Catholic League Champions, Roman Catholic has Big Balls!

Big Balls!

Matt Griffin has ‘em…
Lynn Greer has ‘em…
Seth Lundy has ‘em…
Hakim Hart has ‘em…
Allen Betrand has ‘em…
Lou Wild has ‘em…
John Kelly has ‘em…

That’s why they are Champions of Philadelphia’s Catholic League!

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Bonner-Prendie has one of the most imposing frontlines on the eastern seaboard. Senior, Ajiri Johnson is a long, lean supremely athletic 6’8’ power forward. Possessing excellent timing and patience on defense, he’s a shot -blocker extraordinaire who attacks the rim with force on offense.

Junior, Tariq Ingraham, also standing 6’8”, comes in at around 250 lbs. A problem around the basket, he possesses very soft hands and a nice touch around the basket.

Both will play Division 1 basketball. Ajiri for Kevin Baggett and newly crowned MAAC regular season champion Rider University Broncs. Ingraham will play for a D1 program to be determined at a later date.

Tonight… these two teamed with, Catholic League MVP, Isaiah Wong to lead Bonner-Prendie into battle against the Cahillites in the historic Palestra on the campus of the University of Pennsylvania.

Yes… District playoff and State playoff games remain for both teams. Indeed, both may be playing for several more weeks…

To those unfamiliar with Philadelphia scholastic basketball the following will not make much sense: The season, for both teams, ended tonight!

Even if Bonner-Prendie wins a State Championship, it will not erase the pain they endured tonight. They know this is true, Roman knows this is true, Philly hoop heads know this is true…

The only thing that can makeup for the loss tonight is a win on the Palestra floor 365 days from now…

During a press conference following a hard fought semi-final victory over Archbishop Carroll, Bonner-Prendie Head Coach Jack Concannon was asked “which means more the Catholic League or the State Championship?”

To which he responded, “If I’m gonna be honest, the Catholic League…”

If you’re from these parts, you knew that’s what he would say… If you’re from somewhere else it just doesn’t make sense…

Why would it mean more the be the best of a group of 14 Catholic schools than to be State Champion?

You really can’t explain it… It just does!

The intensity… The competitiveness… The rivalry… It’s unmatched…

Shit… Truth be told it reminds me of what the Big 5 used to be before Villanova relegated the rest of Philly’s D1 programs to JV status.

It was a beautiful ugly ass game… It was filled with lots of mistakes and extended periods of poorly conceived basketball… Frequent turnovers… Too many quick shots… Too many fouls…

Roman senior, John Kelly a tough, hard-nosed 6’4” right tackle masquerading as a power forward was saddled with 3 fouls before he could break a sweat. Before we reached the midway point of the first quarter, Kelly effectively became another member of Griffins coaching staff as he took a permanent seat on the bench.

Uh Oh!

You could feel the anxiety… How are they gonna box out Ingraham and Johnson? Who’s gonna wrestle Ingraham on the box?

There were other, seemingly serious, issues…

Seth Lundy, a supremely gifted 6’6” small forward with a beautiful shooting stroke did not touch the ball over the first 7 minutes of the game… He literally did NOT touch the ball… No… seriously… Lundy did NOT touch the ball…

Predicatably…

Bonner jumped out to 5-0 lead to start the game… They extended it to 11-3 with 2:30 left in the first quarter…

Roman looked overmatched… Bonner appeared to be too big and too athletic up front…

But…

Roman has BIG BALLS!

By the end of the first quarter, Roman was leading 12-11…

From there… We had a classic Catholic League slug fest, the teams repeatedly traded body blows, upper cuts and left hooks… Both teams have incredibly strong chins… They kept eating those blows and coming forward…

Everyone of the 9,000 or so jammed into the grand old arena knew the game would come down to the last possession…

And so… With the score tied 49-49 with just over a 1:20 to go… Roman Catholic had possession…

Ten times out of ten times, coaches call timeout in this situation and try to micromanage what they perceive as the most important possession.

Matt Griffin, however, has BIG BALLS!

He decided to leave the fate of the game in the hands of his 15 year old point guard. In terms of basketball skills, Lynn Greer is a prodigy. Young Mr. Greer is endowed with exceptional ball-handling and shooting abilities. There can be no denying his physical gifts… He very, very talented…

But… his basketball judgement is still evolving… He exhibits a willingness to take questionable shots at questionable times…

This propensity begged the question: What would he do in crunch time?

