When he was a freshman, someone could have taken basketball away from Seth Pinkney forever and the 6-foot-11 junior forward for Archbishop Wood may have shrugged his shoulders and went right back to playing video games.
Now, however, you'd have a better chance of making a layup over his long, outstretched arms than taking away the game that's likely to provide him with a free education.
Archbishop Carroll learned just that on Sunday afternoon.
Pinkney blocked nine shots as the Vikings held off the Patriots, 76-68, in hotly contested Catholic League matchup in front of a packed crowd on a chilly day at Holy Family University.
"Today it was Seth's day and he blocked everything and was our anchor back there," said Wood's coach, John Mosco. "And as the game went on, it gave our defenders confidence to get out and run guys off the three-point line knowing they would be protected back there."
As a team, Wood blocked 11 shots. Karrington Wallace, a 6-7 junior, and Tyree Pickron, a 6-3 junior, also added a blocked shot apiece.
"It's a relief having [Seth] and Karrington back there and even Tyree," said Collin Gillespie, who led all scorers with 28 points. "But especially [Pinckney] because he's so long that he can block shots so we can get up and pressure people because if they get by us Seth is there."
Pinkney, who Mosco said has a 7-6 wingspan, set an early defensive tone, clipping four shots just 3 minutes, 9 seconds into the game.
He also altered several others and deterred opponents from even entering the paint. Also impressively, he didn't commit his first foul until the 5:14 mark of the third quarter.
"Defense was the key to this game," said Pinkney, who has scholarship offers from Temple, La Salle, Massachusetts and St. Joseph's, according to Mosco. "Everything we did on defense opened up our shots on offense."
Gillespie's 28 points came on 9-of-13 shooting, with 4 of 8 coming from behind the three-point line. The 6-2 senior guard also added a game-high seven assists.
Also for Wood (8-3, 2-1), Pickron added 16 points and eight rebounds. Senior Matt Cerruti finished with 11 points, all in the second half. Andrew Funk, a junior guard, provided 12 points off the bench.
The game, originally scheduled at Wood's Warminster campus, was moved to Holy Family after part of a wall in the boys' gym at Wood collapsed on Thursday before practice. Nobody was hurt but the gym was unplayable.
Carroll (8-3, 1-2) was led by junior wing Justin Anderson, who finished with 17 points. Freshman guard AJ Hoggard added 15 points and senior guard Colin Daly had 12.
Wood trailed, 31-30, at halftime, but led by seven entering the fourth quarter. With about 20 seconds left and the Vikings ahead by four, Pinkney rejected another shot that quashed the Patriots' comeback aspirations.
"If someone decided to take basketball away from me, I wouldn't have really cared," Pinkney said of his freshman season. "But now that . . . I have a lot more interests and people are looking at me, I try to work my hardest and I try to influence the freshmen that are coming in. Back then, I wasn't interested in ball at all, but now it's time to get serious."
Archbishop Wood 14 16 23 23 - 76
Archbishop Carroll 10 21 16 21 - 68
AW: Collin Gillespie 28, Keith Otto 2, Tyree Pickron 16, Seth Pinkney 7, Matt Cerruti 11, Andrew Funk 12.
AC: AJ Hoggard 15, Justin Anderson 17, Colin Daly 12, Khari Williams 8, Jesse McPherson 6, Keyon Butler 2, Devon Ferrero 2, Mark Bradshaw 6.