The state tournament might be a good time for the real Roman Catholic basketball team to stand up.
It definitely will be the Cahillites’ last chance.
Is Roman Catholic the team that beat Methacton and New Jersey powerhouse Camden in the regular season and took down higher-seeded Bonner-Prendergast and Archbishop Wood on its way to an appearance in the Philadelphia Catholic League title game?
Or the team that lost 10 games, finished in fifth place in the league and committed 27 turnovers Saturday in dropping a 71-60 decision to Simon Gratz in the District 12 Class 6A title game Saturday at Lincoln?
Roman Catholic has dropped out of The Inquirer’s Southeastern Pennsylvania Top 10 this week, mainly because Gratz jumped ahead of the Cahillites in the pecking order and every other team in the rankings either won or was idle.
But this still is a team with victories over No. 2 Archbishop Wood, No. 4 Methacton and No. 5 Bonner-Prendergast as well as Camden, which is 25-1 and No. 1 in New Jersey according to nj.com rankings. Those are premium-quality wins.
With just one senior in the starting lineup in guard Lynn Greer III and heavy reliance on talented young players such as sophomores Jalen Duren and Justice Williams and freshman Zxayvier Brown, Roman Catholic’s inconsistency is understandable.
But it’s March. It’s time for teams to define themselves, once and for all. Roman Catholic has one last chance to clarify itself, starting with a PIAA Class 6A first-round game vs. dangerous Coatesville on Saturday at Cardinal O’Hara.
Two wins away? A likely rematch with District 1 champion Methacton in the state quarterfinals.
Here’s the new Southeastern Pennsylvania Top 10, with last week’s rankings in parentheses:
1. Neumann Goretti (1) 22-4: Jordan Hall went for 19 points with five assists as the Saints beat High School of the Future, 69-52, to capture the District 12 Class 3A city title. Four players scored in double figures for Neumann Goretti, with another player with nine. The Saints, who have won the Catholic League and city titles, will open pursuit of the PIAA Class 3A state crown Saturday vs. Brandywine Heights at Archbishop Wood.
2. Archbishop Wood (2) 20-5: Daeshon Shepherd scored 17 with five rebounds and Jaylen Stinson collected 13 points with eight rebounds as the Vikings held off a fierce challenge from Martin Luther King to capture the District 12 Class 5A city crown by a 60-57 score. Archbishop Wood, which has won 18 of 20, will begin PIAA Class 5A play Friday vs. Strath Haven at Bonner-Prendergast.
3. Westtown School (3) 24-7: The Moose’s season is complete. They won 12 of their final 13 games and captured their third Pennsylvania independent schools state title in the last five years.
4. Methacton (5) 26-2: Senior guard Erik Timko hit his first seven shots on his way to 27 points and senior center Jeff Woodward collected 20 points, 12 rebounds and four blocks as the Warriors won the District 1 Class 6A title with a 73-48 victory over Cheltenham on Saturday at Temple. Methacton is 24-1 since Dec. 14, with the lone loss by two points to District 3 champion Wilson-West Lawn. Methacton will open PIAA Class 6A play Saturday vs. Harrisburg at Plymouth Whitemarsh.
5. Bonner-Prendergast (7): Senior swingman Oscar Uduma hit a trio of three-pointers in the fourth quarter and finished with four rebounds, four assists and four steals in a 64-58 win over Imhotep Charter in the District 12 Class 4A city title game at La Salle College High. Senior guard Tyreese Watson added 14 points with five rebounds and five assists for Bonner-Prendergast, which has won eight of 10, with both losses by two points. Bonner-Prendergast will begin PIAA Class 4A play Friday vs. Eastern York at St. Joseph’s Prep.
6. Malvern Prep (6) 25-5: The Friars, who lost in the PAISAA state final to Westtown School, will meet Gonzaga College High School of Washington, D.C., in the first round of the Alhambra Catholic Invitational Tournament on March 12 at Frostburg (Md.) State.
7. West Chester East (8) 26-2: Junior guards Mike Dedda and Kiernan Hefferan each hit a pair of three-pointers in a decisive third quarter as the Vikings pulled away from Penn Wood and scored a 67-43 victory in the District 1 Class 5A title game Saturday at Temple. Senior Andrew Carr, a Delaware recruit, went for 23 points with 12 rebounds for East, which will meet Gettysburg in its PIAA Class 5A opener Friday at Norristown.
8. Bishop McDevitt (9) 17-7: Senior forward Jamil Manigo scored 24 and senior guard Robert Smith added 16 as the Lancers beat SLA Beeber, 74-53, in a District 12 Class 3A seeding game Wednesday at Father Judge. Bishop McDevitt, which has won 11 of 12, will play Camp Hill in the first round of the PIAA Class 3A tournament Saturday at Milton Hershey.
9. Math, Civics & Science (10) 22-5: The Mighty Elephants have been off since beating Gratz for the Public League title Feb. 22 at Temple. MC&S will open defense of its PIAA Class 2A state title with a first-round game vs. Schuylkill Haven on Saturday at Archbishop Ryan.
10. Simon Gratz (NR) 21-5: The Bulldogs’ pressure defense forced 27 turnovers in a 71-60 victory over Roman Catholic in the District 12 Class 6A city title game Saturday at Lincoln. The impressive win surely was a source of considerable pride for Gratz, since it marked the lone triumph for the Public League vs. the Catholic League in eight District 12 city-title play-in or seeding games this season. Gratz will open PIAA Class 6A play Saturday vs. Garnet Valley at Lincoln.