NEUMANN-GORETTI 60, ST. JOSEPH'S PREP 42
The Catholic League championship trophy is staying at 11th and Moore.
Boosted by an early flurry of three-pointers and 27 points from rising junior wing guard Ja'Quan Newton, Neumann-Goretti easily handled St. Joseph's Prep, 60-42, Monday night at the packed Palestra to earn its fifth straight title.
"I think this is the best one in my three years here," Newton said. "We had some adversity during the season, stuck together, and made this thing happen."
It marked N-G's ninth title in the last 13 seasons and 19th overall. In the first half, when they led by as many as 12 points, the Saints (20-5) shot 5 for 7 from three-point territory.
"We're not your classic three-point shooting team," N-G coach Carl Arrigale said, "but we can make them when we're in rhythm and shooting with confidence."
N-G, which has found another gear since suffering a blowout loss to Chester earlier this month, was helped by senior forward John Davis (11 points, 11 rebounds) and 6-foot-5 junior Tony Toplyn (six boards, five points, two blocks).
Newton, a Division I recruit, shot 8 for 15 from the field (3 for 4 on treys) and 8 for 11 from the line. He added six boards and three assists.
"There was no way I was going to let us lose," he said. "I was determined to have a big night."
Morris and the Hawks (20-5) fell short of their first title since 2004, when they bested Cardinal Dougherty, 84-61, at La Salle University. In last year's final, the Prep lost to N-G, 59-57, in overtime.
Newton's buzzer-beating trey at the end of the first quarter gave the Saints a 19-9 lead. He did almost same at the end of the second frame, this time banking home a bomb from up top with two seconds to go to make it 32-22.
"He stepped up for us when we needed it," N-G senior point guard Hanif Sutton said. "I tried to get him the ball, let me do his thing."
Down by 35-28 in the third quarter, the Prep briefly made things interesting. Kyle Thompson's back-to-back threes cut the gap to 35-34. But the Saints responded with a 10-0 run.
The Hawks, who fell behind by 12-2, were paced by Steve Vasturia's 14 points, five boards, and three assists.
In Friday's District 12 Class AAA final, 7 p.m. at St. Joseph's University, Neumann-Goretti will represent the Catholic League against Public League titlist Imhotep Charter.
On Thursday, 7:30 p.m. at Southern, the Prep, as the Catholic League's No. 2 seed in Class AAAA, will take on Bartram, the Public League's No. 2 seed, for third place and a spot in the PIAA state tournament. The loser will be eliminated.
St. Joseph's Prep 9 13 12 8-42
Neumann-Goretti 19 13 10 18-60
SJP: Steve Vasturia 14, Miles Overton 8, Chris Clover 11, Kyle Thompson 9.
NG: Hanif Sutton 2, Ja'Quan Newton 27, Tony Toplyn 5, John Davis 11, Lamarr Kimble 4, Troy Harper 4, Jamal Custis 5, John Mastrando 2.