In Wednesday's Catholic League semifinal win over Archbishop Carroll (67-62), Toplyn rejected six shots and altered several others. And don't be fooled by his four points (2-for-2) and two rebounds. The long lefty's role is to erase defensive blemishes caused by offensive penetration.
"My main thing is, defense wins games," said Toplyn, who is headed to Campbell University. "All offseason and the start of this season, my coach [Carl Arrigale] was telling me to go after every shot. It [might] take away from your offense and rebounding, but defense wins games."
The six-pack of denials gave him 103 in 24 games (4.3 per game) this season and fell just short of the seven he had in last year's semifinal win over Carroll.
Toplyn also netted the school's first triple-double since 2007 grad Rick Jackson (Syracuse) with a 13-block game against Bonner-Prendergast this season (18 points, 11 boards). Toplyn nearly repeated the feat with 10 blocks, eight boards and seven points against Bishop McDevitt.
"Personally, it makes me feel like I've done something great for my team," Toplyn said. "Everybody has been seeing how hard I've been working on defense and when the fans are saying, 'Don't go down there; it's his paint,' it makes me feel fantastic.' "
Milestone for Newton
Neumann-Goretti's Ja'Quan Newton became the school's all-time leading scorer (1,816) with a 15-point performance Wednesday, breaking the record of 1,808 held since 1985 by Steve Benton, who went on to Boston College. According to TedSilary.com, Newton is fourth in CL scoring and could catch top dog Jeff Jones (Virginia, Rider), a 2007 Bonner grad, with 1,923 points. PIAA playoffs could give Newton up to six more games in which he would need to average 18 points.
Sometimes even in defeat, positive memories can last a lifetime. For La Salle High, senior wing Sean Greenberg will always have the Palestra. The 6-3 southpaw scored a CL career-high 11 points in the Explorers' 52-45 semifinal tumble against top-seeded Roman Catholic. Greenberg went 3-for-5 from three, and each was significant. The first finally got offensively challenged La Salle into double digits right before halftime, at 21-12. While the Explorers could muster only one field goal in each of the first and third quarters, they caught fire in the fourth. A 16-3 push nearly erased a 41-24 deficit, and Greenberg's steal-and-layup combo plus two triples were major catalysts. A guttural growl followed both treys, and with three fingers extended, Greenberg raised his hand to his brow after No. 2 in a three-fingered salute motion as Roman called timeout with 3:28 left and the score 44-40. All while a sizable Greenberg contingent, including his dad, Chip, a member of La Salle's 1981 CL championship squad, cheered from the stands . . . Also in defeat, Archbishop Carroll junior forward Derrick Jones was acknowledged by the PA announcer for reaching 1,000 points with two free throws in the fourth quarter.
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