By Mike White | Wednesday, March 23, 2010, 1:05 p.m.
Just finished a PIAA conference call with coaches from the Chartiers Valley-Neumann-Goretti Class AAA boys' championship Friday night. Here are some comments from Chartiers Valley coach Tim McConnell and Neumann-Goretti coach Carl Arrigale:
(Blog future note: We'll have a live PIAA semifinal blog tonight with updates of WPIAL teams involved in the games).
NEUMANN-GORETTI COACH CARL ARRIGALE
On Chartiers Valley style: "From everything I've heard and people tell me, they're pretty similar to us. They like to get up and down, utilize the 3-pont line and like to play fast."
On senior guard Tony Chennault, who is a Wake Forest recruit: "He's just tough and competitive. He's just a winner. He doesn't do anything great. He just does a lot of things well. He's a very good team player and a great leader. He brings a toughness to our team, which is a big deal because we're on the smaller side."
(Picture is from Philadelphia Inquirer of Chennault in action. He is one of four Division I college players on Neumann-Goretti's team).
Here are some very interesting comments from Arrigale on whether the PIAA title is becoming more important to Phila. Public League and Catholic League teams: "For the teams and the players, it's become a little more important. But if you were at our game last night [against Eastern York], you'd see it still hasn't caught on yet with the fans. It was like 3,000 [fans for Eastern York] to 50 [for Neumann-Goretti]. It would've been a good night for robbers in York. ... We'll play in front of 6,000 fans for the Catholic League championship at the Palestra. I hope we get a good following Friday night. But it's a three-hour ride, and if our fans are not going to stay over, I don't know how many will come. I think it's going to take time to really, really catch on with the basketball fans in Philly because there is so much going on with the Catholic and Public leagues. I think [the PIAA tournament] will gain more momentum in the future."
CHARTIERS VALLEY COACH TIM MCCONNELL
On Neumann-Goretti: "We're playing a college team Friday night. Everyone tells me how they get up and down the floor and how they can shoot it and how athletic they are. It's going to be a tough task for us. We're excited to be there, don't get me wrong. But it's going to be a very tough task. ... I think we might have a better chance playing Pitt than Neumann-Goretti."
He was only kidding, Pitt fans.
Keys to the game: "We have to shoot it well, take care of the ball and try to limit them to one shot. Them being so athletic, we have to keep them off the boards and not let them get second-chance points. They're so athletic and go to the rim hard."