Blogs > Gettin' Schooled

A boys basketball blog hosted by Daily Times reporter Christopher A. Vito

Saturday, March 21, 2009


The basketball season is over, but not before three Delaware County teams brought home state championships.

Penn Wood, picked as favorites at season's outset, stepped up to that high praise and claimed the Class AAAA crown by topping William Penn-York, 72-53, at Penn State's Bryce Jordan Center Saturday.

Senior All-Delco Duane Johnson and sophomore Aaron Brown chipped in with 20 points apiece, Tyree Johnson had 14 and Will Brown added 12 for the Patriots, who wrapped up their first state-title season with a 28-4 record.

The Archbishop Carroll boys did it Friday, then the girls followed suit by beating Lampeter-Strasburg for the Class AAA championship.

Erin Shields and Hollie Mershon each put in 13 points for the Patriots, who finished their season 30-1 with the 68-45 rout of the Pioneers. Kerri Shields tallied 12 in the last game of her fantastic Carroll career.

That's all there is to report from Happy Valley. Make sure to read it all in the Sunday Times and thanks for your readership through basketball season, both at Gettin' Schooled and Live at the PIAA Championships.

The spring sports season is here, but I need a blogging breather. I'll take a few days off from the blogosphere but keep reading the Daily Times until I get back.

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One team is coming home with the hardware. The other one had a hard night.
Archbishop Carroll's boys basketball team claimed the PIAA Class AAA title over Greensburg-Salem (game story). The Patriots said afterward that their rigorous schedule - which featured three games vs. Neumann-Goretti and meetings with Roman Catholic and Norristown - got them ready for this stage (sidebar).
For Cardinal O'Hara, the trip to Penn State wasn't so memorable. The Lions girls basketball team lost to unbeaten Mt. Lebanon in the PIAA Class AAAA final (game story). A magical end to the Lions' season was not meant to be. Once ranked No. 1 nationally, the Lions lost star center Steph Holzer in the third quarter before losing the game (column).
# # # #
There, you will find up-to-the-minute updates by the Daily Times staff on Archbishop Carroll's bid for the PIAA Class AAA girls title and Penn Wood's claim on the PIAA Class AAAA boys crown.

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Thursday, March 19, 2009


Archbishop Carroll is playing for a championship Friday. It's not the championship the Patriots perennially focus on, but it's a championship nonetheless.

The end-all, be-all of the Catholic League is the league crown. If you don't win one, you're season is a failure. But when the CL joined the PIAA this season, suddenly there's another reason to play.

At Wednesday's practice, I asked a couple of the guys about whether they think their head coach - Paul Romanczuk, who played for the Carroll team that won the Catholic League title in 1995 - is enjoying this state-title push more than the league-title season during his playing career:

Junior guard D.J. Irving (pictured): "He talked about the Catholic League championship he had and how special it was for him. We couldn't get that for him, so hopefully we can get this one for him. I think this (stretch) has been more fun for him, as a coach."

Senior forward Pat Daly: "You might have to ask him about that. If I had to answer, I'd say yeah he is having more fun this year. He feels really close to this team. He believes in us and has been pulling for us. He wants to see us go out winners."

Senior captain Andre Wilburn: "He's excited. We're all excited. We just have to get up there and take care of business and win the medal."

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Wednesday, March 18, 2009


The field is complete.

Delaware County has gone a perfect 4-for-4 in sending its playoff teams to the PIAA state basketball championship games. Archbishop Carroll boys and Cardinal O'Hara girls won Tuesday to do it, then Penn Wood boys and Archbishop Carroll girls joined the party.

Perfect was the talk around Penn Wood Wednesday. Sophomore Aaron Brown went 10-for-10 from the floor, scored 22 points and led the Patriots past Mt. Lebanon, 79-58, at Big Spring High School in Newville. The Pats will play York in the Class AAAA final Saturday.

At Reading's Geigle Complex, the Carroll girls punched their PIAA title-game ticket by getting past Trinity, 49-45. The Patriots will take on either Lampeter-Strasburg or General McLane (the game wasn't decided as of this post) Saturday night in the Class AAA title tilt at Penn State's Bryce Jordan Center.

More to come in Thursday's Daily Times. Again, we have to get on the road. (It's a 2-hour, 45-minute drive from Big Spring.)

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Tuesday, March 17, 2009


It's official: the Archbishop Carroll boys basketball team is headed to the PIAA Class AAA championship game. The Patriots ended York Suburban's season with a 65-57 win at Reading's Geigle Complex.

That puts the Patriots, who are new to this state-playoff thing, in the final.

In the girls Class AAAA semifinal:
Cardinal O'Hara knocked off Downingtown East to punch its state-final ticket. The Patriots' boys team and the Lions' girls team will play Friday night at PSU's Bryce Jordan Center.

More to come in Wednesday's Daily Times. (Got to get in the car and head home from Reading...)

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Monday, March 16, 2009


When York Suburban and Archbishop Carroll go at it Tuesday in a PIAA Class AAA semifinal, they very well may be catching each other at their hottest.

I don't need to tell you about Carroll (26-3), which stunned league rival and perennial thorn-in-side Neumann-Goretti. But the Trojans (27-3) looked their best in their Round 3, 47-35 win over District 2 champ Crestwood.

Consider that the Trojans:
  • Scored 16 of the game's first 18 points
  • Led by as many as 19 points
  • Limited Crestwood to 14-of-35 shooting
  • Held a 28-18 advantage in rebounds
  • Forced 18 turnovers

Those are all impressive numbers, but how about this one: Crestwood finished the year having held opponents under 50 points in 25 of their 29 games. What does that tell me? That York Suburban (which scored only 47) was able to play someone else's game and still win.

The Trojans weren't all that intimidating when I saw them against Strath Haven in the second round. They don't have much size or much speed. They play a balanced team game. Expect at least three guys to hit double figures in scoring. The Patriots will need to spread the ball, too, so count on their All-Catholic backcourt of D.J. Irving and Juan'ya Green (pictured) to carry the load.

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Sunday, March 15, 2009


The PIAA unveiled its state-semifinal sites and times for this week. And they favor the local gas stations. Looks like everyone will be driving at least 45 minutes to see any of Delco's four remaining basketball teams.

