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).
# # # #
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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Thursday, March 19, 2009


Duane Johnson dunks so often, he usually does not think twice about it. The Penn Wood captain had to Wednesday night in the PIAA Class AAAA semifinal.

The senior forward, pictured, drew a technical foul when he dunked on Mt. Lebanon five minutes into the Patriots' 79-58 win over the Blue Devils. A second T would have made him ineligible for Saturday's title game, so Johnson had to pull back on his second dunk later on.

There's a chance that the tech was issued because the folks at Big Spring High School, the site of the game, don't see dunks all that often. Big Spring's public-address announcer Wes Bawer asked media members who cover Penn Wood, "Are we going to see some slamma-jammas tonight?"

According to Bawer, only one player had dunked in Big Spring's six-year-old gymnasium. It occurred during a holiday tournament and the slam was by a Muhlenberg High player. Wondering if there would be multiple dunks, Bawer concluded, "I don't think the backboards can stand more than one."

Johnson dunked once more, teammate Shawn Oakman threw one down and a Mt. Lebanon player softly rattled the rim in the second half, with the rout already in progress.

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Wednesday, March 18, 2009


The field is complete.

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

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

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

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

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Tuesday, March 17, 2009


Penn Wood's opponent Wednesday in the PIAA Class AAAA semifinal has made a habit of rallying in games. Mt. Lebanon, of Pittsburgh and District 7, posted a comeback win over quarterfinal draw Erie Cathedral Prep, 51-41.

Here's how the Blue Devils (24-5) did it:
Exhibit A. Evan Pierce (pictured), a junior guard who scored zero points in the first half, went off for 15 in the final nine minutes of the game.

Exhibit B. Deion Turman, a junior 6-8 center, posted an all-around game - with seven points, 15 rebounds and four blocked shots. He also threw down a dunk with 2:57 remaining, one that broke open the game and broke Erie's hopes.

Apparently, Turman's size is not a fluke. The entire lineup has a lot of size, much like Penn Wood's. In that regard, the cross-state opponents will match up well.

And then there's that rallying thing. Let's not forget that Penn Wood erased Pennsbury's 16-minute lead midway through the third quarter to advance to this round, the Western State title game.

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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.

# # # #

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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Saturday, March 14, 2009


At Villanova's Pavilion, two of Delaware County's remaining playoff basketball teams moved on to their respective brackets' semifinals. Here are some final scores:

Penn Wood 54,
Pennsbury 50
Notes: Duane Johnson scored 16, Aaron Brown had 13, and Tyree Johnson added 11 more for the Patriots, who advanced to the state semifinal round for only the second time in school history.

Archbishop Carroll 56,
Mount St. Joseph 35
Notes: Kerri Shields, who had only four points at halftime, struck for five 3-pointers after the break to lead the Patriots past the defending state champions.

# # # #

So here's what next week's schedule looks like. Sites and times have not been announced. For whatever reason, the PIAA site has not been updated with the same rapidity as in earlier rounds (Go figure. It should be easier. There are fewer teams to deal with.) In any case, a preliminary schedule:

  • Archbishop Carroll boys vs. York Suburban
  • Cardinal O'Hara girls vs. Downingtown West
  • Penn Wood boys vs. Mount Lebanon
  • Archbishop Carroll girls vs. Trinity

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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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Tuesday, March 10, 2009


Three boys basketball players from Penn Wood earned First Team All-Del Val League honors when the teams were unveiled Monday night. The Patriots' entire starting lineup is represented in the First and Second teams, and a reserve makes an appearance on the Third Team.

