SJN boys earn key home win
Kevin Anderson threw a no-look bounce pass to one of his teammates and it looked like it was going to be a highlight reel play except the layup was missed. Anderson didn’t yell or scream at his teammate, he simply tapped him on the back and told him not to worry about it.
It was just one example of how Anderson’s leadership is crucial for a young and inexperienced Neumann team. Leaders don’t just lead with words, they lead by example and what an example Anderson is setting.
The Delaware University-bound guard scored 36 points to go along with 15 rebounds and nine assists as St. John Neumann defeated York Country Day, 82-67, Tuesday night at the Catholic Community Center.
“His leadership, I’m really proud of where he has come,” said Neumann coach Mike Kirby. “His decision making is much improved over last year and the biggest thing is he’s a competitive warrior. He’s a warrior and when the stakes go up, his play goes up.”
Anderson was just one assist shy of his second straight triple-double as he led his team to a win over the state’s fifth best team in Class A. The Knights have defeated two Top 10 teams in the state in two different classes as Neumann routed North Penn-Mansfield, Class AA’s ninth ranked team, on Saturday.
Anderson had help in Neumann’s biggest regular season win in a couple years as Noah Persun benefited from the unselfish Anderson as he scored a career-high 16 points and grabbed seven rebounds.
Jaiden Cioffi had eight points and four rebounds while Jaiden Lynch scored 12 points to go along with six assists, three rebounds and two blocks and held all-state guard Deaireus Brown to just 13 points. Brown averaged 22 points last year when he was named second team all-state.
Other than Anderson and Lynch, no other Neumann player has game experience against a state tournament opponent like York Country Day. And their contributions are going to be needed if the Knights want to make another deep state playoff run.
“I thought they did well. We don’t ask them to do anything that they aren’t capable of doing,” Kirby said. “Just do your job and as long as they stay within that framework then things work out pretty well for us. Kevin carries a lot of the load but the other guys are doing their part also.”
“Some of my teammates, in the beginning of the year in our scrimmages, you could kind of tell that they were kind of timid, so in practice I had to pick them up,” Anderson said about the growth of his teammates. “I told them, I’m going to stay hard on you because that’s how it’s going to be. Everytime I’m hard on them, they recognize that they have to play hard all the time. I rely on them now.”
York only led for a few minutes early in the game and it never could pull ahead again. But Neumann couldn’t pull away until late due to nine 3-pointers from the Greyhounds.
Neumann’s biggest lead in the first half was eight but that lead exploded to 15 in the third quarter when the Knights went on a 12-3 run. York Country Day cut the lead down to nine with 2:30 remaining and it had a chance to cut it down to seven after a Neumann turnover but Anderson chased down Jordan Ray and blocked his layup and Neumann ended the game on a 13-7 run to put the game out of reach.
Anderson had 22 points in the second half, including 12 in the fourth quarter. He also hit all 12 of his free throws.
York Country Day (67)
DJ Hamilton 4 2-2 13, Jordan Ray 7 5-7 22, Greg Gladfelter 2 0-0 5, Jalen Gorham 4 2-2 12, Deaireus Brown 6 1-1 13. Totals 24 10-12 67.
Kevin Anderson 11 12-12 36, Jaiden Lynch 4 3-5 12, Noah Persun 7 2-3 16, Jaiden Cioffi 4 0-1 8, Anthony Marrazzo 2 0-0 4, Dalton Gough 0 0-0 0, Andrew Fish 2 0-0 6, Reid Parrish 0 0-0 0. Totals 30 17-21 82.
YCD 16 15 14 22- 67
SJN 20 17 20 25- 82
3-point goals: York Country Day 9 (Hamilton 3, Ray 3, Gorham 2, Gladfelter); Neumann 5 (Anderson 2, Fish 2, Lynch)
JV score: Neumann 49-21
Records: Neumann (4-0); York Country Day (3-3)