Neumann-Goretti won its first-ever PIAA boys' Class AAA championship Friday night at Penn State's Bryce Jordan Center, nipping Chartiers Valley, 65-63, in a fast-paced, heart-stopping victory.
Chartiers Valley senior guard T.J. McConnell, who scored a game-high 32 points, took a fadeaway three-pointer from the right wing with two seconds remaining that could have sent Neumann-Goretti home devastated. But junior guard Lamin Fulton put a hand up, McConnell's shot hit the front of the rim, and the Saints began the celebration.
Wake Forest-bound senior Tony Chennault led the Saints with a double-double of 18 points and 12 rebounds. Rider-bound 6-foot-6 forward Danny Stewart added 17 points and 12 boards, and Mustafaa Jones (Hartford) dropped 14 on 4-of-10 three-point shooting.
The winning point was a free throw by Fulton, who made 1-of-2 with 29.8 seconds to play.
“I don’t care if I missed 30 foul shots and we won,” Fulton said. “We just won, period.”
Tyreek Duren (LaSalle, seven points) then made 1-of-2, and McConnell went for the win, not the tie, but fell just short.
"You know we're one point away from being the number one team in the nation, right?" Fulton said.
That's correct. A 97-96 loss to Yates High School, Texas' undefeated Class 4A state champion and the No. 1 team in the country on ESPN Rise, is the Saints' only blemish this season. Neumann-Goretti finishes its historic campaign ranked No. 2 nationally by ESPN Rise.