All tied up in the biggest game of his nascent coaching career, Matt Griffin left it all up to Greer…

If Roman was to win in regulation, Greer would have to make the play…

Not the gritty, tough, supremely confident Towson commit Allen Betrand… Not the Top 100 high major prospect Seth Lundy… Not the best long range shooter in the area, Hakim Hart…

Matt Griffin left the game in the hands of Lynn Greer, III…

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Lynn Greer III and Lynn Greer, Jr.

Greer dribbled across half court with about 1:20 left in the game… He passed the ball to Lou Wild who cradled the ball while time lapsed 1:10… 1:07… 1:03…

Eventually Tariq Ingraham lumbered out toward Wild… Wild quickly and easily maneuvered around Ingraham and passed to Betrand…

Recognizing the obvious mismatch, Betrand quickly gave the ball back to Wild…

Wild dribbled out a few more seconds… 0:54… 0:51… 0:47…

With 0:47 left on the clock Wild passed to Greer…

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Lynn Greer, III addresses the media following win

In the middle of the floor, 9,000 spectators focused on his every move… The Catholic League MVP staring him down… Greer grabbed the game by the throat…

Greer has BIG BALLS!

Confidently, he had the ball on a string… He danced around the middle of the court… In and out.. crossover… strong move toward the key with a belt high left hand pat…

He probed… He tested… He teased… He wanted to see how the defense would react…

He backed all the way up and began the process over again…

Behind the back… right to left… in and out… strong move down the right side…

He probed… He tested… He teased… He wanted to see how the defense would react…

0:28… 0:23… 0:19…

Now he’s dancing at midcourt… Wong intently staring him down… He dribbles toward the middle of the court and then back over toward the right…

0:13… 0:09… 0:06…

Finally… he attacks… he blows by Wong with a blazing first step… Before you can blink he’s in the lane… defense collapses…

He finds Hakim Hart with a perfect touch pass… The ball gently touches Hart’s hand for a millisecond and he gently lays the ball off the backboard…

Perfect play…

0:01.6 left on the clock…

Bonner makes an unsuccessful attempt to throw a full court pass, catch and shoot…

Game over…

For the 3rd time in 4 years, the Cahillites are Philadelphia Catholic League Champions…

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Catholic League Champions, Roman Catholic Cahillites

The season is over…

Still have a few District and State playoff games to get through, but we all know…

The season is over…

See you in 365 days… I’ll be under the basket…

 

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AlwaysLive/Black Cager Youth Hoop Tip Off! March 3-4!!

We are excited to announce the ALWAYSLIVE/Black Cager partnership. We want to help mid-Atlantic area AAU/Grassroots programs get their season off to a STRONG start. The best way to do that is to provide a platform for STRONG competition. Come play two REALLY good games with us against strong competition.

We will work with you to ensure that you coaches, players and parents have a positive early season experience.

Play two tough games in three hours. No sitting around, no long waits. Play a game, rest a game then play a game. Select games will be live-streamed.

The ALWAYSLIVE/Black Cager Youth Hoop Tipoff 8U-14U (DOUBLE PLAY)  event will showcase the area’s best talent in the 8U – 14U divisions. ALWAYSLIVE maximizes recruiting exposure by gathering complete game video, advanced statistics and, player data for recruitable (14U-17U) prospects. An ALWAYSLIVE event also provides enhanced player profiles for each participant which will be shareable with recruiters, coaches, and fans.

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Register here for ALWAYSLIVE/BlackCager Youth Tipoff

 

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See You There!!

The Rise of $$$ and the Erosion of Boundaries in Youth Basketball

“For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.”
Timothy 6:10

Because money has become central to youth sports at an elite level, grown men involved with the game today are unwilling to say “no” to kids… men are unwilling to establish boundaries with kids for fear that they will leave the programs…

Because money has become central to youth sports, men encourage kids to lie, deceive and be disloyal…

The centrality of money negatively impacts the culture of youth sports, especially basketball…

To argue that Philadelphia’s basketball culture has not deteriorated or that the deterioration is not related to the increased presence of money in nonsensical… Indeed, I would argue the respect for boundaries and money are inversely correlated… The more money involved, the less respect for boundaries.

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Moreover, and perhaps more importantly, the erosion of boundaries within Philadelphia’s Black basketball community has emerged as a social problem. Most of us have cringed after reading a kid described as a “bum, trash, hoagie or even a pussy” by grown men on facebook or twitter. It is not uncommon to hear parents, friends or ol’ heads ruthlessly attack referees and coaches during games. Doesn’t matter the venue… Collegiate, scholastic, grassroots or youth levels it happens everywhere the game is played these days.

