The Playwickian

Villanova, Ryan Arcidiacono, seize March Madness victory

Catherine Hiliard and Natalie Pietrowski

March Madness has come to a close, Villanova has won it all. Led by captain and Neshaminy alumni Ryan Arcidiacono, the Wildcats secured a victory against the North Carolina tar heels. “It has been a great honor being captain and the Villanova basketball experience has been truly amazing,” Arcidiacono said.

At the halftime mark of the championship game University of North Carolina was leading 39-34. In the last 10 minutes of the game the score was raised to 53-45. Carolina scores, and then Villanova returned the challenge. A foul called against the wildcats brought the game to 55-50 with Villanova in the lead. Villanova scored, and Carolina followed in similar fashion. Baskets made by both Villanova and Carolina tallied the score to 60-53.

Carolina scores and a scramble for the ball results in a foul called against Villanova. The score was 60-57. Shutting down Carolina’s comeback, Villanova took possession, upping the score to 63-57. Several more shots by each team raised the total to 67-59. Two more baskets made by Carolina raised the stakes as the score was now 67-64. As if the game wasn’t intense enough, Carolina continues their comeback upping the score to 70-69. With just one minute left in the game Villanova’s head coach Jay Wright calls a timeout.

Just 35 seconds are left on the clock when a foul is called against Carolina. The score is now 72-69 with Villanova in the lead. Seconds later another basket from Carolina puts them back in the lead, 72-71. Another foul is called against Carolina and Villanova takes the lead, 74-71.
Just 4.7 seconds are left on the clock when Carolina sails a three-pointer into the basket, tying the game. Another timeout is called by Villanova.

The entire season has come down to these last 4 seconds. If Villanova is able to sink a 3 point shot, the National Championship title will be theirs. Neshaminy’s own Arcidiacono takes control of the ball and makes his way down the court, sending a pass to Nova’s Kris Jenkins. There is hardly any time left on the clock as the ball leaves Jenkins hand, just in range for the 3 point shot. A buzzer-beater shot and a fairy tale ending sent fans into a frenzy. Villanova had just won the NCAA Men’s basketball championship game.

FINAL FOUR–

The fifth time earning a title in the Final Four since 2009, VillaNova has had one of the best season starts in the NCAA March Madness tournament this year. Battling against the No. 1 overall seed team last Saturday, the Wildcats were forced out of their comfort zone to pull off one of the tournaments hardest challenges- beating the Kansas Jayhawks.

Big steals by Mikal Bridges and Josh Hart in the final minutes of the game helped the Wildcats pull off the upset, ending the Jayhawks’ 17-game winning streak. Jenkins, Hart and team captain Ryan each scored 13 points for VillaNova, landing a spot in the Final Four.

Arcidiacono, a former graduate of Neshaminy High School, turned 22 the day of the game against Kansas and told villanova.com,

“This is the first time I’ve played on my birthday. Best one ever, for sure.” Players and fans celebrated the senior’s birthday by singing “Happy Birthday” on the court.

“Neshaminy basketball was a great experience. We had great players and coaches,” said Arcidiacono, “One of my favorite moments in high school was playing Chester in the playoffs.”

Now a senior at VillaNova, team captain, and point guard, Arcidiacono became the first player in program history to record 1,500 or more points or 500 or more assists. “Each game you are playing a team that has been winning in the tournament so they are all tough teams. When the game starts you block out the crowd and just focus on the game.” Following their win against Kansas, the Wildcats spent their first full day in Texas practicing, followed by a swarm of reporters and interview sessions.

Head coach Jay Wright told villanova.com, “Your challenge is just to keep focused and play a simple basketball game. It is a really unique experience. I think we will be better prepared this time. You have to fight the urge to think about anything except playing a simple 40 minute basketball game against Oklahoma because there is so much more you have to address and talk about besides the game.”

The Student News Site of Neshaminy High School
Villanova, Ryan Arcidiacono, seize March Madness victory