Last night, my colleague Jim Seip spoke with Susquehanna Township coach Vince Rogers about tonight's PIAA Class AAA semifinal meeting between Eastern York and Neumann-Goretti. Rogers has an interesting perspective in all this, having played both teams in the last month. Township lost to Eastern in the District 3 quarterfinals, 74-55, and fell to Neumann in the first round of the state playoffs, 64-45.

Rogers told the YDR that: "Neumann-Goretti is definitely without question the best team I faced since coaching high school. They're small, but skilled at every position. They shoot the ball well from the perimeter. And you're talking about a team with speed, speed we couldn't come close to stopping."

Township used a zone defense (including a 3-2 zone) against the Saints, and was able to limit them to around 30 percent shooting. Because of that, the Indians stayed in the game, and were within five points early in the fourth quarter.

Rogers suggested Eastern use a similar zone. Trying to man-up with Neumann, he said, wouldn't work out too well.

On whether Eastern could match up, Rogers said: "Now when you say match up, if you mean they're going to play man, no way. That's a fantasy, they'll lose by 50 points."

But if Eastern plays zone?

"I absolutely think Eastern has a chance," Rogers said. "They can shoot. But I still give the edge to Neumann-Goretti."

Arrigale praises Eastern

It sounds like Neumann-Goretti certainly won't be overlooking the Golden Knights.

During my conversation with him yesterday, Saints coach Carl Arrigale showed plenty of respect for Eastern.

"They're a good team," Arrigale said. "We're looking forward to a challenge

"They're not looking past these guys. They're definitely as good a team as we've played in a long time. ... We know we got our work cut out for us tomorrow."

Neumann-Goretti has won 23 straight games since a December loss to Houston Yates at a tournament in Hawaii.


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