Adult males text and “slide in the DMs” of 13-14 year old boys on a regular basis… Sometimes they contact these boys multiple times a day, everyday for months at a time…

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Many may think of these blatant boundary crossing incidents as the actions of a few isolated rogue individuals. In this way, these behaviors are attributed to some personal fault or pathology in the adult or the kid and the parents, or all of them. In other words, if the parents “want the attention” then the issue is a personal problem affecting only a few “abnormal” situations.

However, those immersed in Philadelphia’s basketball community know full well that these are not isolated incidents. These behaviors have emerged as the new norm. Boundary crossing behaviors occurs so frequently… SHIT HAPPENS SO MUCH… it is no longer a private matter, but rather a public issue. It has also become much more difficult to attribute its causes to the personal defects of a few bad apples in the basketball community. So why is this happening?

The causes grow out of important shifts in the structure and resulting culture of the basketball community itself. Understanding the proliferation of boundary crossing behaviors, requires an assessment of how personal experiences are shaped by social factors built into the basketball community in which we all operate.

The past 15 years or so have witnessed the ascent of elite travel grassroots basketball clubs with the Philadelphia basketball community. Guys like Lonnie Lowry (K-Low Elite), Kamal Yard (Philly Pride), Terrell Myers (WeRone Hoops), Rob Brown (Team Final) and Paul Gripper (Team Phenom) have at various times assembled groups of highly talented youngsters and barnstormed across the country with varying degrees of success. The opportunity to play in very nice venues against the top players in the country is, understandably, very attractive to youngsters and their parents.

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There are many positive aspects to the travel team experience. More than ever, Philadelphia kids get an opportunity to been seen by coaches from different parts of the country. In one weekend, a young man can play in front of 300-500 Division 1 coaches. In recent, years several Philadelphia area players have completed their senior HS season with no Division 1 and picked up 15 or more offers in April-May based solely on their performance in AAU/Grassroots events. There is undeniably a lot of good!

But what are some of the social costs associated with rise of elite travel ball in our community?

The erosion of boundaries within the Philadelphia basketball community has accompanied the shift away from recreation center-based, neighborhood focused youth basketball programs.

Everyone is scrambling for a spot on a sponsored team…

Elite travel basketball at the highest levels is fully funded by major athletic shoe companies (Nike, Adidas and Under Armour). These public traded multi-billion dollar companies have each established separate summer “circuits” where their teams compete against one another.

The sponsored clubs typically have have 2 or 3 teams that are “fully sponsored.” The shoe companies pay the costs associated with travel, lodging, feeding and clothing these clubs as they traverse from city to city playing in front of college coaches eager to evaluate and gain access to the finest players.

As evidenced by the high profile scandals involving NBA Agents, financial advisors and coaches at Louisville, Arizona, Auburn and South Carolina… Shit gets tricky when thousands of dollars are involved.

The budgets for sponsored teams can range anywhere from $75,000 to $200,000+ for team loaded with potential NBA players.

The insertion of money has resulted in a massive change in the culture. The mere existence of an opportunity to profit has resulted in men violating and regularly trampling boundaries that were once firmly established.

Shit done changed…

At the core of it, one has to question the continued existence of the all important adult/child distinction… Organizations like the Sonny Hill Community Involvement League was run by a core of dedicated volunteers. Men like James Flint, Claude Gross, Tee Shields, Fred Douglas, Tee Parham and Vince Miller were former great high school players committed to developing young men into responsible adults. The teams were neighborhood-based and in most case you had to earn your way onto the team.

There was no money involved for the coaches… There were no flights across country to Los Angeles or Las Vegas… No all expenses paid trips to Chicago, Orlando or Atlanta.

Just a game against Germantown on North Broad Street at McGonigle.

These MEN were not going to compromise their values. For what? They were willing to confront disruptive parents… They were willing to dismiss unruly players…

“Get the fuck out of my gym with that bullshit” was a fairly common refrain amongst these guys…

The Philadelphia basketball community controlled the spaces dedicated to High School and youth basketball… This is no longer the case…

Fast forward to the contemporary era… the motivations are different… Money has negatively impacted the Philadelphia basketball culture…

Clubs, inevitably, feel pressure to attract the best collegiate prospects… Ultimately, the shoe companies want to sell shoes… The primary way they accomplish this is by having superstars wear their shoes… Kevin Durant (Nike), Lebron James (Nike), Steph Curry (Under Armour) and James Harden (Adidas) some of the biggest names.

