With senior guard Lynn Greer III sidelined, Nasir Lett (above, in Feb.) popped in 16 points for Roman in a PIAA 6A win. (Photo: Mark Jordan/CoBL)
Kevin Callahan (@CP_KCallahan)
SPRINGFIELD, Pa. – Coming off a pair of losses, but packing an impressive resume of wins this year, the question was which Roman Catholic team would show in the PIAA playoffs.
Well, even though the Cahillites won, we really don’t know more about the true identity of this talented squad since the team’s leader and leading scorer didn’t play Saturday afternoon.
“I know the way my team practices, they practice hard, so even without me playing, it’s just the next man up,” Lynn Greer III said after sitting out a physical 81-75 win over Coatesville with an aggravated hip injury.
“It was against McDevitt, but I just kept playing and it got worse,” explained Greer about his hip after missing this opening round game of the PIAA Class 6A playoffs at Cardinal O’Hara High School.
Roman Catholic, which led by as many as 16 points in third quarter, plays Pennridge (19-8) on Wednesday in the second round.
“I think I will be able to play the next game,” said Greer.
With the 6-foot-3 Greer out, sophomore Justice Williams scored 27 points, including making 9-of-11 free throws – all in the second half when Coatesville was chasing the ball and fouling to stop the clock.
“I see that every day,” Greer said about the 6-4 Williams. “Justice is a great player.”
Roman Catholic was up 41-32 at the half without Greer, who was on the bench but not in uniform as Williams picked up the slack in scoring with 11 points at the break.
“I knew I had to score more,” Williams said.
Roman made 17-of-23 free throws in the second half to hold off Coatesville (20-7), which just continued to scrap and battle no matter what the score.
Roman 6-1 freshman Xzayvier Brown scored 17 points to ease the loss of Greer. His 3-pointer with five minutes left in the third quarter gave Roman its biggest lead at 52-36.
Nasir Lett, a 5-11 senior, scored 16 points and 6-9 sophomore Jalen Duren scored 13 points for the Cahillites, who are possibly another win away from the state quarterfinals and an anticipated rematch against District 1 champion Methacton, which lost to Roman in the first meeting. The Warriors beat Harrisburg later on Saturday evening at Norristown High.
“We have a good team and we had to play well without him,” Duren said about Greer. “We want to keep playing.”
Cahillites forward Will Norman started for Greer and he scored four of his six points in the first three minutes. His two free throws handed the Cahillites a 10-2 lead.
“He is a great player and I knew I had to step up,” Norman said.
Roman Catholic (17-10) had lost in the PCL title matchup and then in the District 12 championship against Gratz in its last two games.
“I mean, every team loses,” Greer said, shrugging off the defeats, which raised questions of how Roman would fare in the PIAA playoffs.
The last win for Roman was in the Catholic League semifinals on February 19.
“Yeah, it has been a while since we won,” said Williams, “but we knew we would be fine.”
Coatesville senior guard Jhamir Brickus, who is the program’s all-time leading scorer, finished his scholastic career with 26 points, including 19 in a frantic fourth quarter.
John Proctor added 19 points while Jaeden Brickus and DaPree Bryant, a Villanova football recruit, scored 12 points for the Raiders.
In addition to beating Methacton (in December), the Cahillites defeated Camden, which is favored to win a Group 2 state title in New Jersey, as well as Bonner-Prendergast and Archbishop Wood – both higher seeds - in the Catholic League playoffs.
But the Cahillites also lost 10 games, finished in fifth place in the PCL and Roman committed 27 turnovers last week in a 71-60 loss to Simon Gratz in the District 12 Class 6A title game.
Also, when Roman Catholic lost to rival Neumann-Goretti in the PCL final 66-58 at the Palestra, the Cahillites allowed 12 unanswered points after gaining the lead. And, the two-time defending league champs without a field goal for almost six minutes.
So it wasn’t known which Roman team would show up in the PIAA playoffs.
The one without Greer did.
And, also, the winning one did.
Greer, who said nothing was new on the recruiting from except “Gonzaga saw me this week,” hopes to be seen again on the court in the playoffs.
Class 6A First-Round Results
Methacton 64, Harrisburg 38
Lincoln 50, Bensalem 48
Roman Catholic 81, Coatesville 76
Pennridge 49, Wilkes-Barre 41
Freedom 69, Downingtown East 50
Reading 57, St. Joe’s Prep 45
Chester 76, William Allen 63
Simon Gratz 56, Garnet Valley 51
Wilson 49, North Penn 39
Lower Merion 63, Northampton 51
Cheltenham 57, Easton 56
Mt. Lebanon 69, Cedar Crest 43
Central York 60, Central Catholic 39
McDowell 69, Peters Township 58
Butler 93, Central Dauphin 90 (OT)
Upper St. Clair 63, Allderdice 45