PHILADELPHIA, PA –
In their first time at The Palestra, the number-one seeded Archbishop Wood Vikings defeated the Archbishop Ryan Raiders, 75-66, to advance to the Philadelphia Catholic League Championship on Monday night to face Neumann-Goretti. Wood senior guard and Villanova commit Collin Gillespie led the way with 33 points, which Izaiah Brockington finished with 31 for the Ryan Raiders.
Perhaps the biggest moment of the game was when Brockington fouled out with 3:22 remaining on a questionable hand check call in the backcourt on the full court press. Ryan continued to fight after that point, but Wood was able to hang on for the victory by knocking down some free throws.
There were no ties or lead changes in this game, as the Vikings led from the start after two free throws by junior center Seth Pinkney just over a minute in. There were points in the game where Ryan was able to close the gap a bit, including an 8-0 run in the 2nd quarter to make it 30-23 at the 2:10 mark. But Wood finished the second quarter strong, as reserve forward Karrington Wallace threw down a monstrous slam with just over 20-seconds remaining to take a 36-25 lead into the half.
Ryan had a similar run in the third quarter and after a Jaquil Stone three-pointer, the Raiders only trailed by 6, 45-39, but again the Vikings were able to keep their distance from the Raiders in the third quarter with a run of their own, leading 54-43 after 24 minutes of action.
Brockington attempted to carry his team to victory on his own as he scored the first seven points of the frame for Archbishop Ryan. But after a big three-point play by the NJIT commit to make it 64-56, Brockington picked up his fifth and final foul. At that point, Wood was able to again keep their distance and finish off the Ryan Raiders for the victory.
“When we play together and share the ball and we get stops on defense, we feel we can compete with everybody,” said Gillespie. “That’s just what we did tonight. It’s a crazy environment out there and I think it’s all of our first times (at the Palestra) so we just had fun tonight, shared the ball and got the W.”
Archbishop Wood head coach John Mosco is no stranger to the Palestra being an assistant at Neumann-Goretti for years. But now he will coach against his long-time friend and Neumann-Goretti head coach Carl Arrigale. “It’s gonna be a war, it’s gonna be special, we talk everyday and I talk to him more than I talk to my wife” Mosco said in reference to Arrigale. “We’re friends, it’s beyond basketball, we grew up together and we had a good run (at Neumann-Goretti) and he was happy when I moved on.”
Wood takes on Neumann-Goretti on Monday night, back at the Palestra, for the Philadelphia Catholic League crown.
(Video Credit: Aaron "Ace" Carter)