Blogs > Gettin' Schooled

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

Friday, August 21, 2009


Steve Lewis is back. It's not like he went anywhere; he still lives in Swarthmore. But the former Strath Haven boys basketball coach has been installed as an assistant at Penn Wood.

After heading the Panthers for four years, Lewis (pictured, with Haven 1,000-point scorer Calvin Newell) was removed from the team's top spot March 30 after recording a 34-65 record. He directed the Panthers to a 15-12 record last season, which featured a District One Class AAA runner-up finish and a berth in the second round of the PIAA tournament. It was their deepest postseason run in 12 seasons.

Lewis joins a talented coaching staff at Penn Wood, where he will serve under Clyde Jones. The others on Jones' PIAA Class AAAA championship-winning staff are Matt Lindeman, Derek Jones, Con Kirkaldy, Dwight Maness and school AD Rap Curry.

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Saturday, March 21, 2009


The basketball season is over, but not before three Delaware County teams brought home state championships.

Penn Wood, picked as favorites at season's outset, stepped up to that high praise and claimed the Class AAAA crown by topping William Penn-York, 72-53, at Penn State's Bryce Jordan Center Saturday.

Senior All-Delco Duane Johnson and sophomore Aaron Brown chipped in with 20 points apiece, Tyree Johnson had 14 and Will Brown added 12 for the Patriots, who wrapped up their first state-title season with a 28-4 record.

The Archbishop Carroll boys did it Friday, then the girls followed suit by beating Lampeter-Strasburg for the Class AAA championship.

Erin Shields and Hollie Mershon each put in 13 points for the Patriots, who finished their season 30-1 with the 68-45 rout of the Pioneers. Kerri Shields tallied 12 in the last game of her fantastic Carroll career.

That's all there is to report from Happy Valley. Make sure to read it all in the Sunday Times and thanks for your readership through basketball season, both at Gettin' Schooled and Live at the PIAA Championships.

The spring sports season is here, but I need a blogging breather. I'll take a few days off from the blogosphere but keep reading the Daily Times until I get back.

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One team is coming home with the hardware. The other one had a hard night.
Archbishop Carroll's boys basketball team claimed the PIAA Class AAA title over Greensburg-Salem (game story). The Patriots said afterward that their rigorous schedule - which featured three games vs. Neumann-Goretti and meetings with Roman Catholic and Norristown - got them ready for this stage (sidebar).
For Cardinal O'Hara, the trip to Penn State wasn't so memorable. The Lions girls basketball team lost to unbeaten Mt. Lebanon in the PIAA Class AAAA final (game story). A magical end to the Lions' season was not meant to be. Once ranked No. 1 nationally, the Lions lost star center Steph Holzer in the third quarter before losing the game (column).
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There, you will find up-to-the-minute updates by the Daily Times staff on Archbishop Carroll's bid for the PIAA Class AAA girls title and Penn Wood's claim on the PIAA Class AAAA boys crown.

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Friday, March 20, 2009


I think it goes without saying that Delaware County has never had four teams playing for PIAA basketball championships. So the higher-ups at the Daily Times decided to create a blog for this weekend's big games.

Thus Live at the PIAA Championships was born.

The Daily Times staff that is Bryce Jordan Center-bound will be posting throughout the weekend with random musings, score updates and everything you need to know from Happy Valley. Of course, I'll be posting all weekend on Gettin' Schooled, but please give some love to Live at the PIAA Championships, where you'll find me, columnist John Lohn and girls basketball writer Harry Chaykun typing away at PSU.

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Last installment before hitting the road for PSU. Safe travels to everyone heading up there for the weekend:
Nervous? Who's nervous?

Andre Wilburn isn't. The senior captain for Archbishop Carroll tells all of his teammates (somewhat jokingly, of course) that he hasn't been nervous since playing in eighth grade. His AAU career has taken him to Duke's Cameron Indoor Arena and North Carolina's Dean Smith Center. With the Patriots, he's played at the Palestra.

If only for what's at stake, it doesn't get any bigger than Penn State's Bryce Jordan Center, Wilburn said. So will he be nervous on the bus ride up to State College?

"I think I will, but all the guys will talk for a little bit and then everybody will put their iPods in and just relax," Wilburn said earlier this week. ",I'll put on a little Jay-Z, some Li'l Wayne. None of the new stuff - well, maybe some - but mostly the older stuff.

