Blogs > Gettin' Schooled

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

Saturday, February 28, 2009


The expression by Penn Wood senior Will Brown (pictured) should say everything. In case it doesn't here is what Brown felt immediately following the Patriots' 52-49 loss to Norristown in the District One Class AAAA championship game:
"It felt good," said Brown, whose potentially game-tying shot rimmed out at the buzzer. "It just didn't go in. It didn;t drop. I really wish it would have gone in."
The Patriots had tons of chances to secure their first district championship since 1992 - and only their second in school history. They had plenty of unforced errors in the game, however:
  • They committed 19 turnovers.
  • They committed 20 personal fouls.
  • They shot just 5-for-16 from the free-throw line.
Making matters worse was the exceptional play of Norristown senior Khalif Wyatt. The 6-3 guard, a Temple signee, did just about everything for the Eagles. He scored 19 of their first 20 points. He finished with a game-best 25 points and (deep breath) hauled in five rebounds, grabbed five steals, dished out two assists and even blocked a pair of shots to boot.
It didn't matter who the Patriots threw at him - and Penn Wood coach Clyde Jones tossed everything but the kitchen sink at Wyatt - there just was not stopping him. Wyatt got the upper hand, even if it looks like otherwise in these excellent photos by Daily Times photographer Bob Gurecki.
The win made the Eagles' return to the district-title game a memorable one. They lost to Chester last year, ending their undefeated season.
Wyatt was impressive throughout. He knocked down five 3-pointers. Two of them stick out:
1. On one right before halftime, he faded to his right and jumped off only his right foot. The shot, which looked offbalance, banked off the glass and in.
2. Chided by Penn Wood's fans all game for airing a layup in the paint, Wyatt drilled a 3 with Penn Wood junior DeQuan Pelzer draped all over him. After hitting the shot, Wyatt looked at the crowd and thumped his chest with a closed fist.
OK, enough about this game. After all, the only way these two will see each other again is in the PIAA Class AAAA championship. (One can dream.)

In the District One ninth-place game:
Glen Mills did it. The Bulls pulled off the impossible, improbable, unbelievable route to their first state-playoff berth since 2004: they beat Central Bucks West, 60-57, in double overtime to secure the district's ninth and final slot.

Reggie Miles was huge, stepping up with a team-best 23 points. Aaric Murray had 16 more, and Lavander Johns had nine in the win. It seems like a different player is stepping up each night for the Bulls this postseason.

What really bites about this whole process is that the Bulls - as a "reward" for winning three elimination games in a row - are required to play a play-in game this Tuesday just to get into the PIAA first round, which is held next Saturday. That's where the PIAA screwed up. This needs to be fixed, because the Bulls (or any team that follows them as the No. 9 seed) does not deserve that.

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Wednesday, February 25, 2009


Friday night at Villanova’s Pavilion, Penn Wood takes on Norristown for the District One Class AAAA championship.

Norristown senior Khalif Wyatt, who leads the Eagles in scoring with 20 points per game, felt comfortable Tuesday night. His Eagles knocked off Pennsbury in a district semifinal at Wyatt’s future home floor, at Temple’s Liacouras Center.

Focused mainly on Tuesday’s game, Wyatt addressed the team to which he is committed for the next four years.
Q: Do you like playing here?
A: It’s awesome. All the Temple Owls players were on the side of the court, all the guys I watch on TV – Dionte Christmas and all of them – it was cool. They were courtside. The court was great. The Cherry and White was real nice.

Q: Have you ever played a game here?
A: No, just a shootaround with the guys when they were practicing or something.

Q: Was Temple center Lavoy Allen pulling for his alma mater, Pennsbury, or for you?
A: I came when they played St. Bonaventure (last Sunday). I mentioned to him that we’d be playing here at Temple. He smiled.

Q: How did it feel here?
A: It feels nice. I really like how the court feels. I told myself, ‘I could have a lot of fun here the next four years.’

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Tuesday, February 24, 2009


It's official: Penn Wood and Norristown will square off Friday night for the District One Class AAAA championship.

Penn Wood knocked off Conestoga, 62-53, in the opener of a district semifinal doubleheader at Temple's Liacouras Center. Norristown bested Pennsbury, 60-53, in the nightcap. They will play Friday night at Villanova's Pavilion in a 9 p.m. tipoff.

The Patriots are in the district final for the first time since 1992, when they won their first and only district title. The Eagles is back in the final after dropping last year's title game against Chester.

Jarrell Gardner (pictured) and Lorenzo Christmas were big for Norristown, combining for 16 points. Khalif Wyatt led the way with 17 more.

Pick up a copy of Wednesday's Daily Times for more on the games.

(Photo by the Daily Local News)

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Wednesday, February 18, 2009


A couple interesting tidbits about the remaining teams in the District One Class AAAA bracket...

No. 1: The final eight are the top eight seeds overall.
  • 1 CHESTER vs. 8 Norristown
  • 2 Conestoga vs. 7 Plymouth-Whitemarsh
  • 3 PENN WOOD vs. 6 Lower Merion
  • 4 Pennsbury vs. 5 Central Bucks South

No. 2: Three of these games are rematches.
Chester knocked off Norristown, 58-47, Dec. 26 at the Jameer Nelson Classic. Penn Wood dropped one, 47-44, to Lower Merion Jan. 24 at the Kobe Bryant Classic. And Conestoga took down P-W, 50-43, Dec. 6.

No. 3: The Chester-Norristown game is a look into the future at Temple University.
Clippers forward Rahlir Jefferson (pictured) and Eagles combo Khalif Wyatt are headed to North Broad Street next fall. Said Jefferson last week of the potential playoff meeting: "I didn't look (at the bracket). Khalif called me and said, 'We both win two and we'll see each other."


As for that elusive ninth seed, here's how it'll be determined: The bracket reverses itself and plays the opposite way. There is no re-seeding. First-round games in the eight-team, single-elimination playback are as follows:
  • No. 17 Souderton at No. 9 W.C. Rustin
  • No. 13 O.J. Roberts at No. 12 GLEN MILLS
  • No. 23 Neshaminy at 18 W.C. Henderson
  • No. 14 Bensalem at No. 11 C.B. West

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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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