Archbishop Carroll Boys and Girls Basketball Teams
Pride of Philadelphia
2009 Pennsylvania State Champions
For the first time in Philadelphia Catholic League history, both the boys and girls teams from the same school won their respective PIAA State Championships in the same sport in the same year. Only four other schools have even accomplished the feat in the history of PIAA basketball championship tournament history.
On Friday March 20, 2009, the Archbishop Carroll Boy’s Basketball team capped their 27-3 season with a victory over Greensburg Salem to take the PIAA Class AAA state title. The next night the Carroll Girls team completed the sweep, finishing their 30-1 season with a 68-45 victory over Lampeter-Strasburg in the state championship game.
It was a season of firsts for the boys’ basketball team. It was Archbishop Carroll’s first year of PIAA eligibility. Furthermore, it was Carroll’s first state title in any sport.
There are too many firsts to keep track of,” sophomore guard Juan’ya Green said. “It’s our first, but I don’t want it to be the last. I have two more years left. Maybe we can win another one.”
The backcourt of Green and D.J. Irving led the way with 16 and 17 points, respectively. Seniors Kasheef Festus (18 points and six rebounds) and Andre Wilburn (12 points, seven rebounds) controlled the middle, and junior Ben Mingledough chipped in eight points and six rebounds as well.
In the run up to the final, the Patriots beat Philadelphia powerhouse Neumann-Goretti in the quarterfinals, 70-65. In the semifinals, Carroll disposed of York Suburban 65-57 to set up the championship game against the Greensburg Salem Lions.
The Patriots started the final relatively sluggishly. After the Lions tied the game in the second quarter, 16-16, the Pats opened up a 19-2 run to go ahead for good.
They took a 37-25 halftime lead that ballooned to 26, at 57-31, after a 20-6 scoring run. Carroll led by as many as 29 late in the fourth quarter. By then, Coach Paul Romanczuk’s starters were enjoying the view from their bench as every player in uniform recorded a minute.
I don’t think it can get any better. I just think, hopefully, good things are still to come,” said Romanczuk.
As the boys’ team was rolling through their bracket, the girls’ team was being heard from as well. The Lady Patriots defeated the defending state champions, Mount St. Joseph’s Academy in the quarterfinals by a score of 56-35. Their semifinal game was much closer, a 49-45 triumph over Camp Hill Trinity setting up the final versus Lampeter-Strasburg.
The Patriots used a dominating first-period performance en route to their championship victory. Carroll shot 10-for-14 from the floor in the opening period, including 5-for-7 on 3-point attempts, in building a 26-15 lead. Junior guard Erin Shields had 13 points, four assists, and three steals while her sister, senior point guard Kerri added 12 points, three assists, and two steals. Hollie Mershon pitched in 13 points, two assists, and two steals. It was smooth sailing the rest of the way.
“We were ready to play as a team and we were ready to play with a lot of energy,” Erin Shields said. “Somebody said maybe there would be more pressure on us after the boys won. I think that just made us want to win it even more.”
“It was our last game,” added Mershon. “So we made it our best game. There’s no other way to describe this than to say it’s been great. We were so happy that the boys won. Now I think it’s so special because our school has two state champions.”
And for this monumental feat, the Philadelphia Sports Hall of Fame honors both teams as Pride of Philly winners for the year 2009