BETHLEHEM — Scranton Prep head coach Andrew Kettel was hoping Neumann-Goretti’s struggles shooting the ball would continue during the second round of the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association Class 3A boys basketball playoffs Tuesday evening at Freedom High School.
His wish would not be granted.
After scoring 69 points in its first round game, Goretti scored 56 in the first half en route to a 113-71 win over Scranton Prep.
“They haven’t been shooting well for the past three weeks,” Kettel said. “I watched those game on tape and I was hoping it would be the case (tonight), but unfortunately it wasn’t. We ran into a buzzsaw.
“We tried to get back on defense. We tried a matchup zone, but then we were losing their shooters.”
Neumann-Goretti came out firing.
The Saints scored the first five points of the game and led the Cavaliers 31-15 at the end of the first quarter.
Scranton Prep’s Nick Dende scored seven of his 18 points in the quarter to keep the Cavs within striking distance.
Vaughn Covington, Quade Green, Rasheed Browne and Zane Martin each made a 3-pointer in the first quarter for Goretti.
“We knew they are a very athletic team,” Dende said. “We did everything we could on defense, but they were hitting their shots.”
Goretti’s hot shooting continued in the second quarter when Covington, who finished with 14 points, connected on three 3-pointers. Green added another one and the Saints stretched their lead to 17 points at the half, despite an 8-0 run by Prep midway through the quarter.
“When they have eight 3-pointers at halftime, it’s going to hurt your chances,” Kettel said. “I’m proud of our effort, we never stopped playing and we had a great season.”
Prep’s Logan Bailey scored eight of his team-high 21 points in the second.
Neumann-Goretti had its most productive quarter in the third when Green scored 10 of his 26 points.
“They push the ball up the floor just like we do, but at a higher intensity,” Bailey said of Goretti’s offensive attack. “It was really hard to control. They just scored in bunches.”
Despite the loss, Bailey, a junior, was pleased with the overall results of the season. The Cavaliers won the preseason Lynett Memorial Tournament, claimed the Lackawanna League Division 1 championship, and repeated as District 2 Class 3A champions.
“We reached three out of our four goals, the last one was to be the state champions, so it really meant a lot to our seniors,” Bailey said. “It was really a good year for us all around.”