Here's a complete look at the Del Val All-League teams:

Rahir Jefferson, Sr. F, Chester
Aaric Murray, Sr. C, Glen Mills
Duane Johnson, Sr. F, Penn Wood
Tyree Johnson, Jr. PG, Penn Wood
Maurice Nelson, Jr. SG, Chester
Aaron Brown, So. F, Penn Wood

Devon Cain, G, Academy Park
Dan Clapp, F, Chichester
Tyrik Gass, F, Glen Mills
Brian Parker, F, Chichester
Shawn Oakman, C, Penn Wood
Thomas White, F, Penn Wood

Malik Carter, G, Chichester
Laquan Robinson, PG, Chester
Reggie Miles, PG, Glen Mills
Richard Irwin, G, Interboro
Lavander Johns, SG, Glen Mills
Chris White, SG, Penn Wood

Charles Bolger, Interboro
Kareem Robinson, Chester
Learon Pray, Chester
Devin Hunter, Academy Park
Kenny Green, Academy Park
Keimonte Dago, Glen Mills
Mike Chambers-Coles, Chichester
Dymere Crews, Chester
Brian Seitz, Interboro
Jake MacCrone, Interboro

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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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Sunday, March 1, 2009


Another day, another Delco team falls in a district title game.

Strath Haven dropped a heartbreaker Saturday night by losing to Phoenixville, 56-55, in overtime in the District One Class AAA championship at Villanova. A day earlier, Penn Wood had lost to Norristown in the Class AAAA final.

This one was a little more devastating.

Senior guard Calvin Newell (pictured, above) did just about everything he could, save win the game. Newell scored - seemingly at will, in some moments. He dropped in a game-best 33 points and, along the way, hit the jaw-dropping shot that sent the game into overtime.

Newell's 3-point bank shot with five seconds to go in regulation tied the game at 50. But it wasn't just a regular 3-pointer.

The 6-0 guard found himself trapped just over halfcourt between two Phoenixville defenders. He cut between them, spun away from another defender and hit the shot as he faded to the left.

At first, it looked off. Newell never doubted himself - or his shot.

"It was the only thing they gave me, so I had to take it," Newell said after the game. "I couldn't get a regular shot off because they had hands in my face. The only thing I could get was the backboard, and I felt good about it going in as it left my hands."
Unfortunately for the Panthers, Newell - who scored all five of Haven's post-regulation points- fouled out in overtime and they could not recover. Senior guard Dan Morris (pictured, below) took the last shot of the game - a half-court heave that fell short.

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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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Friday, February 27, 2009


Penn Wood has only ever made it to the District One Class AAAA championship game three times - and has won it only once.

The Patriots will go for No. 2 tonight against eighth-seeded Norristown at Villanova's Pavilion. Sophomore center Shawn Oakman (pictured) and senior forward Thomas White - both of whom measure to 6-8 - will be integral pieces to the Patriots' game tonight.

Check back to Gettin' Schooled later tonight for updates. I have to admit that the 9 p.m. tipoff kind of hampers my desire to do a live blog of the game. But I'll post a halftime score, a final and a detailed recap.

And, of course, buy Saturday's Daily Times. (Keep your favorite high school reporters working, you know?)

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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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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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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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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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Wednesday, December 3, 2008


Episcopal Academy and The Haverford School opened their basketball seasons Tuesday. But for the remainder of Delaware County, the season begins Friday.

That's when the Daily Times' boys and girls basketball season previews will hit newsstands.

Sophomore center Shawn Oakman, pictured, and the Penn Wood Patriots are tapped by many Delco coaches as the team to beat in the Del Val and District One.

Obviously, their reputation extends beyong Delco. The Patriots are ranked No. 40 nationally by ESPN/Rise Magazine's Fab 50. And they're No. 9 in PrepNation's East Coast regional rankings.

Time will tell if the Patriots are for real. But we'll have a better grasp after Friday.


***Episcopal Acad. 43, Abington Friends 41: Sophomore Isaiah Baker scored 13 points and grabbed 11 rebounds in the first game at EA's O'Neill Gymnasium.

***Friends' Central 66, Hav. School 37: Senior A.J. Jones dropped in 10 points in the season opener for the Fords (0-1).

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Sunday, October 19, 2008


The District One boys soccer Classes AAA, AA and A brackets were announced Sunday, and six Delco teams made the cut. Here are the matchups:

Tuesday - Class AAA
24 RADNOR at 9 Pennridge, 7 p.m.
21 PENN WOOD at 12 Neshaminy, 7 p.m.
23 West Chester East at 10 UPPER DARBY, 7 p.m.
27 Cheltenham at 6 STRATH HAVEN, 7 p.m.

