By Jack McCaffery
As with any lengthy, single-elimination sports endeavor, Archbishop Carroll had no idea Saturday where, how or when its PIAA Class AAA boys basketball effort would end.
The Patriots were certain, though, of how it should start.
“We had to come out,’ Josh Sharkey said, “with energy.’
So, Sharkey made sure Carroll did, establishing the beat and the theme of an 83-49 victory over Octorara with nine first-quarter points, including an old-fashioned three-pointer with less than a second left.
Sufficiently energized, the Patriots spent the rest of the early evening running, dunking and defending, preparing themselves for a second-round match Tuesday against Steel-High.
As for Octorara, it ended its season with a 25-3 record that, when it was 25-2, had little trouble jolting Carroll to attention.
“With a record like that, you are a good basketball team,’ Carroll coach Paul Romanczuk said. “It doesn’t matter what league or where you play or anything. You’re beating teams. You know how to win. You know how to be successful.
“I saw them in person and they looked fantastic against Glen Mills. They are a very good offensive basketball team with balance and guys who can score the basketball. And it worried me coming in. That’s a good basketball team.’
Sharkey, the 5-10 junior, limited that fear early, patiently guiding the Carroll offense, regularly mixing in crisp, accurate passes.