The PIAA 2018 championships will wrap up today with titles being decided in the 3A and 6A classifications here at the Giant Center in Hershey, PA and these were some of standout players on the day.

Dymir Montague 6'3' '18 Neumann-Goretti Catholic HS – Holy Family University commit – Montague has been a steady player for N-G for 3 years now but of course some guy by the name of Quade Green got most of the attention. The difference is that Dymir was a true team guy who embraced his role and contributed for the greater good and did it well. With Green moving on to Kentucky most thought that Montague's time had come but true to form he stayed loyal to the team concepts and became a senior leader instead of getting selfish in his quest for numbers. Throughout the season he had some really good games numbers wise but the goals never changed which were Catholic League chip 1st then District and State. Two out of three ain't bad as they say but Montague and the Saints were not happy with not winning the league or making it to the semi's at the Palestra which is unheard of for the Saints so they bonded together to make a run at PA history instead. In a workmanlike and precision fashion N-G dismantled a plucky Richland squad 57-42 to win their 5th straight 3A state title which no team in the PIAA's 98 year history had ever done and surpassed the great Carlisle HS teams led by Billy Owens (Syracuse, NBA) who won 4 straight from 1985 to 1988. On the biggest stage however the ultimate team guy, who coach Carl Arrigale told me was his best shooter, put the Saints on his back and guided them to the history making win. He had 23pts hit 4-8 from downtown while also filling the stat sheet with 6reb 4blks and 5stls. This performance was not an anomaly either as he had shown flashes of his talent throughout his tenure there but it was certainly sweet to have this kind of game on Pennsylvania's biggest stage.

Lynn Greer III 6'3' '20 Roman Catholic – Greer has experienced a lot in his young career as he has been integrated into USA Basketball's development system just falling short of a berth on last summer's under 16 national team that took home a gold medal in the FIBA America's Cup tourney in Argentina and those experiences have greatly helped in Greer's development along with his father Lynn Jr. who played collegiately at Temple and also in the NBA. Factor in that Greer plays in the Philly Catholic League which is the toughest league in the state and he looks really comfortable out on the floor directing his team and making plays. At games end Greer was one of three Cahillites with at least 20pts as they avenged their loss in the District 12 championship game (City title game to the uninitiated) with a 92-80 6A win vs. Philly Public League foe Abraham Lincoln HS in earning the programs 3rd state title in the last four years. On this night Greer was kind of the third wheel in the offensive output finishing with 20pts 3asts 5reb but make no mistake his ability to control the tempo of games and make the correct passes to cutting teammates along with his uncanny habit of getting tough baskets in traffic or on the perimeter to stop opponents momentum helps fuel this Roman Catholic collective. The fact that he's just a Soph doesn't bode well for future opponents in or out of the Catholic League. He is very crafty with the ball with a very good handle and he has a solid basketball IQ coupled with excellent court vision and this was on display last evening. If he has one fault it would be that he doesn't always value the basketball despite his immense talent as he committed 8 turnovers in the contest. This is something I've seen in the past and it is quite confusing that this continues to plague him but as he matures into a more elite player I suspect that he will clean up that part of his game.

Seth Lundy 6'6' '19 Roman Catholic – The catalyst for last night's Roman Catholic win from a true offensive standpoint was Lundy who led the Cahillites with 28pts 9reb 5asts with 4 treys while shooting 8-16 from the field 4-9 from the arc and 8-10 at the line. Fine stats all for the talented Junior whose game is really evolving into the kind of player that HM schools will definitely start to track heading into the spring and summer grassroots season. In the past Lundy had a reputation of being a bit soft but at last springs Villanova team camp in a matchup with vaunted Philly Public League power Imhotep Charter I began to see a transformation in his approach to the game in general . I had always liked his ball skills and offensive ability but in this contest which meant absolutely nothing except bragging rights he was banged up and down and all around by Imhotep's formidable front line and he didn't wilt even when the Panthers seized control and coasted home with the win. Fast forward to 2017-18 HS season and Lundy was ready to make a statement to the basketball world that he was now a force to be reckoned with and that culminated with his performance in the 6A state championship game last night. Lincoln beat on him a little last night but they couldn't stop him as he showed off his smooth stroke from beyond the arc as well as his ability to slice into the lane and get to the basket for buckets or FT opportunities. His passing game should not be overlooked either as he has consistently shown the ability to draw defenders to him then slip a beautiful dish to a wide open shooter for the assist and his rebounding is a critical component in his expanding game as he goes after missed shots hard on both ends of the court. Defensively his play has also improved a great deal as he added 2blks and 2stls to his stat line last night. Lundy is on the upswing and his recruitment should reflect that in time.

Khalif Meares 6'3' '18 Abraham Lincoln HS – This young man is one of many hidden treasures within the Philly Public League playing in anonymity in the ‘B' division instead of the more glamorous ‘A' division which brings out the ardent fans and college coaches too. The Railsplitters failed to make the Philly Pub semi's but as a 6A qualifier earned a trip to the District 12 championship game where they upset Roman Catholic to earn the districts number one seed in the state tourney which would keep them in the Eastern half of the state but it also opened people's eyes to the talent that resides on that roster. After earning their shot at a state title with an exciting OT win over a very good Hazleton Area HS team Lincoln proved they belonged here even in defeat as they gave Roman all they could handle but simply didn't find the magic to knock off their Catholic League neighbor for a 2nd time this season. For his part Meares put the finishing touches on a stellar if unnoticed HS career as he led them with 28pts 4asts 4stls while shooting 12-20 from the field and 2-5 from the arc. Some of his buckets were bigtime drives to the cup as he used his athleticism to gyrate around defenders and hit spinning reverse layups or just out of reach floaters. This young man is a definite D-1 level talent that had been overlooked by not playing in the upper division of the Pub or on a big time AAU squad but if his performances in the state tourney are any indication some schools are clearly missing the boat and should seriously consider taking a look at this young man.

Hakim Hart 6'5' '19 Roman Catholic – While most spectators in the Giant Center were looking at the key players in last night's 6A final between Roman and Lincoln few if any thought that a major key in the game would be Hart. In my previous viewings of Roman he would be thought of as the 4th option, even though he came to Roman from Kingsway HS in South Jersey with a reputation as a prolific scorer. On this evening however he proved to be quite valuable in the offensive attack that the Cahillites used to eventually subdue the talented Lincoln Railsplitters. He finished with 26pts 2asts 3stls and shot 12-17 from the floor. He's an excellent 3 point shooter but on this night he hit just 1-3 as he utilized his 6'5' frame to get out in transition and get buckets at the rim instead of hanging out at the arc. Watching Hart play he doesn't impress you as an elite athlete as he rarely goes to the rack and jumps over defenders to slam one home. He plays with measured caution picking his spots to make his forays to the hole. He shoots without a lot of lift which makes you think of an old time set shooter but with deadly accuracy for the most part. On the defensive side of the ball he appears to be a very competent defender as evidenced by his 3 stls in the game. As a prospect moving forward I know schools may have concerns about his so called athletic shortcomings but I think it would be smart to continue to evaluate him based on his overall body of work as a player before rushing to judgement. This concludes our PIAA coverage.