huh?) to give the Saints a 28-27 lead. That point was his third. Green had managed just four. Once again, we were seeing how talented -- and how much drive -- these guys have. If most teams get next to nothing from mainstays, they crumble. Somehow, the Saints have soared to seize another state crown, their fifth in six seasons (missed in '13). Oh, about that "third of two" reference. Fresh missed both ends of a two-shot foul, but the Patriots were hit with a lane violation. He took advantage. Ultimately, N-G triumphed because it fared pretty darn well at the line in the fourth quarter (16-for-20). That was not the case in the Catholic League championship game and these Saints, who could have extended the title streak to all-time-best of seven, likely will be bothered by that for eternity, but at least they learned from the devastation and prevented it from happening again. Particularly effective was Green, a k a Death and Taxes, who drained two at 2:03, two more at 0:53 and two more at 0:35. Then came the biggest two-spot. At 0:12, jr. WG Zane Martin nailed two more free throws to extend the pad to a close-the-door five points, at 69-64. Jr. PG Josh Sharkey followed by draining a trey for Carroll, and the Saints had to call to a timeout after having trouble getting the ball inbounds. Out of the break, they spread out much better and the lengthy inbound pass was caught to end it as coach Carl Arrigale raised his arms in triumph. Soon, the Saints were awaiting their medals and soph bench guy Mike Milsip was bellowing with a smile, "Where the haters? They the motivators!" He was referring to those media members who'd tabbed Carroll to win. A short time later, Milsip, known to be quite the character, was yelling multiple times, "Where's the Hershey Bar?! I'm hungry!" So, how did the Saints do it? A much better performance at the line (21-for-29 to 10-for-25 for Carroll) topped the prominent list. Also important early was the defensive work of soph PF Emil Moody. In the beginning, Carroll's sr. franchise F, Derrick Jones, was doing pretty much what he wanted. He posted 10 points in the first seven minutes and it was not impossible to envision 30, 40, 50 (slight exaggeration). But with Moody on him, Jones then missed a trey and could not convert his next four attempts (some on follows) and that blip was quite important in enabling the Saints to rebound from a 14-6 deficit. By the time the buzzer sounded, Jones did own 30 points, 18 rebounds and six blocks. Yet, he made just four of 15 attempts at the line. Martin, meanwhile, went 8-for-9 en route to 26 points. Green went 6-for-6 en route to 14. Jr. PG Vaughn Covington, so important vs. 'Tep, nailed three treys and finished with 17 points (in addition to seven rebounds and five assists). Kimble experienced severe shooting woes (3-for-15 floor, 3-for-8 line) en route to 10 points. Yet, he did nail a trey to make it 39-31 with 2:08 left in the third quarter and that success, judging by a quick glance at the bench, appeared to provide an all's-right-with-the-world feeling for the coaches and subs. Joining Jones in double figures were Sharkey (13) and soph WG-SF Dave Beatty (11). Jr. WG Ryan Daly came close (nine). Daly (13) and Sharkey (10) were active on the boards and the latter had five assists. As is well known by now, the Saints have managed to own Carroll in this century. Beginning with a quarterfinal in '01, they've won 31 of 32 meetings and the lone exception was a state quarterfinal in '09. That was the Catholic League's first season as a PIAA member and the Patriots went on to claim the first state title. Carroll's gals matched the feat. Today/tonight? Ditto for N-G. In a game that started at noon, the Lady Saints buried Seton La Salle, 79-34, behind Ahnje Timbers (20), Sianni Martin (16), Christine Abowora (13) and Ciani Cryor (11). School on Monday could be interesting. Can't you just hear it now? Gals to guys . . . "You won by two? We won by 45!" Spend the weekend working on clever comebacks, fellas. It's gonna be difficult (smile).
