For the past several years, a game between the Archbishop Wood Vikings and the Neumann-Goretti Saints has been worthy of the term “classic.” On Friday, January 26, the floor was littered with major Division 1 talent to say the least. But now they have moved on and are making names for themselves at schools like Kentucky (Quade Green of Neumann-Goretti) and the No. 1 ranked Villanova (Dhamir Cosby-Roundtree of Neumann-Goretti and Collin Gillespie of Archbishop Wood).
As players graduate, it opens doors for others to step up. Neumann-Goretti playing at the 3A classification level, and Wood at the 5A, both have re-grouped and present very high quality teams. Neumann-Goretti continues to be led by head coach Carl Arrigale whose record in State Tournaments is virtually unprecedented: seven of eight Championships, including four in a row, and the best winning percent of any coach in state playoffs in over 100 years. The Vikings are coached by John Mosco, a state championship coach himself and a former assistant to Arrigale.
The Vikings features four solid D1 players and a deep bench: Tyree Pickron (Quinnipiac), Andrew Funk (Bucknell), Karrington Wallace (Central Connecticut State) and the near 7’ Seth Pinkney (uncommitted). The Saints are no slouch on top talent either with quality junior Chris Ings, senior Dymir Montague, sweet shooting Noah Warren and big man Marcus “don’t call me” Littles (George Washington University), who at 6’9” and somewhere in the high side of the 200 lbs range, is quite imposing. Littles does not possess a lot of offensive moves, but contributes when he can and doesn’t make too many mistakes.
Neumann-Goretti was sitting atop the more than ever parity-wise PCL this year after Bonner-Prendie fell to La Salle on January 24, which made Bonner-Prendie fall out of the unbeaten ranks and drop to second place.
The Saints’ senior guard Dymir Montague, 6’3” 190 lbs, tied for the lead in scoring in this tilt with 14. He also added six boards and four assists. Last year he was the sixth man for the state champs; this year he is a key starter. He is a very athletic and talented player. Warren and Littles are the other senior starters. Warren also had 14.
Archbishop Wood was led by Pickron’s 19, with Funk contributing at 14. Funk is the younger and taller brother of Tommy Funk, who gave his all for the Vikings several years back and is now with Army. They may have to face off next year when Andrew gets to Bucknell.
Neumann-Goretti was in front most of the game. The final score was 56-52 in favor of the Saints. It got close at the end after they chose to play a little slowed down at the beginning of the fourth quarter, nursing an 8-12 point lead and then allowing Wood to chip away to get within one. Warren stole a pass and hit a driving layup to put the Saints up by 52-42 with about 1:30 left, but the Vikings of Warminster surged back with an 8-0 run on Pickron’s follow-up shot. Funk got Wood within one with 16 seconds to go on a high-rising layup.
That’s as close as they would get in what ended up as a thriller for the smaller than expected, but still near full, house crowd (there were no SROs).
The Saints were missing their very exciting, but somewhat volatile, young freshman Ta’Quan Woodley, who at 6’6”, and still growing, features outstanding athleticism and enormous potential. He will miss the next game also. He is “under the weather.”
Both of these teams are expected to compete into the “deep state” playoffs at their respective classifications.