FOUR CHAMPIONSHIPS in a row. Six of the last eight. Eight of the last 12.
Beyond that, in regular season games and playoffs, Ss. Neumann-Goretti High's basketball team has stormed to 70 consecutive Catholic League victories. Yes, 70!
"We know about the streak, of course, but we don't talk about it too much," said coach Carl Arrigale, who averaged 23-plus wins through his first 14 seasons. "People mention it to us way more than we mention it to them."
So, will it continue?
Well, the Saints return three starters in small forward John Davis (Towson), point guard Hanif Sutton and explosive wing guard Ja'Quan Newton, widely considered the city's best junior. Now part of the rotation, in assorted roles, are Troy Harper, Tony Toplyn (outrageous leaper), Jamal Custis and Lamarr Kimble.
"The four new guys all could have played a lot last year," said Arrigale, whose program also boasts three consecutive AAA state titles. "They were good enough. It's just that high school games aren't long enough. They're dying to get their turn and show what they have.
"I feel we have a very strong rotation. Everybody's looking good so far."
N-G's chief competition among AAA schools will likely be provided by Archbishop Carroll, which boasts point guard Yosef Yacob (Binghamton), 6-6 forward Derrick Jones, considered the city's top freshman prospect in 2011-12, and 6-9 Ernest Aflakpui, a transfer from WAY outside the Philly area (Ghana, in fact).
With only one member of last season's rotation still not around, Archbishop Wood should also cause consternation. The Vikings' headliner is wing sniper Pat Smith, a junior who's being stalked by schools in the Ivy and Patriot leagues.
Look for a three-horse race in AAAA.
In a game of 2-on-2, St. Joseph's Prep would storm to victory thanks to point guard Stephen Vasturia (Notre Dame) and wing guard Miles Overton (Wake Forest). As in most recent years, the Hawks will need to find inside production.
Though the destinations are not as prominent, La Salle also has a pair of D-I signees in combo guard Amar Stukes (La Salle) and wing guard Steve Smith (Fairfield). Once football is over, Ryan Winslow, a Pitt commit for his punting, will lend inside muscle.
After losing four members of its rotation to transfer, most schools would be looking forward to baseball season. Not Roman. Guard Shep Garner is a bright-lights junior, insider TreVaughn Wilkerson is coming off an impressive freshman season and some newcomers are said to be future-franchise material.
Conwell-Egan and West Catholic are the only two AA schools. Each is hoping to find itself by February.
Once again, the CL will feature one division and 10 teams will make the overall playoffs.
There are no new coaches. Ah, but only one of the holdovers can call himself a nominee for the Basketball Hall of Fame. That would be SJ Prep's William "Speedy" Morris.
CATHOLIC LEAGUE THUMBNAILS
(All one division)
Coach: Paul Romanczuk, 10th year (missed '05 on medical leave). Education: Carroll, Penn. Career: 151-90.
Last year: 11-2, 20-8.
Savvy seven: Yosef Yacob, 6-foot, G; Derrick Jones, 6-6, F; Nick Jones, 5-11, G; Joe Mostardi, 6-1, G; Armand Sorrentino, 6-4, G-F; Ernest Aflakpui, 6-9, C; Zafir Copeland, 5-11, G.
Romanczuk's comment: "Progress has been slow but steady with this group. We hope to be at our best in February and March."
Coach: Bernie Rogers, 13th year. Education: Ryan, Ursinus. Career: 178-127.
Last year: 9-4, 18-5.
Savvy seven: Gage Galeone, 5-10, G; Bryan Okolo, 5-10, G; Shawn Miller, 6-foot, F; Brendan Horan, 6-2, F; Tyler Reed, 6-foot, G; Billy Dyken, 6-7, C; Matt Dever, 6-3, F.
Rogers' comment: "The kids are working hard and are anxious to play some games!"
Coach: Jack Walsh, 4th year. Education: Wood, Delaware Valley. Career: 44-27.
Last year: 8-5, 14-9.
Savvy seven: Pat Smith, 6-4, G-F; Joe Lo-Stracco, 6-7, C; Tommy Rush, 5-9, G; Cody Fitzpatrick, 5-9, G; Shane Neher, 6-5, F; Luke Connaghan, 6-4, F; TJ Kuhar, 6-1, G.
Walsh's comment: "We have a good balance of depth and chemistry. Must play hard every minute and be more consistent."
Coach: Jack Rutter, 18th year (missed final 16 games of '05 on medical leave). Education: Dougherty, Alvernia. Career: 158-242.
Last year: 3-10, 12-13.
Savvy seven: Kenyatta Long, 5-11, G; Tymere Wilder, 5-9, G; Diamir Williams, 5-11, G; Carl Garner, 6-4, F; Tyler Thorpe, 6-4, C; Tyreek Fairfax, 6-foot, G; Tyrell Long, 6-6, G-F.
Rutter's comment: "Our team goal is the Palestra. We have some unfinished business."
Coach: Tom Meakim, 4th year. Education: Bonner, Philadelphia Textile. Career: 19-46.
Last year: 1-12, 2-19.
Savvy seven: Pat Vanderslice, 6-5, F; Nick Czibik, 6-6, C; Christian Summers, 6-2, G; Jack Carden, 6-1, G; Danny Ings, 5-11, G; Kevin Dorazo, 6-foot, G; Tim McCaffrey, 6-4, F.