PIAA CLASS A FINAL
Constitution 85, Farrell 52
(At Hershey's Giant Center)
Really, how could this NOT have happened? Constitution last year stormed to the Class AA title, then returned almost everybody and dropped down one class. Recipe for dominance, folks! Though this result might have provided at least a little bit of a surprise. In a state final at any level, you don't expect one team to score 31 of the first 35 points. But the Generals did that over the first eight minutes and a leather-lunged student supporter could have hollered between the quarters, "Bring out the trophy!!" (Instead, he waited until after the third quarter -- smile). Though of course we're two-thirds of the way through March, snow was falling outside. Indoors, it looked as if a hurricane were blowing through the Giant Center. The Generals were basically perfect in the first quarter, playing count-their-teeth defense and storming from one end to the other in let's-frolic mode. Who knows? They might have won a game in the first round of the NCCA Tourney (smile). Leading the way, as he'd done in the semifinal destruction of Math, Civics and Sciences, was sr. F Ahmad "J.R." Gilbert, a lefty bound for George Mason. He finished the first session with 12 points (two treys) and two assists and got plenty of help from sr. PG Kimar Williams and sr. PF-C Chad Andrews-Fulton (eight points apiece). The game looked, basically, like a varsity vs. a JV, and it was tough not to feel some sympathy for the Steelers and their large throng of supporters. The second quarter was normal and ConHigh (28-4) actually lost it, 16-8. Next up? Avalanche time again! The Generals won the third stanza, 30-14, and spent much of it repeating their impressive feats of the first quarter. Gilbert (11 points, three triples) and Williams (nine) paced the power display. Late in that period, there was an excellent example of brotherhood. Gilbert missed a trey and jr. G Nasir Randolph snatched the rebound in traffic. Randolph looked out beyond the arc, saw that J.R. was open and whipped him the ball. He could have shot it, easily. Instead, he waited as Randolph ventured beyond the arc and hit him with a pass. Bang! Three for Nasir. Assist for J.R. The fourth quarter started with a crazy kinda dunk by Andrews-Fulton. As he tried to slam the ball, it kicked high above the rim. In fact, it hit against the top of the backboard . . . and then fell straight through the net. Legendary! The afternoon was finished for all starters with 4:25 remaining. That last possession featured SIX shots by the Generals and ended with a follow by Andrews-Fulton, making the count 80-41. Thirty-four seconds later, a timeout was called and the Generals gathered 'round coach Rob Moore. Blaring over the sound system was that "Single Ladies" song (or whatever the official name is). Standing at the back of the group were Gilbert and student manager Isaiah Patrick. And they were dancing! Gotta love it. In all, Moore dressed 18 players. Only 17 made it into the ballgame, however, because there were not enough jerseys. Left out was frosh PF Naeem Feggans. This crown was ConHigh's third in four years. The run of domination began with an A title in 2012. Sr. G Akeem King, Gilbert and Williams all played in that championship game, combing for seven points. Today, Gilbert shot 10-for-18 overall and 6-for-12 on treys en route to 28 points. He also notched 11 rebounds, four assists, three steals and two blocks. Williams contributed 20 points (9-for-14, two treys) and eight assists. Andrews-Fulton owned the inside with 15 rebounds in addition to his 14 points. Sr. G Haneef Vaughn had seven dimes. Sr. sub F Isaiah "Fan Favorite" Bradley claimed four rebounds. Principal Tom Davidson estimated that ConHigh was supported by 200 to 250 students; the school has only 350. Congrats, kids! The most touching moment, by far, occurred as the presentation of medals wound down. Accepting on behalf of former assistant Fran Hamilton, who died during the offseason, were his parents, Fran Sr. and Kim. They were swarmed by pretty much everybody and the tears were flowing, big time. Fran was beloved and it was so great that his parents were able to bask in such support. RIP, Fran, especially while knowing that his dedication had gone so far to help make it happen.
Talk about weird . . . District 12 thus far has produced 15 state champions. In semifinals, seven times the opponent for the eventual state champ has been another D-12 squad. The average margin of victory in those games has been 17.4 points and the lowest spread has been 11 points. When Our Guys have played Elsewhere Guys (eight games), the average margin of victory has been 6.0 points. In semis this past Tuesday, the margins of victory were: 41 for Constitution in A (vs. an Our Guys opponent); 11 for Conwell-Egan in AA (Elsewhere Guys); 8 for Neumann-Goretti in AAA (OG), 27 for Carroll in AAA (EG), 3 for Roman in AAAA (EG) and 13 for King in AAAA (EG). Not sure what it all means (smile).
|Semifinal Results for D-12's Eventual State Champs|
|2014||Neumann-Goretti AAA||Constitution AA|
|Phila. Elec., 65-53||Elmer Meyers, 55-44|
|2013||Imhotep AAA||Vaux A|
|Donegal, 56-54||MC&S, 83-66|
|2012||Neumann-Goretti AAA||Imhotep AA||Constitution A|
|Boys' Latin, 74-43||Holy Cross, 37-35||MC&S 62-37|
|2011||Neumann-Goretti AAA||Imhotep AA||MC&S|
|Lancaster Catholic, 82-75||Comm Tech, 49-38||Constitution, 87-74|
|Eastern York, 81-73|
|2009||Carroll AAA||Imhotep AA|
|York Suburban, 65-57||Hughesville, 53-46|
|2007||Prep Charter AA|
|2006||Prep Charter AA|
|York Catholic, 56-53|
MARCH 19 (Evening)
My opinion of the Top 10 performances by Pub/Cath players in PIAA championship games, through 2014 (no more than one per game; not all games represented) . . .
