Blogs > Gettin' Schooled

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

Tuesday, September 1, 2009


It's here. Almost.

The high school football season is less than three days away, with almost every team in Delaware County kicking off Friday. (The others get into the action Saturday.) And the Daily Times is on top of everything.

Here's what you'll find in this year's High School Football Pullout section:
  • Team-by-team breakdowns.
  • Informative preview capsules.
  • Schedules, both weekly and by team.
  • The latest on Cardinal O'Hara's Corey Brown (above), the two-way back who is getting more than his share of mail lately from prospective colleges.
  • And more...

The Daily Times' 2009 preview section hits newsstands Thursday.

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Tuesday, August 18, 2009


In case you didn't believe it to be true, it's finally here - the fall sports season. Pinch yourselves, people. In less than three weeks, school will be in season and our county's teams will be on the field playing games.

Yesterday, Daily Times staff writer Matt Smith and I ventured out to get the early scoop on the first day of practice around Delco.

ON THE GIRLS SIDE... Matt caught up with a Cardinal O'Hara volleyball team that feels like it has something to prove. After winning eight consecutive Catholic League championships, the Lions stumbled last season and allowed Archbishop Wood to take top billing.

ON THE BOYS SIDE... I headed over to the Inter-Academic League boys soccer camp, a weeklong voluntary workout at The Haverford School. There, I caught up with Fords keeper and reigning All-Delco Max Kurtzman, who has done everything imaginable that a 16-year-old soccer player could achieve. And he still wants more. He doesn't want to settle for being No. 1 in just his league or this county.

Keep an eye on the Daily Times for the latest on all of your favorite fall sports. Because remember: this is only the beginning.

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Friday, July 10, 2009


There's a scar on Rocco Carzo's left wrist. No larger in circumference than a pencil's eraser, it easily could be covered by a standard wrist watch.

It's Carzo's battlescar. It reminds the gritty, hard-nosed Cardinal O'Hara graduate of the work ethic that has gotten him this far - and what will get him even further - in professional hockey.

I caught up with Carzo Thursday in Stone Harbor, N.J., where he was spending one day in his weeklong prospects camp with the Philadelphia Flyers. They had their rookies participate in a triathlon, during which Carzo ran four miles.

He doesn't expect to get a contract out of it - considering he's only 19 and has a full scholarship to the University of Massachusetts. But in order to get back, to gain another invite to a pro camp, Carzo acknowledges he needs to improve.

Carzo's answer was humbling, when asked to complete this sentence: "To be in this same position with the Flyers next summer, I need to work on...

"Everything," he said. "I have to improve my overall game. People have always said I skate well. I need to pass better. I need to move the puck faster. Because when you're up here, you have to make decisions like that (snaps fingers)."

He's a determined individual. Read about his journey only in the Daily Times.

(Photos of Carzo by Bill Guerro, Special To The Times)

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Saturday, March 21, 2009


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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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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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.

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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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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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Monday, February 2, 2009


Cardinal O'Hara coach Tim Kelly was an assistant on Buddy Gardler's staff for 11 seasons. So when Gardler , the all-time winningest coach in Catholic League decided to hang up the whistle after 560 wins and 39 seasons, it seemed natural that he'd still hang around the program.

Kelly said Gardler, his mentor, has been a regular at the Lions' home games this season. And Gardler frequently lends advice to his successor. Anything to help the Lions (2-16, 0-11 in the Catholic's Red Division) make a complete 180 and pick up a few wins here at the end of the season.

"We talk all the time," Kelly said of Gardler a week back. "He says, 'Hang in there. The kids will get a little bigger and a little stronger next year.' ...We're really focused on that and on trying to get that next win."

The Lions are loaded with juniors and sophomores, including forward Ryan Howarth and guard Anthony Bertolino. Come next season, things will be looking a lot better on Springfield Road.

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Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Lauding, applauding determination

You've got to respect the student-athletes who keep their heads up despite posting losing records.

I remember my playing days at Holy Ghost Prep. Back then, our baseball team didn't lose too much but when we'd go on three- or a four-game losing streak, it was the worst feeling in the world.

