Blogs > Gettin' Schooled

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

Tuesday, March 17, 2009


An unfortunate incident plagued the Chester Clippers basketball team this winter. One of their players - freshman reserve Kareem Robinson - was wounded in the lower back by gunfire Feb. 10.

Robinson, who missed the remainder of the Clippers' season, spoke to the Daily Times for an exclusive look into his recovery process.

According to Robinson, it won't be an arduous one for the 5-7, 125-pound point guard, who is already back in the gym shooting and has a tremendous support system behind him. Fans, coaches and teammates met Robinson in his hospital room the night of the shooting, and have been by his side ever since.

Kareem's big brother Laquan Robinson (pictured, background) misses playing with Kareem. So did the rest of the Clippers. "Because I couldn't play," Kareem Robinson said, "we talked basketball all the time. That's all we could do."

Kareem Robinson was on the bench for the Clippers' seven playoff games (five district, two state), including their season-ending 62-49 loss to Williamsport March 11. Who knows how far the Clippers could have gone with their sparkplug freshman in the rotation? He posted some strong numbers in his first season at Chester. Here are his per-game averages: 6.1 points, 2.8 steals, 2.2 assists, 2.0 rebounds.

Robinson is on his way to a complete recovery.

"We missed him a lot," Chester coach Larry Yarbray said, "but he'll be back for us next year. He's still smiling. ... The important thing for him was understanding that he's in the Chester Clippers' family. Once you're in the family, you're always in the family."

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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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Saturday, February 28, 2009


Matchups for next week's PIAA Class AAAA boys basketball playoffs have been determined. Times and locations have not been set for the three local teams that qualified - Penn Wood, Chester and Glen Mills:

Glen Mills (1-9) vs. Hazleton Area (2-2)

Penn Wood (1-2) vs. Penn Manor (3-5)
Chester (1-5) vs. Red Land (3-3)

UPDATE (10:34 p.m., Saturday)
The Class AAA bracket is not entirely complete, but filled out enough to determine who Archbishop Carroll and Strath Haven will be playing:

Strath Haven (1-2) vs. Franklin Learning Center (12-2)
Archbishop Carroll (12-3) vs. Phoenixville (1-1)

(Numbers in parentheses refer to district and corresponding seed.)

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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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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


Something happened Friday that hasn’t happened in seven years: the Chester Clippers lost a District One Class AAAA playoff game. A bit of Southeastern Pennsylvania royalty, the Clippers were dethroned by No. 8 Norristown.

The Clippers last dropped a district game February 2001, losing in the semifinals to eventual PIAA champion Coatesville.

Friday’s loss snapped a streak of 38 consecutive district playoff victories. On their way toward winning their school's sixth state championship last year (at right), the Clippers extended their own record to seven straight district championships.

Those numbers are flat-out unprecedented and it’s hard to believe any team will ever accomplish such a streak. To put it into further perspective, here’s a smattering of what has happened since the Clippers last lost a district playoff game:
  • A Philadelphia professional sports franchise won a championship (2008).
  • The Clippers won two state titles (2003-04, 2007-08).
  • There have been two presidential elections (2004, 2008).
  • The United States launched a war on Iraq (2003).
  • Facebook, the uber-popular networking site, is founded (2004).
  • Two U.S. presidents pass away (Reagan, 2004; Ford, 2006).
  • More than 959 million births have taken place globally.


Penn Wood 38, Lower Merion 35
: Duane Johnson (pictured) scored 10 of his team-best 12 points in the first half. The Patriots avenged a regular-season loss to the Aces by doing what Johnson told the Daily Times most people thought they couldn’t do: “We want to prove we can win a 40-point game.” They did. Tyree Johnson scored 11 more for the Pats.

Glen Mills 78, Owen J Roberts 65: Lavander Johns, who scored zero points in Tuesday’s second round, poured in a team-best 23 to keep the Bulls’ season alive in the ninth-place consolation bracket. Aaric Murray scored 20 more for The Mills, which led 22-5 after one quarter.


OK, here’s what we’re looking at for the Class AAAA semifinal pairings, which will be held next Tuesday at Temple University’s Liacouras Center:
  • No. 3 Penn Wood vs. No. 2 Conestoga, 6 p.m.
  • No. 8 Norristown vs. No. 4 Pennsbury, 8 p.m.

According to Kevin Cooney of the Bucks County Courier Times, fans should be warned to hit the MAC machines before going to the games. Reportedly, ticket prices are $10 and parking at Temple will be $12. (Sorry to be the bearer of bad news.)

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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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Tuesday, January 27, 2009


Just got word from Penn Wood High School's Athletics Department: the game is on.

The highly-touted rematch between Penn Wood and Chester will be played tonight at 7 p.m. at Penn Wood Middle School in Darby. The impending snow and ice storms will not cause it cancellation.

Penn Wood, ranked No. 4 in the latest PIAA Class AAAA poll, lost its first meeting of the season with Chester, the current third-ranked team in the state. Making matters worse, the Patriots (15-2, 5-1) are coming off a loss to Lower Merion in the Kobe Bryant Classic.

The Clippers (15-1, 6-0) meanwhile could lock up (basically) an 11th consecutive Del Val League championship with a win tonight.

See you at the gym tonight.

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Monday, January 26, 2009


Fred Pickett is the Daily Times' 2008 Sports Figure of the Year.

Surprised? You shouldn't be. Aside from molding Chester into a state and national powerhouse, Pickett had the uncanny ability of turning basketball-playing teenagers into upstanding young men with real promise in the classroom. I'm not sure how many players Pickett helped send to college in his 13 years with the Clippers, but it's got to rank up there with the best of them.

Being a Temple alumnus, I have a lot of respect for guys like Pickett. John Chaney employed the same set-up at Temple, giving student-athletes with questionable academic standings a place to grow and learn. But don't take my word for it. Daily Times columnist Jack McCaffery said all of this far more eloquently than I have, in his story on Pickett in Monday's Daily Times.

Here's some information on Tuesday's game, Chester at Penn Wood:
Tickets will be sold during school hours at each school’s athletic office. The game, slated for a 7 p.m. start, will be played at Penn Wood Middle School. All tickets are $5.

Fans are urged to take advantage of the presale opportunities, as fewer than 100 tickets will be available tonight at the door. Seating capacity at the middle school, located at 121 Summit Street in Darby, is estimated at 700.