|Top 10 Performances by Pub/Cath Players in PIAA Finals, 2005-14|
|No. 1||2014||AAA||Ja'Quan Newton||Neumann-Goretti||Susquehanna Twp.||64-57 OT|
|One day after his mother passed, he scored a career-high 33 points (5-for-9 on treys) while adding eight rebounds.|
|No. 2||2006||AA||Rodney Green||Prep Charter||Beaver Falls||82-51|
|Shot 10-for-12 and 5-for-7 for 25 points while adding eight rebounds, six assists and three steals.|
|No. 3||2013||A||Rysheed Jordan||Vaux||Johnsonburg||83-63|
|Shot 14-for-20 en route to 32 points while adding six rebounds, four assists and five steals.|
|No. 4||2009||AAA||Juan'ya Green||Carroll||Greensburg Salem||75-54|
|Shot 5-for-9 and 5-for-5 while scoring 16 points. Also had five apiece of rebounds/assists and three steals.|
|No. 5||2012||A||Daiquan Walker||Constitution||Lincoln Park||68-49|
|Totaled 22 points, seven rebounds and six apiece of assists/steals.|
|No. 6||2007||AA||Markieff Morris||Prep Charter||Aliquippa||68-66|
|Shot 6-for-8 and 4-for-4 for 16 points while claiming 16 rebounds.|
|No. 7||2011||A||Jeremiah Worthem||Math/Civics/Sciences||Lincoln Park||70-55|
|Shot 10-for-14 en route to 22 points while adding 12 boards.|
|No. 8||2009||AA||Sam Prescott||Imhotep||Pittsburgh N. Catholic||75-67|
|Went 8-for-8 at the line en route to 21 points. Also posted 13 rebounds and five steals.|
|No. 9||2013||AAA||Brandon Austin||Imhotep||Carroll||54-45|
|Mixed 25 points with eight rebounds and three assists.|
|No. 10||2014||AA||Ahmad Gilbert||Constitution||Seton La Salle||61-59|
|Totaled 19 points and 14 rebounds.|
Play great defense and win the rebounding war. No guarantees, but doing so in the upcoming state finals might be a darn good recipe for success for all six teams preparing for battle tomorrow/Saturday. In championship games, 12 of District 12's 15 winners have captured the rebounding contest (admittedly not by much sometimes, but, hey, a win's a win) and 12 of the 15 have forced the opponent to shoot less than 40 percent from the floor (often much less, in fact). However, Neumann-Goretti last year became the first D-12 champ to claim a win despite allowing 42.9 percent shooting and getting outrebounded, 35-30. The breakdown is below.
|Two Key Categories for D-12 State Titlists in Championship Games|
Shot . .
Pct. of . .
W on Left
|2006||AA||Prep Charter||Beaver Falls||20-67||29.9||38-28|
|AA||Imhotep||Pittsburgh N. Cath.||23-64||35.9||40-31|
|AA||Constitution||Seton La Salle||20-51||39.2||(35-36)|
The PIAA expanded its basketball classifications from three to four for the 1983-84 season. In the 32 seasons, this will be the sixth time that teams from one district have managed to advance to all four championship games. This year, District 12 is sending an amazing SIX teams. Below is a breakdown. No district has pulled off a sweep.
UPDATED after state finals . . . D-12 pulled off the first sweep over four classes.
|2015||AAAA||Roman (beat King)||won|
|D-12||AAA||Neum.-Gor. (beat Carr)||won|
|A||Reading Holy Name||lost|
CLASS A SEMIFINAL
Constitution 87, Math, Civics and Sciences 46
(At Philadelphia University)
By all accounts, ConHigh sr. SF Ahmad "J.R." Gilbert (George Mason signee) has played in respectable, but not eye-popping fashion this season. Then came tonight . . . Oh, my goodness! Try this on for size: The lefty shot 92.9 percent from the floor! Gilbert went 13-for-14 and his highlight was a perfect outing (4-for-4) from beyond the arc. His other buckets came on step-backs, crafty drives, teardrops off partial drives, spin moves in the post . . . and, yes, he did mix in a dunk. While scoring 31 points, Gilbert was hardly a one-man gang. Sr. PF-C Chad Andrews-Fulton shot 8-for-10 for 16 points and sr. PG Kimar Williams shot 6-for-10 en route to 13 points. That's 27-for-34 marksmanship (79.4 percent) from the top three scorers! When this one began, a decent crowd was on hand. Not quite as big as the just-short of a full house that watched N-G/'Tep, but definitely decent considering both schools are small and haven't been around very long. But lots of people left after one quarter (18-6), more booked after ConHigh went 8-for-8 to start the second quarter (34-15) and not a whole lot were left, understandably, when the final buzzer sounded. Gilbert added five rebounds and four blocks to his points. Sr. G Akeem King (six), Williams (five) and sr. G Haneef Vaughn (four) combined for 15 assists and A-F seized 12 boards. Late-game highlight: A bucket by deep sub sr. F Isaiah "Fan Favorite" Bradley. Only sr. WG Samir Doughty (St. John's commit) scored in double figures for MC&S, and his point total was 11 at the half. He did not attempt a shot until 7:16 remained in the first half and he wound up going 4-for-11 (one trey) and 6-for-6 for 15 points. Those markers finalized his career total