Archbishop Wood hasn't exactly been a powerhouse in Philadelphia Catholic League basketball over the year but this season proved to be quite different. The Vikings, led by 6-1, Class of 2017, PCL MVP, Collin Gillespie won the Catholic League Championship Monday night over perennial power, Neumann-Gorretti by a score of 65-58. Gillespie led a second-half charge that put Wood over the top after the Saints ran out to a 31-18 half-time lead.
Neumann-Goretti was led in the first half by McDonald's All-American and Kentucky-bound, sharp-shooter, Quade Green. Green was draining pulling up jumpers from mid-range and deep as well as getting to the rim for some lay-ups. His scoring out-burst and some cold shooting by the Vikings led to an early prognosis of "this ain't gonna be much of a game here tonight". The Saints extended a 19-11 first quarter lead to 31-18 at intermission.
In the second-half, Wood immediately began to see their shooting percentage come back toward the norm - three-balls from the wing, threes from the corner, and all manner of pull-up and floater were falling in the third quarter as the Viking charged back into the lead. The fourth quarter became more of a possession game and Archbishop Wood made more winning plays down the stretch, under pressure to come away with the win.
There were two Villanova commits in action. Gillespie and Neumann-Goretti forward, Dhamir Cosby-Roundtree.
Dhamir Cosby-Roundtree picked up two fouls in the first half and was stuck on the pine for quite some time. He finished the game with 8 points, 5 rebounds, 2 blocked shots, and 3 turnovers. He was 3-6 from the field and 2-4 from the line. He missed his first two free-throws in a key part of the second half when every point was being scratched and clawed for on both ends of the court. It spoke volumes to his calm under pressure when he returned to the FT line just a short while later and drilled two key new to knot the game back up. His most impressive bucket was a follow-up, power slam. He also scored a lay-up from the left side against one of the smaller Wood forwards and another lay-up off a well-executed pick-and-roll play he ran with Quade Green. His misses were a turn-around jump-shot attempt over the 6-11, Seth Pinckney, a shot he had simultaneously stripped and blocked from the right side and a turn-around jumper from six-feet over Pinckney. VUSports has seen plenty of games where Cosby-Roundtree was more active in the low post on both ends of the floor and really stuffed the stat sheet. Archbishop Wood did a good job of doubling down on him and not giving him a whole lot of room to operate.
Gillespie, who ended up being the star of the game for Wood, got off to a slow start along with the rest of his Viking mates in the first half. He had only a couple points at intermission and was struggling to find his groove. His pet move in this game ended up being his take on the "South Philly floater". He hit four different variations of running one-handers / floaters off the bounce - both coming off screens and just taking his man to turn the corner and create enough space and time for his shot. Gillespie drained a corner three-ball to give Wood a late lead and later hit a wing three-ball to put them up five at a critical juncture in the game. He showed good toughness and strength to will his way to the basket at a couple key moments and made the play of the game in the closing minute to block Quade Green from behind, pick up the loose ball and take it end-to-end for a near three-point play. He canned both FTs instead and the Vikings were able to answer every late thrust by the Saints late with either a bucket or more FTs. Overall he shot 2-6 from beyond the arc, 7-12 from the floor and 7-8 from the free-throw line.
Both Gillespie and Cosby-Roundtree look like recruits that will find their niche at Villanova over time. Gillespie has a good handle, good court vision and a sense for when to step up in games. Cosby-Roundtree has good timing as a shot-blocker and rebounder despite not having played competitive basketball for as many years as the majority of his peers. He is improving as a one-to-three-bounce, face-the-basket scoring threat, but his bread-and-butter is finishing around the cup with lay-ups and dunks.