Pittsburgh, PA- In what was anticipated to be a past faced, a high scoring game between two of the most explosive offenses in Single-A, turned into a defensive-minded masterpiece. The Single-A championship featured teams who were both from Section 1-1A and had split their conference matchups in the regular season. Vincentian vs. Cornell has turned into a rival over the years with the Raiders being able to triumph over the Royals at least one time in the past two years. Vincentian coming into the game as the number one team in the state was highly favored over the Raiders whose tallest player is only six-feet two-inches tall. The Royals feature three six-foot six-inch players in Angelo “Boom” Reeves, Ethan Embleton, and Priest Ryan with a solid backcourt in Matt McDonough, Alex Griggs, and Nate Cullo. With a strong frontcourt attack in their bigs, their guard play was the only worry they had. The Raiders have had a solid team the past four years due to three, four year starters in Kaden DiVito, Isaiah Langston, and Zaier Harrison. The rest of the rotation consists of Blaine Sams, Je’avontae King-Walden, and Drew Lopez.
The Raiders have been a running team all year long, blowing teams out with their speed and defense. The three-headed monster in DiVito, Langston, and Harrison has given teams fits all year on how to guard all three. Each of the three averaging at least 17 PPG and usually all three averaging 80% of the team's points. Vincentian has worn every team down with their height and defensive consistency. This was going to come down to which team hustles more and in the long run, who wanted it more.
The game was played at the Petersen Events Center in Pittsburgh, PA at seven on February 27th. “It was definitely a different atmosphere and experience,” Senior Forward Isaiah Langston said. The bright lights and big stage wasn't something that Cornell was used to. The last time they played in the title game was the 2011-12 season while the Royals were in the finals the past three years alone. Starting out the game, the Royals got up early and never looked back. Getting DiVito into foul trouble early into the game, played a significant role and slowed down the Raiders scoring dramatically. The weight was carried on Isaiah Langston and Zaier Harrison’s shoulders who scored all of three points in the first half.
Going into halftime the Raiders were down nine, but the game was all in Vincentian’s favor. Coming out of halftime, they pushed the lead to as much as 20 and the Raiders were depleted. DiVito, Harrison, and Langston had no match for the monstrous team of Vincentian. Size was too much in this match as the Royals cruised to a 63-51 win over the Raiders. Although the Raiders lost, their season is not over as they enter the state playoffs on March 6th.