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BC boys fall to Philly power

Bethlehem Catholic’s season came to an end last week in the second round of the PIAA 4A tournament, falling to Philadelphia Catholic League power Neumann-Goretti 74-49 in Pottstown.

Knocking off the Saints (25-3) has not been an easy feat for any team in the state, as Goretti is vying for their 10th state title this year after defeating Central Catholic Monday night in the semifinals.

Alex Cercado capped off his senior year with a 29-point effort against the Saints, but it wasn’t nearly enough, as Goretti pulled away in the second half.

The Saints led 29-22 at halftime, but saw star guard Robert Wright III explode in the second half for 20 points, leading way to a game-high 33 points on the night for the Baylor commit.

Head coach Scott McClary knew the Philly titans would be an uphill battle all night, but after losing to them in back-to-back seasons in the state tournament, can any Lehigh Valley team be able to top Philly teams in the state tournament?

“Just have to get better,” said McClary. “They are in a conference all together so they can actively recruit and we cannot. There have been Valley teams that have won games against those schools, but not a lot. We just have to keep getting better.”

The Hawks finished off the year at 18-9, but for a team with only three seniors (Nate Mullaney, Aidan Rompilla, and Alex Cercado), playing in the district championship and getting valuable state experience should pay dividends for the program moving forward.

“Our program has lost many great players just about every year I have been here,” McClary said. “We have had a tremendous amount of success in player development and offseason growth. We will look to continue that again this year.”

Cercado will be a major hole to replace for the Hawks next season, as he was the only Hawk to reach double digits in the loss to Goretti.

However, McClary knows this team will benefit from this year’s experience, but is also proud of what this group was able to accomplish this season.

“Each team runs its own race and is its own entity,” McClary said. “While I am sure the experiences will help any players returning, we really just try to make it all about this particular team. We are very proud of what we were able to accomplish with this group this year and will carry tremendous memories and friendships with us the rest of our lives.”

Press photos by Linda Rothrock Jeremy Holmes fights for a loose ball against Neumann-Goretti.
Marcus Drysdale drives to the basket during last week's state playoffs.