Four teams in the Philadelphia Catholic League will advance to the semifinals Wednesday night at the Palestra.
Those four will be decided by Friday night’s quarterfinals, all of which will tip off at 7 p.m. at the site of the higher-seeded team. Here’s a closer look at the quarterfinals:
No. 8 seed Archbishop Carroll (15-8) at No. 1 Archbishop Wood (18-4): The visiting Patriots are coming off a 74-66 victory over ninth-seeded St. Joseph’s Prep in Wednesday night’s preliminary-round action.
Carroll looked sharp at the offensive end, showing good ball movement and draining 10 three-pointers. The Patriots have a solid inside-out attack, with senior center Tairi Ketner serving as a daunting one-on-one matchup in the paint and junior swingmen John Camden and Anquan Hill capable of scoring from distance.
Freshman guard Dean Coleman-Newsome, who scored 20 points against the Prep, and senior guard Amiri Stewart, a top defender and glue guy, are other players to watch for Carroll.
Wood earned the regular-season title and top seed with a 13-1 mark in league play, its lone loss at then-No. 1-ranked Neumann Goretti. The Vikings started five juniors but have looked ready to win now with smart, steady and highly skilled play.
Leading the way has been point guard Rahsool Diggins, one of the area’s top recruits in the class of 2021. Diggins teams with the versatile Jaylen Stinson to form one of the city’s best backcourts.
Daeshon Shepherd and Marcus Randolph are rangy, athletic swingmen and Muneer Newton provides most of the presence in the paint for the Vikings.
Wood beat Carroll in the regular season, 80-61, on Jan. 31.
No. 5 Roman Catholic (14-8) at No. 4 Bonner-Prendergast (17-4): It’s a measure of the astounding depth of the PCL that Roman Catholic, with perhaps the city’s top pro prospect in 6-foot-9 sophomore Jalen Duren and two or three other surefire Division I players, is the fifth seed.
Duren has been close to unguardable in the paint. He also is a surprisingly good passer. Springy sophomore guard Justice Williams, who like Duren was invited to the USA junior national team’s summer training camps, has emerged as a top playmaker and perfect complement to smooth senior guard Lynn Greer III.
Bonner has fashioned a sensational season without a starter who stands taller than 6-2. The Friars are led by senior guards Tyreese Watson and Donovan Rodriguez as well as junior guard Malik Edwards, who probably is the team’s purest scorer. Senior swingman Oscar Uduma and senior guard Connor Eagan are solid role players as well.
Bonner earned this home game largely on the basis of its 81-75 win at Roman on Jan. 7.
No. 6 Cardinal O’Hara (16-6) at No. 3 Neumann Goretti (18-4): The visiting Lions have put together a winning record in the PCL for the first time since 2001, according to coach Ryan Nemetz.
The highlight of the Lions’ strong season might have been last Friday’s 61-54 win over Neumann Goretti, a feat the visitors will try to repeat in the Saints’ little gymnasium in the quarterfinals.
O’Hara has been led by three guards in senior Tre Dinkins and juniors Anthony Purnell and Adrian Irving. All three can score from deep and get to the rim, and all three are disruptive on defense. Junior forward Solo Bambara is the team’s top player in the paint and could be an X factor.
Neumann Goretti went 2-2 down the stretch after looking for most of the season like the clear No. 1 team in the league. The Saints were slowed a bit by some injuries but have shown improved health and still project as perhaps the most dangerous team in the field.
Senior guard Hakim Byrd and senior swingmen Jordan Hall and Cameron Young lead the way for Neumann Goretti. Junior guard Hysier Miller and junior forward Blaise Vespe are players to watch along with senior swingman Che Evans, who sat out most of the season with an injury but could be poised to make a postseason impact.
No. 7 Archbishop Ryan (15-8) at No. 2 Bishop McDevitt (16-6): The visiting Raiders are coming off a 49-45 win over No. 10 seed West Catholic in Wednesday night’s preliminary round.
Ryan is a gritty, tough team that lost its top offensive option when junior Aaron Lemon-Warren, the league’s top scorer with a 23.9-point average, went down with a foot injury in January. Senior swingman Gediminas Mokseckus, a versatile playmaker, junior guard Dom Vazquez, and senior forward Christian Isopi are athletes to watch for the Raiders.
McDevitt has been the hottest team in the league over the last three-plus weeks. The Lancers have won 10 in a row and beat top 10 teams Neumann Goretti, Bonner-Prendergast, and Roman Catholic in the final eight days of the regular season.
This is a seasoned, senior-heavy team. Senior center Jamil Manigo, a burly playmaker, leads the way along with senior guards Robert Smith, a dynamic scorer, and Ahmir Harris, a crafty floor general.