AJ Hoggard, Archbishop Carroll to be tested in PIAA state quarterfinals

The PIAA quarterfinals will have several good matchups involving Philadelphia-area teams.

The one I look forward to seeing the most is the point guard duel between Archbishop Carroll sophomore AJ Hoggard and Milton Hershey senior Don’yae Baylor-Carroll  on Friday nighty at Garden Spot.

I saw Baylor-Carroll for the first time Tuesday at Reading when he scored 25 points on 9-of-20 shooting in the Spartans’ 69-61 win against Bishop Shanahan.

Baylor-Carroll, likely a sub-6-footer, is a slippery ball handler with a penchant for pull-up jumpers and step-back three-pointers.

Against the Eagles, he hit 5 of 12 attempts from behind the three-point line and added five rebounds and three steals.

The Spartans, however, are a balanced team with senior 6-foot-5 forward Pedro Rodriguez, who, despite several missed layups, also scored 25 points for the District 3 champs on Tuesday.

Josh Parra, 6-5, also came off the bench for eight important points and five rebounds.

Hoggard, already among the best players in the city, is a 6-3 guard with a sturdy frame suitable for absorbing contact en route to the basket and finishing at the rim.

In the first round against Wissahickon, Hoggard finished with 18 points, eight rebounds and eight assists.

His height might not make Hoggard an ideal defensive matchup against Baylor-Carroll, but when Hoggard gets low and commits himself, he’s as tenacious a defender as there is in the area.

Senior guard Justin Anderson will likely also take turns on Baylor-Carroll and coach Paul Romanczuk hasn’t been afraid to use box-and-one or triangle-and-two zone defenses in the past.

On the interior, senior Keyon Butler will be charged with patrolling the paint and offsetting the energy of both Rodriguez and Para.

The key, assuming Hoggard and Baylor-Carroll’s skills offset each other, could be the play of junior wing Luke House, who erupted for 20 second-half points in Carroll’s first-round victory.

Also, Carroll’s important ancillary pieces, especially, Devon Ferrero and Tairi Ketner down low, are capable of outshining Milton Hershey’s, who scored 19 points between four people against Bishop Shanahan.

I’d expect Carroll’s depth of scoring to help it move on, but with 15 to 18-year-old kids, who knows?