The Carroll Times

The Student News Site of Archbishop John Carroll High School

The Carroll Times

The Carroll Times

Pats fall just short against heavyweight Roman Catholic

The defending PCL champs, ranked number one in PA, defeated Carroll 49-42

It is no secret that the Archbishop Carroll varsity boys basketball team is young. With zero upperclassmen on their roster, the Pats’ age and inexperience has been well-documented by media and pundits alike this year.

Following a Friday evening of basketball that saw Carroll fight neck and neck in a close 49-42 loss to defending Philadelphia Catholic League champions and number one state-ranked Roman Catholic, it’s become clear that the growth and maturing is coming quicker than some may have bargained for.

“It’s the blessing and curse of coaching young kids,” said Patriots head coach Francis Bowe. “Early on you’re going to have your struggles, but if they truly are basketball players and they truly are bright kids, which they are, they’re going to learn and I didn’t expect anything less. I’m just happy for them because sometimes you can do that and it doesn’t really go like this. We just got to keep building.”

Building is always a core principle of a young team, but few are able to build well. At the beginning of the Catholic League season, the Pats were touted as one of the most exciting young teams in the league with the potential to make a sneaky run at a PCL title. That hype was, however, quickly extinguished following the team’s 84-57 loss to perennial contender Neumann-Goretti in the PCL season opener.

The Pats went on to fall to league-favorite Archbishop Ryan in their next matchup, before getting blown out by both St. Joe’s Prep and Archbishop Wood. Those losses shed light on the squad’s youth and inexperience.

As a result, coming into Friday night’s game with Roman, not many expected it to be a fair fight.

“[Coming into the game] we got to stay together,” said freshman guard Darrell Davis. “Our game plan was to stay together, play as a team, and don’t split up. We got to play unselfish.”

The Pats seemed to have no issue working together in the first half. They were talking on defense (something which has been lacking in the last few weeks) and taking the game at their own pace on offense. The young core, led by sophomore Ian Williams, took its time getting the ball up the court and waited to find the right play, which resulted in the Pats trailing 12-8 after one.

The second period, however, was when the Pats turned it on. After a pair of threes from sophomore forward Nasir Ralls and freshman guard Darrell Davis, the Pats were rolling with a 16-12 lead that they wouldn’t surrender until the third quarter as Carroll went into the half with a 25-20 lead.

In the third quarter, the tides turned. The Cahillites turned it on, especially on the defensive end, where they held the Pats to only five points throughout the entire quarter. Despite that, the Carroll defense was able to step up as well, keeping the game at a 36-30 mark at the end of the period.

As the fourth quarter began, the Pats came out knocking down a few nice shots. With 2:34 to go in the period, Carroll shaved the Roman lead down to just three at 41-38 and forced an RC timeout. That would, however, be the end of the Patriot effort as Roman’s defense proved to be too much for Carroll in the final minutes of play, holding the Pats to only a point.

“All five of our guys are hungry,” said Williams. “I feel like people think that we are satisfied with where we’re at. Most of us got offers or whatever, but we know we’re to where we want to be so if we just have that mentality and stay together as a unit, it gives us that sparkplug to stay together and try to take every opportunity we get.’’

Next up for the Pats is a Monday night home matchup with Lansdale Catholic. It will be a 6 pm tipoff in the East gym as Carroll begins their final stretch of the season heading into the Catholic League playoffs, which begin next week.

“We can beat anybody,” said Bowe. “If we come and we execute and we do what we have to do, I don’t care what the age of these kids are, we can beat anybody. I mean, following the game, [Roman head] Coach [Chris] McNesby gave us a really nice compliment as we shook hands. He goes, ‘You’re getting better. You’re going to be a tough out.’”

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