Philadelphia High School Basketball
North Heads in the Right Direction Just in Time . . .
In 1987, a Catholic League championship seemed to be highly
unlikely for North Catholic after
the first 20 games of the season. The Falcons were 9-11 overall and 6-5 in the Catholic League
Northern Division. Then? . . . Coach Joe Rapczynski's club won five straight to finish division
play and swept through the three-game playoffs to win the school's first crown since 1967!
(The final loss occurred in a showcase game vs. Dobbins.)
NOTE: In the Falcons' opener, vs. Gratz, on Dec. 1, NC sub Marty O'Donnell became the first
player in city history to hit a three-point shot. A nugget about that accomplishment can be found
at the bottom of this page.
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1987 Catholic League
By Ted Silary
"Everybody was saying, 'You can't win,'
" said Mastropietro, who first experienced a CL championship last
spring, as North's rightfielder in baseball. Senior guard Kevin
Comey also started on that team, at shortstop. ''Who? I don't know.
People. Everywhere. The world. " North established itself
immediately, spurting to leads of 7-2 and 14-6. When a fastbreak
basket by senior guard Clayton "Stink" Adams gave Roman a 27-27 tie
3:49 before halftime, North held its composure and surged ahead,
With three minutes left in the third quarter, a three-point shot by senior guard Eugene Smith and Adams's pull-up, in-the-lane jumper put Roman ahead, 42-38. But
Schultice didn't wait to see if his teammates were teetering. He bulled to the basket for another three-point play and North would lead by 49-44 at the end of the quarter.
"Two things were key," Rapczynski said. "We couldn't let Roman jump on us in the first four minutes and we couldn't ever let them run off 12, 14 or 16 points in a row.
"We used all of our defenses - 1-3-1, 2-3, 3-2, man-to-man, combination, triangle-and-two, box-and-one, three presses. We felt we had to constantly change to keep them off stride. " Ultimately, a controversial foul and a mix-up that prevented a three-point basket helped contribute to Roman's defeat.
With North ahead, 59-57, and 23 seconds left, Adams stripped Kevin Comey in front of Roman's bench and would have been off to the races for a layup had a foul not been called. When it was, Roman's coaches and substitutes exploded in protest.
Kevin Comey converted the one-and-one to make it 61-57, but Roman's push upcourt resulted in a three-point field goal for Smith at 0:19. Oh, no it didn't. Adams had signaled for time beforehand, but the whistle of referee Jim Barker (doing his last game after 24 years in the league) was not immediately heard by the players.
"We wanted to score, then call time out," said Roman coach Dennis Seddon, a 1967 North graduate. "I guess there was confusion on Stink's part. "
When asked about Adams's would-be steal, Seddon said: "I'm not allowed to comment on the officials . . . I would rather approach it with the attitude that North played hard and deserved to win. They got every loose ball, every rebound. When big plays needed to be made, they made them. "
The last came at 0:03, when Tim Comey, Kevin's brother and a junior guard, converted a one-and-one.
"When I saw Roman play Bonner (in a South semifinal), I said to myself, 'They're beatable,' " Mastropietro noted.
"Everybody on the team thought we could beat them," Schultice said. "We knew we could beat them. "
J im Schultice will tell you, euphoric numbness is the only way to fly.
TITLE TIDBITS: Saturday's matchups at Philadelphia Textile in the first Brotherly Love Classic will be Central-Archbishop Carroll at 1 p.m., North and Murrell Dobbins Tech at 3 p.m. . . . The 1976 title game featured an upset of close to the same proportions, as Bishop Kenrick (second in the North) pinned a 64-54 defeat on West Catholic, which featured 6-6 All-America Michael Brooks and had gone 14-0 in the South . . . North (11-5) tied for second in the North, while Roman was first (13-1) in the South . . . A classic non-final shocker came in 1981, when St. James, which finished 7-7 to earn a playoff spot for the first time since 1960, beat a 14-0 Roman team, 58-56, in overtime. It was Bill "Speedy" Morris's last league game as Roman's coach.
Roman and North met in the '69 final, with Roman winning, 66-54. Joe Rapczynski, then a North junior, had four points and three rebounds as a frontcourt sub. The Falcons lost the final to Cardinal Dougherty in '70 (then, inter-division matchups took place in the semis) and to now-defunct St. Thomas More in '72 . . . Dennis Seddon: "We burned a lot of emotion Friday night (South final victory over Archbishop Carroll). We knew it was going to be hard to get back up." . . . Kevin Comey is Seddon's paperboy. ''Now," Seddon said, "maybe I'll get my paper on time again."
|FOES, NORTH'S POINTS, LEADING SCORER(S)|
|Neumann||64||Kevin Comey/Jim Schultice/John Martin||15|
|SJ Prep||64||Kevin Comey||18|
|West Catholic||69||Kevin Comey||18|
|Arch Curley (MD)||62||Eric Banks/Jim Schultice||19|
|Wildwood Cath. (NJ0||59||Jim Schultice||19|
|Lower Cape May||41||Kevin Comey||13|
|La Salle||52||Dave Mastropietro||13|
|Wood||59||Kevin Comey/Jim Schultice||15|
|La Salle||57||Jim Schultice||27|
|Kenrick||56||Kevin Comey/Dave Mastropietro||13|
This story was written after the
Falcons won the CL semifinal . . .
By Ted Silary
|NORTH'S SCORING IN CL REGULAR SEASON AND PLAYOFFS|
This story was written after the
Falcons closed the regular season with their fifth consecutive
victory . . .
Playoff Games . . .
3-POINT FAME . . .