Archbishop Carroll fans caught the luckiest of breaks. Both the boys and girls teams are playing only a 70-minute drive away, in Reading, on separate nights. It's even better for Cardinal O'Hara girls fans, who only have a 45-minute drive to endure to Ro-Fo.

Sorry, Penn Wood backers. You (and your favorite boys basketball beat writer) are making the 2-hour, 45-minute commute out west. Newville, by my estimations, is about 15 miles west of Harrisburg. Should (not) be a fun drive.

Here are the details you need to know:

Class AAA Boys: Archbishop Carroll vs. York Suburban
***At Reading High's Geigle Complex, 7:30 p.m.

Class AAAA Girls: Cardinal O'Hara vs. Downingtown East
***At Spring-Ford High, Royersford, 7 p.m.

# # # #

Class AAAA Boys: Penn Wood vs. Mount Lebanon
***At Big Spring High, Newville, 7 p.m.

Class AAA Girls: Archbishop Carroll vs.
***At Reading High's Geigle Complex, 6 p.m.

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Saturday, March 14, 2009


At Villanova's Pavilion, two of Delaware County's remaining playoff basketball teams moved on to their respective brackets' semifinals. Here are some final scores:

Penn Wood 54,
Pennsbury 50
Notes: Duane Johnson scored 16, Aaron Brown had 13, and Tyree Johnson added 11 more for the Patriots, who advanced to the state semifinal round for only the second time in school history.

Archbishop Carroll 56,
Mount St. Joseph 35
Notes: Kerri Shields, who had only four points at halftime, struck for five 3-pointers after the break to lead the Patriots past the defending state champions.

# # # #

So here's what next week's schedule looks like. Sites and times have not been announced. For whatever reason, the PIAA site has not been updated with the same rapidity as in earlier rounds (Go figure. It should be easier. There are fewer teams to deal with.) In any case, a preliminary schedule:

  • Archbishop Carroll boys vs. York Suburban
  • Cardinal O'Hara girls vs. Downingtown West
  • Penn Wood boys vs. Mount Lebanon
  • Archbishop Carroll girls vs. Trinity

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Friday, March 13, 2009


In 32 minutes Friday night, Archbishop Carroll went from PIAA Class AAA dark horse to favorite in the state playoffs.

The Patriots did the unthinkable and dispatched Neumann-Goretti, 70-65, in a quarterfinal at Archbishop Ryan High School. They move on to the semifinal round against York Suburban.

To get there, the Patriots needed to beat a team they hadn't since 2001. The District 12 and Catholic League champs, the Saints held an 18-game winning streak over the Pats' heads. This is the same N-G team that is ranked No. 1 in the PIAA by the Harrisburg Patriot News and No. 14 nationally by ESPN. Even though Carroll is the state's No. 2 team, this is considered a monumental upset and a huge step forward for Carroll coach Paul Romanczuk's program.

D.J. Irving had 26 points, leading a quartet of Carroll scorers in double figures.

More to come in Saturday's Daily Times.

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Thursday, March 12, 2009


When Penn Wood knocked off Bartram Wednesday night, the reality set it: the Patriots are Delco's sole survivors in the state playoffs.

Well, sort of.

You've got the Penn Wood Patriots in the Class AAAA bracket and the Archbishop Carroll Patriots in the Class AAA field. Penn Wood beat Bartram, 78-53, at O'Hara, and Chester bowed out of the AAAA tournament with a 62-49 loss to Williamsport.

It seems like both teams have their stiffest tests yet in this weekend's quarterfinal round. The Lansdowne Pats will face Pennsbury in a Saturday tilt that is without a site or time. The Main Line Pats will see league rival Neumann-Goretti at Archbishop Ryan at 7 p.m. Friday.

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Wednesday, March 11, 2009


Wednesday morning, the PIAA announced sites and times for the Class AAA boys and Class AAAA girls quarterfinal rounds. Only two Delaware County teams remain in those classifications, and here's where they will be Friday night:

Boys PIAA Class AAA Quarterfinal
Archbishop Carroll vs. Neumann-Goretti
**Friday, at Archbishop Ryan High School, 7 p.m.

Girls PIAA Class AAAA Quarterfinal
Cardinal O'Hara vs. Lower Merion
**Friday, at Spring-Ford High School, 6:30 p.m.

More to come, when the AAAA boys and the AAA girls play tonight.

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Last week, I blogged about the inadequacy of the PIAA when it allowed Glen Mills to host a play-in game to the Class AAAA state bracket.

And here we go again.

In Tuesday's second round of the Class AAA playoffs, the game between District One's Strath Haven and District Three's York Suburban was officiated by . . . a District Three referee crew from Berks County.

York Suburban won the game, 59-45. In the contest, York went to the foul line for 20 attempts and Haven had 10 free throws. The Trojans were whistled for seven fouls and the Panthers were called for 18, including a technical. Clearly, we have a couple discrepancies on our hands.

Now, I don't want to be the one to call out the PIAA this time of the year. And by no means do I want to insinuate that the referee crew was making calls to favor York. I saw the exact referee trio at the Archbishop Carroll/Phoenixville game last week, and they were just about as fair and thorough as I've seen all season.

And with 64 playoff games across the boys and girls hoops scenes taking place in a 48-hour span, it’s safe to assume that Pennsylvania's governing body for high-school athletics is probably stretched a bit thin.

But… when your season is on the line, a line has to be drawn.

"I don't think it came down to that," said Strath Haven coach Steve Lewis. "I don’t think my team made the right decisions, the ones necessary to win the game."

Added star guard Calvin Newell: "I wish they would have let us play the game and made it a little closer (in foul calls)." When Newell, pictured, was informed that a District Three crew called his final high school game, he said, "It happens."

The fact is, it shouldn't. The PIAA should know better, so as to preserve on-court talent as the dividing line between teams, and not the scheduling of a referee crew.

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Tuesday, March 10, 2009


Well, members of Archbishop Carroll's boys basketball team talked about it. They wanted it, and now they've got it.

The Patriots, with their 62-51 win over Shamokin in the second round of the PIAA Class AAA playoffs, get another shot at Catholic League Blue Division rival Neumann-Goretti. The Saints won Tuesday, as well, beating Susquehanna Township, 65-51.

