TREDYFFRIN >> The Philadelphia Catholic League is widely regarded as the best high school basketball league in the state, and one of the best in the entire country.
Devon Prep, in its second season in the league, already has five wins and the Tide are making a name for themselves in the PCL, including wins over Archbishop Carroll and Archbishop Ryan.
But, Wednesday night at Devon Prep, the host Tide ran into a buzzsaw named Neumann Goretti, the gold standard in the Philadelphia Catholic League with multiple Division 1 college recruits.
The Saints shot a torrid 27 for 39 from the field Wednesday night, including nine 3-pointers, en route to a 67-39 Saints victory.
“They have some really very, very good basketball players on that team,” said Devon Prep coach Jason Fisher. “And when they shoot like they did tonight it is very tough. But, they are the program we aspire to be, so we just have to get better and reach that goal. Playing in this league definitely makes you better and you can see it when we play schools that used to beat us, and now we are beating them. The league really toughens you up.”
Devon Prep (5-3) only trailed the Saints (6-1), 14-10, after one quarter, but Neumann-Goretti outscored the Tide, 19-9, to take a 33-19 halftime edge. The Saints had nine players score on the night, and Robert Wright buried two long threes in the second quarter to fuel the Saints’ run.
But, the Tide did not back down at all. Junior guard IV Pettit, who led Devon Prep with 16 points, more than held his own as he drained three 3-pointers in the first half and totaled 11 points for the opening half. Pettit, a transfer from West Chester Rustin, recently went over the 1,000-point plateau for his career.
But, the Saints poured it on in the third quarter, showing their immense and deep talent. Chris Evans started things off with a long three from the left side. Hysier Miller, a Temple University recruit, then downed two long threes from the top of the key and the Saints had a 42-22 lead. The Saints shot six for nine in the quarter and came out of the third with a 49-30 edge.
“They are a very good team and no one likes to lose, but playing teams like them makes me use all my tools in the tool box,” Pettit said. “Everything you work on in the gym you have to use in games in this league because the talent level is so high.”
The Saints’ Blaise Vespe drained a long three to open the fourth quarter for a 52-30 Saints edge. Vespe led the Saints with 12 points and Zaakir Williamson added 11, as did Evans. After a Tide turnover, one of 12 on the night for Devon Prep, Masud Stewart scored in tight for a 54-30 lead and Neumann Goretti coach Carl Arrigale started to clear his bench.
“We are doing well so far this year,” Pettit said. “You have to just get back in the gym and get better after a game like this.”
Neumann-Goretti 67, Devon Prep 39
NEUMANN-GORETTI (67): Miller 3 0-0 8, Vespe 5 1-1 12, Stewart 3 3-4 9, Battle 1 0-0 2, Evans 4 0-0 11, Williamson 5 0-0 11, Williams 1 0-0 2, Wright 3 0-0 8, Feggins 2 0-0 4. Totals 27 4-5 67.
DEVON PREP (39): Pettit 6 0-2 16, Walsh 1 4-4 7, Patton 1 0-0 3, Ferry 1 0-0 2, Kenney 2 0-0 5, Orchard 1 3-4 6, Holloway 0 0-0 0. Totals 12 7-9 39.
Neumann-Goretti 14 19 16 18 – 67
Devon Prep 10 9 11 9 – 39
3-point goals: Miller 2, Vespe, Evans 3, Williamson, Wright 2, Walsh, Patton, Pettit 4, Kenney, Orchard.