at 1,766 for the 17th spot in city history; he played his first two seasons at now-closed Communications Tech. Tonight he passed four guys -- Clarence "Eggy" Tillman, West Philly '78, 1,752; Wayne Ellington, Episcopal '06, 1,756; John Cox, Lamberton/E&S '99, 1,759; and Stephen Vasturia, St. Joseph's Prep '13, 1,764. Doughty's last points came on two free throws with 5:34 remaining; Vaughn and jr. G Anthony Satchell combined for a strong defensive effort. He departed with 4:36 left and took a seat down the bench. After changing his sneaks and sitting there for a while, he moved up with the coaches and pulled up his jersey to cover most of his head. When it came time for handshakes, Doughty made a beeline for ConHigh assistant Kyle Sample, one of his summertime coaches, and gave him a lengthy hug. Congrats on a wonderful career, Samir! Sr. Gs Keith Griffin and Nick Jones halved 18 points for the Mighty Elephants. No other stats of note for anyone. For pic purposes, I decided to camp out up top. Aaron "Ace' Carter, Amauro "Amar" Austin, Mark "Frog" Carfagno and Keith Hines provided varying forms of entertainment (smile). Major props to Philadelphia University for hosting this doubleheader, and to CL honcho Joe Sette for making the request.
CLASS AAA SEMIFINAL
Neumann-Goretti 75, Imhotep 67
(At Philadelphia University)
Think about this: In basketball history, except for situations featuring severe foul trouble and/or injury/sickness, how often have a team's two most prominent players combined to take three shots in one half? That happened in this one and shot No. 3 was an unsuccessful deep trey a shade before the buzzer. Incredible, right? So's this: Though sr. WG Lamarr "Fresh" Kimble (one shot from floor, two points on free throws) and soph WG Quade Green (1-for-2 from floor) combined for just FOUR points over the first 16 minutes, N-G headed into the locker room with a 31-30 lead. Quite the weird occurrence. Feel free to scratch your head. We'll wait (smile) . . . Other guys, of course, stepped forward to ch-ching points onto the scoreboard and the biggest surprise was provided by jr. PG Vaughn Covington. In the Saints' previous six games, he'd TOTALED 16 points and thrice had gone scoreless. Thanks to three treys, he owned nine markers at halftime and he finished with 21. No wonder he earned Aaron "Ace" Carter's dual-papers ink. Heck, his picture should have been on the back page. I'm not saying the Panthers were letting Covington shoot, but he did have ample room on most of his launches. He finished 4-for-8 on treys, 1-for-2 on twos and 7-for-8 at the line. In the first half, also quite frisky were soph C Dhamir "DaDa" Cosby-Roundtree (5-for-6 for 10 points) and jr. WG-SF Zane Martin (eight points). Their performances proved once again that the Saints do have numerous weapons, and that it's impossible to shut down everybody. In the second half, Green was his ever-impressive self while scoring 16 points. His highlight was a three-spot of treys. One of them, from the right wing, came after Imhotep's own super soph, G Daron "Fats" Russell, embarked on an exciting drive that he capped with a dipsy-doodle layup. Great exchange, guys! With 5:02 remaining, N-G owned a 61-51 lead after Green missed a round-and-round-the-rim layup and Cosby-Roundtree converted a follow. Imhotep stood its ground, however, and roared within 67-65 at 2:05 as jr. G Jaekwon Carlyle hit a left-corner triple. To the point when 3:08 remained, the Saints were only 2-for-5 at the line in the fourth quarter. But, as in other recent games, they improved their focus and sniped 12-for-14 thereafter. And the second miss wasn't really meaningful because the outcome was decided by then. As for 'Tep, the Panthers could just not click down the stretch. It would have been nice to see another last-possession classic (as in the recent AAA City Title, won by N-G on Green's right-corner three). Just wasn't meant to be. All five N-G starters finished in double figures -- Covington (21), Green (18), Martin (13), Cosby-Roundtree (12) and Kimble (10, his future college coach, Saint Joe's Phil Martelli, was among the witnesses). C-R added 15 rebounds, seven blocks. Martin snagged nine caroms and Kimble dealt five assists. Russell embarked on a 27-point, seven-steal journey. His shooting wasn't good (9-for-25), but man did he get after it. Amauro and I swear "Fats" studies Kyle Lowry tapes non-stop (smile). Strangely, 'Tep recorded only five assists. Reason: Most of its FG attempts came off hard (sometimes lengthy) drives. Sr. G Khalief Tinley worked his butt off for 12 rebounds and sr. F DeAnte Robinson managed 10 points. Carroll also won tonight in the other bracket, so N-G will meet the Patriots in an all-Catholic League championship game Friday night in Hershey. Niiiiice.