Wilburn likes Jay-Z's 'The Blueprint' and 'The Black Album' as inspirational music before a game. "But I have to watch," he said. "Sometimes, they take the iPod away from me because I get too hyped up before a game."

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Wednesday, March 18, 2009


The field is complete.

Delaware County has gone a perfect 4-for-4 in sending its playoff teams to the PIAA state basketball championship games. Archbishop Carroll boys and Cardinal O'Hara girls won Tuesday to do it, then Penn Wood boys and Archbishop Carroll girls joined the party.

Perfect was the talk around Penn Wood Wednesday. Sophomore Aaron Brown went 10-for-10 from the floor, scored 22 points and led the Patriots past Mt. Lebanon, 79-58, at Big Spring High School in Newville. The Pats will play York in the Class AAAA final Saturday.

At Reading's Geigle Complex, the Carroll girls punched their PIAA title-game ticket by getting past Trinity, 49-45. The Patriots will take on either Lampeter-Strasburg or General McLane (the game wasn't decided as of this post) Saturday night in the Class AAA title tilt at Penn State's Bryce Jordan Center.

More to come in Thursday's Daily Times. Again, we have to get on the road. (It's a 2-hour, 45-minute drive from Big Spring.)

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Monday, March 16, 2009


When York Suburban and Archbishop Carroll go at it Tuesday in a PIAA Class AAA semifinal, they very well may be catching each other at their hottest.

I don't need to tell you about Carroll (26-3), which stunned league rival and perennial thorn-in-side Neumann-Goretti. But the Trojans (27-3) looked their best in their Round 3, 47-35 win over District 2 champ Crestwood.

Consider that the Trojans:
  • Scored 16 of the game's first 18 points
  • Led by as many as 19 points
  • Limited Crestwood to 14-of-35 shooting
  • Held a 28-18 advantage in rebounds
  • Forced 18 turnovers

Those are all impressive numbers, but how about this one: Crestwood finished the year having held opponents under 50 points in 25 of their 29 games. What does that tell me? That York Suburban (which scored only 47) was able to play someone else's game and still win.

The Trojans weren't all that intimidating when I saw them against Strath Haven in the second round. They don't have much size or much speed. They play a balanced team game. Expect at least three guys to hit double figures in scoring. The Patriots will need to spread the ball, too, so count on their All-Catholic backcourt of D.J. Irving and Juan'ya Green (pictured) to carry the load.

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Sunday, March 15, 2009


The PIAA unveiled its state-semifinal sites and times for this week. And they favor the local gas stations. Looks like everyone will be driving at least 45 minutes to see any of Delco's four remaining basketball teams.

Archbishop Carroll fans caught the luckiest of breaks. Both the boys and girls teams are playing only a 70-minute drive away, in Reading, on separate nights. It's even better for Cardinal O'Hara girls fans, who only have a 45-minute drive to endure to Ro-Fo.

Sorry, Penn Wood backers. You (and your favorite boys basketball beat writer) are making the 2-hour, 45-minute commute out west. Newville, by my estimations, is about 15 miles west of Harrisburg. Should (not) be a fun drive.

Here are the details you need to know:

Class AAA Boys: Archbishop Carroll vs. York Suburban
***At Reading High's Geigle Complex, 7:30 p.m.

Class AAAA Girls: Cardinal O'Hara vs. Downingtown East
***At Spring-Ford High, Royersford, 7 p.m.

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Class AAAA Boys: Penn Wood vs. Mount Lebanon
***At Big Spring High, Newville, 7 p.m.

Class AAA Girls: Archbishop Carroll vs.
***At Reading High's Geigle Complex, 6 p.m.

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Friday, March 13, 2009


In 32 minutes Friday night, Archbishop Carroll went from PIAA Class AAA dark horse to favorite in the state playoffs.

The Patriots did the unthinkable and dispatched Neumann-Goretti, 70-65, in a quarterfinal at Archbishop Ryan High School. They move on to the semifinal round against York Suburban.

