N-G storms to first-round victory

Posted: March 09, 2014

Early in Friday night's PIAA Class AAA boys' basketball opener against Berks Catholic, it looked as if Neumann-Goretti had spent too much time sitting back and enjoying its sixth straight Catholic League title.

N-G committed five turnovers in the first eight minutes, allowed 6-foot-9 center Nana Foulland to flourish with a lefthanded hook shot, and trailed by three in the second period.

In what turned out to be a tale of two halves, N-G regrouped with a 16-0 explosion in the third quarter, and eased into the second round with a 62-46 triumph at Archbishop Ryan.

"I don't think we approached the whole thing well," N-G coach Carl Arrigale said. "We didn't warm up well. We didn't start well. We didn't defend well. We were just out of sorts."

Arrigale let his players know about it at halftime.

"He got into our heads, told us he wasn't happy at all," senior Jamal Custis said.

For N-G, which captured three straight state crowns from 2010 to 2012, senior guard Ja'Quan Newton led the way with 14 points, 11 rebounds, five assists, and three steals.

Custis and fellow forward Tony Toplyn took turns guarding Foulland. After netting 13 points in the first half, the Bucknell recruit was held to two in the third quarter.

"I thought they both did a pretty good job," Arrigale said of the defensive duo. "In the first half, they let him get a little too deep."

Berks Catholic, District 3's fifth-place qualifier, jumped out to a 7-2 lead. Down by 15-12, N-G (23-4) responded with an 8-0 spurt capped by Newton's streaking layup and Troy Harper's three-pointer.

Harper, who will join Toplyn at Campbell, delivered 13 points, five rebounds, two steals, two assists, and a blocked shot. The 6-6 Custis totaled 10 points, three rejections, and three steals.

A wide receiver in football, Custis will play that sport at Syracuse. He said there's a "75 to 80 percent chance" he also will try to walk on to Jim Boeheim's hoops team.

"The Syracuse coaches said they'd be glad to have me," Custis said. "I started playing basketball long before football. I still have a lot of love for the game."

Against Berks Catholic, Lamarr Kimble recorded nine points and three assists; Vaughn Covington added eight points, including two third-quarter treys, and three assists; and Harper punctuated the win with a monster fourth-quarter slam.

Foulland (21 points, 10 boards), Isaac Lutz (18 points), and Connor Jack (12 boards) sparked Berks (24-6).

Berks Catholic 11 12 13 10 - 46

Neumann-Goretti 11 15 26 10 - 62

BC: Isaac Lutz 18, Connor Jack 5, Nana Foulland 21, Cooper Kutz 2.

NG: Lamarr Kimble 9, Troy Harper 13, Tony Toplyn 5, Jamal Custis 10, Ja'Quan Newton 14, Quade Green 3, Vaughn Covington 8.


robrien@phillynews.com

@ozoneinq

www.inquirer.com/ozone

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