Unfinished Business: Boys Basketball

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Will P. '20, Staff Writer

Roman entered February by picking up six straight wins and clinching a playoff berth. The last game of the regular season was played against third-ranked Philadelphia Catholic League foe Bishop McDevitt. The Royal Lancers needed the win to move up to second in the standings, while Roman was already a lock at fifth. McDevitt came out on top with a 74-69 win; despite of Lynn Greer’s 29 points in the final regular season game of his career. This was a great way to cap off Greer’s regular season career at Roman Catholic and it secured him the Catholic League scoring title with an average of 20.8 points per game. He is only the thirteenth Cahillite to do so in the last hundred-plus years. Even more impressive is that Jalen Duren (19.4 points per game average) and Justice Williams (19.3 points per game average) barely trailed Greer, finishing in second and third place for the league’s scoring title respectively, a first in school history. All three players were also named First Team All-Catholic. This was Lynn Greer’s fourth straight All- Catholic recognition and third straight year with first team honors. Duren picked up his second first team appearance. These individual accomplishments were welcome after a turbulent regular season, but the ball players could not stop to rest on their laurels as the next priority was to return to the Palestra and to win the PCL Championship.

In the first playoff match-up Roman faced Bonner-Prendergast. The Cahillites made sure this game’s outcome was different than their first meeting, by maintaining leads as much as twenty points in the first half. Unfortunately, Bonner-Prendergast climbed back in late in the fourth quarter, as if only to set up an incredible buzzer beating game winner by Duren. That night the team punched their ticket to the Palestra and a rematch against Archbishop Wood.

Roman channeled the incredible energy from the stands to an 83-73 win to knock off the #1 seeded Vikings thereby earning another rematch, this time against Neumann-Goretti for the PCL title. Roman and Neumann-Goretti have traded PCL Championships for most of the last decade and we were hopeful to come out on top again. While the game came down to the wire, Neumann-Goretti made more shots than Roman. Both teams played an outstanding game of basketball but Neumann-Goretti went home champions and Roman Catholic High School did not.

The season still was not yet over after the sadness in University City. For the second time in three years, the Cahillites were upset in the District 12 6A City Championship losing to the team represented by the Public League, Simon Gratz High School. For only the second time in over thirty-five years, the Cahillites had lost ten games in a season, falling to a record of 17-10. With team spirit at an all-time low and terrible things happening all across the globe, the team had to pick their heads up and move forward. They could not let their season end in total disappointment and miss out on a state championship. Yet again a brand new Roman Catholic team was born, eager to fight their way through the rounds of the state playoffs one after another to bring home the title and salvage their season.

After the first two rounds of the playoffs, Roman was set to again play Methacton, a smoldering hot version of the team they’d played earlier in the season. A few days before the game was supposed to be played though, the PIAA suspended all play in light of the COVID-19 outbreak. A return to play for winter sports will not happen. These unfortunate circumstances stripped an incredible basketball team of their chances from gaining any additional recognition for a season very well played, a season that could have gone totally different had a few big shots went in. The 2019-2020 season will always be remembered as unfinished.