3-peating the story

Neumann-Goretti girls basketball team wins sate championship.

The Neumann-Goretti girls basketball players strike another state championship pose following Saturday’s win.

Photo provided by Andrea Peterson

What would you do with a giant five-pound Hershey candy bar?

The sheer thought of wrapping your hands around one makes the idea of trick or treating sound like a complete waste of time.

For the Neumann-Goretti girls basketball team, this massive piece of chocolate serves as the sweet ending to another successful season — a state championship. The Saints took the Giant Center court in Hershey Saturday afternoon with their eyes on a third straight Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association crown. Following a rough start against Bishop Canevin, which included a bitter taste of an early 12-point deficit, the talented East Passyunk Crossing-based squad was not going to let a slow start spoil their plans of another championship moment. Sure enough, the 3A final ended in familiar fashion, a 62–56 victory.

“We are one family at Neumann-Goretti, and we believe in one another,” head coach Andrea Peterson said. “We had a shaky start, but the kids stayed together and fought through a 12-point deficit in the first quarter. Once we turned the pressure up a little, we took over.”

Senior guards Ashley Jones and Chyna Nixon, an Ole Miss recruit, were ready to answer the call in the form of a combined 39 points. Jones, who is a West Virginia University signee, had the hot hand from behind the arc, connecting on four three-pointers. But the Saints also displayed a strong defensive effort, forcing 26 turnovers.

Neumann-Goretti is no stranger to these nail-biting situations. They are back-to-back defending 2A champs, and a team making its fourth straight appearance in the finals. The 24–5 Saints, who also won the city crown, closed out the afternoon with their hands wrapped around the giant prize pack.

“I think they got more excited about the bar than the trophy,” Peterson said with a laugh.

Of course, the girls were equally as happy about sharing the state championship spotlight with the Neumann-Goretti boys.

“It’s a great feeling that both teams can finish strong,” Peterson said. “Both teams are close to one another, so it makes it extra special in the end, especially for all of the seniors going out on top. Both the boys and girls programs are a special group.”