After their first-round win last weekend, the Patriots so desperately wanted another meeting with the Saints (26-3). Of course, they didn't want to look too far ahead, but Andre Wilburn could not resist.

"They won the division championship, the league championship, the district championship," the senior forward said. "We want to win something. We want to get them again."

In their last meeting, the Saints dunked nine times on Wilburn and fellow senior big-man Kasheef Festus. (Even though Ben Mingledough, pictured, got one of his own in there.) The site and time for the highly-anticipated third meeting have not been announced, but you have to imagine it'll be close by.

More to come...

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Monday, March 9, 2009


The sites and times for second round games in the PIAA Class AAAA and AAA playoffs have been announced.

And if you have interest in following your favorite Delco teams, you better hit the gas stations before you hit the road. With exception to one game, each site is at least an hour away:

Strath Haven (15-12) vs. York Suburban (25-3), 7:30 p.m.
***At Garden Spot H.S., New Holland
Archbishop Carroll (23-3) vs. Shamokin (24-1)
***At Parkland H.S., Allentown

Chester (24-4) vs. Williamsport (22-3), 7:30 p.m.
***At Martz Hall, Pottsville
Penn Wood (24-4) vs. John Bartram (18-8), 7 p.m.
***At Cardinal O'Hara

The rest of the Class AAAA and Class AAA brackets . . .

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Friday, March 6, 2009


The first two teams on the chopping block in the state playoffs passed their opening-round tests.

Archbishop Carroll and Strath Haven both survived the first round of the PIAA Class AAA playoffs. Carroll knocked off District One champ Phoenixville, 56-50, and Strath Haven bested District 12 runner-up Franklin Learning Center, 76-56.

For Carroll, junior guard D.J. Irving and senior center Kasheef Festus each netted 20 points on their way to the Patriots' first win in the state playoffs in school history.

For Haven, senior guard Calvin Newell poured in 18 points by halftime - half of the Panthers' 36 points through two quarters - in their first-round rout.

Wins by Carroll and Haven were only the beginning. Five teams from Delaware County are in the state playoffs. The Del Val League triumvirate of Penn Wood, Chester and Glen Mills square off in opening-round games Saturday in the Class AAAA bracket.

For more on the boys basketball scene, pick up a copy of Saturday's Daily Times.

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Monday, March 2, 2009


The March Nor'easter couldn't keep Archbishop Carroll down.

The headline news from this week's installment of the Harrisburg Patriot-News' PIAA polls is Carroll's ascension from No. 5 to No. 2 in the Class AAA rankings. Grabbing the third seed from District 12, the Patriots (22-3) leapfrogged District Seven's Chartiers Valley (24-1), which suffered its first loss. The poll also had two teams drop completely out of the top 10.

In other news, Penn Wood (23-4) sank from No. 2 to No. 4 with its fall in the District One Class AAAA title game. And Chester (23-4), which earned the district's fifth seed in states, moved up one spot to No. 5.

Team (District) Record -- Previous
1. Roman Catholic (12) 18-8 -- 3
2. Norristown (1) 22-5 -- 5
3. Pennsbury (1) 22-5 -- 1
4. PENN WOOD (1) 23-4 -- 2
5. CHESTER (1) 23-4 -- 6
6. Lower Merion (1) 23-6 -- 7
7. Conestoga (1) 26-3 -- 9
8. Williamsport (4) 21-3 -- 8
9. C.D. East (3) 26-3 -- 10
10. York (3) 28-1 -- 4
Honorable mention: Harrisburg (3) 22-6; Mt. Lebanon (7) 21-5; North Catholic (12) 17-8; Parkland (11) 24-3; Peters Twp. (7) 23-2; Plymouth-Whitemarsh (1) 22-5; Pocono Mountain East (11) 23-5; Red Land (3) 16-11.

Team (District) Record -- Previous
1. Neumann-Goretti (12) 24-2 -- 1
2. ARCH. CARROLL (12) 22-3 -- 5
3. Farrell (10) 21-4 -- 7
4. York Suburban (3) 24-3 -- 8
5. Chartiers Valley (7) 24-1 -- 2
6. Shamokin (4) 23-1 -- 9
7. Hampton (7) 22-4 -- NR
8. Crestwood (2) 22-5 -- NR
9. Franklin L.C. (12) 19-6 -- NR
10. Susquehanna Twp. (3) 22-5 -- 6
Honorable mention: Abington Heights (2) 23-2; Eastern York (3) 25-4; Highlands (7) 19-7; Holy Redeemer (2) 19-8; Perry (8) 21-4; Phoenixville (1) 21-5; Southern Lehigh (11) 21-6; Wyomissing (3) 20-6.

For the Class AA and A rankings, check out the Patriot-News' sports blog.

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Thursday, February 26, 2009


Wednesday was a big day for Archbishop Carroll and Strath Haven, which locked up PIAA Class AAA state-playoff berths with victories.

Carroll senior D.J. Irving posted a career day in beating Simon Gratz. And Haven senior Calvin Newell (pictured) went off for 40 points, and knocked down the game-winning shot, to dispatch Holy Ghost Prep in overtime.

In an attempt to recap Wednesday night's playoff games, here are a couple great quotes from the games:

***Holy Ghost Prep senior John Glenn on Newell's clutch shot:
"I think he was parallel to the ground. I mean, I just couldn't believe he hit that shot, because there were a couple hands in his face and he seemed to be fading away from the basket. But he's a heck of a player."

***Archbishop Carroll senior D.J. Irving, on the Catholic League earning more state berths than the Public League:
"I like all this Public-Catholic stuff, too. We get to see who's better. We think we are and we want to show them that."

***Strath Haven's Calvin Newell, on his shot selection:
"No layup. No tie. I was going for the win."

***Carroll coach Paul Romanczuk, on the Patriots' win-or-go-home game:
"You want everyone to respond with urgency when it's one and done like this. You look to the seniors first, then the guys who have been doing it all season. And D.J. (Irving) has been doing it all season."

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Wednesday, February 25, 2009


Four in, one to go.

Archbishop Carroll and Strath Haven both won Wednesday night, ensuring themselves of spots in next month's PIAA Class AAA playoffs. They join Penn Wood and Chester, which have locked up berths in the Class AAAA state bracket.

