Underclassmen lead Carroll charge in varsity boys basketball’s unsuccessful battle against Neumann-Goretti

Michael Livingston, Staff writer

The Archbishop Carroll varsity boys basketball team fell to No. 2-state ranked Neumann-Goretti Monday night in the East Gymnasium. The underclassmen duo of Jake West and Nasir Ralls accounted for 39 of the Pats 61 points, while senior Dean Coleman-Newsome also reached double-digit scoring with 10. 

Coming into the night against a top-ranked opponent such as the defending Philadelphia Catholic League Champions Neumann-Goretti Saints, the Pats were looking to steal one as they inch closer and closer to a playoff berth. 

The Saints came into play Monday night sporting a PCL-best 14-2 overall record with a 7-1 PCL spot. 

Head coach Francis Bowe had this to say about the Saints before the game: “You obviously need to respect them, respect their game,” Patriots head coach Francis Bowe said of Neumann-Goretti. “They are extremely well-coached, they got a few D1 guys, and they play their game.”

Despite the daunting task their opponent offered, Carroll made it interesting in the early going. Ralls started one of the Pats best offensive kicks of the night, scoring eight of his team’s 12 first-quarter points, all coming in the last few minutes of the first frame. 

As the game moved into the second quarter, Carroll’s offense began to come to life as they were able to work the ball in transition and find a few good open looks in the paint, a spot which Neumann seemed to have locked up for most of the night. After a few clutch shots from West, the Pats would take their first and only lead of the night as they went ahead 28-26 with three minutes to go in the first half. However, a few careless turnovers later and the Saints were right back in front as they headed into the half leading 31-28. 

From that point on it seemed as though the Pats were never able to get their grove back as the Saints began to run away with the ballgame in the third period. Neumann would soon take a 15-point lead that would only be suppressed by yet another scoring run from Ralls who, after subbing in late in the quarter, would drop in a deuce and then head to the line for another two points in just the last minute of the quarter. 

The fourth quarter would prove to be more of the same from the Carroll offense. After starting off with some signs of life, the Neumann defense would prove to be too much. After a five-point possession from the Saints that came as a result of less-than-stellar rebounding and excessive fouls, the Saints seemed to have it all wrapped up as they took a 66-53 lead late. West would catch fire again down the stretch draining a few shots, but it would be all for naught as the clock hit triple zeroes and the Pats fell.

What the Pats had going for them Monday night  was the unwavering play of young guards Ralls and West. For nearly the entire night it seemed that the Carroll offense was running through one of the Pats two young offensive stars as they showed great resilience even in the face of certain defeat to one of the Catholic league’s best. 

Coach had some high praise for his young duo postgame.

“Yea, man, it’s really important for them to grow; great to see them showing up big in such a spot,” Bowe said. “We obviously didn’t get the result we wanted but it was still awesome to see that from them.”

The Patriots now drop to 12-6 on the year with a 5-4 clip in the PCL as they prepare to face off with the Tide of Devon Prep (10-7, 3-6 PCL) this Friday in the East Gym for a 6 p.m. tip-off.