Chester (15-1, 6-0) and Penn Wood (15-2, 5-1) are ranked Nos. 3 and 4, respectively, in the latest PIAA Class AAAA poll. The Clippers won the teams’ earlier meeting, 57-48, Jan. 8. Questions regarding ticket sales for the game can be referred to Penn Wood High School’s athletic department, at 610-284-8058.

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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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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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Tuesday, January 6, 2009


The tentative schedule for this year's Primetime Shootout fell into my lap recently, so I figured I'd toss this up. There are some local games of interest:

Friday, Jan. 23 – Rutgers University
5:00 PM – Immaculata (NJ) vs. St. Joseph’s (NJ)
6:30 PM – Duncanville (TX) vs. LeFlore (Mobile, ALA)
8:00 PM - Paterson Catholic (NJ) vs. Lincoln (Brooklyn,NY)
9:30 PM – Plainfield (NJ) vs. Piscataway (NJ)

Friday, Jan. 30 – Villanova University
6:00 PM – ANC (PA) vs. Bishop McNamara (MD)
7:30 PM – Penn Wood (PA) vs. Neumann-Goretti (PA)
9:00 PM - Chester (PA) vs. Roman Catholic (PA)

Saturday, Jan. 31 – Villanova University
12:30 PM – Our Savior New American (NY) vs. N. Guilford (NC)
2:00 PM – Pennsbury (PA) vs. Norristown (PA)
3:30 PM – Lower Merion (PA) vs. Coatesville (PA)
5:00 PM - Camden Catholic (NJ) vs. Malvern Prep (PA)
6:30 PM - Plymouth-Whitemarsh (PA) vs. Holy Ghost Prep (PA)
8:00 PM - North Catholic (PA) vs. Jamesville-DeWitt (NY)

The obvious dates to keep an eye on are Jan. 30 and 31, with Penn Wood and Chester playing the traditional Catholic League powers. And Lower Merion and Coatesville, two teams that fell one win shy of the Class AAAA state playoffs in 2007-08, seems like a decent matchup. And Holy Ghost, my alma mater, is a team to watch out for in the Class AAA playoffs.

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Friday, December 19, 2008


I have one wish for this holiday season, but I'm not sitting on Santa's lap to ask for it: Coaches, we need your help getting times, teams and dates together for holiday tournaments.

If you're participating in a holiday tournament, send the brackets to It will save us a ton of time and headaches. And look on the bright side - it's one present you DO NOT have to gift wrap.


Poll updates: The USA Today and polls have Penn Wood at No. 9 in the East Coast Region. But nationally, the Patriots are nowhere to be found. Off to a 4-0 start, that could change soon.


History lesson: The Chester Clippers did something Wednesday they hadn't in a while. What's that? They lost. It had been 360 calendar days since they last had not won a game. That's a 27-game streak. Their last loss - prior to Reading's double-overtime victory Wednesday - was against top-ranked St. Benedict's Dec. 22, 2007, in the City of Palms Classic.

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Wednesday, December 17, 2008


Remember this guy? How could you not? Jameer Nelson put himself on the map at Saint Joseph's University, but the Chester native honed his skills and learned everything with the state-champion Chester Clippers. The holiday tournament, named after he and his late father Pete Nelson, is scheduled for the days after Christmas. Tournament organizer Jeremy Treatman sent me the full slate today. Here's what we're looking at:
Cheltenham vs. La Salle, 1 p.m.
Archbishop Carroll vs. Life Center, 2:45
Lower Merion vs. Simon Gratz, 4:30
Penn Wood vs. North Catholic, 6:15
Norristown vs. Chester, 8
Highlights: The PIAA Class AAAA title game rematch is an obvious one. ... I like Penn Wood continuing it's rigorous non-league slate. ... I'll be the first to tell you that I know diddly about Life Center. Sorry, Carroll fans.

Friends Central vs. Souderton, 2:30 p.m.
Plymouth Whitemarsh vs. St. Joseph’s Prep, 4:30
Germantown Academy vs. North Catholic, 6:15
Atlantic City vs. Chester, 8
Highlights: I'm told that PW has a player taller than 6-foot-6, unlike last season when they were the shortest team I've ever seen. ... And Chester/AC should be a fun one. I fully expect the Clippers to roll.

St. Joseph's Prep vs. Chestnut Hill Academy, 4 p.m.
Neumann-Goretti vs. Friends Central, 5:45
Plymouth Whitemarsh vs. Academy New Church, 7:30
Life Center (NJ) vs. Prep Charter, 9
Highlights: ANC ended last season ranked by and USA Today. They are for real.
When I get information about tickets, you'll see it here. So stay close.

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Friday, October 17, 2008


We're still a month out from tipoff of the boys basketball season, but it's never too early to talk hoops.

The schedule for the Prime Time Shootout was released this week. And here are a couple of the marquee matchups:

If you're looking for a night out, there might be none better than Friday, Jan. 30 at Villanova's Pavilion, where an incredible doubleheader will feature arguably the county's top teams:
...Penn Wood vs. Neumann-Goretti, 7:30 p.m.
...Chester vs. Roman Catholic, 9 p.m.

The following day, Saturday, Jan. 31, features Lower Merion vs. Coatesville; Pennsbury vs. Norristown; and Plymouth-Whitemarsh vs. Holy Ghost Prep.

For the complete schedule, click here.

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Thursday, June 5, 2008

American Christian folds high school, teams

American Christian Academy, the tiny prep school in Aston that earned so much national attention in the last couple years, is no more.

Earlier this week, administrators at the school announced that it will end its middle-school and high-school services and maintain only its elementary-school operations, primarily serving as a school for Baptist-church-related education.

The decision ends American Christian's run atop the national prep-school landscape. Players like Dwayne Jones (St. Joseph's U, Cleveland Cavaliers) all the way to Tyreke Evans (Memphis U) made their home with the Eagles. Reasons for the decision were not made official, though it's believed that the closing of the middle and high schools is related to finances or the school's always-in-question academic standards.

Said former coach Ray Carroll, in a 2006 interview with the Daily Times: "They sit in a classroom where there's no reading, no writing and no teaching taking place. ...These kids are great kids who want to learn, but don't know how. I often walk by their classrooms and see them sleeping."

For more on American Christian, check out the story from earlier this week.

The boys basketball program at Chester High has been without a coach long enough. Mere minutes after the leading the Clippers to their sixth big-school state title, 13-year coach Fred Pickett announced his retirement, which means the spot has been vacant for nearly three months.

It is believed that longtime assistant Larry Yarbray will take Pickett's spot on the bench. That decision, which has been confirmed by multiple sources, will be confirmed tonight at a Chester Upland School Board meeting.

