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The Carroll Times

The Carroll Times

Carroll boys basketball clinches trip to state semifinals with win over Carver

Carroll girls basketball falls to Parkland in the quarterfinals

With a 60-42 win Friday night over Philadelphia’s Carver Engineering and Sciences, the Archbishop Carroll Varsity Boys Basketball team clinched a trip to the state semifinals for the second time in three years, but, this time, with no veteran players.

Two seasons ago when the Pats made their way to the state semifinals, it was behind a core of veterans that included Dean Coleman, Seamus Rogers, Moses Hipps, Blake Deegan, Jake West, and Su’Meer Alleyne. Since then, the Pats went through a few dramatic changes, the most notable of which was this past offseason, when the Pats graduated top seniors like Coleman, Deegan, and Rogers while also seeing the departure of West because of PIAA restrictions on re-classing. 

With those departures came a new and very different group of young players headlined by freshmen Munir Greig and Darrell Davis. The new year also saw the elevation of guys like sophomore Ian Williams, who went from a role player and facilitator to the captain and top offensive option. Luca Foster, who spent most of last season on junior varsity, sprouted into a high-end division prospect, fielding offers from schools like Penn State and Temple. Nasir Ralls, Nate Rusike, and Drew Corrao also have made huge strides to fill the holes left by last season’s club.

“He doesn’t treat us like youngins no more,” Williams said regarding Head Coach Francis Bowe. “We are not young to him anymore. He looks at us like seniors and juniors now. So there is a lot of responsibility behind it now, just knowing that we are not young. He isn’t falling for the little petty mistakes because he knows that we are all Division One players or higher, so him not sugar coating it for us anymore has been pushing us to get better each and every day throughout the season. We’re getting so much better from that.”

Despite all the challenges pertaining to the roster’s age and turnover, Bowe aimed to win the Philadelphia Catholic League title. The Pats got closer this season than they did in years, coming just seconds away from a bid in the PCL semi-finals at the Palestra in a loss to Neumann-Goretti. With a loss to Scranton Prep on Friday night, Neumann dropped out of playoff contention and ruined Carroll’s chance to get revenge on the Saints for the PCL loss. 

However, that doesn’t change much for Carroll, which now has its sights set on the state title. The Pats are only two wins away from becoming the youngest state champion in PIAA history if they can keep up the hot play.

The play certainly wasn’t hot, however, when the first quarter hit for Carroll Friday evening at Pottstown High School. Some sloppy play let Carver get out to an early 6-2 lead. Still, the period finished with the Pats ahead 9-8.

As the first half went on, Carroll was able to hold the Engineers to around a three-point margin for the majority of the second quarter. It got tight at a few points as Carver forced nearly 10 Patriot turnovers in the period. 

“We really started slow today,” said freshman guard Davis. “We looked at this team like, we just beat them by 40 [earlier this season]; they’re not going to have an impact on us and then we were just being selfish and we were not hitting the open man. I don’t know what it is for us; we just can’t kick these bad habits. As we worked through the game and halftime came around, Coach Bowe cursed us out again and we came out working better.”

As the story has gone for the last two weeks, the Pats came out in the second half and stepped on their opponent’s throat. Carroll led the third quarter 21-7 in the scoring column while holding the Engineers to only two points in the period until the final minute. By the period’s end, the Pats held nearly a 20-point lead and had full control of the game’s momentum. 

It didn’t take too long in the fourth period for Carroll to take control, making some big shots and continuing to lock down Carver on defense before bringing the game to an end. 

“I think it just shows how tough the journey these guys are taking is, always getting them to stay engaged and re-engaged,” Bowe said. “Like, in the first half today, we were not engaged. In the second half, we came back on, so it’s like that in practice and during other games in the year, but if they want to be great and they want to do good things, they can.”

With the win the Pats move on to the PIAA 4A state semifinals against Scranton Prep. Tip-off is 7 p.m. Monday night at Liberty High School in Bethlehem. 

However, the girls lost their PIAA 6A quarterfinal match against Parkland High School on Friday night, 48-37, putting an end to the dream of a repeat of last season’s state championship success.

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