Over the last six seasons, Constitution vs. Math, Civics and Sciences has become the Pub's top small-school series. Tonight at 8 o'clock at Philadelphia University, in a PIAA Class A state semifinal, the schools will meet for the FOURTH time this season. MC&S won four of the teams' first five meetings. ConHigh has captured all five over the last two seasons along with eight of the last nine. (The AAA state semi involving Neumann-Goretti and Imhotep will tip off first at 6. The doors will open at 5.)
UPDATED with state semifinal result in 2015.
|Breakdown of the Constitution-MC&S Series, 2010-15|
|Year||Occasion||Winner||Loser||Score||Winner's Top Scorer||Pts|
|PL A Final||MC&S||Constitution||85-74||Thomas Moore||25|
|2011||Reg. Season||MC&S||Constitution||63-56||Tyreek Riddick||17|
|PL A Semi||Constitution||MC&S||56-53||Abdul King||14|
|PIAA A Semi||MC&S||Constitution||87-74||Jeremiah "Lump" Worthem||26|
|2012||Reg. Season||Constitution||MC&S||76-66 OT||Savon Goodman||30|
|PL A Final||Constitution||MC&S||72-51||Savon Goodman||24|
|PIAA A Semi||Constitution||MC&S||62-37||Savon Goodman||18|
|2013||Reg. Season||MC&S||Constitution||90-75||Jeremiah "Lump" Worthem||31|
|2014||Reg. Season||Constitution||MC&S||62-54||Ahmad "J.R." Gilbert||16|
|Reg. Season||Constitution||MC&S||59-56 OT||Ahmad "J.R." Gilbert||19|
|2015||Reg. Season||Constitution||MC&S||85-64||Ahmad "J.R." Gilbert||20|
|Reg. Season||Constitution||MC&S||72-65||Kimar Williams||19|
|PL A Final||Constitution||MC&S||66-59||Kimar Williams||16|
|PIAA A Semi||Constitution||MC&S||87-46||Ahmad "J.R." Gilbert||31|
|*-punishment for brawl in earlier game|
MARCH 16 (Evening)
As near as I can figure, off some quick research, six "Our Guys" will be playing in the NIT. (One more is sitting out as a transfer.) Good luck! If I missed anyone . . . email@example.com
|"Our Guys" in the NIT|
|Jaylen Bond||#La Salle||Temple||6-8||Jr.||31||7.9|
|Savon Goodman||Constitution||Arizona State||6-6||So.||23||11.0|
|Biggie Minnis||#Southern||Rhode Island||6-3||Jr.||31||3.4|
|*-sitting out as transfer|
|#-played high school ball elsewhere after listed school|
For the fifth consecutive year, District 12 has advanced at least five teams to state semifinals. This year, a D-12 record is being set as EIGHT teams (half of the 16) are competing in semis in the four classifications. Also, for the sixth consecutive year (and eighth time in nine), the semis will include at least one all/D-12 battle. This year there are two, as there were in '11 and '12.
|District 12's Semifinal Participants, 2005-15|
|Year||Class A||Class AA||Class AAA||Class AAAA|
|2006||Prep Charter||Comm Tech|
|Teams in bold met each other|
MARCH 15 (Evening)
As near as I can figure, off some quick research, six "Our Guys" will be playing in the NCAA tournament. Good luck! If I missed anyone . . . firstname.lastname@example.org
|"Our Guys" in the NCAA Tournament|
|*David Appolon||Imhotep||Robert Morris||6-4||Sr.||21||6.0|
|Hakeem Baxter||Phila. Electric||Alabama-Birmingham||6-2||So.||34||7.6|
|Rysheed Jordan||Vaux||St. John's||6-4||So.||30||14.3|
|Nick Lindner||Gtn. Academy||Lafayette||5-11||So.||30||12.8|
|Stephen Vasturia||SJ Prep||Notre Dame||6-5||So.||34||9.7|
|*-out for month-plus with shoulder injury; recently underwent surgery|
Here is an updated list of the city's top underclass scorers . . .
