TimesLedger Athlete of the Week: Japhet McNeil

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School: Christ the King

Sport: Basketball

Position: Guard

Year: Senior

Height: 6-foot-1

Weight: 160 pounds


In less than a week, Japhet McNeil went from goat to hero. The senior guard for the Christ the King boys’ basketball team couldn’t hit the broad side of a barn during his team’s 75-69 loss to St. Raymond’s in the CHSAA Intersectional championship March 12, going 0-for-13 from the field.

But McNeil bounced back Friday night, scoring 11 points and dishing out 11 assists as his team defeated St. Mary’s (Manhasset) in the CHSAA state semis, 78-74. He then dropped 27 Sunday in the state title game against the same St. Raymond’s team that shut him down five days earlier, leading the Royals to a 71-54 victory.

“He’s just tough as nails,” Oliva said. “I think it was on his mind that he got shut out. He never shows it. He’s got that stoic face and he’s got a lot of pride.”

In the city semis, McNeil trash-talked to Molloy’s Marlon Smith before a crucial free throw, saying, “Big-time players make big-time plays.” McNeil admitted that moment flashed through his mind following his dismal performance last week.

“After the city title, I felt I didn’t live up to it,” he said. “I didn’t come through for my team. I didn’t feel I was a big-time player. I kept on saying that to myself all the time, ‘Big-time players make big-time plays.’ I had to redeem myself.”

Redeem himself he did and in the process led Christ the King to the state Federation tournament for the first time in eight years.

Honor Roll

McNeil’s teammate, Brian Williams, scored 16 points with 14 rebounds in the city title game and had 18 points and 12 rebounds against St. Mary’s. Mitchell Beauford had 23 against St. Ray’s the first time around, scored 19 against St. Mary’s and had 13 Sunday ... Bradd Wierzbicki scored 27 points to lead Cathedral Prep to the CHSAA ‘C’ state title over Archbishop Walsh (Olean, N.Y.). Teammate Ray Tinneny added 15 points and 12 rebounds ... Amanda LoCascio, a senior on the Christ the King girls’ basketball team, had 13 points and 13 assists as the Royals won their 15th straight CHSAA state title Sunday. Teammate Lesley Dickinson added 16 points and 5 rebounds in the 63-58 win over St. Peter’s ... Rosalyn Gold-Onwude had 10 points, 6 assists, 5 rebounds and 5 steals, and teammate Annamarie Ciorciari added 12 points as the Archbishop Molloy girls’ basketball team won its first-ever championship, defeating Notre Dame 52-35 in the state CHSAA Class C championship game ... Despite losing in the CHSHL ‘C’ championship series to Xavier, McClancy freshman goaltender Sean Rock was spectacular. In a 2-1 loss in Game 3, Rock made 29 saves, and in a 4-2 win in Game 2, Rock stopped 34 shots for the Crusaders.

Posted 7:02 pm, October 10, 2011
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