Quade Green, left, and Dhamir Cosby-Roundtree, hope to guide the Saints to Catholic League, city, and state championships.
Photos by Mark E. Carosiello Sr.
Admirers and adversaries have long admired the boys’ basketball team at Ss. Neumann-Goretti High School for its tenacity, passion, and will. Thanks to the presence of seniors Quade Green and Dhamir Cosby-Roundtree, headed for the University of Kentucky and Villanova University, respectively, in the fall, backers have immense cause to count on this being an unforgettable year, and opponents have added incentive to try to register an upset special. In his 19th season helming the Saints, though, Carl Arrigale sees and hears only the committed bodies and tireless voices of his players when pondering what the winter might yield.
“For us, there’s a pretty clear distinction between the outside world and our circle,” the coach said of how he and the East Passyunk Crossing-based ballers approach their tasks. “No matter who is on our roster, the goals don’t change. We’re still eager to win every championship possible, and that belief comes from within and has to be there every game for us to have a chance.”
The Marconi resident has guided incredibly talented teams in his nearly two decades on the bench, with 10 Catholic League crowns and six state championships as standout evidence of his ability to mold cohesive units. College commitments have also offered evidence of how well his adolescents have accepted the team philosophy, so with Green and Cosby-Roundtree having committed to schools who this week hold the sixth and third spots, respectively, in the Associated Press Top 25 and the USA Today Coaches Poll, he knows foes will look to begrime the Saints and hopes that after some early season setbacks, his squad will squash opposing quintets.
“There have been signs that it’s coming together,” Arrigale said, with Monday’s home 94–39 blowout of Cardinal O’Hara as surefire support. “It’s this time of year when we really look to turn it on and make our way through the Catholic League with confidence.”
The triumph over their overmatched foes saw the Saints raise their record against Catholic League clubs to 3–0 ahead of last night’s mouthwatering contest against Roman Catholic at Holy Family University. On Monday, Green paced the local bunch with 24 points, with juniors Noah Warren (16) and Dhymir Montague (10) and sophomore Christian Ings (10), showing that Arrigale is not putting a two-trick pony on the court.
“Those guys are obviously going to get their due,” he said of Green and Cosby-Roundtree, who at an earlier point in the season could say their postsecondary education destinations held the top two rankings in the land. “However, we strive for balance because you need depth to win. Thankfully, we’ve always had it for the most part, so that’s what pushes us and helps us to wear out other teams.”
“Everybody buys in no matter the circumstances,” Green said earlier this season after committing to Kentucky, where he will join an absolutely loaded freshman class for coach John Calipari. “That’s what it means to represent the Neumann-Goretti Saints. You have to want the pressure, and then you have to show that you can handle it. That’s what we do consistently, and that’s why we have been successful.”
The point guard has faced his share of adversity since his early December profile, as back and ankle injuries cost him time, starting with the Saints’ trip to Fort Myers, Fla., for the City of Palms Classic. While it is debatable, especially given Arrigale’s thoughts on depth, whether the team needs for him to be dominant each game, like when he deposited 37 points in Dec. 14’s 87–73 victory over Imhotep Charter, it will need for him to be on every defender’s mind and on each opposing coach’s nerves.
“Most of the time, when fully prepared, we’ve come out on top,” Arrigale said. “It’s not always going to happen, but we’ve put ourselves in enough good positions that we’ve been able to have far more positive reflections than negative ones.”
With Monday’s impressive win, which raised their overall record to 6–5, the team will look to trend upward. The five setbacks, including Saturday’s 82–56 loss to Wheeler in the Cancer Research Classic, have come in national events, with Arrigale noting “That’s life in the big city.” His troops will round out their non-league slate Sunday through a trip to another renowned showcase, the Spalding Hoophall Classic in Springfield, Mass., and then will face nothing but Catholic League competition the rest of the regular season, with five home games left.
“We’ve been through all of this too many times to expect anything but the best from ourselves,” Arrigale said, noting particular praise for Cosby-Roundtree, whom he expects to be pivotal as the playoff push unfolds this month and who will soon become the 19th player in program history, including the school’s days as Southeast Catholic, Bishop Neumann, and St. John Neumann, to hit 1,000 career points. “It’s a great time of year to figure out who you are, and we’re ready for that.”
Once that identity becomes enviably cohesive, look for the Saints to advance to the Catholic League title game at The Palestra. If they indeed cement a late February date at the famed University of Pennsylvania venue, one would hope they would face Roman, who downed them for the 2015 and ’16 titles.
“I don’t care which teams we face along the way,” Green said, hoping they can likewise shake off the city title setback to Del-Val and emerge again as the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association state conquerors. “We know they want to knock us down. We’ll be ready for anyone.” SPR
Contact Staff Writer Joseph Myers at firstname.lastname@example.org.