The Steelton Highspire Steamrollers better known as the Steel Hi Rollers came rolling in to Northeast Philadelphia’s Archbishop Ryan after a 100 mile trek from Central PA hoping to restore their former glory days. For nearly a decade, led by legendary head coach Rick Binder, the Rollers were a dominant squad especially when it came to winning in the PIAA state tournament. They garnered numerous titles not that long ago, becoming so good at one point that they voluntarily “played up” in class and still continued to win.
Those days are over as they ran into local power team Neumann-Gorretti who have taken on the mantle of “new legends” winning four consecutive PIAA championships and seven of eight. That is unprecedented to say the least. Only Carlisle of District 3 ever won four consecutive titles prior to the Saints, who are led by the soon to be venerable Carl Arrigale.
NG seemed a little down this year after being knocked out of the Philadelphia Catholic League quarter final by St. Joseph Prep and the Godfather of Philly basketball head coach Speedy Morris.
But they certainly roared back against the Rollers after a slow start in the first quarter. The Saints began to gain traction after that and it never stopped. They had a clear advantage at center with big man Marcus Littles who checks in at approximately 6’9” and tipping the scales at a hefty 270 lbs (no matter what his listed weight is). He used his bulk early to bang up his opponents. NG led after the first quarter 17-12 and went into intermission at 43-30. Noah Warren was heating up. He began to fire threes with his unorthodox delivery and began burying them in the third. Ball movement picked up as the Saints came to life and closed out the 3rd with a 14 point lead at 59-45. It was basically over at that point, when one of the Roller players had to be ejected after approaching the head referee very forcefully.
Bottom line is that NG has the horses. They go seven to eight deep and all of them can score in addition to playing tough defense. This team is clearly gearing up for another title run. Final score was 80-59. The Rollers had a long bus ride home and the Saints move on to play a second round challenge on Wednesday 03-14-18 against Wyoming Seminary. Wyoming easily defeated Mastery Charter South in their opening game. This contest will be held at Freedom High School in Bethlehem, PA.