Blogs > Gettin' Schooled

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

Sunday, March 8, 2009


The feelings Glen Mills coach Craig Mellinger expressed openly outside his team's HersheyPark Arena locker room Saturday night were those of remorse. Maybe there was some regret dashed in there too.

Mellinger, who has been around long enough to win his 300th game this season (pictured), has been down this road before. He knows that the Battlin' Bulls' first state playoff team since 2004 might have been their last for quite some time. There is never any certainty which student-athletes will be back next season at Glen Mills, a school for court-adjudicated youths.

"How many am I guessing I'm losing? Every single kid in our locker room," Mellinger said after the Bulls' 59-44 loss to Central Dauphin East in the first round of the PIAA Class AAAA tournament. "And that's always a huge question-marked proposition. A, who's going to still be committed to the court system, and B, who will be in a situation where maybe it's not conducive for him to go back home and they need to stay here and get processed.

"Honestly, and I'm not being facetious – we're probably going to lose every kid in there, so we'll have to start over again."

It also does not help the Bulls' cause that they lose 6-10 All-Delco center Aaric Murray, a La Salle signee who you can pencil in for a double-double almost every night. Murray, who prior to three years ago had never played organized basketball, was considered a project at The Mills.

"All of these guys, from the moment they set foot on our basketball court, are our kids and our projects," Mellinger said. "Some, their learning curve is going to be a lot quicker. Other guys, we’re willing to work with any and all. We just got done saying to these guys, ‘It’s been an absolute pleasure to work with you all.'

"…From November and until now, I don't think they realize how far they've come. I think they'll reflect back on it in a couple of weeks and they'll understand it."

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Here are some links from Saturday's high school action:

Chester 66, Red Land 50: Click for the story; Click for photo slideshow by Eric Hartline.
Penn Wood 51, Penn Manor 46: Click for the story; Click for video by Bob Gurecki.

Archbishop Carroll 59, West York 42: Click for the story.
Camp Hill 54, Sacred Heart 41: Click for the story.
Delco Christian 51, Greenwood 45: Click for the story.

Springfield's Andre Petroski, the reigning Daily Times wrestler of the year, took the bronze medal in the 189-pound division at states. Jon Campbell has the story. He and Daily Times sports editor Rob Parent tag-teamed (wrestling term, get it? Albeit a WWE one) the state championships, where Springfield had four wrestlers make states and three win medals.

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Saturday, February 14, 2009


Delaware County had a rough showing in Friday's opening round of the District One Class AAAA playoffs. Seven local teams made the bracket, and only three moved on to the next round:

  • At Upper Darby, Tre Davis (pictured) and the No. 16 Royals could not keep up with Souderton's A.J. Picard, who shot 8-for-11 from the floor. Harry Chaykun reports.
  • At Penn Wood, the No. 3 Patriots were on a mission to make quick work of No. 30 Chichester. Mission accomplished. Matt Smith reports. And Bob Gurecki chips in with video coverage.
  • At Chester, the No. 1 Clippers were able to regroup after a difficult week in which freshman point guard Kareem Robinson was shot twice. It was an emotional win. Your favorite blogger was on the scene.
  • ELSEWHERE: No. 12 Glen Mills advanced, No. 10 Penncrest was upset and No. 22 Radnor could not spring a road win. The roundup.


When the District One Class AAA and A brackets were unveiled, Strath Haven coach Steve Lewis was a little apprehensive. Reason being, his No. 6 Panthers have to do battle in the first-round with an 11th-seeded Upper Moreland team that "smacked us in the mouth," he said.

More on the brackets.


Coming Sunday: The Daily Times has you (and the Catholic League playoffs) covered. Sports editor Rob Parent was on hand for Archbishop Carroll's win over West Catholic. A Northeast Philadelphia guy - born and raised - I didn't have to travel too far for Monsignor Bonner's loss to North Catholic, which was held at Archbishop Ryan. We'll have the latest in Sunday's edition.

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Friday, January 9, 2009


What a game.

Thursday, when Chester played host to Penn Wood, the fans at the Clippers' gym were witness to something Delco basketball fans had been waiting for since March 15.

The day Chester won it all, fans had to be wondering what a Penn Wood team (with four of its losses that season coming against Chester) would be like a year older, more seasoned and champing at the bit.

The Daily Times triple-teamed coverage of the game, with staffer Matt Smith reporting on the game itself - a 57-48 win by Chester in which Learon Pray (pictured) scored five of his six points in a critical stretch in the fourth quarter.

As for me, well ... let's just say I wrote the column Chester fans have been waiting to read, the one that says the Clippers aren't ready to give up their throne.

And staff photographer Bob Gurecki not only snapped the photo you see on this entry, but he took video of the game.

Who else was there?
**Temple head coach Fran Dunphy
**Temple assistant Dave Duke
**St. Joseph's head coach Phil Martelli
**Oh, and an announced crowd of 1,821

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Thursday, January 8, 2009


Penn Wood and Chester. Chester and Penn Wood.

You can basically assume that these two took a good look at their schedules before the season and circled this one.

Tonight, the defending PIAA and District One Class AAAA champions host the team everyone is picking to unseat them. The Chester Clippers (7-1, 1-0) will take on the Penn Wood Patriots (10-0, 1-0) in what is sure to be a fantastic basketball game.

Make sure you pick up a copy of Friday's Daily Times for the following:
An in-depth, insightful game story from staffer Matt Smith
A column by yours truly, breaking down the game

And visit Photographer/videographer extraordinaire Bob Gurecki will be there to capture some video highlights from the game, as well.

