Expect gold for Neumann-Goretti

Neumann-Goretti' Ja' Quan Newton. (Yong Kim/Staff Photographer)

Neumann-Goretti's focus, in its attempt to claim a fourth PIAA Class AAA boys' basketball championship in five seasons, is centered on keeping the Mack brothers, Nehemiah and Gabe, in check.

Math, Civics. and Sciences, bidding for its first Class A title since 2011, must find a way to derail a high-powered squad that has won four state-playoff games by an average of nearly 48 points.

Neumann-Goretti, back in Hershey after a one-year absence, will clash with District 3's Susquehanna Township at 8 p.m. Friday at the Giant Center.

At 2 p.m. Friday, MC&S will take a crack at knocking off District 7 power Lincoln Park Charter. The Leopards are averaging a whopping 86.5 points in states.

Class AAA

The Saints have been on a roll, advancing to the final with victories over District 3's Berks Catholic (62-46), District 2's Wilkes-Barre GAR (61-49), District 11's Allentown Central Catholic (60-50), and District 12 rival Philadelphia Electrical (65-53).

For Susquehanna Township, District 3's champ, 6-foot sophomore guard Nehemiah "Bud" Mack averages 17.8 points. Gabe Mack, a 5-10 senior guard, averages 10.9.

Bud Mack, who has drilled 58 three-pointers, is drawing interest from a number of Division I programs, including Bucknell, Drexel, Rider, and Temple.

Gabe Mack, with 44 treys, is being recruited mostly by Division II schools, including Bloomsburg, Mansfield, and West Chester.

Also in the mix for the Indians (23-7) are 6-4 forward Joe Marshall (9.2 ppg.) and 6-6 forward Quintin Ward (8.8 ppg.).

Marshall, who averages 4.3 blocks, is being eyed by Bucknell, Colgate, Holy Cross, and Radford, among others.

Neumann-Goretti's guard-driven offense is fueled by three speedsters: seniors Ja'Quan Newton (21.2 ppg.) and Troy Harper, and junior Lamarr "Fresh" Kimble.

Inside, the Saints (26-4) look to 6-6 forwards Tony Toplyn and Jamal Custis. The seven-man rotation is rounded out by guards Vaughn Covington and Quade Green.

Pick: Look for the Indians to keep things tight through three quarters. At the end, feeding off their defensive intensity, the Saints emerge with their fourth crown. Neumann-Goretti, 62-56.

Class A

It is the second meeting between MC&S and Lincoln Park. The Mighty Elephants captured the 2011 crown with a 70-55 romp over the Leopards.

Lincoln Park (29-1) is sparked by 6-7 sophomore wing guard Maverick Rowan (25.8 ppg.) and 6-9 senior center Elijah Minnie (20.1).

Rowan, who poured in 32 points in Tuesday's 70-28 rout of District 6's Bishop Carroll, is ticketed for Pittsburgh. His father, Ron, an assistant with the Leopards, played at Notre Dame and St. John's before a brief NBA stint.

Minnie racked up 14 boards, 10 points, and 4 blocks against Carroll. Dayton and Duquesne are among the Division I schools that have expressed interest in him.

Lincoln Park's only loss was to District 7 rival New Castle - which will meet La Salle for top Class AAAA honors at 8 p.m. Saturday - in late December. The 30-0 Hurricanes topped the Leopards, 71-62.

MC&S, which survived a semifinal scare against Church Farm, has a solid one-two punch in juniors Samir Doughty, a 6-4 guard who averages 17 points, and Mike Watkins, a 6-9 forward and Penn State recruit.

Other scoring threats for the Mighty Elephants (15-14) are senior guard Louis Meyers, junior guards Tyrese Hester and Donovan Barnes, and 6-5 sophomore Nazeer Bostick.

Pick: It has been a solid run for Danny Jackson's squad, but the Leopards have too many weapons. Lincoln Park, 68-59.