A postgame quip by an Archbishop Carroll assistant coach perfectly illustrated the effect Neumann-Goretti freshman shot blocker Ta’Quan Woodley had on their Catholic League opener Tuesday.
Woodley’s postgame interview was held adjacent to the entrance to Carroll’s coaches’ room.
“You have to do that right here?” Carroll’s smiling assistant said. “I’ve seen enough of that guy already.”
Woodley’s defense sparked a second-half spurt that helped the Saints run away from the host Patriots, 75-58.
“I always like to go for the ball,” Woodley said. “Every time it’s in the air, I just want it to be mine.”
Woodley claimed five shots, four in the second half, and played well when 6-8 senior teammate Marcus Littles got in foul trouble.
N-G coach Carl Arrigale said Woodley is “leaps and bounds” ahead of where current Villanova freshman and former N-G standout Dhamir Cosby-Roundtree was as a freshman.
“He’s very good on defense,” Arrigale said. “He’s a great shot blocker, and he can play with Marcus or without Marcus.”
The Saints (6-3, 1-0) gave up just 17 total points in the second and third quarters, which helped turn a seven-point edge at the half into a 16-point bulge after three quarters.
“Before, we didn’t really talk [on defense],” Woodley said. “But tonight, we talked, switched and filled our spots on defense.”
Arrigale was also impressed with the unselfishness displayed by Littles when he told his coach to leave Woodley in late because he was playing so well.
“In this day and age, with the selfish basketball that’s around,” Arrigale said, “I’ll go home and sleep well for that alone.”
Offensively, senior Dymir Montague led all scorers with 20 points, and junior guard Chris Ings was all-around brilliant with 16 points (6 of 7), four rebounds and three assists.
His Carroll counterpart, sophomore guard AJ Hoggard, finished with seven points on 3-of-11 shooting and added five assists and a block.
Carroll, however, went long stretches without baskets when the Saints’ defense swarmed in the second half.
The Patriots (5-4, 0-1) were led by Luke House’s 19 points, and Justin Anderson added 18.
Neumann-Goretti hosts Conwell-Egan Friday night and Carroll plays at Cardinal O’Hara.
Neumann-Goretti 16 16 18 25 — 75
Carroll 17 8 9 24 — 58
NG: Chris Ings 16, Dymir Montague 20, Ja’Cor Smith 7, Ahmad Fair 2, Noah Warren 7, Marcus Littles 8, Ta’Quan Woodley 15
AC: Justin Anderson 18, Luke House 19, Devon Ferrero 4, Ny’Mire Little 4, Keyon Butler 6, AJ Hoggard 7.