Return to TedSilary.com Home Page
Neumann-Goretti . . . 2014 PIAA Class AAA State Champs!
On March 21, at
Hershey's Giant Center, Neumann-Goretti beat Susquehanna Township,
64-57, in OT, to
capture its fourth Class AAA state title in five seasons (also
2010-12). One day after the passing of his mother, Lisa Brown, Ja'Quan Newton
scored a career-high 33 points and claimed a team-high eight
rebounds. His final career total (1,972) is the best in CL history.
Troy Harper (12) and Lamarr "Fresh" Kimble (10) also scored in
double figures for coach Carl Arrigale.
The title-game boxscore . . .
|Neumann-Goretti 64, Susquehanna Twp. 57 (OT)|
|Team Rebounds: 2. Turnovers: 8.|
|Team Rebounds: 1. Turnovers:13.|
|Ss. Neumann-Goretti||12||14||21||6||11||-- 64|
|Officials: John Barley, Thomas Drennan, Justin Crum.|
The Season's Results (27-4) . . .
|Phila. Elec.||W, 85-55||Lansdale||W, 91-59||West||W, 98-57||Berks Catholic||W, 62-46|
|St. Andrew (DE)||W, 59-49||La Salle||W, 82-58||Carroll||W, 67-62||Wilk.-Barre GAR||W, 73-55|
|Denver East (CO)||W, 90-61||West||W, 88-45||Roman||W, 53-48||Allentown CC||W, 60-50|
|Providence (FL)||L, 62-51||SJ Prep||W, 76-60||Phila. Elec.||W, 65-53|
|Lincoln (NY)||L, 60-55||O'Hara||W, 94-53||Susquehanna Twp.||W, 64-57|
|St. Vin./St. Mary (OH)||W, 73-57||Roman||L, 71-64|
|Chester||W, 73-55||C-E||W, 67-44|
|Mater Dei (CA)||L, 79-67||B-P||W, 80-47||
|King||W, 85-75||Carroll||W, 64-58||Phila. Elec.||W, 69-55|
Season Scoring . . .
|*-includes City Title|
|Non-League; Catholic League; Catholic Playoffs; State Playoffs|
Selected Photos . . .
Jamal Custis curls in a layup.
Ja'Quan Newton dribbles between his legs.
Tony Toplyn makes a big block late in regulation.
Ja'Quan Newton scores the final point (No. 1,972) of his career.
On TV after the game . . .
Ted's Website Report . . .
PIAA CLASS AAA PLAYOFF, FINAL
Neumann-Goretti 64, Susquehanna Twp. 57 (OT)
(At Hershey's Giant Center)
Here's hoping Ja'Quan Newton becomes so famous, whether through basketball or other great accomplishments, that someone, someday, wants to make a movie about his life. The story of these last two days would be mighty prominent, and touching. Ja'Quan's mother, Lisa Brown, passed Thursday morning after a courageous battle against cancer. And then tonight, with emotions no doubt swirling non-stop (he pointed above while being introduced), the sr. guard, who's bound for the University of Miami, turned in one of his best-ever performances to lead the Saints to yet another state championship (fourth in five years; also 2010-12). Moments after the game ended, Ja'Quan did have some tears in his eyes. But as the Saints gathered 'round him and began to celebrate, he brightened little by little, then quickly, and he was totally in the we-DID-this moment. Newton finished with 33 points, shooting 11-for-19 and 6-for-8. He also made two steals and -- get this -- led N-G in rebounds with eight. The 33 points were the most he scored in his entire career in a regular game -- as in, Catholic League regular season, playoffs, City Title, state playoffs. (This is also an overall career high!) His previous best this season was a 30-point effort late in league play vs. Ryan. (He also had 31 in two showcase games.) Check this out: as a freshman, in a win over Montour that also yielded a state championship, Newton's 17-pointer was his highest output of THAT season in the aforementioned categories. In the opening moments tonight, of course, everyone was wondering how well Newton would play, considering the circumstances. His first shot was a trey and -- oh, my -- it didn't come close. The ball smacked off the backboard a few inches from the rim, not having even HIT the rim. A memory instantly popped into my head. A few weeks ago, I headed to N-G to take some practice pics and beforehand Ja'Quan played a spirited game of one-on-one against good buddy/teammate Jamal Custis, a