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By Keith Pompey

Inquirer Staff Writer
Memo to Neumann-Goretti’s opponents: Always keep an eye or two on Tony Chennault.

The junior guard’s presence gives the Saints an advantage. His output makes them PIAA Class AAA state championship contenders.

That’s because the three-year starter is no longer content with just fitting in. The days of deferring his game to satisfy upperclassmen’s egos are over.

Chennault realizes that this is his team. He knows his play has a lot to do with this season being a success or failure, and the Wake Forest recruit welcomes that challenge.

“This is my year,” Chennault said. “This is my year to be a leader. The last couple of years, I was scoring a lot. But I didn’t know how to be a leader.”

Archbishop Wood got an up-close glimpse of that new leadership yesterday. That’s when Chennault had 22 points, nine rebounds and four assists in the visiting Saints’ 60-46 Philadelphia Catholic League Blue Division victory.

The victory improved The Inquirer’s top-ranked team in Southeastern Pennsylvania to 4-1 overall and 4-0 in the division. Neumann-Goretti also knocked Wood (9-1, 4-1) from the ranks of the unbeaten.

If not for Chennault’s all-around effort, the Vikings would probably have remained undefeated.

Standing 6-foot-2, Chennault lined up at four different positions yesterday.

Chennault was the point guard when the Saints needed a sure-handed person to run the offense. He played the wing when Neumann-Goretti wanted him to shoot from the outside. He switched to the forward spots when it was time to post up or defend a larger opponent.

And regardless of where the 17-year-old lined up, he constantly encouraged his teammates.

“I just felt like they have to know that it is not all about me,” Chennault said of getting his teammates involved. “If they think that it is all about me, they are not going to play defense. They are not going to want to go out there.

“I try to make the extra pass to get everyone involved.”

After doing exactly that, Chennault showed why he’s one of the area’s top players.

Eighteen of his points came after intermission, none bigger than the eight he scored in the third quarter.

After Brian O’Grady’s three-pointer gave Wood a 36-33 advantage, Chennault went on a personal 5-0 run.

His first basket closed the gap to one point with 2 minutes, 52 seconds left in the quarter. Forty seconds later, he converted a three-point play that gave the Saints a 38-36 advantage. It was a lead Neumann-Goretti didn’t surrender.

Still feeling it, Chennault’s three-pointer gave the Saints a 43-38 cushion at the end of the quarter.

“I said to myself, ‘Now it is my time,’ ” he said of his third-quarter performance.

Neumann-Goretti 8 23 12 17 – 60

Archbishop Wood 14 9 15 8 – 46

NG: Tony Chennault 22, Tyreek Duran 6, Lamir Fulton 11, Mustafaa Jones 12, Daniel Stewart 9.

AW: Joe Getz 12, Fran Dougherty 12, Tim Fahy 5, Brian O’Grady 17.

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By TED SILARY
Philadelphia Daily News

silaryt@phillynews.com
NOT ONLY the greedy start asking for presents barely a week after Christmas.

Then again, the basketball squad of Ss. Neumann-Goretti High was merely requesting something it had been promised, and deserved. Namely, a tour bus that actually worked.

You know how transporation miseries are considered a Public League staple? Well, N-G’s players and coaches can now relate and, even though the school’s nickname is Saints, no one will mind if they let loose with a blue word or three.

It was allllllll figured out.

The Saints would board the tour bus in South Philly, travel to Warminster to meet Archbishop Wood in a Catholic Blue game, then head from there to Wheeling, W.Va., where today at 2:45 they’re scheduled to meet St. Vincent-St. Mary, of Akron, Ohio – LeBron James’ alma mater – in a showcase event that also features Catholic League squads North Catholic, St. Joseph’s Prep, Roman Catholic.

One problem: Once the bus arrived at N-G, a broken fuel line was discovered.

“That really messed up our minds,” Tony Chennault said. “Instead of worrying about this game, it was, ‘Are we even going to be able to go to West Virginia?’ ”

In time, after piling into three cars and rushing to Wood, Chennault and his teammates learned a lesson. Even when vast disappointment could be on the horizon, full attention must be paid to current tasks.

N-G survived, 60-46, as Chennault, a 6-2, 180-pound junior wing guard already committed to Wake Forest, collected 22 points, six rebounds and three assists. Read the rest of this entry »

Roman Catholic's Maalik Wayns drives on Neumann-Goretti's Tony Chennault.

Roman Catholic's Maalik Wayns drives on Neumann-Goretti's Tony Chennault. Photo by Ron Cortes

By Keith Pompey
Inquirer Columnist

Admit it.
Take a moment and tell people how you really feel. You’re overjoyed that today is Dec. 5. You’re overjoyed, because this is the first day that PIAA teams can play their openers.

Admit it.

The No. 1 high school sport in Southeastern Pennsylvania is basketball. Now that it’s upon us, other sports often take a backseat.

Come on, you know it’s true.

How else can you explain the sellouts at the Palestra and Villanova during postseason games?

Why else wound a grown man wait 20 minutes outside a locker room just for an up-close glimpse of Roman Catholic senior point guard Maalik Wayns?

Admit it.
Read the rest of this entry »

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