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BC ready for clash vs. Neumann-Goretti

Scott McClary knows there isn’t much he can do for his team, as they headed to the PIAA 4A quarterfinals Tuesday night against Philadelphia Catholic League power Neumann-Goretti.

It’s about execution and believing when taking on a program that bounced the Hawks out of the state tournament a year ago and a team that has won nine state championships.

The Saints (23-3) are favorites again to win this year’s state championship and McClary clearly understands what his team is up against.

“Well, they have won the state tournament in nine of the last 10 years I think, and the only year they did not, was the year they did not participate,” said McClary. “They have their team returning from last year plus a new piece or two, so yes, they are as stellar as normal and better than last year’s team.”

Becahi (18-8) hung tough with Goretti last year, but eventually fell 53-42 to a team that always features Division-I talent. Robert Wright III is a Baylor commit for the Saints and the six-foot junior guard averages 22.3 points a game. With Goretti bringing back a bulk of their team from a year ago, the Saints might be a tougher task to handle this year for anyone in their way.

Becahi is coming off a 43-39 win over Greater Nanticoke in Saturday’s opening round, overcoming a one-point first quarter for the comeback win.

Marcus Drysdale scored a team-high 16 points and Alex Cercado added 10 points in the win to give this young group a valuable state playoff experience.

“It is always important when you get relevant big game experience, and when you win in those moments, it is even more important,” said McClary. “We want to develop an expectation that we are a winning program, while we learn what it actually takes (year round) to be one.”

Figuring out how to beat Goretti might involve some praying, along with execution, as McClary knows there’s only so much that can be said in a matchup against a team with so much talent.

“I think this is an easy game to coach and extremely difficult game to play,” he said. “We just need to eliminate turnovers against their pressure, eliminate their transition game, and eliminate their offensive rebounds. When you do those three things against them, you win. History shows how many teams have accomplished that over the past 23 years. Figuring out what to do against them is super simple, doing it is totally different.”

Liberty (16-11) saw their season end in the opening round of states in heartbreaking fashion, falling to Upper Darby 66-64 in double overtime at the buzzer on Saturday at Memorial Gymnasium.

The Hurricanes came back from a 17-point second half deficit, but saw Yassir Joyner come up with a steal underneath the hoop for the game-winning layup.

Dwayne Chess Jr led the Hurricanes with 20 points and Blake Hargrove added 15 points. Nate Rivera (12 points) and Jake Pukszyn (11) were in double figures.

Press photos by Linda Rothrock Aidan Rompilla makes a pass during states.
Joshua Brown of Becahi looks to haul in a rebound.
Press photo by Mark Kirlin Axcel Kamanga and the Hurricanes suffered a tough loss during states.
Blake Hargrove fights through two defenders to put up a shot.