More to come when everything's official. Until then, check out today's story.

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Thursday, May 15, 2008

Chester's Johnson picks Robert Morris

Russell Johnson, a 6-6 forward from Chester, announced Wednesday that he has committed to Robert Morris University.

Johnson, who averaged 12 points and 11 rebounds, emerged as the Clippers' third-leading scorer during their run toward the District One and PIAA Class AAAA titles.

Unsure whether he has met NCAA Clearinghouse standards, Johnson awaits the call to ensure his eligibility next season. He said he'd like to improve his SAT score by another 100 points, and he's registered for the standardized test next month.

"I'm waiting for the NCAA to call me back," Johnson said. "If they say it's OK, I'll take some summer classes to get ready for the season."

Johnson became the Clippers' second Division I commit from this year's recruiting class. Teammate Nasir Robinson gave his word to Pitt last season.

"High-caliber Division I schools were after Russell," said newly-retired Chester coach Fred Pickett. "He's going to have a good career. I've said it before - I think he'll get his team to the Big Dance. I just know it."

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Monday, March 17, 2008

Basketball season wrap-up

Well, basketball fans, the season is finally behind us. In addition to congratulating the Chester Clippers on their Class AAAA state title, I just have a few announcements to make:

All-Delco News. It's almost time to reveal my All-Delco teams, which were finalized following Saturday's game. Keep close to the Daily Times for updates on when the teams will appear in the newspaper.
PIAA Rule Change No. 1. The PIAA has approved two notable amendments which take effect next season. First, District One receives an additional seed in the PIAA Class AAAA state tournament, increasing its tally from eight teams to nine. What does this mean? Well, the eight teams to make the quarterfinals are still guaranteed a berth in the state bracket, with one more team finding its way in. How? That's to be determined.

PIAA Rule Change No. 2. The PIAA made official a transfer rule, which forces a student-athlete between 10th and 12th grades to sit out half a season should he switch schools.
Staying at State College. Though unofficial, the PIAA and Penn State have agreed to extend a contract to keep the state-title games at Bryce Jordan. More to come as it becomes known.
It's baseball season! Just because the hoops season is over doesn't mean you can't visit Gettin' Schooled for the next few months. It's a high school sports blog and as such, I'll be posting my daily musings from my next high school beat - baseball. And there definitely will be basketball news to check back for, as always. So I look forward to your continued readership.

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Sunday, March 16, 2008

Chester wins, Pickett steps down

A long, arduous road carried the Chester Clippers into Saturday's PIAA Class AAAA title game.
In the end, they're state champs.
The Clippers beat Norristown, 81-77, yet somehow that was not the big news of the night.
Chester coach Fred Pickett announced he is stepping down after 13 seasons, 3 state titles and eight district titles. In addition to this story, Terry Toohey contributed a sights-and-sounds notebook. And Jack McCaffery wrote of how passionate Karon Burton is...even when his team is struggling. Even still, Burton never seems to stop smiling.
Long night tonight, even longer day ahead. Stay tuned for more.

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Saturday, March 15, 2008

State championship ... by the numbers

Just arrived at Penn State's Bryce Jordan Center, where the Chester Clippers will take on the Norristown Eagles in a short while.

Here's what you need to know about tonight's game:
1 ... Norristown is the owner of just one state title, having won it all in 1948.
2 ... Number of cable networks televising the game (CN8 and PCN).
4 ... Chester senior starters hoping their last game in orange and black in a win.
6 ... Number of state championship banners possibly hanging in Chester's gym after tonight.
8 ... Tip off time. Make sure to have the popcorn ready and a spot reserved on your couch.
25 ... Win percent of Norristown in its four title-game appearances.
36 ... Win percent of Chester in its 14 title-game appearances.

Check back to Gettin' Schooled throughout the night for updates from the Bryce Jordan Center.

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Knox: Best Chester team ever

If Chester beats Norristown today for the PIAA Class AAAA state title, the Clippers will be remembered as the best team in school history. Not my words, but those of former Daily Times' boys basketball writer Rob Knox. Here's his reasoning:

Lockdown defense. "Forget the talent and the Division I prospects," he said. "What seperates this Chester squad from the others is its ability to play lockdown defense when the offense isn’t clicking. This is the Clippers’ best defensive squad in quite some time."

Better competition. "Think about this: if Chester wins Saturday, it would have defeated a pair of teams (Pennsbury and Norristown) in its last two games with a combined 62 victories," Knox said. "That’s impressive. The 2000 team didn’t do that and the 2005 team didn’t do that, either."

In the end, Knox said, you'll have to judge for yourself.

"Those (past) teams were great in their own right, but considering the schedule Chester played ... it’s hard to argue against this Chester squad being the greatest of the modern era."

If you're heading to State College today, be sure to pick up a copy of the Daily Times. It's loaded with useful information about tonight's game. It features updated rosters and schedules from both teams; their histories in the state title game; and plenty of insight. Safe travels and see you in Happy Valley.

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Friday, March 14, 2008

Norristown coach: 'We have a chance'

No one wants to give Norristown any love.

The Eagles, who reeled off 28 wins in a row to start their season, have been dealing with that stiff reality all season.

Is it because they played a soft nonleague schedule? Is it because their Suburban One League Continental Conference foes posted a combined win percentage of .486?

Maybe, but Norristown coach Mike Evans (pictured, on the bench, with assistant Binky Johnson in the forefront) wants his team to get its dues.

"It's not like we go on what outsiders say," Evans said Friday from State College. "We don't listen because it's mostly negative stuff they're saying. We just think we're a better team than a lot of people say. We don't get the credit that being 32-1 deserves."

Vying for their first state title in 60 years, the Eagles take on Chester Saturday for all the marbles. Playing the Clippers is an opportunity the Eagles welcome, Evans said.

"It's going to come down to who executes," Evans said. "That said, I think we have a chance."

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Thursday, March 13, 2008

Chester's win: We've got it covered

If you were at the Palestra last night, you were witness to Chester's dramatic 75-64 win over Pennsbury in the PIAA Class AAAA semifinal. In case you missed it, we've got you covered:

THE GAME STORY. Despite foul trouble, all five Clippers starters scored in double figures. They weathered a flurry of fouls and Pennsbury 3-pointers to extend their season.

THE REAL STORY. Marvin Dukes, Brandon Robinson and Mark Burrell probably didn't expect they'd play a huge role in Chester's win. But they did. Staff writer Jon Campbell tells their story.

THE PREPARATION. The Clippers' prep work for playoff basketball goes beyond the court. It starts in the classroom, where - as sports editor Rob Parent tells us - coach Fred Pickett's players are excelling.

