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BOYS' BASKETBALL: Catholic League Teams Remain Strong as Six Advance to the Second Round of the PIAA Tournament

By John Knebels - Photos: by Donna Eckert, Kathy Leister, Geanine Jamison & Vita Marks, 03/10/20, 2:45PM EDT


By: John Knebels

Photos/Videos: John Knebels, Kathy Leister, Donna Eckert, Geanine Jamison & Vita Marks

SPRINGFIELD, PA  –The stats weren’t flashy, but they were relevant.

Actually, they were pivotal.

Although sophomore Justice Williams was the star – of that there is no question – Will Norman provided a substantial share of twinkling. The freshman contributed a career-best six points and corralled eight rebounds – many of them key – as Roman Catholic defeated stubborn Coatesville, 81-75, in the first round of the PIAA Class 6A state tournament Saturday afternoon at Cardinal O’Hara.

The Cahillites, who lost in the Catholic League championship and then in the District 12 final, will meet Pennridge (District 1, 7 Seed; 19-8 overall record) 7 PM Wednesday at Bensalem High School. Roman is one of eight Philadelphia Catholic League representatives that competed in the initial round. The PCL went 6-2 overall.

“We didn’t win the game today, as coach (Matt Griffin) said, we won it during the week in practice,” said Norman. “Everything was serious. Everybody has to come with a dog mentality here-on out. We just want to win out. No more playing. I have to be a dog every night. We’re still on a revenge tour. Our revenge tour isn’t over.”

Roman vs. Coatesville PIAA 6A Highlights by John Knebels:

Williams, who dished a team-best five assists and led all scorers with 27 points – his fifth consecutive output of 20 or more points – is still irked by Roman’s previous two defeats.

“We felt like we should have won them, so we don’t want to feel that pain we had after we let ourselves down,” said Williams. “Today, it was great. We came out and executed as a team and got the win.”

Freshman Xzayvier Brown (17 points, four assists, two steals), senior Nasir Lett (16 points, three steals), and sophomore Jalen Duren (13 points, 11 rebounds, four assists) helped offset the absence of injured senior standout Lynn Greer, whose availability for the remainder of the state tourney has not been formally announced as of Monday.

After scoring 6 points and grabbing 7 rebounds, freshman Will Norman assesses his role at Roman Catholic:

Roman Catholic sophomore Justice Williams said it was good to get back in the winning column:

In other games involving the PCL . . .

Archbishop Ryan vs. Penn Wood:

Archbishop Ryan (18-9) received 20 points from senior Gediminas Mokseckas, 15 from senior Christian Isopi, and 14 from junior Dominic Vasquez en route to a 62-50 Class 5A win over Penn Wood.

The suddenly hot Raiders, who shocked Bishop McDevitt in the Catholic League quarterfinals, will face Elizabethtown (3-7; 20-9) 7:30 Tuesday at Coatesville.

Archbishop Wood vs. Strath Haven:

In another Class 5A affair, Archbishop Wood was way too much for Strath Haven.

The Vikings’ 72-45 victory included a composite 53 points from juniors Marcus Randolph (20), Rahsool Diggins (18), and junior Jaylen Stinson (15), which was more than enough to propel Wood into a match versus Pittstown Area High School (2-3; 18-9) 7:30 Tuesday at Bethlehem’s Freedom High School. 

Bonner-Prendergast vs. Eastern York:

Behind 11 different scorers, Bonner-Prendergast rolled past Eastern York, 78-40, and will tackle Class 4A foe Valley View (2-2; 18-8) 7:30 Tuesday at Bethlehem’s Liberty High School.

Senior Tyreese Watson scored 18, senior Donovan Rodriguez tallied 14, and junior Gestin Liberis added 11 for the Friars (19-5).

Bonner-Prendergast vs. Eastern York PIAA 4A First Round Game Highlights by Vita Marks:

MBAP junior Gestin Liberis says planning in the PCL prepares teams to excel in the state tournament:

Archbishop Carroll vs. Bishop McDevitt (Harrisburg) 

Also in 4A, Archbishop Carroll received 16 points from junior Anquan Hill, including the Patriots’ first nine of the fourth quarter; 10 from junior John Camden, and eight from senior Tairi Ketner in a 46-44 thriller over Bethlehem Catholic. If the Patriots (17-9) get past Harrisburg’s Bishop McDevitt (3-2; 23-5) 7:30 Tuesday at New Holland’s Garden Spot High School, they could play Prendergast in the quarterfinals.

With Carroll trailing by 44-43, freshman Dean Coleman-Newsome scored the most important basket of his early career, a three-pointer with 29.3 seconds remaining that  ultimately clinched the win. 

Neumann-Goretti vs. Brandywine Heights 

Catholic League champ Neumann-Goretti continues to shine. The Saints (23-4) overwhelmed Brandywine Heights, 75-42, as junior Hysier Miller (24 points), senior Hakim Byrd (16), and senior Cameron Young (13) led the way. N-G will battle Holy Redeemer (2-1, 19-6) 7:30 Wednesday at Easton Middle School.

Neumann-Goretti vs. Brandywine Heights PIAA 3A Highlights by Kathy Leister:

Bishop McDevitt & St. Joseph’s Prep State Runs Come to an End…

Two teams saw their season come to a close. Despite the efforts of seniors Jamil Manigo (23 points) and Robert Smith (10 points), Class 3A Bishop McDevitt (17-8) dropped a 63-51 decision to Camp Hill (3-2; 18-7).

And then came the end of a career that has spanned more than half a century. Legendary St. Joseph’s Prep coach Speedy Morris coached his final game after 52 composite seasons of high school and college hoops. Morris finished with a sublime 1,035 victories after the Hawks lost to Reading, 57-45. Senior Trevor Wall’s 18 points, senior Chris Arizin’s 10, and senior Brian Geatens’ 10 kept the Class 6A Hawks (13-12) close.


(Contact John Knebels at or on Twitter @johnknebels.)


*PIAA Coronavirus Update*

SJPrep head coach Speedy Morris retires as the winningest coach in program history at St. Joseph’s Preparatory School, Roman Catholic High School, and La Salle University. - PSD Photo by Mike Nance