Go ahead, Shep Garner says, and point to talent-filled Archbishop Carroll and five-time defending titlist Neumann-Goretti as the clear frontrunners in the race for the Catholic League championship.
"It's OK," said the senior combo guard from Roman Catholic. "That's big-time motivation for us. It's kind of like we're being disrespected. We're looking forward to playing both of those teams. We have the dates circled on our calendar."
With the Penn State-State bound Garner and Drexel commit Rashann London leading the way, the Cahillites should be viewed as a contender to take home the program's first crown since 2007.
"If we can stay humble and hungry, you never know," Roman coach Chris McNesby said after Monday night's 77-48 league romp at Father Judge.
Against Judge, the 6-foot-2, 185-pound Garner produced 11 points, four assists, four steals, and four rebounds. He shot 3 for 4 from three-point territory in the first quarter.
"He's been through everything at the high school level," McNesby said. "He has that poise you look for in a senior player."
The Cahillites, who held off visiting Lansdale Catholic by 78-74 on Tuesday, are 8-2 overall and 2-0 in Catholic League action.
"We have a strong rotation," Garner said. "One of our strengths is our bench. There are so many kids ready to go. Everybody practices hard."
Sophomore Tony Carr, who transferred in from Abington Friends, is Roman's point guard, with Garner and London positioned on the wings. Garner was often the floor general last season.
Said McNesby: "I think Shep naturally likes to be off the ball, where he can get up and go."
Also in the mix for Roman are 6-6 junior forwards TreVaughn Wilkerson and Manny Taylor, 6-5 senior Carnell McGirt, 6-4 junior wing Gemil Holbrook, a transfer from Penn Wood, and up-and-coming freshman guard D'Andre Vilmar.
"We have a lot of different combinations we can use," Garner said. "I think that presents problems for other teams. They have to adjust to the things we're doing."
London netted 17 points, four assists, and four steals against Judge; Carr posted eight assists, six steals, and seven second-quarter points; Holbrook (12), Taylor (11), and Vilmar (10) also scored in double figures.
Of Wilkerson, who dished there assists, Garner said, "He's the glue to our team. Without him, we're nowhere near as good as we are. He does so much for us."
Roman, ranked No. 3 in Southeastern Pennsylvania by The Inquirer, will clash with No. 1 Archbishop Carroll (8-1, 3-0) at 2:30 p.m. Sunday at Philadelphia University.
"They've played a good schedule, we've played a good schedule," McNesby said. "We're looking forward to it. But we first have to take care of business [Friday at home] against La Salle."
Tap-ins. Former Imhotep Charter star Brandon Austin confirmed Wednesday that he is transferring from Providence to Oregon. It is expected the 6-6 wing will be eligible to play for the Ducks in December of next season. ... Council Rock North senior guard Chris Rowland, who has hits 13 treys, is averaging 13.7 points. ... Germantown Academy has been spurred on offense by Tim Guers (15.9 ppg., 4.1 apg.), Sam Lindgren (15.5 ppg., 7.9 rpg.), and Evan-Eric Longino (10 ppg., 7.7 rpg.). Guers (16) and Lindgren (13) have combined for 29 threes. ... Downingtown West's top scorers are Ryan Betley (14 ppg., 23 treys), Sean Loerzel (13 ppg.), and Josh Warren (12 ppg., 8 rpg.). ... Friends' Central junior guard Jonathan Lawton (23.4 ppg.) has hit 32 threes. ... For Downingtown East, 6-7 sophomore Cary Angeline, who has a scholarship offer in football from Miami (Fla.), is averaging 22 points. ... New Hope-Solebury's Spencer Tinkel and Jack Dougherty average 16.8 and 14.8 points, respectively. ... William Tennent's Matt Alden, a senior guard, is averaging 19.3 points. Next in line for the Panthers is sophomore forward John Ryan (12.1 ppg.). ... Perkiomen Valley senior Purnell Wilson is averaging 18 points. ... Hatboro-Horsham's go-to scorers are Zach Quattro (18.1 ppg.) and Walt Kimble (11.1 ppg.). Quattro, a 6-6 senior forward, is bound for Le Moyne, a Division II program in Syracuse, N.Y. ... Phil-Mont Christian's Zach Dolton is averaging 19.3 points. Next in line for the Falcons are Micah Baldez (13.2 ppg.), and Sean Griffin (9.4 ppg.) ... Coatesville, under first-year coach Chuck Moore, has been fueled by Kevin Crutchfield (12.3 ppg.), Jaquan Hollingshed (10.5 ppg.), and Tyler Burke (9.8 ppg.). ... Haverford School's Lamar Stevens, a 6-7 sophomore, is averaging 15 points, seven rebounds, and three blocks.