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Saturday, December 27, 2008


Yesterday was a day to remember for fans seated in the bleachers of Widener's Schwartz Center. For me, well... let's just say I had my fill of basketball.

The Jameer Nelson/Pete Nelson Classic kicked off Friday with all three Delaware County teams involved walking away with wins:

Chester extended its dominance over Norristown, 58-47 ... Rahlir Jefferson (pictured) had a dominant outing against the team the Clippers beat for the District One and PIAA Class AAAA titles. So did Maurice Nelson, the younger brother of Chester legend Jameer.

Daily Times photographer Bob Gurecki was on hand for some video coverage of the game, so let me know what you think of it: e-mail me or post your thoughts on the blog.


Penn Wood led the whole way against North Catholic, 78-65 ... Reserve Chris White hit six big-time 3-pointers for the Patriots, who went nine-deep but never lost the lead against the Falcons.


Archbishop Carroll topped Life Center Academy, 55-49 ... Junior D.J. Irving had the big game for the Patriots, winning the MVP award in his hometown of Chester. The game was closer than it should have been considering LCA was without four players who were declared post-graduates. Among them was Jon DeShields, who played last year at Delco Christian.

Had LCA played all of its post-grads, who knows whether Carroll's district- and state-playoff eligibility would have been called into question down the road? The result of this game might have even been forfeited. It's a good thing this was dealt with appropriately.


A couple other tidbits from the Nelson Classic:
  • DeShields, who watched his LCA teammates from the bench, was walking with a limp. He said its the product of a toe contusion. DeShields led the county with 24.4 points per game in 2007.
  • Freshly retired coach Fred Pickett was on hand throughout the day and was seen videotaping the Penn Wood game for Chester coach Larry Yarbray. "I'm a scout now," he said with a smile. Pickett took in the Chester-Norristown game from the far end of the Clippers' bench.
  • Penn Wood looks like it has its most success when it rotates players in and out of the game with regularity. The Pats scored 10 points in the second quarter, when coach Clyde Jones stuck with a six-man set. "With foul trouble, you have to do that sometimes," Jones said. "The game of basketball is a lot easier when you have the players you want on the court all the time, but it doesn't work like that."

There's more to come Saturday from the Nelson Classic. Staffer Matt Smith is there for the Chester-Atlantic City game.

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Saturday, December 13, 2008


The Media Bowl. I attended the football version this past fall, but the boys basketball game between neighborhood rivals Penncrest and Strath Haven was intense.

As if the game - which the Lions won, 41-37 - wasn't good enough, we have video of it too. Daily Times photographer Bob Gurecki was on hand to snap still photos and video for the Web site. The game story is available, as well.

Marvin Holman-Little was the catalyst for the Lions, scoring 14 points and grabbing eight rebounds. For Haven, Calvin Newell scored 27 points and Jack Roberts swatted 12 shots in the loss.

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Saturday, November 22, 2008


Somehow, you get the feeling that Garnet Valley didn't want its football season to end under these terms.

Not when the Jaguars outgained Neshaminy in total yardage. Not when the Jags held a 14-0 first-quarter lead. Not on their home field in the District One Class AAAA semifinals.

The No. 2 Jags fell to the No. 3 Redskins, 21-14, Friday night amidst such high hopes after scoring two touchdowns in an eight-minute span.

The Daily Times triple-teamed the game in print coverage, with football writer Jon Campbell handling the game-story duties.

Despite losing in the semis, deputy sports editor John Lohn reports that the Jags have a bright future ahead of them. After all, did anyone expect the 2007-08 Class AAA state runners-up to run the table in the Central League and go 12-0 in Class AAAA?

Neshaminy, which boasts a number of talented running backs, questionably went to the air ... and had success against the Jags. 'Skins QB Brian Titus was awful efficient, at 9-of-14 for 87 yards, and made each of his completions count.

VIDEO FOOTAGE: The Daily Times also had photographer Bob Gurecki on hand to grab footage of the game. Check it out.

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Thursday, May 8, 2008

Central League champions named

Every Central League track and field athlete got his or her last tune-up Wednesday in the league's championship meet.

The last tune-up, that is, before the District One Class AA and AAA meets, which begin next weekend. It also marked one final opportunity for those who had not yet qualified for districts to meet the standards in their events and move on.

For more on the boys side or the girls side, be sure to check it out here or in the print edition of Thursday's Daily Times.

Also, staff photographer Bob Gurecki assembled a video show from Wednesday's meet, which was held at Lower Merion. Check it out.

The baseball season is still in full bloom, so be sure to read the latest in this week's installment of the baseball notebook.

Featured are the Marple Newtown Tigers. Behind second baseman John Rutecki and pitcher Steve DeCecco, the Tigers are back to their old tricks and competing for a spot in the district playoffs. Last season, they snuck up on everybody and made it all the way to the state final. Is that a possibility again? The players think so.

In the notebook:
Academy Park coach Nick Russo is happy to have back pitcher Tom Rhoads, who left for a bit to further his swimming skills. ... Monsignor Bonner will host its first-ever homecoming game this Saturday. ... Delco Christian coach Jeff Wisnewski has been wary of using his best player - Mike Connelly - because of the shortstop's broken finger. But Connelly leads the team in almost every category. ... And much more.

For all the latest, pick up a copy of the Daily Times.

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