THE VISUAL. Last night's game wasn't televised, but staff photographer Eric Hartline offers his view from the baseline at the Palestra in slideshow form.

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Wednesday, March 12, 2008

News and Notes for tonight's game

A couple news items regarding tonight's semifinal game:

TICKETS. Tickets are still available for purchase. Interested spectators can pick up $6 general admission tickets and $3 student tickets at Chester High School between 12 noon and 2:30 p.m. today.

PARKING. If you're heading to the Palestra tonight, be advised to make a carpool, take public transportation or get there early. With a PIAA Class AAA girls basketball semifinal taking place at 6 p.m., parking undoubtedly will be limited. And the streets around the Palestra will be chaotic. Plan accordingly.

PREVIEW SECTION. To help wait out the start of the 7:30 p.m. Chester-Pennsbury game, bring a copy of the Daily Times to the Palestra. Included within are the latest stats and information, projected starting lineups, a feature on Nasir Robinson and what Pennsbury is saying about tonight's game.

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Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Robinson's hopes high for state title

Nasir Robinson didn't take a page out of Joe Namath's book. There will be no guarantees coming from Robinson's mouth, but the senior forward is optimistic Chester will beat Pennsbury Wednesday, then go on to win the PIAA Class AAAA state championship.

Before Monday's practice, I asked Robinson if all of the games the Clippers have won would be for naught should they not win the state crown. His response:

"It's definitely been worth it, all of it. Even the hard losses," he said of his time at Chester. "It's my pride for Chester — playing here and being from here — that keeps me going. It would hurt not to win it, so I don't even want to think about not winning it."

For a feature story on Robinson and preview coverage of the Clippers' matchup with Pennsbury, pick up a copy of Wednesday's Daily Times.

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Monday, March 10, 2008

A quick glance at Pennsbury

The team Chester will face in the PIAA Class AAAA semifinals closely resembles the Clippers.

That's partly because Pennsbury coach Frank Sciolla said he used the Clippers' scheduling process as a model for his own team.

"We've always tried to overschedule," he said over the phone. "When we did that in the beginning, we lost some and won some. The last couple years, we've been able to win more than we're losing. ...We're not at the level where Chester is where they can play any team in the country on any given night, but we're getting there."

The Falcons (30-2) have beaten the likes of Lower Merion, Penn Wood (twice) and Ridley (twice). They beat New Jersey Section IV champ Linden and narrowly lost to Oklahoma's Putnam City, which is home to four Division I players.

Most of that can be credited to junior Dalton Pepper (pictured), a 6-6 guard-forward who is receiving plenty of recruiting attention. Word has it when West Virginia was in town to play Villanova, Mountaineers coach Bob Huggins skipped out on his team's walkthrough to see one of Pepper's district-playoff games.

For more of the Chester-Pennsbury match-up, check back to Gettin' Schooled leading up to the game. Wednesday's edition of the Daily Times will have plenty of coverage as well.

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Chester-Pennsbury tickets available

The Chester Athletic Department has made tickets available for purchase for Wednesday's PIAA Class AAAA semifinal game.

If you wish to see the Clippers take on District One's third seed Pennsbury at the Palestra, tickets can be purchased at Chester High's Athletic office each of the next three days.
  • Monday, 3 p.m. to 6 p.m.
  • Tuesday, 3 p.m. to 6 p.m.
  • Wednesday, 12 p.m. to 2:30 p.m.
Adult tickets cost $6 while student tickets run $3.

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Sunday, March 9, 2008

More coverage of the PIAA quarterfinals

Penn Wood's players anticipated the fourth time being a charm against Chester. The Clippers saw the Patriots as another obstacle standing in their way of a state title.
What came to be Saturday at Villanova's Pavilion was an entertaining showcase of two teams vying for something pretty special.
In the end, Chester called upon its postseason savvy to end Penn Wood's remarkable run with a 68-60 win in the PIAA Class AAAA quarterfinals.
Karon Burton iced down his knee then lit up the scoreboard, netting 25 points in the win. Sports editor Rob Parent shed some light on Burton's return to the court after bruising his left knee and lower thigh during the game.
And despite their quarterfinal loss, Deputy Sports editor John Lohn foresees Penn Wood being the team to beat next season. It's very likely, considering they graduate only two players and return a bevy of underclass talent.
Said Penn Wood coach Clyde Jones: "Chester has all kinds of banners hanging up. It's time for a banner to hang somewhere else."

Penn Wood wasn't alone Saturday, as another Delaware County team's season came to an end. Ridley, trying to avenge its loss to Pennsbury in the District One quarterfinals, fell to the Falcons 45-40.
The Green Raiders were able to contain Pennsbury standout Dalton Pepper but could not come through with a timely basket toward the end. The Raiders graduate six seniors, including 1,000-point scorers Dan Robinson and Steve Egee.
Said Egee of his athletic career at Ridley coming to an end: "But now I'll never put on a Ridley uniform again. I'm just thankful for the memories and the good times that I had with these guys."

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Saturday, March 8, 2008

Chester is Palestra-bound

Chester is headed back to the state semifinals.

The Clippers ended Penn Wood's season with a 68-60 win at Villanova's Pavilion Saturday. The second-best season in Penn Wood history ends at 23-9. In the process, the Clippers move on to Wednesday's semifinal at Penn's Palestra.

Chester got 25 points from Karon Burton, who played on despite a bad knee. Tyree Johnson netted 18 for the Patriots.

Who will join Chester at the Palestra? Pennsbury, which ended the season for Ridley with a 45-40 win, will take on the Clippers. Ridley's 1,000-point scoring duo of Steve Egee and Dan Robinson went out on high notes, scoring all but six of the Raiders' points. Egee notched 13 and Robinson netted 21.

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Gameday is upon us

Today brings both good news and bad news.

First the good news - a PIAA Class AAAA playoff quarterfinal tripleheader of epic proportions is on tap at Villanova's Pavilion today, and is sure to be entertaining.

Now the bad news - at least one Delaware County team's season must come to an end. Shawn Oakman (pictured) and the Penn Wood Patriots hope the fourth time is the charm against league rival Chester. And Ridley hopes to exact revenge against Pennsbury, which beat the Green Raiders in districts.

Pick up a copy of today's Daily Times for more on the state quarterfinal matchups at hand.

The PIAA Class AAAA semifinal between the winners of the Penn Wood-Chester and Ridley-Pennsbury games will play at the Palesta, a University of Pennsylvania official confirmed to the Daily Times Friday.

