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Neumann-Goretti tops rival Wood

Last year, Morgan Lenahan sat in the corner of the gym at Archbishop Wood and took it all in.

Neumann-Goretti senior guard Kamiah Smalls.
Neumann-Goretti senior guard Kamiah Smalls.Read more(Kate Harman/Staff)

Last year, Morgan Lenahan sat in the corner of the gym at Archbishop Wood and took it all in.

The crowd. The noise. The pace of the game. The intensity of the rivalry between the Vikings and Neumann-Goretti.

Back then, Lenahan was a standout guard for Haddon Township in New Jersey. But she was also an AAU teammate of the Saints' A.J. Timbers, who is now at Towson.

Lenahan knew the importance of the game, so she made sure she didn't miss it.

She didn't miss Tuesday's battle, either. This season Lenahan had a front row seat to the "game of the year" as a starter for the Saints.

Goretti outlasted visiting Wood, 45-38, in a rematch of the last two Catholic League championship games.

The Saints (4-0, 1-0 league) have won five straight over the Vikings (2-1, 0-1).

"They gave us a run for our money," senior Kamiah Smalls said. "They came back. They did their thing."

Like that game last January - the one where Lenahan was a spectator - it was the play of Smalls that stood out. Last season, she came off the bench to lead the Saints in scoring. A starter this year, she netted a team-high 15.

"It feels pretty good that I am doing something for this program - to know I am good enough to step up and be a starter for the number one team in the country," the James Madison recruit said.

Late in the game, Smalls' mother, Connie, and aunt, Maryanne, took turns holding up a sign for her.

"Go Kamiah #20," it read, with a JMU emblem on it.

As if on cue, Smalls stepped up, making big plays down the stretch while the Vikings surged back into the contest.

"It was crunch time," Smalls said. "We had to get it done. I knew it was on me at that time to put it in the basket and that's just what I did."

Archbihop Wood 8 5 6 19 - 38

Neumann-Goretti 13 16 7 9 - 45

AW: Katie May 19, Bailey Greenberg 9, Shannon May 3, Kate Connolly 3, Claire Bassetti 2, Meg Neher 2

NG: Kamiah Smalls 15, Chyna Nixon 9, Morgan Lenahan 6, Alisha Kebbe 6, Jabria Ingram 4, Jada Russell 3, Minika Glenn 2.