Carroll can’t get past Wood’s Pinkney

PHILADELPHIA >> Colin Daly’s assessment of Archbishop Carroll’s loss Sunday quickly circled back to the Patriots’ defensive effort.

Implicit in his analysis was the decisive impact of the defense provided by Archbishop Wood, and Seth Pinkney in particular, on the other end of the court.

Pinkney swatted away nine shots and deterred countless more, pairing with another stellar all-around day from Collin Gillespie to send Wood to a 76-68 Catholic League win at Holy Family University.

The Gillespie-orchestrated offensive output left Daly with the most regret Sunday.

“We should’ve been better defensively,” said the senior guard, who scored 12 points. “It was a bad effort.”

In part, but it also reflected a tremendous shooting night from a Wood side with a propensity for punishing opponents that allow too many open looks. The Vikings (8-3, 2-1 Catholic) shot 55.1 percent from the field (27-for-49) and a red-hot 15-for-25 in the second half.

Gillespie fueled the attack, accumulating 28 points on 9-for-13 shooting and dishing seven assists. He and Tyree Pickron (16) points were each 4-for-7 from beyond the arc.

With Andrew Funk (12 points) and Matt Cerruti (11 points, all in the second half) knocking down their open shots, the Vikings possessed the necessary scoring punch.

But the room for that edge to manifest was opened one emphatic denial at a time by the 6-foot-11 Pinkney. They were accompanied by a prescient sense of timing: Pinkney blocked four shots in the first half, disrupting Carroll’s momentum before it could settle in, then offered denials on the Patriots’ last two trips down the court in the fourth to snuff any hope of a comeback.

“We play a lot of driving,” Carroll forward Jesse McPherson said. “We try not to rely on the 3 too much. But that makes it difficult. I think he had about 10 blocks. That affects my game, too. I’m not able to get put-backs and grab rebounds and go back up strong. He played real well, just defending that rim.”

“Defense is the key,” Pinkney said. “That’s how we win all of our games. Me, getting the blocks, it just gets the team more hyped up and we can come out with the win.”

McPherson and Devon Ferrero combined for eight points in the post, below their season average of 10.9. Pinkney’s dissuasion also precipitated Carroll attempting 21 3-pointers, connecting on just six (28.6 percent), and many more drives truncated to difficult pull-up jumpers. McPherson augmented his six points with eight rebounds.

Carroll (9-3, 1-2) succeeded more in the second half in attacking Pinkney, who sat most of the third with three fouls. But the lanky center had the final say.

“It definitely makes you think about it,” McPherson said. “Our halftime speech was, don’t let that affect it, try to get into his chest and try to limit that a little bit.”

Justin Anderson endured a rough shooting night to tally 17 points, and freshman point guard A.J. Hoggard fought foul trouble to score 15 points, but they combined to shoot just 12-for-31 from the field.

Wood couldn’t miss at times in the second half, making eight of their first 11 shots, including a 7-0 run to start the third quarter. Gillespie in particular seemed to always have an answer locked and loaded in a pulsating contest between two contenders in a crowded Catholic League.

Carroll pulled within one at 45-44 late in the third, but Gillespie dimed to Pickron for a corner triple to restore a four-point bump. Carroll pulled within three twice in the fourth, but Pickron and Gillespie bookended a Daly triple with long balls to maintain a two-possession spread.

A Hoggard second-chance bucket at 1:21 of the fourth edged Carroll within two at 68-66. But Pickron drove to the basket for two, and Gillespie and Funk connected from the line to seal Carroll’s second PCL setback.

That likely writes off the Patriots’ chance of a Catholic League title. But in an uncharacteristically balanced league, Carroll remains in the thick of the next echelon of teams. And with a young roster still coalescing, the goals are by necessity longer-range.

“We’re getting better every game and every practice,” Daly said. “We’re still coming together. Once we’re together, we’re going to be tough to stop.”

Also in the Catholic League:

Bonner & Prendergast 55, Bishop McDevitt 43 >> Justin Gans scored 13 points, and Ajiri Johnson posted a double-double of 11 points and 15 boards as the Friars survived their third game in as many days.

Christian Lane chipped in 11 points, and Chris Haynes added nine for the Friars (11-1, 3-0).

In nonleague action:

Central Bucks West 60, Academy Park 53 >> Nick Simmons scored 22 points, and Shermik Lofton added 11, but the Knights fell short late Saturday.

Nasiem Harley added 10 points for AP (4-3).

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