The pressure to attract and keep talented players has resulted in a widespread compromising of values… Many in the basketball community excuse the inexcusable and forgive the unforgivable…

Times have changed for the worse…

It is impossible to imagine Claude Gross calling a 13-14 year old boy everyday begging him to play for South Philly… It’s also hard to imagine a mother and father in the 70s, 80s or 90s allowing a adult male stranger to call her son every single day for months trying to get him to play with a club…

“Leave my son the FUCK alone”… I can just imagine the responses during that era…

Today, it’s all good… Parents want their kids to play with sponsored teams so badly they allow unfettered access to boys with 8:00 pm bedtimes… WTF?

Parents want to be ranked and receive scholarship offers as early as the 9th and 10th grade… They apply incredible pressure on youth and high school coaches when they feel their child is not receiving the accolades due to him… Imagine a Dad sitting behind the bench cursing at Vince Miller about playing time for his son…

Trying to attract the best clubs and their registration fees, event promoters openly and brazenly seek to destroy business opportunities for other event organizers… Imagine Tee Parham trying to keep Fred Douglas from sponsoring a tournament…

Grassroots coaches encourage deceit, deception and disloyalty…”Fuck them, you should be over here… They ain’t taking care of you… You should leave them… Don’t tell nobody I talked to you…”

Imagine James Flint trying to steal a player from John Hardnett…

Adult fans make deeply hurtful negative public attacks on 15-18 year old boys… When kids play with another school or another grassroots program they become targets for senseless vilification… Imagine someone’s uncle writing that a kid is “bum” or “trash” in a newspaper 20 years ago…

Packs of young men and boys follow and support their friends in a socially unacceptable manner… Competition turns into strife… Crowds resort to violent assaults to resolve verbal disputes… Imagine fans at a Sonny Hill League game stomping the parent of one of the players…

Neighborhood beefs are resolved through murders at games… Imagine a man being shot on North Broad St after leaving a Sonny Hill or Baker League game…

Things have truly changed for the worse…

A few (40-60 kids) are better off… They travel across the country, play in great events against top competition… They are seen up close by college coaches eager to offer scholarships…

The vast majority, and the City as a whole, are much worse off because the recreation-based, neighborhood focused programs have been decimated in the process… The values and important boundaries that were once well established and consistently reinforced in these programs have been obliterated…

As a first step, we should work to strengthen and support organizations like the Ralph Brooks Community League, BAA League, Retroaction Sports and the Chosen League. We need these leagues and organizations to flourish… We need the values promoted within these groups to spread and once again become the norm in Philadelphia.

Many of the younger (30 and under) members of the basketball community grew up in this new era… They have no real frame of reference for an adequate comparison…

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Sonny Hill League

They could not imagine Mr. Hill at 5’7” 150 lbs bringing an entire gym to halt and complete silence because a guys shirt was not tucked in… Everything stopped… No talking, no playing… No nothing until the shirt was tucked back in and Mr. Hill was finished talking…

We are much worse off as a result…

Basketball beefs are corny…

Black Cager Solutions: Recent Work for “Full Court Press on ALS”

Full Court Press on ALS is an non-profit 501 (c) 3 organization dedicated to increasing awareness about ALS and funding on-going research projects seeking a cure for this horrible disease.

Black Cager Solutions has partnered with Full Court Press of ALS to create digital content and evaluate the full spectrum of platforms (both traditional and emerging) to determine where target audiences may be underpriced to reach.

We have created a Youtube video that vividly captures the experience of a Full Court Press on ALS Game.

 

For another Full Court Press on ALS game we utilized the Vimeo platform.

 

Leading up to the Full Court Press on ALS games, we created digital “posters” that were distributed on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook. These posters were widely viewed and shared by members of the Philadelphia basketball community.

 

During the event, we capture images and video and upload them to Instagram, Twitter, Facebook and Snapchat.

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We create and disseminate Press Releases through a wide range of digital channels.

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We look forward to working with you to help your Sports Organization gain attention. Black Cager Solutions is totally transparent throughout the process. We explain the our approach to all marketing tools. We provide clients with exact details of all media purchased. The resulting engagement and viewing data associated with those purchases are fully and openly shared with clients, including all rates paid, detailed performance metrics, and anything else the clients may need.

