Blogs > Gettin' Schooled

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

Wednesday, January 28, 2009


By now, you probably know that Penn Wood pulled off the upset of Chester Tuesday night. (Junior point guard Tyree Johnson, pictured, was the hero. He scored 26 points, hauled in six rebounds and dished out six assists in the 53-52 win.)

But what you don't know is what else went down before, during and after the game. Here are some observations:

1. Chester's Laquan Robinson must like Beyonce, because he was singing the words to 'Single Ladies' in pregame warmups as the top-40 hit was being played in the gym.

2. The DJ manning the table slipped up, then made up for it. In bad taste, he let some expletive-laced songs play in a gym filled with children. Later on, though, he had the Penn Wood fan base in stitches as he played music over the Chester cheerleaders.

3. As Chester's Learon Pray lined up for the playing of the national anthem, there was one small problem: there was no flag in the gym. He mouthed to Chester coach Larry Yarbray, 'Which way do we face?'

4. According to a couple sources, only 250 presale tickets were made available to Chester fans. Which made for a mess at the front door, as a couple hundred more were turned away before the game.

5. I'm a big fan of high school mascots. Who isn't? But Penn Wood's version of the colonial patriot was weak. The person in the costume had rhythm and energy but the shabby suit was too big and the giant head kept falling off. Thumbs down to that.

The Daily Times was there Tuesday, with columnist Jack McCaffery turning in a great piece on the level of trust Penn Wood coach Clyde Jones has in Johnson. I handled the game story duties, and photographer Julia Wilkinson grabbed pictures and some video footage.

(Photo of Tyree Johnson by the Philadelphia Daily News)


Marple Newtown's Soutiri Sapnas needed 13 points Tuesday to break the 1,000-point plateau for his career. He scored that much in the first quarter.

Sapnas, on the fast track to becoming the school's all-time leading scorer, became the third player in Delaware County this season to crack 1,000 points. The others were Sun Valley's Tom Brennan and Strath Haven's Calvin Newell.


From the night's crazy-upset file, Harriton (6-13, 3-11) knocked off Penncrest (15-4, 10-4), 47-43. The loss to Harriton, a Class AAA team, does serious damage to Penncrest's hopes of attaining a top-10 seed in the District One Class AAAA bracket, which is announced Feb. 8.

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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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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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