Wednesday - Class AA
5 Harriton at 4 SPRINGFIELD, TBD

Wednesday - Class A
8 Plumstead Christian at 1 DELCO CHRISTIAN, 3 p.m.

Keep an eye out for more coverage of the boys soccer playoffs in Monday's edition of the Daily Times.

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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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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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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

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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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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Friday, February 29, 2008

Playoff glance: The Elizabethtown Bears

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 second installment:

The Elizabethtown Bears (17-12), seeded third out of District Three, will tip off against Penn Wood (21-8) Saturday at 2:30 p.m. at Spring-Ford High School, located in Royersford.

The Bears...
  • have made history this year, making their first state-playoff appearance in school history. And remarkably, the school's been around for close to a century.
  • have pulled a complete 180. They posted a 4-19 record last season and appeared to be headed toward another postseason-less year... before winning 12 of their final 14 games to make states in coach Kevin Dolan's first season at the helm.
  • are playing strong behind junior forward Chad Styre (pictured), who's had the hot hand in the playoffs.
  • should match up well with Penn Wood. Both teams lack a dominant big man in the middle, though E-Town's Nate Koach (13 points, 9 rebs.) is a force.
  • need a pick-me-up. Think Penn Wood has had it bad, playing Chester three times? E-Town heads into Saturday after getting ambushed by Reading, which enters the state tournament unbeaten at 30-0.

For more on the Elizabethtown-Penn Wood matchup, take a look at today's Daily Times for a feature story on the Patriots' historical run this season. And check out Saturday's Daily Times for a complete preview of the game.

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Sunday, February 24, 2008

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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Saturday, February 23, 2008

Playing basketball in college?

I'll be the first to tell you all that I love my job - I really do. Covering games, meeting new people daily and telling their stories is like nothing else.

But I can't be everywhere.

So here's my pitch: if you're a player and you're headed to college to play basketball, let me know. And I'll reciprocate with some much-deserved coverage. This goes for coaches and parents, too, or simply anyone who can confirm a student-athlete's commitment to a school (Division I, II, III or otherwise).

I'd like to think I have a good relationship with most - if not all - of the coaches in Delaware County. But in case something slips by me or the coaches (Hey, we're all busy. It can happen), just drop me a line either through e-mail or right here on the blog. And I'll make sure that player gets some ink ASAP.

The District One Class AAAA championship might have been pushed back to Sunday, but there are some good games out there today. Here are my must-see tilts.
  • AAAA: Ridley vs. Souderton, 1 p.m., at Plymouth Whitemarsh. Going into states on a winning note will be on Ridley's mind.
  • AAAA: Penn Wood vs. Pennsbury, 1 p.m., at Norristown. The third seed in states is on the line.
  • AAA: Holy Ghost Prep vs. Upper Moreland, 1 p.m., at William Tennent. Gotta pull for HGP, my alma mater, in this one. Winner gets a berth in the state bracket.

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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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Saturday, February 16, 2008

Penn Wood, Chester to square off

Had you told Penn Wood coach Clyde Jones three months ago that his team would be in the District One Class AAAA semifinals, he might have had his doubts.

Conceivably, it was possible. Coming off a 12-13 year and a No. 28 seed in the district in 2006-07, it was almost unlikely. But after beating Souderton Friday, the Patriots are now set up for a colossal matchup with a familiar foe from the Del Val League - Chester - in the semifinals next week.

In other local quarterfinal games of interest:
  • Council Rock South didn't even give Chester a good contest. With four scorers in double figures, the Clippers won their 34th straight district tournament game.
  • Pennsbury was just too much for Ridley, which hit a game-long cold spell and couldn't recover. Highly-recruited guard Dalton Pepper stole the game for Pennsbury.

Make sure you pick up a copy of today's Daily Times for preview capsules of today's four games: Monsignor Bonner in the Catholic League playoffs; Radnor and Springfield in the Class AAA tournament; and Delco Christian in its Class A opener.

Since I was out at Wissahickon covering Ridley/Pennsbury Friday, I also chipped in on a girls basketball playoff game being played there before the nightcap. In Class A, Sacred Heart moved on with a huge win. Be sure to check it out.

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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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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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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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