By Matthew DeGeorge
From the stands at Bald Eagle Area High School, D.J. Irving recognized the hallmarks of Archbishop Carroll basketball that he’d grown accustomed to as a player, an alumnus, and now a basketball coach.
One thing in particular stood out to the 2010 grad above all others in the PIAA Class AAA semifinal game.
“Definitely their defense,’ Irving said of the Patriots’ 59-32 win over Cathedral Prep. “They’ve got guards that pressure the ball and they’ve got big guys back there blocking every shot. I think defense is definitely their bright spot.’
Irving, whose basketball career has led him down the road to Penn State where he’s a graduate assistant, has seen plenty of Carroll hoops. He did his share of ball-hawking and pressing in the Carroll backcourt. Yet even he couldn’t help but be impressed at how effectively Carroll’s defense silenced the Ramblers.
While the 70-points-per-game scoring average may jump off the page, Carroll’s spot in Friday’s Class AAA state title game was booked at the other end of the court. As Carroll’s offense gradually sputtered to life, the search for a spark led to the defensive end, where Carroll’s tenacity was comprehensive.