Meakim's comment: "I would like to publicly thank last year's seniors for helping this group get through a difficult year and getting them to where they are now. I like this group's attitude. They are Bonner kids."
Coach: Tim Kelly, 5th year. Education: O'Hara, Muhlenberg. Career: 18-59.
Last year: 5-8, 13-11..
Savvy seven: Mike Louden, 6-1, G; Kareem Walker, 6-1, G; Raymond Harris, 5-9, G; Sean Havink, 6-1, G; Chris Duffin, 5-10, G; Mark Plousis, 6-5, C; Carl Pola, 6-3, F.
Kelly's comment: "Returning five experienced guards. Should be able to score some points, but keys to winning will be ability to get defensive stops and rebound."
Coach: Rick Sabol, 6th year. Education: Conwell-Egan, Kutztown. Career: 60-56.
Last year: 5-8, 12-11.
Savvy seven: Ryan Pepito, 5-7, G; Mike Kelly, 6-1, G; Stevie Jordan, 5-7, G; Brian Carr, 6-1, F; Ibrahim Kamara, 6-3, F; Vinny Dalessandro, 6-4, F; Uriah St. Lewis, 6-foot, F.
Sabol's comment: "We lack size and experience, which is a combination that does not normally lead to success in the Catholic League."
Coach: Sean Tait, 4th year (also Wood, 2009). Education: Judge, Cabrini. Career: 54-36; 38-29 at Judge.
Last year: 5-8, 13-10.
Savvy seven: Sean Hanna, 5-10, G; Jeff Seigafuse, 6-3, G-F; Brandon Maguire, 6-5, F-C; Mike Amrhein, 6-3, F-C; Malik Robinson, 6-3, G-F; Jonmichael O'Connor, 6-foot, G; Will Brazukas, 5-9, G.
Tait's comment: "It's amazing how much can be accomplished if no one cares who gets the credit."
Coach: Ed Enoch, 2nd year (also Penn Charter, 1978-82); Education: Penn Charter, Penn. Career: 3-19 at LC, PC total unavailable.
Last year: 1-12, 3-19.
Savvy seven: Brian Rafferty, 6-2, G; Andrew Riviello, 5-10, G; Kyle Pavlik, 6-2, F; Corey Kirk, 6-2, F; David Eckroth, 6-3, C; Jim Rock, 6-1, G; Cole Sagan, 6-1, F.
Enoch's comment: "We will have to rebound and defend much better than we did last season. We have some kids that can shoot the ball and we will rely heavily on that."
Coach: Joe Dempsey, 9th year. Education: Archbishop Kennedy, Elizabethtown. Career: 106-99.
Last year: 6-7, 11-13.
Savvy seven: Amar Stukes, 6-1, G; Steve Smith, 6-7, G; Ryan Winslow, 6-6, F-C; Alex Cuoci, 6-5, F; Patrick Cooney, 6-1, G; Malik Janifer, 6-1, G; Jalen Herdsman, 6-5, F.
Dempsey's comment: "We have great chemistry. If everyone accepts their role, we could win our share of games. That said, the league is that good."
Coach: Chris McNesby, 5th year. Education: Roman, East Stroudsburg. Career: 70-37.
Last year: 10-3, 17-10.
Savvy seven: Shep Garner, 6-1, G; Rashann London, 6-2, G; Traci Carter, 6-1, G; TreVaughn Wilkerson, 6-6, F; Manny Taylor, 6-6, F-C; Matt Simon, 6-foot, G; Hezekiah Trahan, 6-4, F.
McNesby's comment: "Combination of experience and inexperience on our roster. Expecting some growing pains early, but hope to be good by late February."
ST. JOSEPH'S PREP
Coach: William "Speedy" Morris, 12th year (also Roman, 1968-81; Penn Charter, 1983-84). Education: Roman. Career: 623-169; 235-73 at SJ Prep.
Last year: 11-2, 21-6.
Savvy seven: Stephen Vasturia, 6-5, G; Miles Overton, 6-4, G-F; PJ Kelly, 5-11, G; Kyle Thompson, 6-2, G; Chris Clover, 6-3, G-F; Dan Nedbal, 5-11, G; Ricky Slusarczyk, 6-4, F.
Morris' comment: "Defense is the name of the game. Hopefully, we'll play it."
Coach: Carl Arrigale, 15th year. Education: Penn Charter, Lycoming. Career: 326-79.
Last year: 13-0, 28-3.
Savvy seven:: John Davis, 6-5, F; Ja'Quan Newton, 6-3, G; Hanif Sutton, 5-9, G, Troy Harper, 6-1, G; Tony Toplyn, 6-5, F; Jamal Custis, 6-5, F; Lamarr Kimble, 6-1, G.
Arrigale's comment: "We have a pretty ambitious schedule. We're hoping it puts us where we need to be for the important games at the end of the season."
Coach: Guy Moore, 3rd year (also North Catholic, 2010). Education: Roman, Temple. Career: 26-43; 15-31 at West.
Last year: 3-10, 8-14.
Savvy seven: Jalil Branch, 6-2, F; Chris Baysmore, 5-10, G; Layquan Muhammad, 6-foot, F; Anwar Epps, 5-10, G; Torey Green, 6-2, G; Jalen Roberson-Cosby, 6-foot, G; TaQuan Johnson, 6-4, F.