The game's start time is still up in the air, but pick up a copy of today's Daily Times for more information on the arrangement between Penn and the PIAA.

Check back to Gettin' Schooled throughout the day for live coverage, scores and updates of the action at Villanova's Pavilion.

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Thursday, March 6, 2008

State quarterfinal site, times announced

The road to the state championship at Penn State's Bryce Jordan Center goes through Villanova and the Blue Route.

The PIAA Class AAAA playoffs continue at the Pavilion, where all three Delaware County teams will be playing in the quarterfinals. Here's the complete lineup for Saturday's games on Lancaster Avenue:

12 p.m. Chester (30-1) vs. Penn Wood (23-8)
1:30 p.m. South Phila. (23-6) vs. Norristown (30-1)
3 p.m. Ridley (25-6) vs. Pennsbury (29-2)

ETC.: A couple notes about the matchups - This marks the fourth game this season between Chester and Penn Wood. (The Clippers are 3-0). Ridley fell to Pennsbury in the District One quarterfinals, 60-41.

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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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Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Q&A with Ridley's Steve Egee

I spoke with Ridley senior Steve Egee last week about the PIAA Class AAAA playoffs. A conversation with Egee, a past All-Delco basketball selection, wouldn't be complete without discussing football.

Egee (pictured) quarterbacked the Green Raiders to the state title game this year, after sitting out as a junior. Egee is unsure about his future, but that's on hold for now: the Raiders have some games to play. Here's an excerpt from our conversation:

Daily Times: Your team looks loose and casual going through practice. Do you see that translating to their playoff games?
Egee: Definitely. Team camaraderie and team chemistry have never been problems here. We get along great, play loose and everyone's looking forward to the next game.

DT: Do you see any similarities between the football playoffs and the basketball playoffs?
Egee: They're very similar. It's all about the team coming together, believing in the coaches and believing in each other. It's about playing tough defense every possession. (Against) state teams, you have to play hard every possession. They're very similar in both sports. You've got to come out to play every play. Every state(-qualifying) team is a good team.

DT: Where do you stand with pursuing either football or basketball in college?
Egee: At some schools, I'd probably be able to walk on to the football team if I wanted to. Maybe I would do it, not even as a quarterback but as something else. I don't know what I want to do. We'll see in a couple weeks.

DT: Say, for a moment, that you go the football route. Are you ever out there on the court thinking, 'This could be my last basketball game'?
Egee: I think my choice is going to be to play basketball in college, at the next level. I really do.

Egee leads Ridley (24-6) into its second-round game against Central Dauphin East tonight in a 7 p.m. tip at Garden Spot H.S. in New Holland. *Photo courtesy the Philadelphia Inquirer*

In addition to Ridley, Penn Wood and Chester also will play their second-round games tonight. For preview capsules of all three games -- as well as a feature story on how the Clippers handle all the hype and championship talk -- pick up a copy of Wednesday's Daily Times.

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Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Big 5 targets Chester forwards

Chester forwards Russell Johnson and Rahlir Jefferson (pictured) attended Sunday's Temple-St. Joseph's game at the Palesta. But the 6-foot-5 Clippers had reasons to be there other than to watch an instant classic Big 5 game.

Johnson, a senior, considers Temple among his college choices. The others are Robert Morris, La Salle, Niagara and George Washington - all of which have offered a scholarship. Temple has yet to do so, but Johnson liked what he saw.

"They run the court and just play ball," he said before Chester's practice Monday. "They don't call that many plays. They play man-to-man (defense) most of the game. They run it a lot, up and down the floor, just like we do. They move the ball well. They're fun to watch."

Jefferson, a junior, was at the Palestra to see St. Joseph's. The Hawks have expressed an interest in Jefferson. So, does Jefferson have interest in the Hawks?

"It's a good school, a good team and a good program," Jefferson said. "What's not to like?"

Chester plays Harrisburg Wednesday in a PIAA Class AAAA second-round game at the Geigle Complex in Reading.

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Sunday, March 2, 2008

Next stop: PIAA Second Round

Interested in attending Wednesday's second-round game between Chester and Harrisburg?

Tickets are on sale at the Chester High School Athletic Office from Monday through the day of the game between 3 p.m. and 6 p.m. Adult tickets cost $6 and student tickets are available for $3.

As of yesterday, we knew who the trio of Delaware County teams would play in Round 2 of states. Now we know where and when they will play:
  • Ridley (23-6) vs. Central Dauphin East (23-5) - Garden Spot High School, New Holland, 7 p.m.
  • Chester (29-1) vs. Harrisburg (17-11) - Geigle Complex, Reading, 7:30 p.m.
  • Penn Wood (22-8) vs. Pocono Mountain West (26-2) - Parkland High School, Orefield, 7:30 p.m.

For those wishing to stay close to home, that's bad news. If you're interested in attending either of these games, I've linked Mapquest directions from the Delaware County schools involved to the game's location.

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Ridley, Penn Wood, Chester all advance

Delaware County has three boys basketball teams still playing. And all three advanced with wins Saturday in the opening round of the PIAA Class AAAA playoffs.

Ridley 76, Frankford 37: Led by Dan Robinson (pictured) and his 25-point effort, Ridley dispatched Frankford.
Penn Wood 55, Elizabethtown 46: Duane Johnson's 23-point, 12-rebound outing paced Penn Wood.
Chester 67, Williamsport 59: Karon Burton scored 10 of his game-best 26 points in the fourth quarter of Chester's win.

That means all three play in Round 2. Times and sites have yet to be determined, but we do know who each of them will play. Here's what we're looking at for Wednesday night:
---Chester vs. Harrisburg
---Penn Wood vs. Pocono Mountain West
---Ridley vs. Central Dauphin East

Sunday's Daily Times has full coverage of every game with a complete schedule of the entire Class AAAA bracket.

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Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Playoff glance: The Williamsport Millionaires

Each day leading up to the state playoffs, I'll shed light on a Delaware County team's first-round opponent in this weekend's PIAA Class AAAA playoffs. Here's the first installment:

The Williamsport Millionaires (19-7), the No. 2 seed from District 2, play Chester (28-1) Saturday at Norristown High School at 2 p.m.

The Millionaires...
  • are young. They employ an all-junior starting five.
  • are disciplined. They commit only six turnovers per game.
  • are green. They are making their first state playoff appearance since their 23-7 season in 2002.
  • are small. Among their starting five and top reserves, no one is taller than 6-foot-4.
  • have history on their side. They have won two state championships in their school history.
  • spread the ball. Each of their starters scores at least eight points per game, led by Isaiah Twine's 15 and Jadiah Lynch's 14.5 averages.
  • shoot the 3. Sean Ruaine leads the team with 70 treys this season.

