The Carroll Times

The Student News Site of Archbishop John Carroll High School

The Carroll Times

The Carroll Times

Pats down West Catholic, continue to prep for playoffs

Ava Bannon
Freshman guard Darrell Davis gets some air on a layup.

With only four days left in the Philadelphia Catholic League regular season, the Archbishop Carroll varsity boys basketball team is still fighting for more.

Following the club’s 57-45 win over West Catholic on Wednesday night in the East Gym, the Pats move to 7-5 on the year and steer within a game of Father Judge, who holds the sixth seed in the Catholic League playoffs. 

A Carroll win over Judge and a Judge loss to La Salle on Sunday would warrant a situation where the Pats would jump the Crusaders in the PCL standings and move to the sixth seed. It would mark the first time the Pats have reached the elusive sixth seed in the program’s history, moving the club out of the play-in round and just a singular win away from advancing to the Catholic League semi-finals at the Palestra. 

“It’s special, but it’s not the end-all be-all,” said Carroll head coach Francis Bowe. “But what makes it special is that we’ve never been there — we’ve never gotten to the sixth. We’ve gotten to the seventh before but we’ve never gotten to the sixth. So, no complaints.”

The Pats have historically struggled towards the end of the season and especially into the playoffs. They have never reached the elusive sixth seed, instead falling into the depths of the play-in round — that being the PCL’s four-team first round between the seventh and 10th seeds. The winners of the two games head to face the league’s first and second seeds and nearly always meet a quick demise. Instead, if Carroll were to snag the sixth seed, they’d faceoff with the third seed and gain some extra rest while also seeing a situation that would allow them to win only one game before heading to the league semis at the Palestra. 

To get to that point, however, Carroll will need to play some of their best ball of the season. As they prepare for the incumbent Father Judge on Friday, the Pats will be coming off a strong win over a mediocre West Catholic club and riding a high on their two-game win streak along with a recent close loss to Roman Catholic. 

“We feel great right now,” said sophomore guard Nasir Ralls. “We’re playing for each other and keeping the energy high. That’s the real reason why we are winning most of these games because all of us can contribute. But we just got to stick together and it will all work out.”

Sticking together has been the motto for the club for some time now, and since it started to be a topic of discussion around the midway point of the Catholic League season, Carroll has been playing some of their best basketball. 

Teams that don’t stick together usually have trouble finding ways out of sticky situations.  They’ll see a miscommunication or start playing for themselves, all the while digging their team a deeper hole. Neither of these things happened to Carroll on Wednesday. Even after quickly blowing an eight-point lead in the early going, the Pats struck right back and pulled away for the remainder of the first half, keeping West at arm’s length while forcing a few turnovers and capitalizing on the other end with transition buckets. 

As halftime closed, it was more of the same. Carroll held a six-point lead but saw it evaporate quickly as West got right in it and forced a Carroll timeout. This is when the young Pats team that continues to love each other unconditionally, showing it day in and day out, on and off the court, pulled away for the second and final time. 

The Pats would make it nearly a 10-point lead after three and continue to grow the lead into the fourth period. They’d eventually water down the Burrs and force them into submission in the final few minutes, escaping with yet another Catholic League win. 

“I feel like we’re at a good spot,” said sophomore guard and captain Ian Williams. “There is a lot of room to get better. Going into the playoffs, we’re going to watch film, get better as a unit, and find ways to win. No team is 100 percent so I think we’re at the 75 to 80 percent mark. We just need to put some work in there. So we just need to keep working and getting better and we’ll be alright.”

With the win, Carroll moves to a game and a half behind Father Judge in the standings. The Pats will now move on to Friday night’s Student Appreciation Night as the Pats honor their student section against Father Judge for a 6:30 pm start. 

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