Hershey is familiar territory for the Neumann-Goretti boys’ basketball team.
The Saints look to claim their fifth consecutive state championship and eighth in the last nine seasons when they face District 6’s Richland in the PIAA Class 3A final at 2 p.m. Wednesday at the Giant Center.
Carl Arrigale’s squad topped District 3’s Trinity, 66-56, in Saturday afternoon’s semifinal at Governor Mifflin Intermediate School in Shillington.
Junior forward Ja’Cor Smith and senior guard Dymir Montague produced 16 and 15 points, respectively, in the win over the Shamrocks. Junior guard Christian Ings (12) and 6-foot-6 freshman forward TaQuan Woodley (11) were also double-digit scorers.
Neumann-Goretti (22-6) is determined to capture state gold again after losing to St. Joseph’s Prep, 54-40, in a Catholic League quarterfinal in South Philly. It was the first time since 2008 that the team failed to make it to the Palestra.
A guard-driven group is headed by Montague, Ings, and Noah Warren. Warren and Montague, who is headed to Holy Family, have drilled 62 and 50 three-pointers, respectively.
Smith and Woodley are joined inside by 6-8 senior center and George Washington recruit Marcus Littles.
Richland, of Johnstown, is paced by 6-3 junior forward Collin Instone (14.3 ppg.), 6-2 senior guard Tyler Zimmerman (14.2), 6-0 sophomore point guard Caleb Burke (11.7), and 6-4 senior wing Trevy Hardison (11.2).
Zimmerman’s buzzer-beating trey from about 35 feet lifted the Rams (25-4) to a 54-52 victory over District 3’s Lancaster Mennonite in Saturday’s semifinal at Chambersburg. Zimmerman (20 points, eight boards, three steals) and Instone (13 points, seven boards) led the way against the Blazers.
Neumann-Goretti’s last state playoff loss came when it bowed to District 3’s Donegal, 55-50, in a 2013 quarterfinal.
With guard Quade Green, now at Kentucky, and Dhamir “DaDa” Cosby-Roundtree (Villanova) combining for 37 points, the Saints crushed District 7’s Lincoln Park, 89-58, in last year’s final.