Michael Bullock (@thebullp_n)
HARRISBURG — While placing three youngsters on one of Pennsylvania’s all-state boys’ basketball teams is a startling feat — particularly when all three are first-team — win a second straight PIAA Class AAAA championship and that could happen.
Well, it did happen … at Philadelphia’s Roman Catholic High School.
And guess what? Remarkably, all three will be continuing their promising basketball careers playing for the Penn State Nittany Lions.
Tony Carr, Nazeer Bostick and Lamar Stevens, all of whom spearheaded Roman Catholic (27-4) to a 73-62 victory over Taylor Allderdice in last month’s Class AAAA championship game, headline the Class AAAA all-state team selected by a panel of Pennsylvania sports writers and media members.
Stevens filled the Class AAAA title game highlight reel with 27 points and seven rebounds, including a handful of rim-rattling slam dunks, while Bostick finished with 15 points and five boards. Carr, meanwhile, chipped in with 13 points, eight rebounds and a handful of assists.
Carr was tagged the Class AAAA player of the year for the second year in succession.
Joining the Roman Catholic trio on the first team are Allderdice’s James Jackson,
Reading’s Lonnie Walker IV and Dylan Painter of Hershey. Painter will be moving on to NCAA Division I champion Villanova following his high school graduation.
Walker, one of the top juniors in the United States, is the lone underclassman on the first team.
After piloting Allderdice (28-2) to its first state championship game appearance, the Dragons’ Buddy Valinsky was named the Class AAAA coach of the year.
While the remaining three classifications did not have three players from the same school land on those respective first teams, all three of those first-team units sport two players from the programs that captured PIAA championship gold.
Philadelphia-based Westtown School, which won Pennsylvania’s Independent Schools championship, also had two first-team all-state selections.
Call it a significant sweep.
Capturing its third consecutive Class AAA championship — and sixth in seven seasons — Neumann-Goretti’s run to another state title played a significant role in the Saints (27-4) putting guards Quade Green and Zane Martin on the first team.
Martin scored 33 points and Green chimed in with 25 as Carl Arrigale’s bunch wheeled past Mars 99-66 in the Class AAA title game.
Green, who added nine rebounds and eight assists in the state championship game, was named Class AAA’s player of the year. He’s just a junior.
Joining the Neumann-Goretti tandem on the first team are Lewisburg’s Sam Allen, Mars’ Robby Carmody, Beaver Falls’ Josh Creach, Archbishop Carroll’s Ryan Daly and Daron Russell of Philadelphia’s Imhotep Charter.
Creach and Russell, like Green, are juniors. Carmody is merely a sophomore.
Carmody’s father, Rob, was named the Class AAA coach of the year after guiding the Fighting Planets (23-7) to their first state final.
Fashioning a perfect record (30-0) highlighted by a win in the PIAA’s Class AA championship game certainly helped Aliquippa’s Chucky Humphries and Jassir Jordan find spots on Class AA’s first-team contingent.
Aliquippa defeated Philadelphia’s Mastery Charter North 68-49 in the Class AA championship game. Jordan netted all 22 of his points after halftime, while the 6-6 Humphries finished with seven points, eight rebounds and four blocks.
Same could be said for the Westtown School duo of Mohamed Bamba and Brandon Randolph, who collected first-team nods after leading the Moose to a 73-65 win over Germantown Academy in the Independent Schools’ title game.
Randolph pocketed 29 points in that contest, while the 6-11 Bamba collected 13 points and 16 rebounds. Both are juniors.
Rounding out Class AA’s first team are high-scoring junior Nelly Cummings of Lincoln Park Charter and De’Andre Hunter of Philadelphia’s Friends Central.
Headed for Virginia following graduation, Hunter was named the Class AA player of the year. Aliquippa’s Nick Lackovich was named Class AA coach of the year.
Completing the state championship success/multiple first-team selections exacta is the Class A duo of Sagaba Konate and Jason Austin of Kennedy Catholic.
Both seniors, those two led the Golden Eagles (28-2) to a 71-60 triumph over Philadelphia’s Math, Civics & Sciences in the Class A final.
Konate fashioned 17 points and 22 rebounds in his final high school appearance, while the silky smooth Austin tacked on 16 points.
Ticketed for West Virginia, the 6-8 Konate was named Class A’s player of the year. Kennedy Catholic skipper Rick Mancino was named coach of the year.
Joining Konate and Austin on the Class A first team are Farrell’s Malik Miller, Williamsport St. John Neumann’s Kevin Anderson, Harrisburg Academy’s Jalen Gabbidon and Malik Archer of Math, Civics & Sciences.
Miller is a senior, while Anderson, Gabbidon and Archer are juniors.