Something will have to give Friday night in Neumann-Goretti’s little gymnasium off 11th Street in South Philadelphia.
That’s where the host Saints will face Archbishop Wood in a clash of the Nos. 1 and 2 teams in The Inquirer’s Southeastern Pennsylvania Top 10 for boys’ basketball.
Both teams are undefeated in Philadelphia Catholic League play. Both are riding hot streaks. Both are balanced. Both are scoring like crazy, specializing in three-pointers as well as fast-paced transition offense.
Neumann-Goretti (13-2 overall, 7-0 in the PCL) is the No. 1 team in the rankings. The Saints have won six in a row, averaging 78 points.
The Saints are led by senior guard Hakim Byrd (15.3 points per game), senior swingmen Cameron Young (14) and Jordan Hall (10.1), and junior guard Hysier Miller (13.5).
Junior forward Blaise Vespe and junior guard Chris Evans, a top outside shooter, are other players to watch for Neumann-Goretti.
Archbishop Wood (13-3 overall, 9-0 in the PCL) has won 11 in a row, averaging 77.8 points.
The Vikings feature an all-junior starting lineup led by guards Rahsool Diggins (19.8) and Jaylen Stinson (15) and also including swingmen Daeshon Shepherd (13.3) and Marcus Randolph (13.9) and forward Muneer Newton (7.6).
Both teams are coming off recent double-overtime victories over Roman Catholic in classic battles that kept their perfect seasons alive in PCL play.
Last Friday night, Neumann-Goretti beat the visiting Cahillites 77-69. Sunday afternoon, Archbishop Wood beat Roman, 94-93.
Those games set the stage for Friday night’s showdown, creating a No. 1 vs. No. 2 matchup that will go a long way toward arranging the seeding for the PCL playoffs, which will start in a little more than two weeks.