Hoops Roundup: Storm forces change to PIAA schedule, Butler being enshrined

The late Rasual Butler, who is one of the top scorers in La Salle University history, is heading to the Philadelphia Big 5 Hall of Fame. Photo provided by La Salle University Athletics

By Bill Gelman

The Neumann-Goretti girls basketball team is still making the trip to Hershey, just not on the date originally planned. Thanks to Winter Storm Toby, the PIAA has postponed all of the games scheduled through Friday. The PIAA championship games that were scheduled to be played on Thursday, Friday and Saturday at the Giant Center will now be played next week.

“The 2018 PIAA championship basketball finals have been postponed and rescheduled to Monday, March 26, Tuesday, March 27 and Wednesday, March 28 due to the winter storm that has severely impacted travel throughout many regions of the state. With ten semi-final contests that remain to be played and poor weather conditions, it is in the best interest of the schools and their communities that we afford them safe travel conditions and ample turnaround time before the championship games,” the PIAA explained on its website.

The Saints will now face District 7’s Bishop Canevin — a rematch of last year’s title contest — on Monday at 6 p.m.

“We have a tough task a ahead of us,” Neumann-Goretti head coach Andrea Peterson said. [Bishop Canevin] is a well-coached team with some athletes and shooters who get after it. We must execute on the offensive end and defend for 32 minutes.”

The local squad clinched a spot in the final by defeating Dunmore, 66–42, in Monday night’s semi-final. Jabria Ingram led the Neumann-Goretti offense with 18 points, five rebounds and six assists while Diamond Johnson added 16 points.

The Neumann-Goretti boys basketball team still needs one more win to punch their ticket to Hershey. Their Class 3A semi-final game against Trinity out of District 3 will now be played on Saturday, March 24 at Governor Mifflin Interm in Shillington. The winner gets a shot at the title on Wednesday afternoon (2 p.m. tip).

For those still watching the NCAA Tournament, two players with Neumann-Goretti ties have advanced to the Sweet 16. Freshman guard Quade Green and the Kentucky Wildcats, the fifth seed in the South Region, are in Atlanta to play №9 Kansas State. Tip is 9:37 p.m. Thursday on CBS 3.

Former teammate Dhamir Cosby-Roundtree, a freshman forward, and the Villanova Wildcats, the top seed in the East Region, are heading to Boston for a Friday night contest against West Virginia, the fifth seed. Tip is 7:27 p.m. on TBS.

In other local basketball news, the late Rasual Butler, the former La Salle University standout, is being inducted posthumously into the Philadelphia Big Five Hall of Fame at the Palestra on Monday, April 16. The native of 20th and Manton streets tragically died in car accident earlier this year. During his four seasons with the Explorers (1998–02), Butler tallied 2,125 career points, which ranks fourth all-time. Lionel Simmons, a graduate of South Philadelphia High School who is also a member of the Philadelphia Big 5 Hall of Fame, remains the leader of the pack.