For more on the Williamsport-Chester matchup and all of the PIAA Class AAAA first-round previews, check out Saturday's Daily Times. And stay close to the blog all week for more previews like this one.

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Monday, February 25, 2008

Source: Evans did not commit to Memphis

American Christian guard Tyreke Evans made an official visit last weekend to Memphis, one of six schools vying for the 6-foot-6 star guard. And according to a source close to the situation, The Daily Times has learned Evans did not commit to the school before returning home.

Evans was on Memphis' campus for the highly-anticipated matchup between the No. 1 Tigers and No. 2 Tennessee. Memphis' perfect season ended in a 66-62 loss to the Volunteers.

Recently named a McDonald's All-American, Evans is kicking around offers from five other schools - Connecticut, Louisville, Seton Hall, Texas and Villanova. Evans averages more than 33 points per game for the Eagles.

The District One Class AAAA championship game drew a sell-out crowd, with two of the seats at Villanova's Pavilion Sunday were occupied by Big 5 coaches. Temple's Fran Dunphy and Villanova's Jay Wright were on hand for the 61-47 Chester win. It is believed that both coaches are courting a Chester player, as they have been seen at a number of the Clippers' games throughout this season.

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Sunday, February 24, 2008

Chester defends district crown

The Chester Clippers successfully defended their string of District One Class AAAA championships Sunday to take home their seventh in a row.

The Clippers (28-1) handed Norristown (28-1) its first loss of the season in a 61-47 decision at Villanova's Pavilion.

Karon Burton finished with team highs of 20 points and 7 assists while Nasir Robinson (pictured) had 18 points and 12 rebounds. The senior duo connected on three alley-oop dunks in the win.

In the PIAA Class AAAA state playoff bracket, Chester will take on Williamsport (19-8), the second seed out of District Two, in the first round. That game will be played next Saturday at 2:30 p.m. at Norristown High School.

...pick up a copy of Monday's Daily Times. Included will be a game story; a sidebar on Burton's rebound from a sloppy first quarter; a column by Terry Toohey on Chester coach Fred Pickett; and another sidebar by Chuck Smith on Norristown's take on the Clippers.

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Local PIAA playoff pairings set

The PIAA Class AAAA state playoff bracket won't be announced until midweek, but we already have an idea who three Delaware County teams will be playing:

Penn Wood (District One - 4th seed) vs.
Elizabethtown (District Three - 4th seed)
Ridley (District One - 7th seed) vs.
Communications Tech / Frankford (District 12 - 1st seed)

Who will Chester play? That will be decided this afternoon at Villanova in the District One Class AAAA championship game. If the Clippers win the district, they will play the District Two second seed Williamsport. If they lose to Norristown today, the Clippers will play the District 12 fourth seed, which has yet to be determined. Check back to the blog for the latest.

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Friday, February 22, 2008

Chester-Norristown game postponed

I spoke this morning with Chester coach Fred Pickett, who confirmed that tonight's District One Class AAAA championship game is postponed due to inclement weather.

The game - between No. 1 Chester and No. 2 Norristown - will be played Sunday at 4 p.m. at Villanova's Pavilion.

The area's snowfall coupled with the forecast of an ice storm to follow caused the cancelation of classes at Chester and Norristown, which forced the postponement of tonight's game.

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Chester-Norristown: Keep your fingers crossed

Local basketball fans hoping to see Chester further its District One dominance, you better keep your fingers crossed and hope we don't see any snow plows.

I spoke with District One chairman Bob Ruoff, who assured me postponing Friday's district title game would only cause more headaches. Here's how everything at Villanova's Pavilion shakes out should Friday's game get moved back:
  • Saturday won't work. Five district title games are already scheduled.
  • Sunday is the most viable option. Christian schools could object, however.
  • Monday is out of the question. A Villanova-Marquette game at the Wachovia Center limits the game crew at the Pavilion.
  • Tuesday is even worse. Night school classes limit available security and parking spots.
With the state playoffs beginning a week from today, Ruoff said something's got to give. "We could always let them play Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday, or something like that," he said. "While the rest of the state would be filling in their district's blanks on the state bracket, we would just have to do that later on." We should have a decision on tonight's games by 12 noon Friday. So, like I said, keep your fingers crossed.

Pick up a copy of Friday's Daily Times for all the details about the game tonight (or tomorrow ... or the next day). Among the stuff you'll find inside: a feature story previewing the game, a capsule running down the ins and outs of both teams and the probable starting lineups.

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Thursday, February 21, 2008

Seasons over for Bonner, Delco Christian

And then there were three.

A field of 17 Delaware County teams to make the postseason has narrowed to just three after the elimination of two local teams on Wednesday.

Class A Delco Christian lost in the district semifinals. Offering up the quote of the night was Knights senior Jake Godino, who was truly hurt by his team's loss: "I don’t know what happened," Godino said. "A loss is a loss … and we worked hard. But things didn’t work out for us."

And Jamal Melvin (pictured) and Monsignor Bonner dropped a heartbreaker in the Catholic League semifinals. The Friars tied the game with five seconds remaining, but subsequently fouled an Archbishop Ryan player with 0.8 ticks left. A la Villanova / Georgetown, this one was decided at the free-throw line.

Only three Delco teams are still playing this season: Chester will tipoff Friday with a district championship on the line; and Penn Wood and Ridley are in Class AAAA's play-back games before heading to states. As for Ridley, the Green Raiders' loss Wednesday means they can attain no higher than District One's seventh seed in states.

McDonald's All-American team was announced Wednesday, and star guard Tyreke Evans of American Christian made the cut. The two-time All-Delco averages 33.7 points, 10.5 rebounds, 5.2 assists and 4.3 steals for the Eagles (26-4).

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Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Chester marches toward title

There were plenty of juicy subplots to watch for in Tuesday's District One Class AAAA semifinal between Chester and Penn Wood:
  • Would the underclassmen of PW usurp the senior-laden Clippers?
  • Would Chester sweep a three-game set with the Patriots?
  • Would their familiarity play into the game's outcome?
In the end, none of that really mattered. It was simply a case of Chester being Chester in a 74-52 win at Norristown High School. Nasir Robinson and Karon Burton (pictured) were big as usual in the win.

Check out my game story as well as a column by Jack McCaffery on the head-scratching of Penn Wood coach Clyde Jones that went into preparing for Chester.

