Neumann-Goretti wins at Archbishop Carroll!!

One day in September, I sat down and thought long and hard about the upcoming scholastic basketball season… I was eager… couldn’t wait… I knew we would be treated to some really good HS hoops!

On any given night… The once mighty could fall…

Trying to give some structure to my thoughts, I produced and published my list of the projected top 10 high school teams in the region…

Most of the usual suspects were represented… Westtown, Imhotep, Roman Catholic, Plymouth-Whitemarsh and Abington were there…

There was a notable absence… Neumann-Goretti was NOT on my preseason top 10 list

Yooooo… I was FUCKIN’ buggin!

Oh… I heard from all the Neumann-Goretti fans and even had a very interesting discussion with Carl Arrigale himself about my prediction that Neumann-Goretti would slide from their perennial elite perch…

At the time… I stuck to my guns…

After all… The All-American point GOD was in Lexington… The Top 100 power forward was on the Mainline…

The cupboard, if not bare, was seriously depleted…

So, I thought…

They lost two HIGH MAJOR performers… How would they replace that type of firepower?

The hungry, thirsty Catholic League pack would surely inch much closer to the vaunted Saints…

So, I thought…

I now realize, there were three things I failed to adequately consider…

Thing 1 – The ability of legendary Coach Arrigale to adapt to the personnel at hand and devise a winning game plan.

Thing 2 – The ability of Chris Ings to assume the role of “Neumann Point Guard” and be incredibly effective while playing HIS game… and…

Thing 3 – The arrival of a HIGH MAJOR prospect that would impact the Catholic League from Day 1.

Coach Arrigale no longer has one of the all-time great Philly guards running the show. Chris Ings will most likely not be a McDonald’s All-American… Marcus Littles is a nice A10 big, he’s not a top 100 player sought by Big East powers…

Arrigale had to adjust his approach… He had to find a different way to win big games…

He has done so in an impressive manner… Last year, Quade Green constantly applied pressure on opponents by deftly probing defenses on every possession and hoisting shot after shot…A hyper-aggressive offensive tour de force… Green relentlessly imposed his will on scholastic basketball in Philadelphia and the state of Pennsylvania for that matter…

This worked for the the the 2016-17 Saints…Led by Green and Cosby-Roundtree, they won their 7th State Championship in 8 seasons…

Gone are clear outs and the 1-4 sets for Green… No longer are we treated to 3, 4, 5 or even 6 lobs for clean dunks by Cosby-Roundtree at the rim…

Shit is much different this year… and maybe just as effective…

For the 2017-18 Saints, Chris Ings plays are far more controlled, and indeed cerebral, brand of point guard… He takes his time… Whereas Green was daring, Ings is risk averse… He values every possession… He ensures that his teammates are involved… Think Howie Evans circa 1987…

Quade was Quade on the floor…

Ings is Carl Arrigale on the floor…

Ings is a throwback Philly point guard. I, for one, am a fan of the oldies…

It would have been so easy for him to to get caught up in the hype surrounding his personal duel with the highly touted Archbishop Carroll point guard, AJ Hoggard. At 6’3” and a solid 205 lbs, Hoggard is widely regarded as a HIGH MAJOR point guard prospect. He currently holds scholarship offers from Seton Hall (Big East), Rutgers (Big 10) and UConn (American). People wanted to see the matchup… People would inevitably talk about the matchup…

Rather than get caught up in the drama surrounding an individual battle, Ings stuck to the Neumann-Goretti game plan! He applied relentless pressure to opposing ball handlers… His lateral quickness is approaching an elite level… Offensively, he chose his spots carefully… He would penetrate when appropriate… He would pull up when necessary… He would NEVER seem hurried and out of control… Oh yeah… if he saw an opening he would just turn the corner and bang it on someone… With his “off hand”…

An excellent performance from an ol’ skool Philly point guard redefining the position at Point Guard High…

But… Ings was not alone…

Perhaps, the most impressive, and definitely the most entertaining, performance was turned in by the precocious freshman power forward TaQuan Woodley…

“Look! Up in the Sky! It’s a Bird…It’s a Plane… It’s Superman!”

Seven months ago Woodley was in middle school… Think about that…

Tonight… He was a 15 year old basketball pugilist…

He had a prolonged sparring session with Archbishop Carroll field goal attempts near the rim… He was literally “punching that sh!t” time after time after time…

I was looking for Mills Lane to step in with a standing 8 count…

On the offensive end, Woodley dunked and dunked and dunked… The energy boost he provides cannot be adequately measured… He truly lifts his team…

His blocks, one could argue, should count for for 2 blocks… In boxing, when you’re knocked down, you generally lose the round 10-8… I saw a couple 10-7 rounds tonight…

Feisty and proud, Paul Romanczuk and Carroll battled to the end… They managed to cut the deficit to single digits late in the fourth quarter… But Arrigale’s Saints were too disciplined and they shot their fouls shots to well to surrender the lead during the “hack-a-Saint” period to close the game.

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Chris, DaDa, Marcus, Noel, TaQuan and Carl… I was FUCKIN’ Buggin!

The Saint are once again… Marchin’ In!!

 

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