Private Schools; Repeats Dominate Friday at the PIAA Championships

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HERSHEY, Pa. (D9SPORTS) – Private schools and repeat champions dominated the first day of the PIAA basketball championships Friday at the Giant Center in Hershey, Pa.

A pair of titles were won by Philadelphia’s Neumann-Goretti High School with the Saints girls’ taking home the Class AA girls’ championships game, 65-28, over North Star to start things off and the Neumann boys closed the evening with a record-setting 99-66 win over Mars in the Class AAA championship game. It was the second straight title for the Saints girls and the third straight and sixth in seven years for the Saints boys.

The 99 points by the Neumann boys were the most-ever in a PIAA title game.

In between Neumann’s wins Kennedy Catholic returned the boys’ Class A title to Hermitage for the first time since 2001 with a 71-60 win over Philadelphia’s Math, Civics and Science and Cumberland Valley took home its third consecutive Class AAAA girls’ championship with a 57-34 win over Cardinal O’Hara.

Here’s a breakdown of each game.

CLASS AAA BOYS – NEUMANN-GORETTI 99, MARS 66

HERSHEY, Pa. – Neumann-Goretti set a PIAA scoring record Friday night in winning its third straight PIAA Class AAA title and its sixth in seven years with a 99-66 win over Mars at the Giant Center in Hershey.

The 99 points are the most ever scored in a PIAA title game – boys or girls – bettering a mark that was set 39 years ago by Elk Lake in a 94-60 win over Shanksville.

It was the first time in 21 years that a team even reached 90 points. Shady Side Academy’s boys beat Annville-Cleona, 90-75, in the 1995 Class AA game. And it was just the sixth time ever that a team has reached 90 points. In 1962, Uniontown beat Norristown, 90-57, in Class AAA boys, in 1965 Midland topped Steelton-HIghspire, 90-61, in Class AAA boys and in 1967 Ambridge toppled Chester, 93-61, in Class AAA.

The Saints had three chances to become the first team to 100 but had a turnover and two missed shots in the final 30 seconds.

Mars was competitive for the better part of a quarter and was tied at 21 with two minutes to go in the first quarter.

But Quade Green and Vaughn Covington hit 3-pointers for the Saints to help them gain a 29-23 lead at the end of the quarter.

Neumann then went on a half-closing 15-5 run to push the lead to 20, 53-33, at the break.

Zane Martin scored a game-high 33 points on 14 of 22 shooting for the Saints. He was 12 of 14 from inside the arc and added five rebounds. Green added 25 points while hitting four 3-pointers and also had nine rebounds and eight assists. Rasheed Brown chipped in 18 points, seven rebounds and seven assists and Covington had 11 points.

John Castello led Mars with 21 points and seven rebounds with Robby Carmody adding 20 points and six boards and Alex Gruber 10 tallies.

Neumann shot a blistering 60.3 percent from the field (38 of 63) including 11 of 24 from beyond the arc, while Mars was 26 of 45 (40 percent) including just 6 of 21 from 3-point range.

NOTES – In the fourth quarter, attendance was announced for the day. The first session had 3,274 and the second session 4,961. The Giant Center holds 10,500.

CLASS AAAA GIRLS – CUMBERLAND VALLEY 57, CARDINAL o’HARA 34

HERSHEY, Pa. – Cumberland Valley became the first public school to take home a PIAA basketball title in 2016 winning its third straight Class AAAA girls’ title with a 57-34 win over Cardinal O’Hara.

Leading by just three, 15-12, at the end of the first quarter, the Eagles outscored Cardinal O’Hara 15-5 in the second quarter to grab a 30-17 halftime lead.

That lead never dipped into single digits the entire second half.

Villanova recruit Kelly Jekot led the way for Cumberland Valley with a game-high 28 points to go with seven rebounds and four assists. Addison Kirkpatrick added a doubel-double with 12 points and 10 rebounds.

Cardinal O’Hara was paced by 11 points from Mackenzie Gardler, just a sophomore. Hannah Nihill, a junior added, 10 points.

Cumberland Valley outrebounded the Lions 38-15. The Eagles shot 52.4 percent from the field (22 of 42) while Cardinal O’Hara was 11 of 38 (28.9 percent).

CLASS A BOYS’ – KENNEDY CATHOLIC 71, MATH, CIVICS AND SCIENCE 60

HERSHEY, Pa. – Kennedy Catholic had a target on its back all season long.

Through no real fault of the kids – the system, now that’s a different story – the Golden Eagles were built to win the PIAA title. They had transfers from Sharon. Players brought in from Mali.

Expectations were through the roof. And that loss to Farrell in last year’s semifinal game was hanging over them.

But the kids banded together and won the school’s first PIAA title since 2001 with a 71-60 in over Math, Civics and Science High School in the boys’ Class A title game at the Giant Center in Hershey.

West Virginia recruit Sagaba Konate, one of the African recruits, had a monster game scoring 17 points and grabbing 22 rebounds.

Jason Austin, over from Sharon, added 16 points, five assists and five rebounds, while Drew Magestro, also over from Sharon, chipped in 14 points with Channing Phillips scoring 10 points.

Math, Civics and Science, which at one point was 5-13, couldn’t quite finish off the dream finish.

Malik Archer led the Mighty Elephants with a game-high 21 points. Tymair Johnson and Ed Croswell each added 10 points.

Kennedy led 21-15 at the end of the first quarter and pushed the lead to nine, 37-28, at halftime.

But MCS got back within one, 37-36, early in the third quarter before a 9-0 run by the Golden Eagles pushed the lead back into double digit, 48-36, late in the third quarter.

The Kennedy lead then grew to as many 16, 55-39, early in the fourth quarter.

CLASS AA GIRLS – NEUMANN-GORETTI 65, NORTH STAR 28

HERSHEY, Pa. – Neumann-Goretti and its four Division I recruits proved to be way too much for North Star winning its second straight PIAA Class AA girls’ title with a 65-28 win at the Giant Center in Hershey Friday afternoon.

Alisha Kebbe led the Saints, who used a 24-5 second quarter to lead 43-15 at halftime, with 20 points and seven rebounds. Chyna Nixon added 14 points and six rebounds, while Kamiah Smalls added 11 points and Morgan Lenahan 10.

Courtney Schrock paced North Star, which was down just three, 10-7, late in the first quarter before a 17-3 run by the Saints put the game away early, with 14 points bringing a bittersweet end to fantastic career that saw her score over 1,000 career points

Junior Jackie Stanko also had a bittersweet day, as she netted nine points including her 1,000th career tally.

NOTES – With Neumann’s win, a public school hasn’t won the Class AA girls’ title since 2000, when Karns City did so … The Saints shot 48.4 percent (30 of 62) from the field and had 20 steals scoring 33 points off 27 Cougars turnovers … North Star shot just 28.1 percent (9 of 32) from the field.


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