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Roman Catholic . . . 2015 PIAA Class AAAA State Champs!
Roman's starters, L to R -- Paul Newman, Gemil Holbrook, Tony Carr, Nazeer Bostick, D'Andre Vilmar.
The title-game boxscore . . .
|Romn 62, King 45|
|Team Rebounds: 1. Turnovers: 12.|
|MARTIN LUTHER KING|
|Team Rebounds: 5. Turnovers: 10.|
|Roman Catholic||14||16||14||18||-- 62|
|M.L. King||11||18||4||12||-- 45|
|Officials: Randy Pritzker, Kevin Clay, Barry Vaughn.|
The Season's Results (29-2) . . .
|Haverford School||W, 63-61|
|Roosevelt (DC)||W, 54-41|
|Calvert Hall (MD)||W, 80-56|
|Cardinal Hayes (NY)||W, 60-47|
|Westhill (NY)||W, 75-61|
|Wings Academy (NY)||W, 67-55|
|St. Michael's (OH)||W, 92-75|
|Scranton Prep||W, 76-66|
|West Catholic||W, 80-47|
|La Salle||L, 56-55|
|SJ Prep||W, 53-39|
|Downingtown West||W, 68-52|
|Cedar Crest||W, 53-35|
|Lancaster McCaskey||W, 69-66|
Season Scoring . . .
|*-includes City Title|
|Non-League; Catholic League; Catholic Playoffs; State Playoffs|
Selected Photos . . .
Manny Taylor watches his layup.
Gemil Holbrook watches inbound pass zip past.
Tony Carr starts a break (with Nazeer Bostick).
L to R, on TV -- coach Chris McNesby, lone senior starter Gemil Holbrook.
Ted's Website Report . . .
PIAA CLASS AAAA FINAL
Roman 62, King 45
(At Hershey's Giant Center)
Thank goodness Roman's victory celebration was very pleasing to the eyes. The ballgame certainly wasn't. For now, here's all you need to know about the latter: King missed 27 of its first 29 shots in the second half. Ouch. When the buzzer finally sounded, the fun began. Great sights were everywhere as the Cahillites rejoiced with themselves and then with their rabid student/adult supporters. As teacher John Pensabene happened to mention, "When your school's 125 years old, you can't do too many things for the first time." Roman has won millions (slight exaggeration) of championships in many sports, but this was the first state title in the school's PIAA era, which began in the 2008-09 school year, as it did for all Catholic League schools. The coolest visual involved the interaction between the players and students, and those groups just kept having fun and more fun and MORE fun even though the students had to stay behind the hockey boards. Finally, the lights dimmed slightly and the security guards let it be known that everyone needed to depart. Otherwise the great vibrations might have continued 'til midnight (smile). There was also a wonderful moment in the last half-minute. Waved to the scorers' table was sr. F TreVaughn Wilkerson (Hartford commit), who'd been sidelined since early December due to a severe knee injury. (To honor TreVaughn, assistant Thomas "Hockey Puck" McKenna spent much of the day/night wearing a Hartford shirt. Classy move, Puckster!) The coaches and starters were hoping the ball would find its way to TreVaughn, who was camped out near the bench on the left side. But things were so crazy by that point, I'm not even sure the deep subs realized TreVaughn was out there. The ball went to the right and soon the buzzer was sounding again. TreVaughn, who's still limping slightly, left the game and exchanged a healthy hug with coach Chris McNesby. Here's the answer to the trivia question, How long did TreVaughn Wilkerson play as Roman won the state championship in 2015? 16.1 seconds (from 26.7 to 10.6). Well before the game began, there was interesting viewing. For all championship games in the Giant Center, rooting sections are catty-corner. But the Roman kids wound up right next to King's and it didn't take long for PIAA officials to stride over and say, quite forcefully, "Go back to the other end, guys. Now!" As for the game itself . . . It just never truly got going. Even though the score was close throughout the first half, rarely did we see two consecutive special moments, let alone three or four. A classic just wasn't in the cards, folks. Off an inbound play that started with a half-second remaining, sr. PG Sammy Foreman drilled a trey to draw King within 30-29. No doubt all neutral observers, mindful that the recent City Title had produced a 58-57 win for Roman over King, were thinking, "OK, that sets up a great second half." Phew, talk about wrong. The Cougars shot 2-for-17 in the third quarter and then missed 10 more shots to open the fourth. The thoughts became, "Maybe this shot has a chance . . . Nope. Maybe THIS shot has a chance . . . Nope. Look at this shot. It's definitely going in . . . Nope." It was unbelievable. Maybe King's bad luck non-charm was Shep Garner. Shep, who starred for Roman and is now a Penn State frosh, was among the spectators throughout. Shortly into the third quarter, he sat between PSU coach Pat Chambers (Episcopal product) and assistant Brian Daly (Bonner) not too far from the Roman kids, who acknowledged his presence with wild applause. Soon, sr. swingman Gemil Holbrook (Rider) was nailing a left-corner trey to make it 39-31 and the game was en route to becoming a non-game. (Later, Shep scrambled over to greet the students.) Before the fourth quarter, the PA announcer, reminding the fans that championship shirts would later be available, said something like, "We know the colors on the shirts will be purple and gold. We just don't know what name will be on them." Alas, King never slapped together a hint of a run and Roman's fans safely were able to belt out the all-time jinx chant, "I Believe That We Will Win," with 1:56 remaining. The spread was 15 points, at 56-41. No chance for an epic collapse. Roman attempted just 28 shots from the floor (and made 17!) because major hacking took place; the Cahillites went an unsightly 23-for-41 at the line. King was very good at the stripe (10-for-12), but woeful (15-for-55) in other locales. Roman's top defender was soph WG D'Andre Vilmar, who was mostly responsible for making jr. G Jabri McCall go 0-for-9 from the floor. Starting PF-C Tyere Marshall also failed to notch a field goal (0-for-4), but his night was severely limited by foul trouble. Holbrook (20), jr. PG Tony Carr (14) and Vilmar (10) scored in double figures. Jr. WG Nazeer Bostick and sr. sixth-man PF-C Manny Taylor (Rutgers for football) claimed six rebounds apiece. Carr had six assists and three steals and missed just one shot total (4-for-5 floor, 4-for-4 line). Foreman (20) and sr. WG Tyheem Harmon (10, three treys) reached double digits for King and Foreman was the rebound leader with seven. This was quite the weekend for District 12. "Our Guys" won the title in every classification and that's a first since the expansion from three to four in 1983-84. Great job! Except for wrapup endeavors, this concludes my 44th season of covering high school hoops. Thanks to the website visitors for paying attention and to my assorted sidekicks for all the great help they provide.
ADDED MARCH 22 . . .
Thomas "Hockey Puck" McKenna, Roman's legendary assistant, video-taped the game from high above the stands. To come downstairs and join the players-coaches, he took n elevator. As the doors opened, he quickly scrambled through, looked around, saw a door and pushed it open. That left him outside the arena. "What da hell I doin' out hehe?" Puck barked at himself. He had to walk around the building and convince a security guard that he indeed deserved to be back inside.
Guard D'Andre Vilmar was en route to Roman via public transportation when the bus broke down in Camden. Knowing he was pressed for time, Vilmar hustled off the bus, then ran across the Ben Franklin Bridge and nine more blocks to Roman, so he would not miss the team bus to Hershey.
(Thanks to former coach Dennis Seddon and current AD Dan DiBerardinis for these nuggets.)