Carroll knocked off Simon Gratz to win District 12's third and final Class AAA slot. And Haven won in overtime against Holy Ghost Prep in a District One semifinal.

Glen Mills is the other boys basketball team still vying for a state-playoff spot. If the Bulls win Friday, they assure themselves the ninth and final berth from District One Class AAAA.

More to come in Thursday's Daily Times.

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Tuesday, February 24, 2009


From 15 teams, only five Delaware County teams remain in the hunt for the PIAA playoffs. (It's hard to believe that so many teams - 15 of the 24 in Delco, or 63 percent of the schools I cover - advanced to the postseason, but it's been fun.)

Two teams have assured themselves of Class AAAA state-playoff berths - Penn Wood and Chester. Here's what it'll take for the remaining three to move on.

Record: 13-11.
Next up: Wednesday, vs. Holy Ghost Prep, at Wissahickon.
Scenario: A guaranteed state slot from District One Class AAA, with a win.
Notes: Senior Calvin Newell (pictured) and the Panthers have handled the tests. This is a big one, against the No. 2 Firebirds. A win puts Haven in states for the first time since 2003, when it was a Class AAAA school. A loss puts the Panthers in a third-place game, with a state berth on the line.

Record: 21-3.
Next up: Wednesday, vs. Simon Gratz, at Archbishop Ryan.
Scenario: The third-and-final Class AAA slot from District 12 is up for grabs.
Notes: Win and the Patriots are in, and in their first year of state-playoff eligibility. They are the best Class AAA team in Southeastern Pennsylvania - other than Catholic League champ Neumann-Goretti - but the Pats can hang with the Saints.

Record: 17-7.
Next up: Tuesday, at West Chester Rustin.
Scenario: Ninth-place playback in District One Class AAAA.
Notes: The Bulls lost in the second round, one win shy of a guaranteed state spot. But they - with the help of All-Delco center Aaric Murray (pictured) - kept alive their slim playoff hopes with a win Friday in a playback game. They need to beat Rustin and win again later this week to make states for the first time in five seasons.

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Senior guard Kerri Shields had the all-around game Monday night that Archbishop Carroll needed to reclaim the Catholic League Championship. It was Shields' 3-pointer that lifted the Patriots past Archbishop Wood, 35-22, at The Palestra to give them their second league crown in three seasons.

Shields, a McDonald's All-America nominee and a Boston College commit, was stellar: eight points, six rebounds, two steals, one assist, one block. In their first year of PIAA eligibility, the Patriots (24-1) will vie for the District 12 Class AAA title Friday.

For more on the game, pick up a copy of Tuesday's Daily Times. Girls basketball beat writer Harry Chaykun was on the scene.


In the boys title game ... David beat Goliath.

Class AAA school Neumann-Goretti topped perennial favorite Roman Catholic - a Class AAAA institution - in convincing fashion, 86-53, at The Palestra. The Saints look untouchable these days. Two of Archbishop Carroll's three losses are to them, and District One Class AAAA semifinalist Penn Wood lost to them, too.

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Sunday, February 22, 2009


Only one major development to report from last week's PIAA poll to this one, as issued weekly by the Patriot-News of Harrisburg. (And it's an obvious one.)

Chester dropped from No. 2 in the Class AAAA poll down to No. 6, and Norristown, which beat the Clippers in the District One playoffs Friday, moved up three spots from No. 8 to No. 5:

Team (District) Record -- Previous
1. Pennsbury (1) 22-3 -- 1
2. PENN WOOD (1) 22-3 -- 3
3. Roman Catholic (12) 17-7 -- 5
4. York (3) 27-0 -- 4
5. Norristown (1) 20-5 -- 8
6. CHESTER* (1) 21-4 -- 2
7. Lower Merion (1) 22-5 -- 6
8. Williamsport (4) 19-3 -- 9
9. Conestoga (1) 25-2 -- NR
10. C.D. East (3) 24-3 -- 10
Honorable mention: Bethlehem Liberty (11) 17-8; Central Bucks South (1) 21-4; Harrisburg (3) 22-4; Mt. Lebanon (7) 20-4; North Catholic (12) 16-8; Parkland (11) 22-3; Plymouth-Whitemarsh (1) 21-4; Pocono Mountain East (11) 22-4.

Team (District) Record -- Previous
1. Neumann-Goretti (12) 22-2 -- 1
2. Chartiers Valley (7) 24-0 -- 2
3. Eastern York (3) 25-2 -- 3
4. Abington Heights (2) 21-1 -- 4
5. ARCH. CARROLL (12) 21-3 -- 5
6. Susquehanna Twp. (3) 21-4 -- 6
7. Farrell (10) 19-4 -- 7
8. York Suburban (3) 22-3 -- 8
9. Shamokin (4) 21-1 -- 9
10. North Schuylkill (11) 22-3 -- 10
Honorable mention: Coughlin (2) 18-6; Crestwood (2) 19-5; Franklin L.C. (12) 19-5; Hampton (7) 20-4; Hickory (10) 20-3; Highlands (7) 18-6; Perry (8) 19-4; Phoenixville (1) 19-5.

The rest of the polls, by the Patriot-News.

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Friday, February 20, 2009


In an e-mail from Archbishop Carroll coach Paul Romanczuk, the details of the District 12 Class AAA Play-In Game have been finalized:

Who: Archbishop Carroll vs. Simon Gratz
When: Wednesday, Feb. 25; 7:30 p.m.
Where: Archbishop Ryan H.S., Northeast Philadelphia
At stake: District 12 Class AAA's third and final state-playoff berth

The District 12 playoffs are structured in a way that favors neither the Catholic or the Public League. The top Class AAA team from both will play Wednesday night at the Liacouras Center at Temple University for the city championship (Neumann-Goretti vs. Franklin Learning Center).

Because District 12 Class AAA gets only three state berths, the final one is determined in a one-game playoff between the second-place teams from both leagues.

It all comes down to this, folks. Better be there.

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Sunday, February 15, 2009


Delaware County basketball fans should be familiar with this face. It's that of Temple-bound Norristown senior Khalif Wyatt, whose Eagles fell to Chester (twice) in the playoffs a year ago.