|Top Career Underclass Scorers in Pub/Cath/Int|
|Lamar Stevens||Haverford School||880|
|Blair Bowes||Lincoln/Phila. Elec.||670|
|Devon Goodman||Germantown Acad.||607|
|*Evan-Eric Longino||Germantown Acad.||515|
CLASS AAAA QUARTERFINAL
King 59, Plymouth-Whitemarsh 43
Since when are teams allowed to use pit bulls? King did so today. The Cougars got after it again and and again and again at the defensive end and the spread was 20 points (49-29) with 5:02 remaining when many, MANY people began heading for the parking lot. P-W shot an unsightly 14-for-51 from the floor and most of the misses were not even close. Congrats to coach Sean Colson's ballclub for proving that relentless dedication to defense can definitely pay off. There was a major subplot today and it involved P-W sr. G Xzavier Malone. Last year he played for King, sparingly, and in P-W's previous game he exploded for 27 points. He's a thin lefty and very much favors step-backs on his jumpers. "X" was almost exclusively the assignment of sr. PG Sammy Foreman and, man, did Sammy exert non-stop energy. Malone finished just 3-for-14 from the floor while scoring 11 points. As you might expect, he was teased by King's student rooters. "X a hoagie! X a hoagie!" They chanted that multiple times. Being called a hoagie, in King lexicon, means you're corny. Ha, ha, ha. At least what's what the kids told me. Malone's final field goal was posted with 2 1/2 minutes left in the third quarter an instant after the King kids hollered, "X can't save y'all! X can't save y'all!" Duane Ramer, King's AD, said about 35 kids signed up to take a special bus to Norristown to support the Cougars. About 15 stood throughout. Six Cougars scored from six to 12 points, led by sr. G Ladji Fofana (12), jr. PG Jabri McCall (11) and Foreman (10). Sammy also dished eight assists while McCall had four. Sr. PF-C Tyere Marshall snagged seven rebounds. Fofana and sr. G Tyheem Harmon had six apiece. King's 20 field goals featured 16 assists; great display of teamwork and court vision. More than a few times, Foreman was on one side of the court when he whipped a pass to the other for an unchallenged trey. The stretch featured a weird scenario. P-W subbed anybody and everybody, but starting G Andre Mitchell remained on the court. Reason: He was on the doorstep of 1,000 career points. In the waning moments, P-W kept fouling so Mitchell could get more chances to score. With 8.1 left, he stepped to the line with 998. First shot. Swish. Second shot. Off the left side of the rim. Rebound. Quick hack. Mitchell got one last chance . . . and made the best of it! He drove the right side and kissed a successful layup off the glass to end his career with 1,001. Roman won the first game by one point over Pennsbury. A last-second Falcon heave hit the back iron -- phew -- and the winning point, you could say, was the first of the game. Pennsbury was assessed a tech for wearing incorrect uniforms (road instead of home) and jr. PG Tony Carr hit the first of two free throws. Oh, baby!
CLASS AAAA QUARTERFINAL
Lancaster McCaskey 60, La Salle 59
No idea how McCaskey managed to finish as the eighth AAAA seed in District 3. But when the La Salle guys realized they were playing a team that far down the ladder, it was probably impossible not to feel confident. Perhaps even slightly overconfident. The this-will-hardly-be-a-cakewalk message was delivered early and often by a team with athletes, strength and more than a little brass (including trash talking). Paced by jr. WG-SF Kobe Gantz, a cousin of the kid (Milik Gantz) who starred last night for Harrisburg Bishop McDevitt vs. Neumann-Goretti, McCaskey stormed to a 15-6 lead. Luckily for its dedicated fans, La Salle did climb back into contention -- treys were very important -- and the game mostly featured back-and-forth slugging from the middle of the second quarter onward. Because the game's last possession was semi-controversial, we'll jump to that moment after a quick setup. With 24 seconds left, McCaskey claimed a 58-57 lead as Gantz kissed a layup off the glass. La Salle called time at 17.7, then scored at :12 off a flip shot in the lane by sr. F Dave Krmpotich. At the other end, Gantz attempted a short teardrop from the left baseline and La Salle sr. WG Shawn Witherspoon appeared to get a piece. Sr. PF-C Tyler Owens was there to grab the rebound and power the ball into the bucket. The refs put 2.1 on the clock and the Explorers, of course, had to go the length of the court. The inbounder was Witherspoon. He lofted a semi-high pass to Krmpotich at about midcourt. "Krump" twice put the ball on the floor and was lifting it for a last heave -- it was still only a smidgeon above his waist -- maybe halfway between halfcourt and the foul line when a defender knocked the ball away. "Krump" and others thought a foul had been committed. However, it's highly unlikely "Krump" would have been able to launch a shot in time considering no more than two-10ths of a second remained -- judging by a YouTube video posted by Aaron "Ace" Carter -- at the instant the ball was knocked free. Perhaps that's why no call was made, if a reach-in foul indeed was committed . . . Tough ending to a season with many stirring moments. In this one, La Salle was able to battle back into contention thanks to an impressive stretch that spanned the first/second quarters. Sr. WG Dan "Sniper to the" Corr and sr. PG Najee Walls hit threes to wind down the first, then both guys struck again from deep early in the second, thus storming the Explorers within 21-18. Just under three minutes prior to halftime, Witherspoon toughed his way to a three-point play off a lefthanded layup, thus providing a 28-27 lead. About five minutes into the third quarter, Krmpotich incurred his second and third fouls a few seconds apart (over the top on the offensive end, pushing violation on defense) and his absence caused some momentary problems. Walls, thanks to several hard drives, finished with 17 points along with four assists. Krmpotich had 14 points, nine rebounds and seven blocks. Corr went 4-for-6 beyond the arc for 12 points, 'Spoon and jr. F Shane Stark halved 14 points and jr. WG-SF Ryan McTamney had the other two. This loss was the first game of the day for District 12's teams (Roman's win over Pennsbury started/finished a shade later) and the setback ended a 19-game winning streak for the 12s. Gantz (26) and Owens (18) were McCaskey's far-and-away leaders. Thanks to the Explorers for a lot of great viewing this season and best of luck going forward to the seniors. Also, congrats to senior baseball starter Ian McIntosh for his cool moment right before the game. Ian was positioned in the front row of the student section when a ball rolled over toward him. He stepped forward and -- bang! -- hit the day's deepest trey. Not even sure he was standing in "fair territory," to use a baseball term. Truly a magic moment. (Checked with Ian at La Salle's baseball opener on March 30. He said he shot a from a spot between the sideline and stands, maybe eight feet beyond the arc. Even more legendary!)
