High School

PVI erases 16-point fourth-quarter deficit before winning 7 OT thriller

Image captured via Twitter @ITLR_DMV

PVI erases 16-point fourth-quarter deficit before winning 7 OT thriller

Paul VI is off to a hot start to its 2019-20 boys’ basketball season, starting 6-0 and climbing to fourth in MaxPreps’ national rankings with wins over rival Bishop O’Connell and then-No. 2 IMG Academy.

But none of its wins were more dramatic or unlikely than its 130-128 seven-overtime victory over Archbishop Wood (Pa.) on Saturday night in the Diane Mosco Foundation Shootout.

The Panthers one of the best backcourts in the country, headlined by senior point guard Jeremy Roach (No. 22 in ESPN’s 2020 Top 100) and junior shooting guard Trevor Keels (No. 35 in ESPN’s 2021 Top 100). Roach is a five-star recruit headed to Duke next fall while Keels has received offers from both Georgetown and Maryland but has yet to announce a commitment.

Both stars put their talents on full display Saturday, when Paul VI entered the fourth down 57-42 to Archbishop Wood. The Vikings led by as much as 16 in the quarter, but with about six minutes left the Panthers turned on the jets.

Paul VI climbed back into the contest before getting one last possession in the final seconds down by three. That’s when Keels showed off his range with a deep 3-pointer to send the game into overtime.

Roach and Keeler finished with 30 points apiece in the game, but both fouled out by the third overtime. That put the game in the hands of other players like Jo-Jo Freeman (21 points) and Dug McDaniel (20 points) to come through in the four-hour contest.

Paul VI battled through all seven overtime frames to score 130 points, easily eclipsing its previous season high of 92.

But in the end, the Panthers prevailed.

Pitted in the highly competitive Washington Catholic Athletic Conference, Paul VI still has a long season ahead of it. But after Saturday night’s victory, the Panthers have put to rest any doubts about their pedigree as one of the best teams in the nation.


St. John's athletic director out and source says football coach considering exit

Matt Seal

St. John's athletic director out and source says football coach considering exit

Athletic director Brian Griffin has left St. John’s and accepted the position of Director of Football and IMG Academy (Bradenton, Fla).

On Griffins’ watch, the Cadets excelled in myriad athletic endeavors, becoming the region’s powerhouse in multiple sports.

“St. John’s is grateful for Brian Griffin’s leadership, passion, dedication and commitment to our students and the school community,” said Jeff Mancabelli, St. John’s president in a statement. 

“During the past six years, our student-athletes earned 29 WCAC championships, but more importantly, they learned important life lessons and what it means to support one another,”

According to those who worked with him, Griffin was dedicated to the development of the total student-athlete; investing in their lives both on and off of the playing fields.

“Under his leadership, St. John’s elevated its athletic programs to the highest standards,” said Mancabelli. “Building a foundation of support services and creating a culture of excellence that emphasized personal responsibility and what it means to be a part of a team.”

The St. John’s football program endured a grueling schedule last season. Seven of their opponents finished the year ranked nationally. They traveled as far as Texas and hosted the likes of Mater Dei (Ca) and IMG in consecutive weekends—at one point dropping four games in a row.

Griffin and head coach Joe Casamento received outside criticism for undertaking such a daunting task. According to sources, Casamento is considering stepping away from his position as coach of the Cadets, but Mancabelli insists Griffin’s move had little to do with football.

“This difficult career decision was truly about family,” said Mancabelli. “After being apart for the last two school years, Griff will be reunited with his family at IMG Academy, where his youngest child, Erin, is an eighth-grader. We wish him well as he moves on to the next chapter.”

Prior to his tenure at St. John’s, Griffin was a vice president at IMG. He could not be reached for comment but posted to Twitter:

“I am so excited to be back with my family @IMGA! I have nothing but love for St. John’s and the amazing student-athletes, coaches and community that have built such a strong ‘culture of excellence’.

DeMatha 4-star LB Jaishawn Barham transfers to St. Frances

Chad Ricardo/NBC Sports Washington

DeMatha 4-star LB Jaishawn Barham transfers to St. Frances

Jaishawn Barham, a 4-star student athlete on 247Sports.com, is leaving DeMatha Catholic and transferring to St. Frances Academy.

Barham, currently ranked as the country’s No. 2 outside linebacker in the class of ‘22, played a significant role for the Stags’ stingy defense in 2019. Despite pitching four shutouts though, DeMatha finished the season 7-4 and was eliminated by St. John’s in the WCAC semifinals.

With the disappointing season likely to lead to another reshuffling of the Stags staff, Barham’s family thought it best they find a new home.

“The reason for leaving is heavily based on the stability and infrastructure [of the program],” said Barham’s dad, Anthony Nelson. “In the two years he’s been at DeMatha, the coaching staff turned over twice and they are still scrambling to find that stability.”

Contrarily, St. Frances has been a model of consistency in recent years. In the last 3 seasons, the Panthers have amassed a record of 34-1. Coach Biff Poggi’s squad has grown into a perennial powerhouse, playing a true national schedule and placing student athletes in positions to earn scholarship opportunities from top-tier universities across the country. The strength of the Panthers’ foundation is one reason Nelson believes Barham will thrive there.

“As a coach and dad -- knowing the potential he has to play at the next level -- my two biggest   targets when selecting a program to transfer to was coaching and competition,” Nelson said. “Personally, I know the position coaches at St. Frances, and I know that the level of competition there will help him reach another level within himself.”

Nelson insists there are no hard feelings toward the Stags, that they have “nothing but love for DeMatha and the opportunities they gave Jaishawn.” He views this as an opportunity for Barham to grow both as a student athlete and a young man.

“In today’s world of sports where the athlete is taking a greater roll in controlling their own destiny -- as a brand and not just a worker -- he will be charged with making critical decisions for himself and his brand,” Nelson said. “This will be a major teaching tool for years to come.”

Barham presently holds 15 scholarship offers, including those from Ohio State, Penn State and Maryland.