If Norristown is going to vanquish ghosts of playoffs passed, it's through Wyatt ... and a glitch in the District One Class AAAA power-points system.

Turns out Wyatt and the Eagles are the district-playoff bracket's No. 8 seed - and not the ninth, as originally seeded. So for Tuesday's second-round tilt with West Chester Rustin (the initial No. 8 seed) will be played at Norristown's joint.

All of that make sense?

You'd think that a proven mathematical system would not fail a team, but this time it did. Fortunately, Norristown lived to joke about it. But, for a second, cater to the thought of No. 9 Norristown being upset by the 25 seed when, all along, they should have been playing the 24 seed. There would have been some hell to pay.

Here's the rest of the bracket, should there be any hang-ups.


There are no humongous modifications to this week's edition of the PIAA state polls.

Chester (No. 2) and Penn Wood (No. 3) are still top dogs in the Class AAAA poll, ranked by the Patriot-News of Harrisburg. Glen Mills - in my opinion - has yet to get the credit it deserves, and comes in under the 'Honorable Mention' label.

In Class AAA, Archbishop Carroll holds steady at No. 5. A good showing in Wednesday's Catholic League semifinal - and subsequent championship game - could alter that.

The entire rankings can be found here.

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Monday, February 2, 2009


As a reporter, it is my job to tell the truth. And I'd be lying if I said the latest PIAA boys basketball polls, released weekly by the Patriot News, of Harrisburg, caused me surprise.

In the AAAA poll, District One continues to dominate. The top four teams are from D-I, as are the bottom three of the poll's top 10. Chester and Penn Wood each moved up a spot, to Nos. 2 and 3, respectively, after Roman Catholic lost twice last week. A win against Penn Wood Thursday would have almost certainly propelled Glen Mills into the top 10 for the first time this year. It was that kind of week.

I am kind of befuddled by the disrespect Archbishop Carroll has gotten in the AAA poll. All season, the Patriots have been stuck at no higher than No. 5, and for a team that is 19-1, that doesn't make much sense.

Take a look for yourselves:

Team (District) Record -- Previous
1. Pennsbury (1) 16-2 --1
2. CHESTER* (1) 17-2 -- 3
3. PENN WOOD (1) 17-3 -- 4
4. Conestoga (1) 20-0 -- 5
5. York (3) 21-0 -- 6
6. Williamsport (4) 14-2 -- 7
7. Roman Catholic (12) 13-7 -- 2
8. Norristown (1) 15-4 -- 8
9. Lower Merion (1) 16-4 -- 9
10. Plymouth-Whitemarsh (1) 16-3 -- 10
Honorable mention: CD East (3) 17-3; GLEN MILLS (1) 14-5; Harrisburg (3) 16-3; Olney (12) 16-2; Parkland (11) 18-2; Peters Twp. (7) 17-1; Pocono Mountain East (11) 18-2; Reading (3) 17-3.


Team (District) Record -- Previous
1. Neumann-Goretti (12) 18-2 -- 1
2. Chartiers Valley (7) 19-0 -- 2
3. Eastern York (3) 18-1 -- 4
4. York Suburban (3) 18-2 -- 3
5. Abington Heights (2) 15-1 -- 5
6. ARCH. CARROLL (12) 19-1 -- 6
7. Susquehanna Twp. (3) 16-3 -- 7
8. Farrell (10) 13-4 -- 9
9. Shamokin (4) 17-1 -- 10
10. Crestwood (2) 16-3 -- 8
Honorable mention: Archbishop Wood (12) 14-4; Coughlin (2) 15-4; Girard (10) 13-4; Hampton (7) 16-4; Hickory (10) 16-2; Highlands (7) 15-5; Phoenixville (1) 17-4; Steel-High* (3) 12-7.


Team (District) Record -- Previous
1. Imhotep (12) 19-1 -- 1
2. Strawberry Mansion (12) 15-2 -- 2
3. Prep Charter (12) 14-4 -- 3
4. Jeannette* (7) 17-3 -- 5
5. Communications Tech (12) 17-3 -- 4
6. Holy Cross (2) 16-1 -- 6
7. Beaver Falls (7) 16-4 -- 7
8. Loyalsock (4) 14-1 -- 9
9. North Catholic (7) 17-1 -- 10
10. South Fayette (7) 17-3 -- NR
Honorable mention: Cambria Heights (6) 17-1; Fairview (10) 13-4; GAR Memorial (2) 15-3; Holy Name (3) 18-3; Hughesville (4) 13-4; Mercyhurst Prep (10) 16-2; Notre Dame-Green Pond (11) 17-3; Trinity (3) 13-6.


Team (District) Record -- Previous
1. Kennedy Catholic (10) 15-2 -- 1
2. Girard College (1) 13-4 -- 2
3. Math, Civics Science (12) 16-4 -- 3
4. Serra Catholic* (7) 16-2 -- 4
5. Sewickley Academy (7) 14-4 -- 5
6. Paul Robeson (12) 16-3 -- 6
7. Millville (4) 16-0 -- 8
8. O.L. Sacred Heart (7) 15-4 -- 10
9. DuBois C.C. (9) 14-3 -- 7
10. Williams Valley (11) 20-1 -- NR
Honorable mention: Bishop Carroll (6) 14-4; Elk County Catholic (9) 13-5; Faith Christian (1) 12-5; Greenwood (3) 16-2; High Point Baptist (3) 14-2; Keystone (9) 15-2; Reading Central Catholic (3) 15-5; Scotland (3) 12-4.

NOTES: An asterisk (*) denotes the 2007-08 PIAA champion. The number in parentheses corresponds to the team's PIAA district.

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Sunday, January 25, 2009


Some things just never cease to amaze me - one of them being District One's respect around the state. In the latest PIAA Class AAAA poll, assembled by the Patriot News, of Harrisburg, seven teams from District One earned spots among the top 10 rankings. For the Delco teams, there was no movement at the top. But Lower Merion's win Saturday over Penn Wood launched the Aces into the top 10:

Record (District) Previous
1. Pennsbury (1) 14-2 -- 1
2. Roman Catholic (12) 11-5 -- 2
3. CHESTER* (1) 15-1 -- 3
4. PENN WOOD (1) 15-2 -- 4
5. Conestoga (1) 19-0 -- 5
6. York (3) 19-0 -- 7
7. Williamsport (4) 12-2 -- 10
8. Norristown (1) 14-3 -- 6
9. Lower Merion (1) 14-4 -- NR
10. Plymouth-Whitemarsh (1) 14-3 -- 9
Honorable mention: CD East (3) 15-3; GLEN MILLS (1) 13-4; Harrisburg (3) 15-3; John Bartram (12) 15-3; Parkland (11) 15-2; Peters Twp. (7) 16-1; Pocono Mountain East (11) 14-2; Reading (3) 16-3.

