Roman Catholic sophomore Lynn Greer III started one of the most thrilling Catholic League championship endings in history.
Junior wing Hakim Hart finished it with the layup with 1.6 seconds left that gave the Cahillites their third title in four years.
The 🏆 play people may be talking about for years: Lynn Greer III to Hakim Hart with 1.6 left. @RomanCatholicHS leads 51-49. @RallyPhilly @AOPathletics @Lynn_Greer3 #LynnGreer3 pic.twitter.com/ZuIFiJ0tEL
— Aaron Carter (@AceCarterINQ) February 27, 2018
Despite foul troubles, junior forward Seth Lundy led Roman with 15 points.
And junior guard Louie Wild scored four points.
Ah, but Wild’s contribution went well beyond the boxscore and, in addition to being critical to Roman’s reign, it also brought him a step closer to one-upping his dad, Mike, a Roman product who won back-to-back PCL titles in 1999 and 2000.
Friday night at 7 p.m. at Southern, Louie will have a chance to best his dad, a current assistant coach for the Cahillites, when Roman starts its PIAA playoff run in the 6A city title game against Lincoln.
Mike, who played at Division I Elon first and finished at Holy Family, had no chance to win a state title because the PCL didn’t compete in PIAA play until the 2008-09 season.
His son, a 6-foot(ish), 175-pounder, was an unsung hero Monday night at the Palestra.
After senior forward John Kelly drew his third foul early in the first quarter, Louie sprung into action and guarded Bonner-Prendie’s best offensive player, 6-3 junior point guard Isaiah Wong.
He also guarded the Friars best shooter, 5-11 junior Mike Perretta. Louie also managed to hit a buzzer-beater to give Roman a 12-11 lead after the first frame.
— Aaron Carter (@AceCarterINQ) March 1, 2018
Then when Lundy picked up his second foul with 6 minutes, 56 seconds left in the half, coach Matt Griffin asked Louie to guard 6-9 junior forward Tariq Ingraham.
“First, Seth picked up his second foul,” Griffin said at Thursday’s practice. “Although Louie is completely undersized, he allowed us a defensive substitution for Seth.”
Roman had fallen behind, 11-3, early and couldn’t afford to substitute, Lundy, its most versatile offensive weapon.
So Louie, guarded Ingraham, who didn’t score a point for the rest of the half. Lundy remained in the game, guarded one of B-P’s ancillary pieces and finished the half with eight points.
“I was just trying to do whatever to not let him score,” said Louie, sitting inside a classroom on Roman’s Broad Street campus with a band-aid on his left arm.
Louie played mostly in front of Ingraham and relied on backside help from teammates. On occasion, however, he was eclipsed by Ingraham’s 6-foot-9 frame.
“I do remember getting caught behind him a couple times and I was like, ‘[Gosh], he’s probably gonna score,’ ” Louie said.
But Ingraham, who finished with nine points, appeared uncomfortable when he shot; not up high where he could shoot over Louie, but below where Louie buzzed and bothered him like a gnat.
“He really took Ingraham out of the game to an [extent] because he spent a lot of time fighting Louie because Louie would not give up [position],” Mike said.
With the scored tied at 48 in the third quarter, Ingraham missed a shot in close and then jumped over and fell on top of Louie, who was called for the foul.
— Aaron Carter (@AceCarterINQ) March 1, 2018
“My back and hips are still sore today,” Louie said with a smile.
His performance at the Palestra wasn’t anything new.
Louie, 17, who transferred Academy of the New Church, has been Roman’s sixth man in a mainly six-man rotation, which has meant playing out of position before.
Being selfless — also not new.
The bandage on his left arm — just below a tattoo on his inner bicep that says “believe” — came from giving blood to the Red Cross earlier Thursday.
“He’s a great kid,” Mike said. “He’ll take a back seat so somebody else can shine. It’s a quality that me and my wife (Debbie) are extremely proud of.”
Mike, 36, did say, however, that he doesn’t want his son to sell himself short. Confidence, determination and competitiveness may keep that from happening.
As motivation before this season began, Mike gave Louie the championship net his team cut down at Temple’s Apollo after beating Neumann, 58-55, in 2000.
Louie had kept it by his bed and saw it every night.
Wednesday night, Louie came downstairs and threw the net at his dad.
He said, “I don’t need it anymore. I have my own.”
Mike shot back, “actually, this is my back-to-back net, you may need this until you get another next year.”
The saga will continue Friday night against a talented, athletic and deep Lincoln squad led by versatile senior point guard Khalif Meares.
“Next game up on the schedule,” Louie said. “We want to win the city and states, too. That’s our focus.”