The Saints of Neumann-Goretti were certainly geared up to take on the much ballyhooed and talked about Galloping Ghosts of Abington in an inter league matchup which served as the first of three great games put together by the Scholastic Play by Play organization at Jefferson University on Saturday, December 23; the Archbishop Wood Vikings vs. Plymouth Whitemarsh Colonials and Imhotep Panthers vs. Roman Catholic Cahillite were the other two games.
Coming off of a dominant performance against outmanned Pennsbury, Abington’s young star in the making, Eric Dixon, was facing a much more daunting task against the defending PIAA State champions. Dixon found the going rough right from the start. After nailing a three early in the game, he went cold, missing numerous opportunities.
Neumann-Goretti presented a more physical challenge with 6’8” 258 lbs Marcus Littles, a George Washington University recruit. Replacing Littles in the big man role at the beginning of the second quarter was young freshman TaQuan Woodley, who made an immediate impact with a high-flying blocked shot of a Dixon attempted layup. Woodley had a solid four minutes, including a score on a follow.
Neumann-Goretti was on fire in the third, banging home five 3-pointers. Four were by lefty Noah Warren, a senior guard, 6’0’’ and only 150 lbs, who used screens by Littles to free himself several times for his smooth release. This was good news for Neumann-Goretti’s coach Carl Arrigale, who has been waiting for Warren to shine come game time. He ended the game with 23 points, 5-6 on 3-pointers and 8-12 overall.
The final score was Neumann-Goretti, 70-60, over the previously undefeated Galloping Ghosts. This was a big showing for the Saints who last year, and in previous campaigns, have been so dominant on the state level with D1 players Quade Green, now at Kentucky and playing well, and Dhamir Cosby-Roundtree, now at Villanova which is ranked No. 1 in the nation for three weeks straight.
Neumann-Goretti lost their opener to Shipley of the Friends League and now has won four straight, including a 62-53 victory over the Haverford School Fords the night before the Abington game. Haverford is the pre-season favorite in the always tough Inter-Ac League.
Joining Warren in the backcourt were Dymir Montague (19 points, three treys) and Christian Ings (14 points, nine boards) for the defending 3A Pennsylvania champs.
This was the first loss of the season for the highly regarded Galloping Ghosts of Abington (4-1), who did not have a good shooting night overall. Dixon seemed frustrated throughout the game and took a very hard foul late on the airborne freshman Woodley, who popped up from that a little woozy, and had to be calmed down by referee Bill Ciavarelli and his teammate Littles. This reporter sees a big upside for young Woodley, who is still growing and has major athleticism.
Dixon’s stats were impressive at 26 points, with 21 in the second half, and 16 rebounds (seven offensively), but he was forcing many opportunities and seemed flustered after missing so many close up shots. Only a junior, this was a big learning curve game for him with a number of major D1 coaches in attendance. Robbie Heath (12 points) and Lucas Monroe (16) also showed up well in this game as they always do, complementing their big man to form a high scoring threesome for Abington.