To get there, the Patriots needed to beat a team they hadn't since 2001. The District 12 and Catholic League champs, the Saints held an 18-game winning streak over the Pats' heads. This is the same N-G team that is ranked No. 1 in the PIAA by the Harrisburg Patriot News and No. 14 nationally by ESPN. Even though Carroll is the state's No. 2 team, this is considered a monumental upset and a huge step forward for Carroll coach Paul Romanczuk's program.

D.J. Irving had 26 points, leading a quartet of Carroll scorers in double figures.

More to come in Saturday's Daily Times.

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Thursday, March 12, 2009


When Penn Wood knocked off Bartram Wednesday night, the reality set it: the Patriots are Delco's sole survivors in the state playoffs.

Well, sort of.

You've got the Penn Wood Patriots in the Class AAAA bracket and the Archbishop Carroll Patriots in the Class AAA field. Penn Wood beat Bartram, 78-53, at O'Hara, and Chester bowed out of the AAAA tournament with a 62-49 loss to Williamsport.

It seems like both teams have their stiffest tests yet in this weekend's quarterfinal round. The Lansdowne Pats will face Pennsbury in a Saturday tilt that is without a site or time. The Main Line Pats will see league rival Neumann-Goretti at Archbishop Ryan at 7 p.m. Friday.

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Wednesday, March 11, 2009


Wednesday morning, the PIAA announced sites and times for the Class AAA boys and Class AAAA girls quarterfinal rounds. Only two Delaware County teams remain in those classifications, and here's where they will be Friday night:

Boys PIAA Class AAA Quarterfinal
Archbishop Carroll vs. Neumann-Goretti
**Friday, at Archbishop Ryan High School, 7 p.m.

Girls PIAA Class AAAA Quarterfinal
Cardinal O'Hara vs. Lower Merion
**Friday, at Spring-Ford High School, 6:30 p.m.

More to come, when the AAAA boys and the AAA girls play tonight.

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Last week, I blogged about the inadequacy of the PIAA when it allowed Glen Mills to host a play-in game to the Class AAAA state bracket.

And here we go again.

In Tuesday's second round of the Class AAA playoffs, the game between District One's Strath Haven and District Three's York Suburban was officiated by . . . a District Three referee crew from Berks County.

York Suburban won the game, 59-45. In the contest, York went to the foul line for 20 attempts and Haven had 10 free throws. The Trojans were whistled for seven fouls and the Panthers were called for 18, including a technical. Clearly, we have a couple discrepancies on our hands.

Now, I don't want to be the one to call out the PIAA this time of the year. And by no means do I want to insinuate that the referee crew was making calls to favor York. I saw the exact referee trio at the Archbishop Carroll/Phoenixville game last week, and they were just about as fair and thorough as I've seen all season.

And with 64 playoff games across the boys and girls hoops scenes taking place in a 48-hour span, it’s safe to assume that Pennsylvania's governing body for high-school athletics is probably stretched a bit thin.

But… when your season is on the line, a line has to be drawn.

"I don't think it came down to that," said Strath Haven coach Steve Lewis. "I don’t think my team made the right decisions, the ones necessary to win the game."

Added star guard Calvin Newell: "I wish they would have let us play the game and made it a little closer (in foul calls)." When Newell, pictured, was informed that a District Three crew called his final high school game, he said, "It happens."

The fact is, it shouldn't. The PIAA should know better, so as to preserve on-court talent as the dividing line between teams, and not the scheduling of a referee crew.

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Tuesday, March 10, 2009


Well, members of Archbishop Carroll's boys basketball team talked about it. They wanted it, and now they've got it.

The Patriots, with their 62-51 win over Shamokin in the second round of the PIAA Class AAA playoffs, get another shot at Catholic League Blue Division rival Neumann-Goretti. The Saints won Tuesday, as well, beating Susquehanna Township, 65-51.

After their first-round win last weekend, the Patriots so desperately wanted another meeting with the Saints (26-3). Of course, they didn't want to look too far ahead, but Andre Wilburn could not resist.

"They won the division championship, the league championship, the district championship," the senior forward said. "We want to win something. We want to get them again."

In their last meeting, the Saints dunked nine times on Wilburn and fellow senior big-man Kasheef Festus. (Even though Ben Mingledough, pictured, got one of his own in there.) The site and time for the highly-anticipated third meeting have not been announced, but you have to imagine it'll be close by.

More to come...

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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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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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