This is a gigantic country, of course, and state basketball tournaments have been played forever in many formats. However, it’s hard to imagine that too many districts have claimed 19 consecutive victories in state playoffs as D-12 has done (over the last eight days, March 7-13). Actually, the total wins in the streak COULD be 21, depending upon what time the buzzer sounded to end two games played March 7. The start times for the four wins listed below with 3/7 were 2:30 (Roman) and 4 (the three others). Also that day, King (over Allentown Allen) and La Salle (over Ridley) were victorious in AAAA games that started at 1 o’clock. Also starting at 1 were AA games involving Freire (lost to Minersville) and Parkway Center City (lost to Columbia). Five more games will be played today. Will the streak be extended to 24? Good luck, guys!
|District 12's Nineteen (At Least) Consecutive Playoff Victories|
|Date||Class||Round||Winner||Opponent||Score||Leading Scorer for Winner||Pts|
|3/7||AAAA||First||Roman||Downingtown West||68-52||Gemil Holbrook||22|
|3/7||AA||First||Conwell-Egan||Camp Hill||71-54||Stevie Jordan||22|
|3/7||AA||First||Mastery North||Bristol||77-54||Eli Alvin||18|
|3/8||AAA||Second||Neumann-Goretti||Manheim Central||72-44||Quade Green||24|
|3/8||AAA||Second||Imhotep||Scranton Prep||77-54||Daron Russell||25|
|3/8||A||Second||MC&S||Meadowbrook Christian||65-41||Samir Doughty||16|
|3/11||AAAA||Second||Roman||Cedar Crest||53-35||Manny Taylor||11|
|3/11||AAAA||Second||La Salle||Abington Heights||62-40||Dave Krmpotich/Najee Walls||14|
|3/11||AA||Second||Conwell-Egan||Mahanoy Area||82-31||Chase Kumor||22|
|3/11||AA||Second||Mastery North||Trinity||67-61||Rodney Ross||18|
|3/13||AAA||Quarter||Neumann-Goretti||Harrisburg McDevitt||76-71||Quade Green||21|
|3/13||AAA||Quarter||Imhotep||Susquehanna Township||58-49||Jaekwon Carlyle/Daron Russell||14|
|3/13||AAA||Quarter||Carroll||New Castle||77-48||Derrick Jones||22|
|3/13||A||Quarter||Constitution||St. John Neumann||83-45||Kimar Williams||20|
CLASS AAA QUARTERFINAL
Neumann-Goretti 76, Harrisburg Bishop McDevitt 71
(At Reading High's Geigle Complex)
Wow! This almost turned into one of those Friday-the-13th-is-bad-luck occasions for Neumann-Goretti. Who would have thought? Pretty much no one, especially with roughly 3:20 remaining in the third quarter. Check out this sequence: McDevitt blocked one, two, THREE shots on the same N-G possession and began to head upcourt. The journey lasted maybe three feet. Soph WG Quade Green made a steal and passed to jr. WG-SF Zane Martin for an easy bucket and the Saints owned a 49-34 lead. In retrospect, maybe that sequence turned out TOO great. Maybe the guys were thinking, "We just got embarrassed like crazy, with three shots getting blocked on the same possession, but look what happened. We STILL came out smellin' like a rose. Isn't it great being us?" Not right after that. McDevitt, which played an up-tempo style all night long, came storming back and by the end of the quarter N-G's lead was only two points, at 51-49. McDevitt had a large rooting section and those folks were going crazy. The noise level only increased when Mickey D scored again to open the fourth stanza. The thought then became, "Uh, oh. This is not lookin' good. McDevitt has all kinds of momentum and it now REALLY owns the building, from the support standpoint." Soon, another thought was no doubt rolling around in the heads of N-G's backers, coaches and probably even the players. "This is a flashback to the Catholic League championship game." Reason: In the fourth quarter tonight, N-G hit only three of its first nine free throws. Remember what happened in the title-game loss to Roman? N-G finished 2-for-9 at the line overall and was a messy 1-for-7 (including two front ends) in the fourth quarter. But guess what? Just when the situation became you better hit these or else, the Saints regrouped, showed major stones and pretty much traveled to Death and Taxes Land over the final 2:06. They attempted 14 free throws . . . and hit 13! Talk about clutch! Coach Carl Arrigale's clubs, of course, have slapped together all KINDS of special moments in this century, but this late turnaround at the line has to rank near the top, especially since more failure would have ended the season. Jr. PG Vaughn Covington/Green