Record (District) Previous
1. Neumann-Goretti (12) 14-2 -- 1
2. Chartiers Valley (7) 17-0 -- 2
3. York Suburban (3) 17-1 -- 3
4. Eastern York (3) 17-1 -- 4
5. Abington Heights (2) 13-1 -- 5
6. ARCH. CARROLL (12) 17-1 -- 6
7. Susquehanna Twp. (3) 14-3 -- 7
8. Crestwood (2) 14-2 -- NR
9. Farrell (10) 11-4 -- NR
10. Shamokin (4) 14-1 -- 10
Honorable mention: Archbishop Wood (12) 14-3; Blackhawk (7) 11-5; Girard (10) 11-4; Hampton (7) 15-3; Hickory (10) 13-2; Perry (8) 12-1; Phoenixville (1) 15-4; Steel-High* (3) 9-7.
Record (District) Previous

1. Imhotep (12) 17-1 -- 1
2. Strawberry Mansion (12) 13-2 -- 2
3. Prep Charter (12) 12-4 -- 3
4. Communications Tech (12) 15-2 -- 6
5. Jeannette* (7) 14-3 -- 5
6. Holy Cross (2) 13-1 -- 7
7. Beaver Falls (7) 13-4 -- 4
8. Mercyhurst Prep (10) 15-1 -- 9
9. Loyalsock (4) 13-1 -- 10
10. North Catholic (7) 14-1 -- 8
Honorable mention: GAR Memorial (2) 13-3; Holy Name (3) 16-3; Hughesville (4) 12-3; Notre Dame-Green Pond (11) 16-2; Quaker Valley (7) 12-3; South Fayette (7) 15-3; St. Pius X (1) 16-3; Trinity (3) 11-6.

Record (District) Previous
1. Kennedy Catholic (10) 13-2 -- 1
2. Girard College (1) 11-4 -- 2
3. Math, Civics & Science (12) 14-3 -- 3
4. Serra Catholic* (7) 14-2 -- 5
5. Sewickley Academy (7) 11-4 -- 7
6. Paul Robeson (12) 15-3 -- 4
7. DuBois C.C. (9) 12-2 -- 6
8. Millville (4) 15-0 -- 9
9. Bishop Carroll (6) 14-2 -- 8
10. O.L. Sacred Heart (7) 13-4 -- 10
Honorable mention: Faith Christian (1) 10-5; Greenwood (3) 14-2; High Point Baptist (3) 12-2; Homer-Center (6) 13-2; Keystone (9) 14-2; Reading Central Catholic (3) 13-5; Scotland (3) 9-4; Williams Valley (11) 16-1.

NOTES: An asterisk (*) denotes the 2007-08 PIAA champion. The number in parentheses corresponds to the team's PIAA district.


Saturday night, I was at Temple University (my alma mater) for legendary coach John Chaney's induction into the Owls' Athletic Hall of Fame. Through the controversy and charity - the polar opposites of Chaney - there has always been a desire to lend a hand to the underdog. It was a staple of Chaney's character and it was present even in his HOF induction. Read more here.

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Monday, January 19, 2009


The Patriot News, of Harrisburg, unleashed its latest PIAA boys basketball polls for the week of Jan. 18. The usual suspects are still making appearances, and there haven't been any significant drops, though Chester leaped two spots - and past Penn Wood. Take a look:

Record (District) Previous
1. Pennsbury (1) 10-2 --1
2. Roman Catholic (12) 9-5 --2
3. CHESTER* (1) 12-1 --5
4. PENN WOOD (1) 13-1 -- 3
5. Conestoga (1) 16-0 -- 4
6. Norristown (1) 11-2 -- 6
7. York (3) 17-0 --7
8. John Bartram (12) 14-1 -- 8
9. Plymouth-Whitemarsh (1) 12-3 -- 9
10. Williamsport (4) 9-2 --10
Honorable mention: CD East (3) 12-3; GLEN MILLS (1) 10-4; Harrisburg (3) 13-3; Lower Merion (1), 11-4; Parkland (11) 13-1; Peters Twp. (7) 13-1; Pocono Mountain East (11) 12-2; Reading (3) 13-3.

Record (District) Previous
1. Neumann-Goretti (12) 11-2 -- 1
2. Chartiers Valley (7) 14-0 -- 2
3. York Suburban (3) 15-1 -- 4
4. Eastern York (3) 15-1 -- 5
5. Abington Heights (2) 12-1 -- 6
6. ARCHBISHOP CARROLL (12) 14-1 -- 7
7. Susquehanna Twp. (3) 11-3 -- 3
8. Archbishop Wood (12) 12-2 -- 9
9. Hickory (10) 12-1 -- NR
10. Shamokin (4) 12-0 -- 10
Honorable mention: Blackhawk (7) 10-4; Crestwood (2) 11-2; Girard (10) 10-3; Hampton (7) 13-2; Perry (8) 11-1; Phoenixville (1) 13-4; Steel-High* (3) 6-6; Thomas Jefferson (7) 11-2.

Record (District) Previous
1. Imhotep (12) 14-1 -- 1
2. Strawberry Mansion (12) 11-2 -- 3
3. Prep Charter (12) 9-3 -- 4
4. Beaver Falls (7) 12-2 -- 5
5. Jeannette* (7) 12-3 -- 7
6. Communications Tech (12) 11-2 -- 8
7. Holy Cross (2) 12-1 -- 2
8. North Catholic (7) 12-0 -- 9
9. Mercyhurst Prep (10) 12-1 -- NR
10. Loyalsock (4) 11-1 -- NR
Honorable mention: Catasauqua (11) 10-5; Delone (3) 11-3; GAR Memorial (2) 12-2; Holy Name (3) 14-3; Hughesville (4) 9-3; Notre Dame-Green Pond (11) 13-2; Quaker Valley (7) 11-2; Southern Columbia (4) 9-3.