Anyway, enough about me: Cardinal O'Hara topped Monsignor Bonner, 5-2, Wednesday behind a two-goal day by Jeff Signora (pictured, in blue). Both teams' seasons will end next week bereft of playoff berths.

Yet the guys I talked to were proud of their efforts and seasons. They weren't afraid to pat each other on the back, and overall, they played like a team should: passing well and looking for an open teammate before forcing a shot on his own.

Kudos to student-athletes who demonstrate determination, even in the face of a sub-.500 season.

ALSO: Keep an eye out for Thursday's Daily Times, which is loaded with scholastic notebooks. The boys soccer, volleyball and football notebooks will be in print.

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Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Top assistant named O'Hara's new coach

With newly retired coach Buddy Gardler on hand Tuesday, Cardinal O'Hara ushered in a new era of Lions basketball.

The Lions introduced Tim Kelly, who served as Gardler's top assistants for the past 11 seasons, as Gardler's successor. Here's the report on Kelly:
  • An O'Hara alumnus and former baseball and basketball player at the school.
  • A graduate of Muhlenberg College, where he played basketball.
  • The Lions' top scouting assistant, Kelly also worked with their post players.
For more on Kelly's hiring, be sure to check it out here at Gettin' Schooled or in the pages of Wednesday's Daily Times.

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Thursday, March 6, 2008

Cardinal O'Hara coach calls it quits

After 40 years on the sideline, Cardinal O'Hara's Buddy Gardler has decided it was time to call it a career.

The longtime O'Hara coach will leave his post as boys basketball coach effective Monday. Gardler, who coached 560 wins, has been at O'Hara for the past 32 seasons. Prior to that he coached Bishop Kenrick for seven seasons and spent one season as an assistant at American University.

"I didn’t get into coaching for the wins," Gardler told the Daily Times. "Did I want to win? Absolutely, but I got into coaching to teach the game and to stay around basketball."

For a full account, check out Terry Toohey's story in Thursday's edition of the Daily Times.

Three games meant three more wins for Delaware County's teams in the PIAA Class AAAA tournament. Chester fended off Harrisburg on the strength of a fourth-quarter spurt. Ridley posted a second straight 30-point win, beating Central Dauphin East. And Penn Wood moved into the quarterfinals for the first time in a long time by handling Pocono Mountain West. Pick up a copy of today's newspaper for more on all three playoff games.

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Friday, February 1, 2008

News and notes from the hardwood

The big news Thursday night was Lower Merion getting one step closer toward clinching the regular-season title in the Central League. The Aces' win over Radnor coupled with Haverford completing a season-sweep over Ridley puts Lower Merion in the driver's seat. Lower Merion and Ridley play one another Saturday, which could determine whether the teams share the crown or LM gets it outright.

Of course, there were some other goings-on from the hardwood:
  • Springfield, behind 20 points from Lou Meindl, snapped an 11-game losing streak and knocked off Upper Darby.
  • Glen Mills took a 30-24 lead against Chester into halftime before the Clippers snapped out of it and stifled the Bulls. The win solidifies a perfect 10-0 season in Del Val League play for Chester.
  • Cardinal O'Hara got thumped by Neumann-Goretti, 85-49. If the Lions had any inkling of sneaking into the Catholic League playoffs, that's out the window now.
More to come Friday night, when I'll be blogging live (wireless Internet permitting) from Villanova's Pavilion and the Primetime Shootout. Don't miss it.

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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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Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Bonner-O'Hara notes (and a Martelli sighting)

Last night's Monsignor Bonner-Cardinal O'Hara game was a doozy. If a tight, 46-41 game wasn't enough for you, perhaps some physical play on the low post did the trick.

Fans at the packed house at O'Hara saw two of the Catholic League's underappreciated big men do battle - Bonner's Lijah Thompson and O'Hara's Mark Wedderburn. Thompson (pictured, No. 42) said he enjoyed the physicality of Wedderburn, a football commit to Penn State.

"It was a test going against him. Always is," said Thompson, who had 11 points. "I don't get the chance to play like that everyday, so I liked it."

On another note, Bonner coach Brian Daly and Saint Joseph's University coach Phil Martelli were seen chatting on the court following last night's game. Could a Friar be headed to Hawk Hill? Only time will tell, I guess.

For more on last night's game, pick up today's Daily Times.

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