Saturday afternoon Rivals.com was at Parkland High School in Allentown, PA for the Hoop Group's 2005 Lehigh Valley Hoop Festival. USA Today's 9th ranked Christ the King (NY) was in action as well as 14th ranked and undefeated Neumann-Gorretti (PA) going up against ultra-talented St. Benedict's Prep (NJ).
Gray Bees drop Neumann-Gorretti
Neumann-Gorretti (PA) came into the event to face St. Benedicts (NJ) rolling at 16-0, with a Dell Curry Shootout Championship in their back pocket and some very impressive wins in the city of Philadelphia. However, one of the difficulties that some teams have to overcome in an event such as this is playing back to back games. Since Friday is a big game night in Catholic League hoops, teams like Neumann-Gorretti, Christ the King, and Roman Catholic all played the night before and fatigue was sure to be an issue.
Neumann Started the game strong behind the defensive intensity of 6-foot-2 junior combo-guard Derrick Rivera and the scoring of 6-foot-5 junior Earl Pettis. St. Benedicts, though not particularly hot from the perimeter, stayed within striking distance, and took a 24-22 lead into the break.
In the third quarter 6-foot-8 junior forward Lance Thomas from St. Benedict's picked up two quick fouls and was sent to the bench. However, rather than being an advantage for Neumann-Gorretti it gave the Gray Bees a boost as 6-foot-5 sophomore forward Corey Stokes went to work and St. Benedict's extended their lead to 8 at 37-29 heading into the 4th quarter.
6-foot-7 senior David Burton and Rivera tried to lead a comeback in the 4th, but Stokes and 6-foot junior PG Eugene Harvey were too much and the Gray Bees handed Neumann-Gorretti their first loss 54-50.
Eugene Harvey was the game MVP for St. Benedict's finishing with 16 points, 5 assists, and 2 steals. Stokes led all scorers with 18 points, and he also grabbed 6 rebounds. Lance Thomas had 5 points and 5 rebounds before fouling out.
Derrick Rivera had 10 points and 5 steals for Neumann-Gorretti, and took home MVP honors. Pettis added 12 points, 4 rebounds, and 3 steals, and sophomores 6-foot-2 Antonio Jardine and 6-foot-8 Richard Jackson each had 9 points in the loss.
Christ the King survives a scare
Entering the game with a gaudy 16-1 record after handing #2 ranked Rice (NY) their first loss of the season on Friday, it wasn't surprising that the Christ the King Royals (NY) came out a bit flat on Saturday against Pocono Mountain East (PA). What was surprising was how well Pocono Mountain and their young star, 6-foot-8 junior Kraidon Woods, played early in the game.
Behind Woods and some terrific perimeter shooting the Cardinals led by as many as 8 points in the first half before the Royals closed to finish 2 points down at the half, 26-24. Woods was at times dominant, nailing a three, controlling the paint on defense, and completing an end to end drive with a wicked crossover before finishing the layup and getting fouled.
Christ the King's defense took over in the third as they limited Woods' touches and forced him away from the basket. They then outscored Pocono Mountain 20-4 behind the tough play of unsigned 6-foot senior Chris Martin to blow the game wide open and take a seemingly insurmountable 44-30 lead heading into the 4th quarter.
However, the Cardinals wouldn't go away quietly as threes from 6-foot-2 junior Mike Knepp and 6-foot-5 senior Shane Connor started falling again and they quickly narrowed the gap to as little as three points with under a minute to play. But that was as close as they got as the Royals clung to a 56-52 victory.
Martin was the game MVP for Christ the King with 21 points, 2 assists, and 4 steals. Impressive 6-foot-3 junior guard Larry Davis had 13 points and 6 rebounds, and 6-foot-4 Akeem Gooding added 12 points, 9 rebounds, and 3 steals in the win.
For Pocono Mountain East junior 6-foot-2 junior Mike Knepp took home MVP honors with 17 points, 5 rebounds, and 3 assists. Shane Connor added 14 points and 4 rebounds, 6-foot-6 junior Jerusalem Strickland had 11 points, and Kraidon Woods had 9 points (all in the first half), 7 rebounds, and 4 blocks.
Paterson Catholic (NJ) 59
Blair Academy (NJ) 55 OT
6-foot-1 senior guard Jordan Davidson from Blair Academy hit a three pointer to send the game into overtime, but Kimanni Barrett and the Williams twins from Paterson Catholic would not be denied on their way to a 59-55 win.
Barrett, a 6-foot-5 junior forward scored 25 points and had 7 rebounds in the win. 6-foot-7 junior Terrell Williams had 17 points, and 6-foot-8 junior Jerrell Williams added 12 points and 10 rebounds in the win.
6-foot-6 235 pound junior Shamari Spears had 19 points and 7 rebounds to lead Blair. Davidson added 15 points, and 6-foot-2 senior Matt Szalachowski had 12.
Harrisburg (PA) 48
Bishop McNamara (MD) 37
Harrisburg ran their record to 17-0 defeating an overmatched Bishop McNamara team from Maryland. 6-foot-5 sophomore forward Alphonso Dawson had 9 points, 9 rebounds, and 3 blocks to take home mvp honors. 6-foot-senior guard Jamal Jackson had 15 points to lead Harrisburg.
6-foot-4 senior Raphael Deleon had 6 points and 10 rebounds for Bishop McNamara.
Roman Catholic (PA) 39
Central Catholic (PA) 34
6-foot-6 junior forward Mike Ringold scored 12 points and grabbed 7 rebounds to lead Roman Catholic to a hard fought 39-34 win over Central Catholic. 6-foot3 sophomore guard Bradley Wanamaker had 10 points and 8 rebounds, and 6-foot-4 senior Malik Perry added 9 points and 9 rebounds.
5-foot-10 junior Mike Cudwadie had 9 points and 2 assists to secure the MVP for Central Catholic.