Who: Archbishop Ryan vs. North Catholic
When: Tonight, approximately 8:15
Where: The Palestra
TV: CN8 (The Carroll-O'Hara girls' title game, 6:30 start, will also be on CN8.)
Records: Ryan is 17-9 with a two-game winning streak. North is 21-5 with a five-game winning streak. (This is the first all-Northern Division final since 1970, when Dougherty beat North, 45-44.)
Coaches: Ryan, Bernie Rogers, eighth season, 132-80 (.662, winningest coach in school history). North, Mike McCarron, sixth season, 87-68 (.561).
Background: Ryan joined the league in the 1968 season. It has won no titles; other final appearances in '79, '02. North joined the league in the 1928 season. It won titles in '29, '32, '35, '56, '57, '67 and '87; other final appearances since then in '88, '93, '94.
Previous meetings: North swept the season series, 68-58 and 65-57, as Lenny Young scored 20 and 21 points, respectively.
THE MAIN MEN
G Andrew Rogers5-8Sr.232
G-F Anthony Keiter 6-1Jr.133
F-C Chris Wilk 6-2Sr.130
F Tom Marshall 6-4Sr.100
G Eric Jann 6-1Sr.96
G Rus Slawter 5-10Jr.75
G Mike Colon 5-9Sr.40
F-C Chris Clifton 6-3Sr.4
G Lenny Young 6-2Sr.265
G Velton Jones 6-0Sr.185
G Woody Redding 5-7So.119
F Bob Makor 6-2So.79
C Shahid Paulhill 6-3Sr.61
F Josh Stevens 6-1So.99
F Xavier Harris 6-4Fr.52
G-F R.J. Handy 6-1Sr.46
F Pete Sellecchia 6-2Sr.45
G Jaleel Mack 6-1So.33
C Rakeem Christmas 6-8Fr.19
Note: Scoring for 16 CL games, including 2 playoffs.
Ryan personnel: Andrew Rogers, the coaches' division MVP, flawlessly runs the Princeton-style offense and is an accomplished scorer as well. Anthony Keiter has a knack for finding open spots and hitting a high percentage. Football star Chris Wilk (Albany) is the only true inside player, but can also hit treys. Tom Marshall does little things. Eric Jann helps with ballhandling and elevates team spirit. Off the bench, Rus Slawter and Mike Colon have been known to add clutch scoring.
North personnel: Lenny Young (Coppin) is an accomplished scorer, both from distance and on drives. Velton Jones (Robert Morris) has been battling lower-back pain; when healthy he's a relentless competitor with scoring/dishing skills. Woody Redding adds ballhandling and dogged defense. Bob Makor also enjoys denying foes their points. Football star Shahid Paulhill (Temple) is a classic inside enforcer. At times, the Falcons' rotation has included 13 players. Lately, budding inside force Xavier Harris has looked best off the bench.
What Ryan must do: Exhibit even more patience than usual; North has too much firepower and depth to get into a track meet. Don't get discouraged if a few shots get swatted.
What North must do: Don't dare come in overconfident; it could definitely bite you in the posterior. Maintain a seize-'em-by-the-throat approach throughout. Don't let Rogers find a comfort zone. Show no reaction to referees' calls.
What can be expected: Amazingly, Ryan's starters are products of just two Far Northeast parishes (Calvary, St. Chris) and league/Archdiocese honchos, not to mention most CL followers with no rooting interest, would love nothing better than to see this old school-style program win. Not saying an upset couldn't happen (the Raiders are skilled and dangerous), but North goes in as a solid favorite. *