went 4-for-4 apiece. Sr. WG Lamarr "Fresh" Kimble and sub jr. G Rasheed Browne went 2-for-2 apiece while Martin hit the second of two with 22 seconds left to provide a 72-68 lead. The one bucket during that stretch was a dunk by soph C Dhamir "DaDa" Cosby-Roundtree off a feed from Browne. That slam put N-G ahead at 65-63, but McDevitt notched the next five points on a right-corner trey and a flush-down of its own. Sr. G Milik Gantz, a very impressive player thanks to hops, quick hands/feet and excellent court vision, among other things, had assists on both field goals. From there, however, McDevitt missed shots from the floor and N-G nailed shots at the line. When Kimble converted a double-bonus at 13.3, thus making the score 74-68, LOTS of people started heading for the exits. Gantz did drain a left-wing trey thereafter, but McDevitt was out of timeouts and a pair of free throws by Browne finalized the score. Phew! That was hairy! Green (22, three treys in first half), Martin (19, effective on the move) and Kimble (11) scored in double figures. The rest of the points went to Covington (nine), Cosby-Roundtree (eight) and Browne (seven, all in fourth quarter; lots to like about this kid). C-R had 14 rebounds and four blocks. Martin (eight) and Green (seven) also got on the glass. Green had four steals. For McD, Gantz had 16 points, 16 rebounds and seven assists while jr. F James Williams mixed 23 points, 15 boards and five blocks. He's a thin kid, but man does he battle inside. As stat helper Amar Austin put it, "The ball just finds him (off the glass)." Another kid, Kyree Calli, had all 11 of his points and all eight of his boards in the second half. Philly's now assured of having a team in the AAA final because one semi will feature N-G was Imhotep, the winner in tonight's first game of the doubleheader. And who knows? Carroll might emerge from the so-called western bracket to create an all-Philly final.
CLASS AAA QUARTERFINAL
Imhotep 58, Susquehanna Township 49
(At Reading High's Geigle Complex)
Let's start with the unusual, then the impressive. First, eight guys scored for Imhotep and every one posted an even number! The totals were: two players with 14, one with 10, two with six, one with four and two with two. Cool, right? Meanwhile, ST sr. G Nehemiah "Bud" Mack attempted 16 free throws and . . . made every one! Pretty sure at least 13 were dead on. Maybe even 14. Like Roman's game Wednesday night at Coatesville, this one was ruined by crappy over-officiating. Not sure how many personals were called, but the number might be in the thousands (smile). LET THEM PLAY!! Man oh man is it frustrating to hear non-stop whistles and see players afraid, by game's end, to even go near somebody, let alone actually play defense. At some junctures it appeared Imhotep would win in very comfortable fashion, especially after coach Andre Noble's ballclub hit eight of its first nine shots in the second quarter to snag a 31-17 lead. Then, early in the fourth quarter, 'Tep owned an 11-point pad at 47-36. Again, the Indians declined to fade away and crept within 53-49 on -- what else? -- two free throws by Mack. The Panthers stood their ground and closed with a six-point streak, however, and jr. G Jaekwon Carlyle got it started with a successful drive out of a spread offense. Carlyle had a nice outing, scoring 14 points in efficient fashion (6-for-8 floor). Soph whirlwind G Daron Russell also scored 14 points and I'm feeling he needs to be nicknamed "Cup" or "Tin" because he always gets to the rim. (Heard from coach Noble on Saturday morning. Daron has been known as "Fats" since early childhood and is called that by everybody.) True bulldog! His shooting wasn't the greatest tonight, but he did add two assists and five steals. Sr. WG Devin Liggeons was the other double-figure scorer with 10. Oddly, sr. PF DeAnte Robinson was the only Panther with as many as five rebounds; he fouled out with 2:49 left. Sr. G Khalief Tinley again was completely willing to sacrifice his body for charges. Great to see. ST was hurt by foul trouble for Mack and an injury to another guard, Williams. He suffered a deep, blood-spurting gash over his right eye late in the first half. A trainer gave him a complete concussion test during halftime and though he was cleared to return, he missed h