HERSHEY, Pa. — Seasons change, names and faces rearrange, but it all stays the same for the Neumann-Goretti Saints.
Tuesday afternoon at the Giant Center in Hershey, the Saints beat District 6's Richland, 57-42, to claim their fifth consecutive PIAA Class 3A championship and eighth in the last nine years.
"Consistency is a word that I like, and people can say what they want," said N-G coach Carl Arrigale. "We were here when it was four classes. We were here when it was six classes. It's a hard tournament. We've been fortunate enough to make it look like it's not that hard."
At times, Tuesday's early proceedings were hard to watch until Dymir (DAH-meer) Montague got the slow-starting Saints going.
The senior finished with a game-high 23 points and was the team's only player in double figures.
The dynamic, 6-foot-3, playmaker had eight points at the half, but his four blocked shots also set a defensive tone that the Saints (23-6) used in a 15-0 spurt in the second quarter to earn separation.
Last year, the Saints were headlined by Quade Green (Kentucky) and Dhamir Cosby-Roundtree (Villanova), whose nickname is "Da Da" but was known on the team as "Big Da" to Montague's "lil Da."
This season, Montague, who will play at Holy Family, was the only "Da."
"This means a lot because this whole program is basically based off of 'wait your turn,' Montague said. "I waited patiently and I've been dedicated to it, so it was meant for me to have this type of game."
His third quarter steal and dunk followed one of his four three-pointers (4 of 8) and pushed an eight-point lead to 13 late in the frame.
The Saints finished with 10 steals and 11 blocked shots. However, they made just 6 of 21 shots from three-point territory and 9 of 15 at the foul line.
Things got interesting in the fourth when the Rams got within 10 points, but Montague and freshman Ta'Quan Woodley forced a turnover that led to free throws for Montague and an end to whatever momentum Richland (25-5) had mustered.
"That's how it went all year," Arrigale said. "It was really like a snapshot of our whole season, but we played better than people thought we would and these guys did a nice job and I'm happy for the seniors to go out [with a championship]."
Junior point guard Chris Ings didn't shoot well from the perimeter (3 of 11, 0 of 3 from three and 2 of 5 at the foul line), but he was excellent all around.
Ings finished with eight points, seven assists and six rebounds with only two turnovers.
Senior Noah Warren added five points, three assists and two steals, while fellow senior Marcus Littles had six points, six rebounds and four blocks.
Woodley added eight points, seven rebounds and two blocks.
The Rams were led by Tyler Zimmerman's 16 points but shot just 5 of 20 from three, 5 of 11 at the foul line and 16 of 49 overall.