Record (District) Previous
1. Kennedy Catholic (10) 11-2 -- 2
2. Girard College (1) 8-2 -- 3
3. Math, Civics & Science (12) 12-3 -- 4
4. Paul Robeson (12) 13-2 -- 5
5. Serra Catholic* (7) 12-2 -- 1
6. DuBois C.C. (9) 10-1 -- 6
7. Sewickley Academy (7) 8-4 -- 7
8. Bishop Carroll (6) 13-1 -- 8
9. Millville (4) 12-0 -- 9
10. O.L. Sacred Heart (7) 11-3 -- 10
Honorable mention: Camp Hill (3) 10-4; Greenwood (3) 13-1; High Point Baptist (3) 11-1; Homer-Center (6) 11-2; Keystone (9) 12-2; Reading Central Catholic (3) 11-4; Scotland (3) 7-4; Williams Valley (11) 12-1.

NOTE: An asterisk (*) denotes a 2007-08 PIAA champion.

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Wednesday, January 14, 2009


The Patriot News of Harrisburg released its latest state-wide boys basketball polls and there are four teams from Delaware County represented:

CLASS AAAA Record -- Previous Rank
1. Pennsbury (1) 7-2 -- 2
2. Roman Catholic (12) 6-5 -- 3
3. PENN WOOD (1) 10-1 -- 1
4. Conestoga (1) 13-0 -- 4
5. CHESTER* (1) 8-1 -- 5
6. Norristown (1) 9-2 -- 7
7. York (3) 15-0 -- 8
8. John Bartram (12) 12-0 -- 9
9. Plymouth-Whitemarsh (1) 9-3 -- 6
10. Williamsport (4) 8-2 -- NR
Honorable mention: CD East (3) 10-2; Coatesville (1) 11-2; GLEN MILLS (1) 9-2; Harrisburg (3) 10-3; Parkland (11) 10-1; Peters Twp. (7) 11-1; Pocono Mountain East (11) 9-2; Reading (3) 11-3.

CLASS AAA Record -- Previous Rank
1. Neumann-Goretti (12) 9-1 -- 1
2. Chartiers Valley (7) 11-0 -- 2
3. Susquehanna Twp. (3) 9-2 -- 3
4. York Suburban (3) 13-1 -- 5
5. Eastern York (3) 12-1 -- 4
6. Abington Heights (2) 10-1 -- 6
7. ARCHBISHOP CARROLL (12) 11-1 -- 7
8. Thomas Jefferson (7) 9-1 -- 8
9. Archbishop Wood (12) 11-1 -- 9
10. Shamokin (4) 10-0 --10
Honorable mention: Crestwood (2) 9-1; Girard (10) 9-2; Hampton (7) 11-2; Hickory (10) 10-1; Indiana (7) 8-4; Phoenixville (1) 11-3; Steel-High* (3) 5-5; Uniontown (7) 11-2

NOTE: The number directly after a team's name refers to its district. And the asterisk designates if a team is the defending champion in its classification.

Seeing as the Class AA and A polls lack Delco teams, I did not post them. If you're interested, you can find them here.

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Tuesday, January 13, 2009


Monday night, Archbishop Carroll had something to prove.

The Patriots were the last of Delaware County's unbeaten teams to lose, falling to Neumann-Goretti last weekend.

So Kasheef Festus and Andre Wilburn, who combined for 28 points, made sure the Pats didn't lose another one, in beating Archbishop Wood 54-45.

Festus, a hulking forward, looked good when all things are considered. The 6-6 senior suffered a debilitating ankle injury in the summer, which required surgery and prohibited him from playing much basketball in the offseason.

He's not 100 percent, but he's back and looking strong:

Daily Times: What kept you sharp when you weren't playing?
Kasheef Festus: Well, I gained a lot of weight, man. I probably got up to about 280, and now I'm down to 240. I don't remember ever being that much.

DT: How'd you drop the weight?
KF: Practice. (Coach Paul Romanczuk) was like, 'Not going to make the time for your sprints? Then you have to keep running.'

DT: What was the specific injury exactly?
KF: I tore ligaments completely off my foot, so they had to go in there and pin them back into place. And I popped a piece of bone in my foot. The doctors said I'm not supposed to be 100 percent until the end of the school year, which would be a year (since the injury), but I feel good.

DT: How did it happen?
KF: I was playing summer league for Carroll and I went up for a rebound and came down on someone's foot. Simple as that.

DT: At 280, did you consider going out for football?
KF: I did think about it, yeah. I didn't want to grow up and wonder if I could have played or made the team even. Being as though the injury happened, it didn't work out. I think I would've been a good tight end. I probably would've played defense or offense because I like hitting people.

Banging on the boards Monday, Festus finished with 13 points and eight rebounds for the Patriots (12-1, 7-1), who are in sole possession of second place in the Catholic League Blue Division.

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Tuesday, October 21, 2008


Archbishop Carroll coach Kevin Curley had aspirations of winning a Catholic League boys soccer championship. A year removed from a semifinal appearance, Curley had reason to think big.

But when the CL playoffs kick off today, the Patriots will be watching from the sideline. An offseason alteration to the league’s eight-team playoff system – a product of the Catholic League’s membership in the PIAA – means six teams from the Class AAA Red Division and two from the Class AA Blue Division have moved on.

The disparity between big-school and small-school playoff berths leaves Carroll, which finished third at 13-3 in Blue Division play, out of the postseason. Meanwhile, a 4-10-3 Roman Catholic team sneaked in with the Red Division’s sixth seed.

"It’s unfortunate," Curley said last week. "That’s not just because we’re the third-place team or odd-man out, either. It’s just unfortunate. ...(Conwell-)Egan had a reasonably good season, one of their better seasons in recent years, and six or seven games ago they knew they had no chance at the playoffs. How deflating is that?"

Coaches from each of the Catholic League’s teams voted on the implementation of the current playoff system, Curley said. It was met with some hostility, though, and the Patriots’ coach expects even more resentment when the coaches convene following the playoffs.

"Most of the strong teams are in the other division, yes, but that doesn’t mean the smaller schools can be discounted," Curley said.

