Kehler on Hoops: Philly Catholic Championship- N-Goretti 61 Archbishop Ryan 57

Written by: on Tuesday, March 1st, 2022

 

PHILADELPHIA CATHOLIC LEAGUE CHAMPIONSHIP: NEUMANN-GORETTI 61 ARCHBISHOP RYAN 57

Neumann-Goretti captured the Philadelphia Catholic League championship on Monday night at the Palestra, defeating Archbishop Ryan 61-57 in a game that was close and intense for every one of the 32 minutes of action. The largest lead of the game was five points, and there were seven ties and 13 lead changes in a contest played at a very high level of skill before a packed house in the 95 year old cathedral of basketball. The view from here is that the Philadelphia Catholic League playoffs are the highest level of competition in Pennsylvania boys high school basketball. Nothing about this 2022 championship game could possibly be used to dispute that contention.

Neumann-Goretti played man-to-man defense throughout the game, and Archbishop Ryan went all in on their 2-3 zone. Neumann defenders are aggressive, and Ryan’s offense tried to take advantage of overplays. In the first quarter, Ryan’s superb 6′ 9″ sophomore, Thomas Sorber, was often in the high post and looking to pass the ball to 6′ 1″ senior sharpshooter Luke Boyd. Neumann’s offensive approach had two main themes: run whenever possible and shoot over Ryan’s zone. Exploiting their advantage in speed and quickness, plus hitting a couple of three pointers, Neumann forged an early lead, twice going up by five points in the first 1`0 minutes of play. However, they could not pull away from Ryan, as Boyd hit three three pointers in the second frame, and Sorber’s interior defense was superb. (Sorber blocked eight shots in the game). Ryan tallied the last score of the first half on a dazzling reverse layup by 6′ 3″ senior Jalen Sneed, cutting Neumann’s lead to 26-24 at halftime.

Although there had been three ties in the first half, Ryan had never lead during the first 16 minutes of play. Ryan took their first lead of the game early in the third quarter on a hoop by Snead and a baseline drive by 6′ 4″ sophomore Darrien Williams to make it 28-26 Ryan. Neumann immediately responded with a three pointer by 6′ sophomore sensation Robert Wright III. A superb outside shooter, Wright made three three pointers in the third quarter. The teams went back and forth in the third frame, and there were three ties and seven lead changes in the third quarter. Ryan went more to Sorber on offense in the second half, and his defense was superb, with three blocked shots in the third quarter. However, Neumann’s outside shooting was terrific in the third frame.

Neumann lead by a point going into the final quarter. The teams continued to change leads–there were six lead changes in the fourth quarter. A basket inside by Sorber gave Ryan their final lead of the game, 51-50, midway through the final frame. Neumann responded with a spectacular ally-oop bucket by 6′ 1″ senior Masud Stewart, who was fouled on the play. Stewart made the free throw to put Neumann ahead 53-51, and they never relinquished the lead. With 1:30 left to play, 6′ 8″ Neumann junior Sultan Adewale made a couple of free throws to put his team up 57-52. Ryan came right back with an acrobatic putback by Sorber, and, seconds later, 5′ 11″ Ryan junior Michael Paris made couple of free throws to trim Neumann’s lead to 58-56. Following a dunk by Neumann’s Adewale, Snead made a free throw, and Neumann’s lead was 60-57 with 30 seconds left to play. In a clutch play, Ryan’s Snead stole the inbounds pass. Ryan got off three fairly makable shots from behind the arc, but none of them hit the mark.

Neumann played four guards and Adewale. Overall, they were at a height disadvantage, but they prevailed with quickness, tenacious defense, wonderful team chemistry, and outside shooting. Ryan, attacking largely from the outside in the first half, then largely from the inside in the second half, fell just short. For both teams, winning the Philadelphia Catholic League championship is the season’s primary objective. It is more difficult to win the Catholic League title than to win a PIAA state championship, although both teams will contend for PIAA crowns in March.

The statistics show how close this game was. Both teams had 34 rebounds. Neumann committed 11 turnovers, and Ryan committed 10 miscues. Neumann was 12 of 20 from the foul line, while Ryan was 11 of 15. Neumann made seven three pointers in this game, four by Wright, two by 5′ 11″ sophomore Kharfiq Myers, and one by Stewart. Ryan made five three pointers, all of them by Boyd.

Neumann-Goretti scoring: Robert Wright III 22, Sultan Adewale 15, Kharfiq Myers 15, Masud Stewart 8, and Bruce Smith 1.

Archbishop Ryan scoring: Thomas Sorber 17, Luke Boyd 15, Jalen Snead 10, Michael Paris 9, and Darren Williams 6.

Archbishop Ryan 11 13 19 14-57
Neumann-Goretti 12 14 18 17-61

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