READING -- Neumann-Goretti's play on Tuesday night lived up to its glowing reputation.
The Saints showed why they're favored to win a third-straight state Class AAA boys' basketball title by putting on a clinic at Reading High School's Geigle Complex.
The Philadelphia team combined tremendous quickness with relentless defense and rebounding to defeat York Suburban, 89-52.
Neumann-Goretti (24-3) moves on to play Holy Ghost Prep in the PIAA quarterfinals on Friday night. Suburban's outstanding season ended at 23-6.
"They're a very good team," Trojans' head coach Tom Triggs said. "We talked before the game that you're in a fight, and you have to step up and meet the fight. They put it to us instead of us trying
The Saints, who never trailed in the game, bolted to a 17-3 lead in the first 41/2 minutes before Suburban closed to within 19-10 at the end of the opening quarter. Neumann-Goretti then settled the issue by going on a 20-0 run to start the second quarter.
"Coming in, we wanted to spread the court a little bit, and we wanted to take the air out of the ball," Triggs said. "It seemed liked we tried to push the ball more than we wanted to. I didn't want to go zone because I was afraid we wouldn't be able to box out. We tried man-to-man (defense), but they had a great start."
Neumann-Goretti's Derrick Stewart, a 6-foot, 5-inch senior, led all scorers with 23 points, and John Davis added 16 for the winners.
Stewart scored on off moves in the low post, rebounds and jumpers. Davis, a 6-4 junior, also cleaned up inside on putbacks and layups.
Suburban made just 7-of-30 shots from the field in the first half, and Neumann-Goretti connected on 18-of-34.
"I feel like we didn't come out to play," Trojans' senior Ted Hinnenkamp said. "I thought we were scared in the first half. We didn't attack the hoop. We wanted to walk off the court having played better in the second half. We wanted to be respectable in the second half."
Suburban played much better in the final half, almost doubling their first-half total of 18 points.
Hinnenkamp closed his career with 1,026 points after a team-high 18-point performance on Tuesday. When he left the court for the final time, he received an ovation from the fans.
"It's nice getting all the fans' love, but it sucks, too, because it's over, it hurts," he said.
Hinnenkamp will leave with a load of great memories.
"I'll remember how good a coaching staff we have with Coach Triggs and Coach Has (Joe Hasenfuss) coming back," he said. "Plus all these guys I played with since third grade. Growing up with them and playing with them forever, I won't forget that."
Hinnenkamp and his teammates exceeded Triggs' expectations more than any team he's coached.
"They have a heck of a lot of heart, and they played extremely hard," Triggs said. "I looked at our schedule, and I thought if we got to .500, I figured we would have a successful year. And here we are at 23-6 and in the final 16 in the state of Pennsylvania. Not bad."
Reach Dick VanOlinda at dvanolinda@yorkdis patch.com or 505-5407.