Goretti ends Barons’ season in Sweet 16

By on March 11, 2015
Manheim Central’s Matt Walsh (15) and Taylor Funk outmuscle Neumann-Goretti’s Dhamir Cosby Roundtree for a rebound in Tuesday’s Sweet 16 game at Garden Spot. (Photo by Preston Whitcraft)

Manheim Central’s Matt Walsh (15) and Taylor Funk outmuscle Neumann-Goretti’s Dhamir Cosby Roundtree for a rebound in Tuesday’s Sweet 16 game at Garden Spot. (Photo by Preston Whitcraft)

Over the course of this season, the Manheim Central boys basketball team has crossed paths with a lot of good opponents.

Octorara early. Then Bishop McDevitt in the District Three Triple-A semi-finals. Susquehanna Township in the consolations.

But the defending State champion and nationally-ranked Neumann-Goretti squad that the Barons faced on Tuesday night probably topped them all.

“They’re as good as I’ve seen in a long time,” Manheim Central coach Chris Sherwood said.

The Saints’ athleticism and quickness was on full display from the get-go when they jumped out to a 21-4 advantage at the end of the first quarter.

Although Manheim Central got back within eight, 24-16, in the second quarter, it was an uphill climb and the Barons’ playoff run ended with a 72-44 loss to Neumann-Goretti in a PIAA State Triple-A Sweet 16 game at Garden Spot High School.

“We had made a nice run (in the second quarter) and I thought our guys worked really hard,” Sherwood said. “These guys are great. These kids have been great for how long. But (Neumann-Goretti) is just a good team and you can’t really make mistakes and we did.”

The loss ended a magical career for nine seniors &tstr; Tanner Brenize, Colin Brubaker, Ryan Carlino, Blake Reiff, Derick Ruhl, Alex Sensenich, Tony Staffieri, Matt Walsh and Dan Wiederrecht &tstr; who helped the Barons (25-5) go a combined 49-10 over the past two seasons.

Asked to sum up his emotions in a word or two, Sherwood said, “I probably couldn’t do it in a word. I’m proud of them. These are great kids and they’re going to be great in life. They’re going to do great things. So we can’t keep them in high school … I’m looking forward to coaching (the underclassmen). I’m looking forward to that next step, just as they should be looking forward to their next step of going to college, being successful adults, etc.”

The next step for the Saints (26-2) is a quarterfinal matchup against McDevitt on Friday in the Elite Eight.

But they will surely be a tough team to beat.

Senior guard Lamar Kimble scored six of his 16 points in a game-opening 15-0 run against the Barons, as Goretti took early control.

Central, meanwhile, was 0-for-9 from the floor until Walsh scored inside with 1:08 left in the period, but Saint sophomore Quade Green responded with two treys and Goretti led 21-4 after one.

Green finished with a game-high 24 points to lead three Saints’ players in double figures. Zane Martin chipped in with 15.

“Their speed really scared me,” Sherwood said. “You can’t let one play affect the next because there’s like a four-minute stretch that will decide a game against guys like this. And shoot, wouldn’t you know it, we lost No. 1 (Green) three times and he hit three jumpers there in the first. Then it was damage control for three and a half quarters.”

Actually, the Barons did a nice job with that damage control in the second quarter, reeling off a 12-1 run and cutting Goretti’s lead to 24-16 with 2:54 left in the half on Taylor Funk putback.

“Taylor Funk was awesome tonight,” Sherwood said. “Taylor was just dynamite going after loose balls, and a bunch of our guys were.”

Funk led the Barons with 16 points and 15 rebounds, while Walsh chipped in with 11 points.

But Martin scored six points in a half-ending 10-2 surge by the Saints, capped by a fastbreak layup, and it was back to 34-18 heading to the break.

Seven of Central’s 14 giveaways came in the second period, a couple of those in the final minutes.

“Those turnovers cost us late in the second quarter,” Sherwood said.

From there, Goretti started the third on a 22-3 run to break it open and that was that.

Afterward, Sherwood offered some perspective.

“These guys were great,” he said. “Holy mackerel, we played our 30th game tonight. It’s March, I’m walking out and these guys are having bunting practice in the parking lot and kids are running track and I’m thinking, ‘Spring sports are in full session. The ACC Tournament started today and we’re playing.’ Unbelievable. Unbelievable.”

The finality, though, hit the team as they gathered in the locker room at game’s end.

“They’re crushed right now,” Sherwood said. “That’s the most emotion that I’ve seen in a locker room in 20 years of coaching. Without question, that’s the most emotion I’ve seen. And that’s good &tstr; it means they put everything they had into it.”

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