With the win, that makes 35 straight victories for Chester in the district tournament, which matches Lower Merion's 35 from 1930-46. The Clippers have won 35 in a row from 2002 to the present, while the Aces reeled off that many in a time when the district tournament was only three rounds.

***In other boys basketball news, Wednesday's Daily Times includes a profile story on Delco Christian's Jake Godino and Jon DeShields --- two great kids with great back stories who are leading the Knights into an all-important playoff game tonight. Check it out.

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Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Central League sets fundraising record

The Central League has "set the standard for District One" by collecting more than $17,000 this season for Coaches vs. Cancer, according to charity spokesman Bill Campo.

Campo sent an e-mail to the league's coaches and administrators to announce that collective fundraisers generated $17,300, a record for a high school sports league. Just how big was this year's tally? "Last year, the Central League might have raised $8,000, and that was considered a great accomplishment," Campo said by telephone Monday.

Credit for the more-than 100 percent jump from 2007 to 2008, Campo said, is due to the league's relationship with its referees.

"The fact that game referees donate their checks is something that isn't as common," Campo said. "That's $65 per referee and $130 per game that we wouldn't have had donated."

The one and only playoff game of local interest tonight is No. 5 Penn Wood vs. No. 1 Chester in the District One Class AAAA semifinals. The game is set for 7:30 p.m. at Norristown High School. Here's a breakdown of the two regular-season meetings between these Del Val League foes:
  • Dec. 11 - Chester 76, Penn Wood 40: Both teams entered the game unbeaten, but the Clippers (4-0) blew past the Patriots (5-1) in the league opener for both squads. Despite the big offensive showing, the Clippers' leading scorer Nasir Robinson scored just 14 points.
  • Jan. 22 - Chester 82, Penn Wood 70: Between games, the Patriots narrowed the gap and played to the slimmest margin of any of the Clippers' league games. Chester's Kevin Green Germany scored 27 points and Penn Wood's Duane Johnson countered with 29.

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Monday, February 18, 2008

Report: Tyreke Evans sits out showcase

A combination of injury and family reasons kept American Christian star Tyreke Evans from suiting up in the Neutral Zone Hoops Showcase in Kentucky, according to a report in the Louisville Courier-Journal.

American Christian coach Tony Bergeron told the C-J that Evans, one of the most highly-recruited seniors in the nation, sustained an unspecified injury in the Primetime Shootout two weekends ago. Additionally, the Evans' family suffered the loss of two family members in recent weeks.

American Christian lost an 82-77 decision to Findlay Prep (Nev.) in the national invitational tournament. The Eagles had been 6-0 prior to Saturday when playing without Evans in the lineup.

It appears the longtime coach of a St. Louis-based high school paid for the housing, food and clothing of two star players who led the city's Vashon High School to several state championships in one of the most elaborate recruiting scandals this reporter's ever heard of.

Allegedly, Floyd Irons put up more than $25,000 to bring the ineligible student-athletes to the school in exchange for their participation in games. All of this was released in a 193-page report of a meeting between Irons and the Missouri State High School Activities Association.

Dates and times of playoff games featuring area teams are set:
  • Class A: No. 5 Delco Christian/No. 1 Faith Christian, Wednesday, 6 p.m., at William Tennent High School
  • Class AAAA: No. 5 Penn Wood/No. 1 Chester, Tuesday, 7:30 p.m., at Norristown High School
  • Class AAAA: No. 6 Ridley/No. 7 Downingtown West, Wednesday, 7 p.m., at Plymouth Whitemarsh High School

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Thursday, February 14, 2008

Springfield streaking at right time

The Springfield Cougars have won six games this season. Fortunately for them, three of them have come in a row, ever since taking a 3-19 mark into the final week of the season.

Coach Kevin McCormick's crew is headed to the district quarterfinals, where they will play No. 3 Great Valley. Three weeks ago, I'm not sure anyone would have believed this possible, but hand it to the Cougars - they're playing their best ball right now.

MAKE-UPS ON TAP: Two Class AAA games, originally scheduled for Wednesday, will be played today. No. 9 Harriton is at No. 8 Marple Newtown, and No. 10 Radnor is at No. 7 Phoenixville.

THREE TEAMS MAKE STATES: In Class AAAA, three teams are moving onto states after posting second-round wins. No. 1 Chester, forward Shawn Oakman (pictured) and No. 5 Penn Wood and No. 6 Ridley have picked up berths in the PIAA playoff bracket. From here on out, each of District One's eight state-bound teams will play three games for seeding purposes. The sad reality? One of those eight teams will lose three straight games in February and still make the state tournament.

ALL-DELCO UPDATE: I'm enjoying the feedback from my open-door policy with All-Delco selections. Like I've said, I'll never close my ears to a fan's pitch for a player (or two). Plus I welcome the message board-style posting you - the readers - have made possible. Keep it up. And, for clarity's sake, the team has six players: Player of the Year and the top five players assigned by position. So using those guidelines, get in your suggestions.

TEAM COVERAGE: If you're a boys basketball fan in Delaware County, pick up a copy of today's Daily Times. You'll definitely be getting your money's worth. Villanova beat writer Terry Toohey was at Ridley, Eagles beat writer Bob Grotz covered the Catholic League play-in game, I was at Chester and we had a write-up on Glen Mills.

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Saturday, February 9, 2008

Class AAAA first-round recap

The opening round of the District One Class AAAA playoffs is through and the field of 11 Delaware County teams has narrowed to five, which will play second-round games on Wednesday:

Three of the advancing teams were from the Del Val League. Click the link for a recap.
No. 1 Chester took down No. 32 Methacton in a game that wasn't as close as the final score, 68-56, would indicate.
No. 5 Penn Wood, led by junior guard Duane Johnson (pictured), beat No. 28 Central Bucks South 55-42.
No. 18 Glen Mills needed the final seconds (and a couple free throws) to secure a win over No. 15 Plymouth Whitemarsh.

Two teams from the Central League kept their seasons alive. Click the link for a recap.
No. 6 Ridley routed No. 27 Owen J. Roberts, 69-43.
No. 8 Lower Merion handled No. 25 Academy Park, 91-58. But the game was more about coach Rick Pergolini's return to the Knights' bench than a playoff win. Pergolini said he is days away from a full comeback, which would include returning to his guidance counselor role at the school. Click the link above for a full story on the game.

