HERSHEY, Pa. (AP) — Neumann Goretti, out of the Philadelphia Catholic League, won its fourth PIAA Class AAA boys’ basketball championship in five years on Friday night.
The Saints needed overtime to subdue District 3 champion Susquehanna Township 64-57 in a game in which neither team led by more than five points in regulation at Giant Center.
Neumann-Goretti (27-4) outscored the Indians 11-4 in overtime, and all four Susquehanna Township (23-8) points in the extra session came from the free-throw line.
Saints guard Ja’Quan Newton, a Miami recruit whose mom died from breast cancer the day before the state final, torched the Indians with a game-high 33 including six in overtime.
Neumann-Goretti coach Carl Arrigale said Newton “just let the game come to him.”
“It was an unbelievable performance,” Arrigale said. “I’ve coached a lot of great players. That was the best performance I’ve seen. He’s a great player. Somebody took over his body. It was emotional.”
Newton made five of his first six shot from beyond the 3-point arc and finished 11 of 19 from the floor and 6-for-8 from the foul line. He also had a team-high eight rebounds.
“When we got to overtime, I knew I had to do it,” Newton said. “I wasn’t going to lose this game. Susquehanna Township was better than I thought. They kept coming back, and every time they needed a bucket they made the shot. I tip my hat to them.”
Each club had a shot to win the state title in the final 20 seconds, but Susquehanna Township’s Gabriel Mack had his 12-foot jumper blocked by Tony Toplyn.
The Saints went tearing down the court, and Newton had a short jumper spin out and his tip was also off inside the final 5 seconds of regulation.
Newton had the only field goal in overtime, with a bucket in the opening 20 seconds. The other 13 points came from the charity stripe.
Susquehanna Township, led by 18 points from Quintin Ward, made only 57 percent of its 21 free-throw attempts. Neumann-Goretti was 18-for-26 from the foul line.
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