STATE COLLEGE, Pa. - It's time to fill up the gas tank, get on the expressway, and head to Archbishop Carroll High School. That's where the state's best Class AAA boys' basketball team plays.
As the PIAA state championships are in full swing, it's clear supremacy reigns in Radnor.
Greensburg Salem knows. So do the 8,427 fans that attended last night's PIAA state championship games at Penn State's Bryce Jordan Center.
They witnessed Carroll's 75-54 dismantling of Greensburg Salem in the Class AAA final.
"It's the best feeling of my life," said Patriots forward Kasheef Festus, whose squad is ranked third in Southeastern Pennsylvania by The Inquirer. "I feel as though we just made history."
The Patriots became the first Philadelphia Catholic League team to win a state title in this, the league's first season as an active PIAA member. They also became the first District 12 team to win a Class AAA state title.
The historic moment didn't come as a surprise.
After beating Catholic League Blue Division rival Neumann-Goretti in the quarterfinals, Carroll was on its way. The Saints were heavily favored to win the crown.
Just like they did against Neumann-Goretti, the Patriots (27-3) showed a lot of determination last night. As a result, the Golden Lions (23-6) didn't have a chance.
Carroll was just too big and too fast for Greensburg Salem.
Unable to penetrate past the Patriots, the Golden Lions committed 15 turnovers. Unable to stop Carroll, Greensburg gave up numerous transition baskets.
"We knew they were smaller than us," Patriots senior forward Andre Wilburn said. "So we tried to get the ball down to our big guys. We also tried to push the ball as much as possible."
Taking advantage, Festus, Wilburn and teammates D.J. Irving and Juan'ya Green all scored in double digits.
Festus finished with a team-high 18 points to go with six rebounds, two blocks, and a steal.
Irving, a junior point guard, added 17 points, seven steals, six rebounds, two assists and a block. Green, a sophomore guard, finished with 16 points, five assists, five rebounds, and three steals. Wilburn had 12 points, seven rebounds, and two steals.
Junior swingman Ben Mingledough (eight points and six rebounds) was also effective.
Carroll scored eight fast-break points and held a 24-14 points-in-the-paint advantage at intermission. The Patriots had a 46-20 advantage for the game.
"I can't even explain it right now," Wilburn said of winning the state title. "At the beginning of the season, I told a lot of people this team could really do something."
Greensburg Salem 14 11 9 20 - 54
Archbishop Carroll 16 21 20 18 - 75
GS: Bobby Davis 2, Jerry Cooley 3, Chris Klinchock 16, Jake Matthews 22, Gus Marino 2, Zach Elliott 2, Drew Manley 2, Trey Parsley 3, Casey Hope 2.
AC: Kasheef Festus 18, Andre Wilburn 12, D.J. Irving 17, Ben Mingledough 8, Juan'ya Green 16, Trevor McNulty 2, Pat Daly 2.