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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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Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Tuesday night: By The Numbers

A couple things I saw Tuesday night at Marple Newtown got me thinking about doing a 'By the Numbers' post. First, the Tigers' Soutiri Sapnas knocked down five 3-pointers. For being a slasher who drives the lane, that's an unreal amount. Second, there was a time in the third quarter when Marple had more 3-pointers as a team (7) than 2-point field goals (6).

Here are some of my other findings from a night of Delaware County boys basketball action:
2 - Wins Ridley needs to clinch the Central League crown, after beating Upper Darby tonight.
5 - Number of Haverford High scorers to reach double figures. That's NBA caliber, right there.
7 - Number of games (and losses) for the Haverford School in Inter-Ac play.
10 - Blocked shots recorded by Glen Mills' Aaric Murray, who posted a triple-double in the Bulls' win over Penn Wood.
10 - Consecutive Del Val League crowns won by Chester High. Kudos to the Clips for maintaining their reign of the league for the past decade.
14 - Conestoga's biggest lead over Marple Newtown, which overcame the deficit only to lose to the Pioneers.
26 - Points scored by Ridley's Shamar Harris, posting a new career-high in the process.

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Monday, January 28, 2008

Standings and a Sunday recap

You wouldn't be able to tell by the clear lack of snow, but February is around the corner. And that means the district and league playoffs will soon follow. Here's a look at where your team stands and what that could mean for the playoff picture:

Del Val League
Chester ....... 8-0, 18-1
Penn Wood ... 6-2, 15-5
Glen Mills ....... 5-2, 12-8
Acad. Park ... 5-3, 11-11
Chichester ... 4-4, 10-10
Interboro ....... 2-5, 5-14
Harriton ....... 1-6, 7-13
Sun Valley ... 0-8, 1-20

Central League
Ridley ...... 13-2, 18-3
L. Merion ... 12-3, 15-5
Conestoga ... 12-3, 17-4
Haverford ...... 9-6, 12-8
Up.Darby ... 9-6, 11-10
Penncrest ....... 7-9, 9-12
Strath Haven ....... 6-9, 8-12
Marple Newtown ... 5-10, 9-14
Radnor ....... 3-12, 6-14
Springfield ....... 1-14, 3-18

Catholic League Southern Division
Roman Catholic ....... 9-0, 12-2
Monsignor Bonner ....... 6-3, 14-5
Archbishop Carroll ....... 6-3, 12-7
Neumann-Goretti ........ 5-4, 10-8
St. Joseph's Prep ....... 4-5, 10-9
Cardinal O'Hara ....... 3-6, 9-10
West Catholic ....... 3-6, 12-7
Kennedy-Kenrick ....... 0-9, 3-16

Inter-Ac League
Germantown Academy ....... 5-1, 14-8
Chestnut Hill ....... 4-1, 16-5
Malvern Prep ....... 3-3, 12-8
Penn Charter ....... 2-2, 4-14
Episcopal Academy ....... 2-3, 12-8
Haverford School ....... 0-6, 7-13

Christian Academy ....... 13-6
Delco Christian ....... 12-7
Garnet Valley .......10-9

And from the hardwood, where just two teams played Sunday:
Monsignor Bonner drew the short straw (again). The Friars lost for the third time in six games, with the defeats coming by a combined five points. Ouch. And Chester improved to 19-1 behind four scorers reaching double digits. Rahlir Jefferson's 16 points led the way.

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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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Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Recapping Tuesday's games

There were only a handful of boys basketball games in Delaware County Tuesday, but here's what we learned:

1. Chester has all but locked up the Del Val League title. Penn Wood, which had suffered just a single loss in league play, was the last hope to upset Chester. But the Clippers won by an 82-70 margin, and in fact haven't lost to a Pennsylvania team since last season's Class AAAA state title game.

2. Monsignor Bonner is for real in the Catholic League. Longtime power St. Joseph's Prep couldn't even slow down the red-hot Friars, falling 51-48. The only team standing in Bonner's way in the CL South is Roman Catholic, with whom the Friars have a rematch next month.

3. Garnet Valley will be a handful next season. The Central League might not be rolling out a red carpet when the Jaguars join the league for the 2008-09 season. GV beat up on Kennett, 64-55, and improved to 10-7 on the year. But the Jags could very well be 15-2. Five of their losses were by two or fewer possessions, including two 1-point defeats.

On a related note: You should definitely make time to check out one of the many Central League matchups tomorrow and help a good cause in the process. Some of the proceeds from Wednesday's Central League boys-girls hoops doubleheaders will be donated to Coaches vs. Cancer, a very worthy charity. For a full schedule, pick up today's Daily Times.

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Monday, January 21, 2008

Delaware County's first-place teams

Any boxing fans out there? You know those long, drawn-out heavyweight bouts in which every round gets more intense than the next? We're going to see some parallels between those fights and the fights for first place in the next couple weeks.

Take a look at the top two teams in each Delaware County league and the late-season matchups that will have postseason implications:

1. Chester 16-1, 6-0
2. Penn Wood 14-4, 5-1
The Clippers beat the Patriots by 36 points on Dec. 11, but they square off Tuesday with first place on the line.

1. Lower Merion 14-4, 11-2
2. Ridley 16-3, 11-2
The Aces hold the tiebreaker, having beaten the Green Raiders, 47-44, on Jan. 8. They play again at Villanova on Feb. 2.

1. Roman Catholic 10-2, 7-0
2. Monsignor Bonner 13-4, 5-2
The Friars have a chance for revenge on Feb. 5, when they will play the Cahillites at their cramped gym in North Philadelphia.

1. Germantown Academy 12-7, 4-0
2. Chestnut Hill 14-5, 3-1

Christian Academy 12-8
Delco Christian 9-6
Garnet Valley 9-7

For complete league standings, be sure to pick up Tuesday's edition of the Daily Times.

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Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Del Val League aids Coaches vs. Cancer

On Tuesday night, all four Del Val League games charged an extra dollar at the door to benefit Coaches vs. Cancer. As signs of their support, the coaching staffs from Chester and Glen Mills donned C vs. C T-shirts during a 92-49 win for the Clippers.

"Cancer is a very serious matter, and it's something that has affected everyone in this gym," Chester coach Fred Pickett said to the crowd before the game.

Among those in the gym were several prominent Division I coaches. Big 5 representatives Jay Wright of Villanova and Fran Dunphy of Temple, big-time supporters of Coaches vs. Cancer, were on hand. But they were also there to do some scouting, as were Pittsburgh coach Jamie Dixon and a representative from West Virginia head coach Bob Huggins' staff.

Be sure to check out my boys basketball notebook, which runs every Friday in the Daily Times for more on the recruiting front.

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