NEUMANN-GORETTI 73, CHESTER 55
Ja'Quan Newton and his Neumann-Goretti teammates were mindful of last season's disappointing showing against fellow powerhouse Chester. Fifteen turnovers spelled a lopsided loss in a nationally-televised contest.
"We kind of came into this one with a chip on our shoulder," the senior standout said of Sunday night's rematch. "We wanted to do the same thing to them that they did to us."
With Newton producing 19 points, the guard-dominated Saints, who this time shined while handling the Clippers' defensive pressure, rolled to a 73-55 triumph in the ninth annual Jameer and Pete Nelson Scholastic Play-By-Play Holiday Classic at Widener.
"We have four guards on the court a lot of times," said Newton, who will continue his career at Miami. "That's a mismatch for most teams."
In reversing last year's 58-41 defeat, N-G, which is 6-2 and ranked No. 2 in Southeastern Pennsylvania by The Inquirer, committed no turnovers in the first quarter and four in the second.
"They have experienced guys and they take care of the basketball," Chester coach Larry Yarbray said.
The No. 3-ranked Clippers (6-1) lost for the first time. "We've played teams with two or three very good players," Yarbray said. "With Neumann-Goretti, it's five, six or seven very good players.We'll get better from it."
The 6-foot-3, 185-pound Newton shot 8 for 14 from the field and 2 for 5 from the line. He added six rebounds and five first-half assists.
"I don't like when people call me a combo guard," Newton said. "I try to be a point guard who can score when needed."
Joining Newton in double-digit scoring were senior guard Troy Harper (16), junior guard Lamar "Fresh" Kimble (15) and 6-6 senior forward Jamal Custis (11). Custis, who will be a wide receiver at Syracuse, gathered nine boards.
"He's starting to get in better basketball shape," N-G boss Carl Arrigale said of Custis. "He's finishing down low. That's important for a big guy."
Harper, Newton, Kimble and rising freshman Quade Green each drilled first-quarter treys as the Saints built a 22-16 lead. In the second quarter, a Custis dunk off a nifty Newton feed, upped it to 33-20.
Harper's three-point play, courtesy of a steal and dish from Green, and Newton's right-side layup at the buzzer made it 41-26 at the break. The Clippers, who committed nine first-half turnovers, never recovered.
Senior guard Mahir Johnson paced Chester with 19 points and three assists. Tyrell Sturdivant, a 6-8 senior forward and Stony Brook recruit, posted 16 points.
Next on tap for N-G is a Catholic League showdown Thursday night at top-ranked Archbishop Carroll.
"That's going to be a big game for us," Newton said. "We're going to go in there and play with a lot of heart."
Neumann-Goretti 22 19 19 13-73
Chester 16 10 21 8-55
NG: Lamar Kimble 15, Troy Harper 16, Tony Toplyn 4, Jamal Custis 11, Ja'Quan Newton 19, Quade Green 5, Vaughn Covington 3.