Sharkey helps Archbishop Carroll motor past Abington

RADNOR >> The Archbishop Carroll Patriots don’t have Derrick Jones or Ernest Aflakpui anymore, but that really wasn’t all that noticeable Tuesday.

In their home opener, Carroll dominated a very good, and very young Abington team, 77-56, in nonleague play. The Patriots are now 2-0 in the young season, and they got there in style. They scored the first eight points of the game and led 17-2 midway through the first quarter.

By the end of the period, they had dropped 30 on Abington. By halftime, they were doubling the Ghosts (2-1) up. It wasn’t supposed to be this easy, but it certainly was.

“You’re not looking to jump on teams like that every game,” Carroll coach Paul Romanczuk said. “We prepared like it was going to be a tough basketball game. … We made some shots early and we made it look easier than it generally is, sometimes.”

Key behind that early run was Josh Sharkey. The Samford-committed speedster dropped 15 points and was dominating in transition. He had four steals and played a part in many of Abington’s 18 turnovers.

After “not playing that well” — Sharkey’s words — in the opener against Academy of New Church last weekend, the Patriots made up for that rather quickly. The win goes a confidence booster for this bunch, which is ranked No. 1 in the Daily Times Super 7.

“We came out with a lot of energy, got the ball up the court,” Sharkey said. “The intensity was really high. I think we set the bar high for ourselves.”

Colin Daly had 13 points, John Rigsby had 11 and Ryan Daly had 10 in what was a rather short night for the key Patriots. By the second half, the game was in hand and the reserves took over.

Romanczuk did not anticipate that happening. Sharkey did.

“I’m not really surprised,” he said of the lopsided result. “I think we’re one of the best teams in the area, maybe the best. I wasn’t surprised at all.”

All Abington coach Charles Grasty could do was wait for buzzer. His young team may well learn from this, but Tuesday, it learned what a Division I player looked like in the form of Sharkey. It was likely not all that fun being on the other end.

“He’s a very good player,” Grasty said. “We told our guys he could definitely take over a game defensively. Once he gets in transition, sheesh, he’s a heck of a player.”

It’s old news to Romanczuk at this juncture. He knows what he has in Sharkey.

“Josh sets the tone for us, not only defensively, but offensively,” he said. “We try to stress the defensive end and having the defensive end lead to offensive opportunities for us. But there’s not too many better than Josh, both defensively and running the tone.”

It, of course, wasn’t just Sharkey. Keyon Butler — who contributed “great energy,” according to Romanczuk — came off the bench and had eight points. The Patriots, seemingly, got everyone involved.

For this team, all of that begins on the defensive end. That definitely was the case Tuesday.

“I think it was the defensive pressure and intensity,” Romanczuk said. “I think we got our hands on balls, which led to some easier offensive opportunities. And then the basket just seems bigger and bigger once it goes in a couple times.”

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