ROMAN CATHOLIC 71, NEUMANN-GORETTI 64
Roman Catholic, boosted by the heady play of sophomore point guard Tony Carr and stellar free-throwing shooting down the stretch, defied the rankings for a second time.
Earlier this month, the Cahillites upended Archbishop Carroll, then ranked No. 1 in Southeastern Pennsylvania by The Inquirer.
Thursday evening, Chris McNesby's No. 2-ranked squad bumped Neumann-Goretti from the top spot with a 71-64 triumph over the five-time defending Catholic League champs at Philadelphia University.
"Way before we beat Carroll and Neumann, I thought we were the best team in the area," said Carr, who produced 15 points, six rebounds, six assists, and two steals in a scintillating showing.
Roman, which improved to 13-2 overall and 7-0 in Catholic League action, beat N-G (10-4, 5-1) for the first time since 2007.
"It's a nice win," said McNesby, whose team made 11 of 13 free throws in the fourth quarter. "We have a lot of respect for Neumann. But our goal is to win the league championship. We have to work hard every day."
Joining Carr in the backcourt, seniors Rashann London, who is ticketed for Drexel, and Penn State-bound Shep Garner registered 17 and 14 points, respectively. TreVaughn Wilkerson, a 6-foot-6 junior forward, posted six of his eight points in the final 5 minutes.
The 6-foot-2, 180-pound Carr, who joined the Cahillites after playing last year at Abington Friends, shot 6 for 9 from the field (1 from 1 from beyond the arc) and 2 for 2 from the line.
"He's doing a great job of running our team," McNesby said. "He sees the floor well, plays with a lot of poise, and he's picking it up on the defensive end."
Carr may have inherited the calmness from his father, Anthony, who was a standout floor general at Parkway, of the Public League, and Cheyney.
"He had a mentality going into games that no one could stop him," said Tony Carr, who lives near Broad and York in North Philly. "I try to play the same way."
Wilkerson's inside bucket gave Roman a 61-58 edge with 1:25 to play. That's when the Saints opted to commit intentional fouls and test the Cahillites' acumen from the line. They responded by making 10 freebies in a row.
"Coach McNesby always says, 'Making free throws and playing good defense are going to win us games,' " said Carr, whose two makes with 14.1 seconds to go made it 69-64.
Ja'Quan Newton, N-G's usual catalyst, was held to 11 points. The senior guard and Miami commit, who collected nine boards and six assists, was just 4 for 20 (2 for 8 on treys) from the field.
"It wasn't one guy," McNesby said of keeping Newton in check. "It was absolutely a team effort."
Junior lead guard Lamarr Kimble paced the Saints with 26 points; senior guard Troy Harper managed 14 points; and 6-6 senior Tony Toplyn (seven points) gathered nine boards (seven in the first half) and blocked three shots.
Neumann-Goretti 18 10 15 21-64
Roman Catholic 12 16 16 27-71
NG: Lamarr Kimble 26, Troy Harper 14, Tony Toplyn 7, Ja'Quan Newton 11, Quade Green 3, Vaughn Covington 3.
RC: Tony Carr 15, Rashann London 17, TreVaughn Wilkerson 8, Manny Taylor 6, Shep Garner 14, Gemil Holbrook 8, D'Andre Vilmar 3.