"It's one of the greatest wins that I know of that Friends' Central boys' basketball ever had," Phoenix coach Jason Polykoff.
What was special about the victory was that standout junior forward Travis Robinson and senior center Peter Chawaga didn't play.
One of the area's better players, Robinson was sidelined with torn ligaments in his right shoulder. He is expected to play in tonight's contest against Academy of the New Church.
Chawaga missed the Neumann-Goretti game because of a family vacation.
Despite that, "I actually was confident the entire day leading up to the game," Polykoff said. "That was our 13th game of the season. That was Neumann's fourth game of the season.
"I knew that we were going to be their stiffest competition."
That's an understatement.
Sophomore guard Devin Coleman finished with 18 points en route to being named Friends' Central's game MVP.
The MVP honor could have easily gone to teammates Dominic Morris or Amile Jefferson.
Morris, a junior power forward, finished with 18 points and 16 rebounds. And Jefferson, a freshman forward who started in place of Chawaga, tallied 14 points and eight rebounds.
"I feel like we have eight guys that can start for any team in the entire area," Polykoff said.
He's back. The departure of Norristown basketball coach Mike Evans didn't last long.
Evans gave up his coaching position Dec. 22, four days before the rematch of the PIAA Class AAAA state championship game with Chester. After apparently reconsidering, Evans got his old job back Dec. 31.
Evans could not be reached for comment.
Norristown (7-2) won the final two of the three games Evans missed.
After Evans left, assistant coach Julius Mack was appointed as the acting head coach.
After suffering a 58-47 loss to the Clippers, Mack led Norristown to a 65-56 win over Souderton on Dec. 29.
The Eagles defeated Germantown Academy, 64-54, on Dec. 30.
Game of the week. Fourth-ranked Chester entertains top-ranked Penn Wood in Thursday's Del-Val League contest at "The Clip Joint" in Chester.
The Patriots (9-0) are considered favorites to win the Class AAAA state title. Penn Wood is ranked 30th in the ESPN Rise Fab 50 national rankings. USA Today lists the Patriots as the ninth-ranked team in the East region.
However, they have struggled against the Clippers (6-1). Penn Wood's last victory over Chester came in February 2003.
Since then, Chester has won 12 straight against its rival.
Having lost nine of their top 12 players from last season, many believe that this is the season the Clippers' winning streak gets snapped.
But winning in Chester's gym hasn't exactly been an easy task for opponents. The Clippers had a 35-game home winning streak before losing a double-overtime home contest to Reading last month. Chester has also compiled an impressive 137-9 home record in 14 seasons.
The Inquirer TOP 10
Previous rank in parentheses. Records through Sunday.
1. Penn Wood (2) 9-0
The Patriots have been unstoppable since a one-point victory against Southern. They defeated their next six opponents by an average margin of 24.3 points.
2. Roman Catholic (3) 5-4
The Cahillites' record is a bit misleading: Roman's total of four losses are a result of having played arguably the toughest schedule in the nation.
3. Pennsbury (4) 6-2
The Falcons are making life miserable for Suburban One National Division foes. They take a 48-game league winning streak into today's game with Council Rock North.
4. Chester (5) 6-1
The "Baby" Clippers are the area's most exciting team to watch. And they are only going to get better.
5. Friends' Central (6) 12-1
It's a shame that the Friends Schools League isn't a member of the PIAA. The Phoenix would surely contend for a PIAA state title.
6. Neumann-Goretti (1) 5-1
It didn't take the Saints long to erase memories of their setback to Friends' Central. They won their next two games by a combined 26 points.
7. Conestoga (7) 11-0
The senior-dominated Pioneers have been the area's feel-good story of the early season.
8. Imhotep Charter (8) 9-1
The Panthers are the Public League's finest. As a result, they'll provide the league's best chance to win a state title.
9. Archbishop Carroll (NR) 10-0
The Patriots are proving that there is more to Carroll that its girls' basketball team.
10. Plymouth Whitemarsh (NR) 8-2
The Colonials have excelled since switching to a smaller lineup. But their five-game winning streak will get tested in tonight's showdown against rival Norristown.
Under consideration (listed alphabetically): Bartram (9-0), Comm. Tech (6-2), Germantown Academy (9-4), Malvern Prep (12-4), Norristown (7-2), St. Joseph's Prep (7-2).
- Keith Pompey
Contact staff writer Keith Pompey at 610-313-8029 or email@example.com.