An electric performance by Dymir Montague led Neumann-Goretti to an impressive 57-42 victory over Richland in the PIAA Class 3A state championship March 28 at the Giant Center in Hershey, Pa.
The Holy Family University-bound senior poured in 23 points, snared six rebounds, stole five passes, and blocked four shots. He shot 7 for 15 from the floor, 4 of 6 from three’s and 5 of 6 from the foul line while rest of the team struggled at 14 for 35, 2 of 15, and 4 of 9, respectively.
“I was feeling good the whole game,” said Montague. “It was a good flow. The team was playing well. We were confident. We weren’t going to lose.”
Neumann-Goretti coach Carl Arrigale appreciated Montague’s contribution.
“He was pretty big for us,” said Arrigale. “He wanted to end it the right way.”
The Saints (23-6) employed a methodical approach to their willing, but overmatched, opponents in the state tourney.
After an 18-13 first quarter, the Saints pushed ahead by 31-21 at halftime and 45-29 after three quarters. Richland (25-5) mounted a comeback and crept to within 50-40 with 2:55 remaining in regulation.
Montague then nailed five of six free throws down the stretch and finished as the Saints’ lone double-figure scorer, a surprising statistic since four different Saints had scored five or more points. The 6-foot, 3-inch wing guard scored 15 of N-G’s 27 second-half points.
“I wanted the ball, and my teammates did a great job getting me some open shots,” said Montague. “Everything was working.”
Neumann-Goretti outrebounded Richland by 57-42. Freshman TaQuan Woodley led with seven boards; Montague, junior Christian Ings (eight points, seven assists) and senior Marcus Littles (six points, four blocks) added six apiece.
Neumann-Goretti has now captured five straight state titles — a record for any basketball program since the state tourney began in 1920. For Neumann-Goretti and the rest of the Catholic League, participating in the post-season began in 2009. The Saints have dominated, winning eight titles in the past nine years.
“Some say it looks like it’s easy, but there’s nothing easy about it,” said Arrigale. “It’s a long season. This one has been especially long.”
The PIAA tournament had been scheduled to conclude on March 24, but bad weather necessitated re-scheduled practices and games.
“It’s easy to lose concentration,” said Arrigale. “It’s only natural to get tired of the grind. Practices weren’t high on the list for what the kids wanted to do. In our case, we reminded the players that we could make history, reminded them that our goal was to go out the ‘right way.’”
Senior Noah Warren described his four years of scholastic basketball “a great experience.”
“I definitely learned a lot,” said Warren. “It helped me by playing against some of the best competition around and also winning championships, and even losing some.”
Overmatched opponents throughout the state might not understand what Warren is referring to. Neumann-Goretti’s basketball team losing in the PIAA tournament? Good luck with that.
John Knebels can be reached at Jknebels@gmail.com or on Twitter@johnknebels.
In a time to build, CatholicPhilly.com connects people and communities
As society emerges from the loss and separation of the pandemic, CatholicPhilly.com works to strengthen the connections between people, families and communities every day by delivering the news people need to know about the Catholic Church, especially in the Philadelphia region, and the world in which we live.
By your donation in any amount, you join in our mission to inform, form in the Catholic faith and inspire the thousands of readers who visit every month.
Here is how you can help:
- A $100 gift allows us to present award-winning photos of Catholic life in our neighborhoods.
- A $50 gift enables us to cover a news event in a local parish, school or Catholic institution.
- A $20 gift lets us obtain solid faith formation resources that can deepen your spirituality and knowledge of the faith.
- A small, automated monthly donation means you can support us continually and easily.
Won't you consider making a gift today?
Please join in the church's vital mission of communications by offering a gift in whatever amount that you can ― a single gift of $40, $50, $100, or more, or a monthly donation. Your gift will strengthen the fabric of our entire Catholic community.
Make your donation by credit card here:
Or make your donation by check:
222 N. 17th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19103