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Black Cager Solutions                                                                                        blackcager@gmail.com

 

A Great… Sloppy, Mistake-Filled… Catholic League Game

Some prefer to get dressed up and head downtown to one Stephen Starr’s restaurants for what they consider a “great” meal. The white linen tablecloths and the waiters with the European accents add to the ambiance for them. The meticulous presentation of the entree is part of the experience. The carefully cut steak, the perfectly positioned asparagus spears and the pricey bottle of wine… For many, it’s all part and parcel of a “great” meal…

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Me… I’d much rather head throw on some sweats and head over to Mom-Mom’s house… Once there, I grab one to those trays that you use to eat in front of the TV. With my seating squared away, I head for the kitchen… No waiters… No foreign accents… Just a bunch of perfectly prepared soul food… fried chicken, fried fish, ribs, potato salad, potato salad, greens, yams, biscuits… You know the rest… Keep the wine… Welch’s grape juice will do just fine…

Presentation is not a consideration… Just pile it on… Need some of everything… The messier the plate, the better…

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The Neumann-Goretti win of Roman Catholic on Friday night was just like a plate at Mom-Mom’s… It was sloppy, it had a little bit of everything… turnovers, hard fouls, elbows, controversial calls, suffocating defense, poor shot selection, mental mistakes, etc…

It was also good as shit… Just like that plate at Mom-Mom’s…

Let me be clear… Roman Catholic has a very good high school basketball team… Shit… They have four (4) legitimate Division 1 players in the starting 5…

They are also well coached…

The problem is they only use two other players…

If they were playing in Ice Cube’s 3 on 3 format, they would be overwhelming favorites…

However, they are playing 5 on 5 scholastic basketball… And, Neumann-Goretti plays 8 very good players…

Depth was the difference…

At the start of the game and at the start of the second half, Roman was VERY impressive. Seth Lundy, Hakim Hart, Allen Betrand and Lynn Greer jumped out on Neumann-Goretti… In both halves Roman managed to separate themselves a lil’ bit… But inevitably, Neumann-Goretti was able to wear them down…

When Neuman-Goretti goes to the bench, they bring in TaQuan Woodley a 6’6″ freshman phenom… He impacts the game every time he comes on the floor…

Case in point, Neumann-Goretti’s underclassman bench player met Roman Catholic star forward Seth Lundy at the top of white square on a drive… He got his entire palm on the ball and proceeded to throw the ball and Lundy to the ground with force…

Daymmmmnnnn youngfella…

When they go to the bench, Neumann-Goretti becomes a different and in some ways better team…

Roman on the other hand, does not go to the bench… They rely on their four stars to play the entire 32 minutes… On most nights, they will be able to win that way… On this night it was not enough…

Not withstanding the presence of Roman’s four Division 1 prospects, the best player on the floor tonight was Neumann-Goretti’s Chris Ings.

Ings was really messing up everyone’s plate…

The junior point guard harassed Greer all over the court… He forced him rush his shots…

 

He forced him to turn the ball over and turn the ball over and turn the ball over…

Ings finished with 22 points, Greer finished with 7…

Neumann-Goretti also has a significant s”ize advantage in the low post. When Neumann-Goretti was struggling to create a shot in the second half, they made a determined effort get the ball in the low post to 6’9″ center Marcus Littles… He was able to muscle his way to field goals on consecutive possessions. These buckets helped stem the tide for Neumann-Goretti.

Roman Catholic’s Big 4 scored 51 of the team’s 54 points… But on this night, it just wasn’t enough to overcome Chris Ings and his gang of 8.

Sitting with friends, Temple legend, Howie Evans, Philly Pride Coach Howard Hudson and Ron Byrd from down the “Bottom,” it felt like I was at Mom-Mom’s house… Only better… The game was live and not on TV!

That felt like a playoff game… The kids on BOTH teams wanted to win… The pressure was palpable… Some handled it better than others…

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Chris Ings (right) scored 22 points

Chris Ings handled it best… and his team came away with the win as a result.

See y’all at the next one… Bring the sweet potato pie!

 

 

 

 

Coach… Looking for Good SENIOR Players?

It’s that time of year… My homies coaching at the smaller D1 programs out west and down south start hitting me up… “Who’s still out there?”

“We had a kid leave…”

“Our top recruit went somewhere else…”

For whatever reason… D1, D2 and NAIA coaches, in January. begin to look under every rock, visit every gym and call every contact trying to fill out their rosters for next year.

This a “cheat sheet” for my buddies… This is a list of kids that could help some D1 programs, would contribute immediately at most D2/NAIAs and would be stars at the D3 level. These are kids Black Cager Scouting Service has seen up close.

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Coach… you know the routine… google ’em, look at the Hudl, Krossover and youtube highlights… If you have a sincere interest in any of these kids, we can put you in touch with the coaches and families IMMEDIATELY!

Good Luck…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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!!