While championship week is fully engaged in college basketball, so too are the PIAA state playoffs. Penn State's senior trio at Roman Catholic have one final go-round in the PIAA state playoffs before their high school careers come to a close. The bracket will not be easy to navigate as the AAAA class has some strong contenders this year. The target's squarely on Roman's back as the defending state champs who acquired Lamar Stevens last offseason when he transferred in from Haverford.
As we saw in the Catholic League playoffs, however, Roman steps it up when the pressure's on. Tony Carr really struggled for a few weeks in January when his team unexpectedly lost three of five. He played probably his worst game ever against Montverde Academy at the Hoophall Classic. It apparently didn't take long during Carr's struggles for him to garner some haters as more and more in the city became enamored with Quade Green. With his chance to make the last statement, Carr and his teammates won the battle at the Palestra.
Since winning the Catholic League championship, Carr has not slowed down. Roman defeated Martin Luther King 64-53 in the AAAA city championship, thus earning the 1-seed from District 12 in the state playoffs. Depending on which tweet you deem more credible, Tony Carr may or may not have had a triple double. Nazeer Bostick lead the way with 21 points, 7 rebounds and this nasty tomahawk jam:
The Cahilites have kept the momentum rolling in the first round of states after defeating Academy Park 73-58 on Saturday. Carr was unstoppable throughout the game and finished with 33 points, 11 rebounds and 6 assists. Lamar Stevens pitched in 14 points, 7 rebounds and 3 blocks with most of that production coming in the second half. If you've wondered what it's like to watch this team play, here's a few more clips (h/t @MelJohnson6527)
The next do-or-die playoff game for Roman is tonight versus Central Bucks West (24-6) out of District 1. Tip-off is at 7:00pm at Bensalem High School. Roman will be heavily favored to move on to the quarterfinals, but the road will become much tougher assuming chalk holds in the AAAA bracket.
Parkland would likely await the Cahilites in the next round for a rematch of a season-opening blowout. Roman put a whooping on the short-handed Trojans who were missing multiple starters to football during the playoffs. They will pose a much stiffer test at full strength as the #3 team in the class per Pennlive. If Roman survives that, the likely semi-final opponent would be District 1 champion Plymouth-Whitemarsh. The Colonials are ranked #5 and feature Rider commit Xzavier Malone. They will certainly be fighting for respect against the catholic champ if that matchup were to come to fruition.
As for possible state championship opponents in Hershey, the likely team out of the West bracket will be either Taylor Allderdice or Reading. Allderdice has had a remarkable season behind twin brothers, Tim and James Jackson. The Pittsburgh City League champs are 24-1 on the season after breezing past most of the competition out west, but they also defeated Imhotep in an early season contest. Reading is led by arguably the state's best player in 6'5" junior wing Lonnie Walker. Both of those teams seemed destined to reach the semi-final game, assuming Allderdice can get past Pine-Richland tonight.
Any of these teams would give Roman Catholic a contest, so it will be interesting to see if Roman can rattle off the next 4 in a row to go out on top. At the very least, those of us in central PA are hopeful they make it to the final at Hershey's Giant Center. If you happen to catch any of Roman's playoff games, observations are encouraged in the fanposts.