Doubters motivated Carroll’s return to big stage

Archbishop Carroll’s Josh Sharkey has averaged 14.5 points per game and is a main reason the Patriots have found their way back to the PIAA tournament. (Digital First Media/Robert J. Gurecki)

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By Matthew De George

Josh Sharkey and his fellow seniors heard the whispers as soon as the school year started.

They knew who was gone from last year’s run to the state championship game. They knew the external observer might think the cupboard comparatively bare.

You may wonder what it takes for a program that has played in two state finals in three years to feel underestimated and disrespected. The departure of three Division I players from Archbishop Carroll, engendering chatter that a plummet in Catholic League standing was imminent, did the trick.

Yet after passing test upon test, the Patriots find themselves in what seems their ordained place: Preparing for the PIAA Tournament.

The Patriots, District 12’s third seed, opens the PIAA Class AAA tourney Friday night against District One champion Holy Ghost Prep. Tipoff at Cheltenham High School is at 7:30.

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