Catholic League boys soccer chairman George Todt favors the system that’s in place because of the title chances it provides to the smaller-school squads. The opening round pits the fourth and fifth seeds, both Blue Division teams, guaranteeing that one of them earns a berth to the semifinal round.

"I think the goal each year is to ensure that the best eight move on and we have that," said Todt, the boys soccer coach at Archbishop Ryan. "The 6-2 scenario was something we came up with for this year, our first in the PIAA. …We’ll look at it and reanalyze it when we hold a coaches meeting after the season."

Prior to last season, when Father Judge won the league championship, three teams had traded the championship trophy between themselves in the last 25 seasons: Archbishop Ryan, North Catholic and La Salle -- all Class AAA teams.

Todt said that the PIAA forced the Catholic League's hand in the playoff scenario. Rather than play the CL playoffs over three weeks as it had in years passed, the PIAA ruled that it had to complete its tournament over the course of one week: beginning today, with semifinals Oct. 25 and a final Oct. 28.

"And state playoffs begin Nov. 4," Todt said. "We wanted to keep some of the tradition of the CL alive, and part of that is with the three rounds."


The District One Class AAA playoffs are underway, with all four of Delco's representatives playing under the lights in 7 p.m. starts.

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Monday, February 11, 2008

Who should be named All-Delco?

This is one of the best times of the year: the playoffs have just begun, and soon enough it'll be time to name the All-Delco Team. This is where you, the reader, enter into the equation.

I have a general idea of who will make this year's All-Delco Team, but I'd like your thoughts on the matter. As the Daily Times continues ushering in the digital age of journalism, I've opted to use my blog as a medium for such a task. Either leave a comment on the blog or e-mail me who you think should make the team and why. My only request is that your responses be clear, concise and clean (no trash-talking on other players or foul language, please). I look forward to hearing your thoughts.

Now back to the playoffs.

The results are in: two Delaware County schools are in the Catholic League playoffs. Well, sort of. Monsignor Bonner picked up the Southern Division's third seed by posting a 9-5 league record. The Friars will play No. 2 Neumann-Goretti on Saturday.

Archbishop Carroll and Saint Joseph's Prep will partake in a play-in game Wednesday for the fourth and final Southern Division seed. Both teams finished at 8-6 in league play. The Catholic League playoffs begin next weekend. The Patriots and the Hawks will play at Cardinal O'Hara Wednesday at 7 p.m. for the right to advance.

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Sunday, February 10, 2008

CL playoff slots all but clinched

The Catholic League playoffs are right around the corner, and two Delaware County teams are on the cusp of getting in. Four teams from each division earn berths. Here's how the Southern Division breaks down, with Sunday's regular-season finales factoring in:

Team (League record) ....... Remaining game
Roman Catholic (13-0) ............... vs. Cardinal O'Hara
Neumann-Goretti (9-4) ............ vs. Saint Joseph's Prep
Monsignor Bonner (8-5) ........... vs. Kennedy-Kenrick
Saint Joseph's Prep (8-5) ......... vs. Neumann-Goretti
Archbishop Carroll (7-6) .......... vs. West Catholic

In other local basketball news:
Academy Park Anthony King is close to giving his commitment to play at Division II Bloomsburg, the senior said following the Knights' loss to Lower Merion in the first round of the District One Class AAAA tournament. King has yet to commit but hasn't gotten a solid scholarship offer from Penn State, which had sent several letters declaring its interest in the power forward. I'll keep you posted.

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Saturday, January 26, 2008

Friendship first, basketball second

For 32 minutes, Academy Park's Anthony King and Chester's Nasir Robinson (pictured) played like a state title was on the line. Loose balls were pounced on. The glass was cleaned after clanged shots. But after the game, though, the two shook hands and smiled at one another as if they hadn't just done battle.

"I've known Nasir since he was four, so I can't be mad at him for winning," King said of Chester's 87-63 win. "He lived around the corner from me when we were kids. I've known him all my life."

Robinson, who has given his word to Pittsburgh, and King remain good friends to this day. Thus explaining all their pleasantries after the game, which is written about in detail in today's Daily Times.

"When he patted me on the back, he was saying 'Keep doing what you're doing,'" said King, the Knights' leading scorer who has narrowed his college choices to Penn State and Bloomsburg.

In other hoops news:
...Chester native Mark Medley scored 10 points in Delaware-based Tatnall's win over Delco Christian Friday.
...A crazy finish in tonight's only Delco Catholic League game. Archbishop Carroll snuck into a second-place tie with Monsignor Bonner by beating the Friars in overtime on two free throws with three seconds to go by Kasheef Festus. That's good, solid basketball right there.
...Ridley stayed in a tie with Lower Merion for first in the Central League with a win. The Green Raiders own the tie-breaker over second-place Conestoga, which they've beaten twice.
...My alma mater - Holy Ghost Prep - improved to 18-3 Friday. So for fans of any Class AAA teams, look out. Ghost will be a force in the district playoffs.

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Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Festus leading Carroll, mulling options

Archbishop Carroll's Kasheef Festus is getting a lot of press today. If you picked up today's Daily Times, you'll see that he's the lead-in to my story on the Patriots' 67-61 win over Cardinal O'Hara Monday.

But all the press is deserved. The senior forward, pictured, has been a steadying force for Carroll, which at times has lost both its point guard (Lamar Jackson) and its sixth man/role player (Andre Wilburn) to injury. Festus leads the Patriots in scoring, tallying 14.5 ppg.

Festus told me Monday that he's narrowed his college choices to Clemson and St. Francis (Pa.) While it seems odd that a player would be in limbo between an ACC team and one from the lesser-known Northeast Conference, it makes sense. Festus has a confirmed scholarship offer from St. Francis and is waiting to hear from Clemson, whose campus he intends to visit in the near future. He's simply playing all his cards.

As for today's games, there's a full Del Val League take your pick. Mine, of course, would be Chester/Penn Wood, 7:30 p.m. (There's plenty at stake there.) Monsignor Bonner plays The Prep in the only Catholic League game, and Garnet Valley has a nonleague affair at Kennett.

Also, be sure to check out the latest boys basketball standings of every Delaware County team - published only in the Daily Times.

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