sr. F. They were constantly busting each other's chops, and Custis, in particular, was focusing on Newton's inability to hit from behind the arc. He was saying, "You can't shoot threes, 'Quan . . . Why even bother? . . . I don't even need to cover you out there . . . Go ahead, shoot it. I'll stand here." He was relentless -- again, in playful fashion -- and 'Quan kept brickin'. So, what happened tonight? Pretty much pinpointedness! (smile). After that first clunker, Newton went 5-for-8 on threes and some were even fall-backs. Newton is often at his best on the move -- he has trademarked hard drives ending with floaters in the lane -- but ST was playing zone and its little guys were spunky defenders, so penetration was more difficult. Bombs away? No problem. Later, the Indians switched to man-to-man and Newton became his usual self. Honestly, this game was mostly average until it reached the riveting stage. There were few plays to really get the spectators going and fluidity was difficult to achieve. What was likely N-G's first vintage sequence occurred with roughly six minutes left in the third quarter. Newton drained a left-corner trey, ST committed a turnover, and sr. C Tony Toplyn posted a three-point play off the inbound pass from jr. G Lamarr "Fresh" Kimble (10 points). Those six quick points gave the Saints a 34-30 lead. Before the end of the period, Newton added three more biggies -- he followed his own free throw miss for a bucket, hit another trey, then nailed a step-back two along the wing. Alas, ST would not go away. At the 4-minute mark of the last quarter, sr. G Troy Harper (like Toplyn, he's bound for Campbell), had a layup off a hard drive blocked and after he crumpled to the floor he came up limping pretty severely. He'd hurt his left ankle. Harper was removed, but soon was asking (begging?) coach Carl Arrigale to put him back into the game. Wasn't happenin'. Soon, he asked (begged?) again and the buzzer sounded. At 1:19, after Harper (12 points) missed a trey, Newton snagged the rebound, drew a foul and hit one of two shots to create a tie at 53-53. ST held until calling time at 37.9, then held some more until trying a jumper in the foul line area. Toplyn was at the top of his block-it game, though, rising high to get a piece of the shot. Huge! Newton wound up with the ball and steamed downcourt, but his twisting layup was unsuccessful and he was called for walking after grabbing the O-board. Only six-tenths of a second remained, so ST had no chance to cash in. OT started with a floater by you-know-who. Soon, on the fourth chance of a possession, he was stepping to the line for a double-bonus. Good. Good again. Those successes made the score 57-54. The Injuns airballed a trey and Kimble hit two free throws at 1:33 to make it 59-54. Toplyn then pogo-sticked for another block and the it's-all-over feeling began to take over the arena. With 21.2 seconds left, Harper nailed two free throws for 62-54 math and it WAS all over. Fittingly, N-G's final two points were scored by Newton. With 15.3 remaining, he nailed two free throws for Nos. 1,971 and 1,972. Waiting at the scorers' table was sr. Shaun Grubb. The buzzer sounded, Grubb headed onto the court and Ja'Quan walked toward N-G's bench as the Saints' supporters, and others, offered a warm ovation. First to greet 'Quan was Arrigale, who gave him a lengthy, emotional hug. It was quite the scene. What a legacy. In four years as a starter, Ja'Quan Newton captured 11 of a possible 12 championships. All four in the Cath. All four City Titles. Three state chips (missing out in '13). Beyond that, he was always a class act, and came to be revered by everyone connected with the program. That he played so well one day after experiencing such a tragic loss, well, that defines Ja'Quan Newton. I'm so glad I was able to spend four years watching Ja'Quan, the player, and Ja'Quan, the person.