Blogs > Gettin' Schooled

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

Thursday, October 22, 2009


For hoop-heads like myself, it's always good to see a story like the one that appears in Friday's Daily Times.

Sports editor Rob Parent takes a look at Chester's Laquan Robinson and Mo Nelson (pictured) - basketball players at heart who are suiting up for their school's football team, too. Robinson and Nelson, who represent the backcourt for Clippers coach Larry Yarbray, are expected to carry Chester High beyond the PIAA Class AAAA basketball quarterfinals.

Parent also caught up with Penn Wood junior Shawn Oakman, a huge (and we mean huge) piece of football coach Sam Mormando's team. Oakman, who measures to 6-9, was the starting center on hoops coach Clyde Jones' PIAA Class AAAA state-championship team last winter. On the football field, he lines up at tight end and defensive end.

It's an interesting look at how, in an era that pushes student-athletes to specialize in one sport, several players are taking a pass on the norm. ...Only in Friday's Daily Times.

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Sunday, March 8, 2009


The feelings Glen Mills coach Craig Mellinger expressed openly outside his team's HersheyPark Arena locker room Saturday night were those of remorse. Maybe there was some regret dashed in there too.

Mellinger, who has been around long enough to win his 300th game this season (pictured), has been down this road before. He knows that the Battlin' Bulls' first state playoff team since 2004 might have been their last for quite some time. There is never any certainty which student-athletes will be back next season at Glen Mills, a school for court-adjudicated youths.

"How many am I guessing I'm losing? Every single kid in our locker room," Mellinger said after the Bulls' 59-44 loss to Central Dauphin East in the first round of the PIAA Class AAAA tournament. "And that's always a huge question-marked proposition. A, who's going to still be committed to the court system, and B, who will be in a situation where maybe it's not conducive for him to go back home and they need to stay here and get processed.

"Honestly, and I'm not being facetious – we're probably going to lose every kid in there, so we'll have to start over again."

It also does not help the Bulls' cause that they lose 6-10 All-Delco center Aaric Murray, a La Salle signee who you can pencil in for a double-double almost every night. Murray, who prior to three years ago had never played organized basketball, was considered a project at The Mills.

"All of these guys, from the moment they set foot on our basketball court, are our kids and our projects," Mellinger said. "Some, their learning curve is going to be a lot quicker. Other guys, we’re willing to work with any and all. We just got done saying to these guys, ‘It’s been an absolute pleasure to work with you all.'

"…From November and until now, I don't think they realize how far they've come. I think they'll reflect back on it in a couple of weeks and they'll understand it."

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Here are some links from Saturday's high school action:

Chester 66, Red Land 50: Click for the story; Click for photo slideshow by Eric Hartline.
Penn Wood 51, Penn Manor 46: Click for the story; Click for video by Bob Gurecki.

Archbishop Carroll 59, West York 42: Click for the story.
Camp Hill 54, Sacred Heart 41: Click for the story.
Delco Christian 51, Greenwood 45: Click for the story.

Springfield's Andre Petroski, the reigning Daily Times wrestler of the year, took the bronze medal in the 189-pound division at states. Jon Campbell has the story. He and Daily Times sports editor Rob Parent tag-teamed (wrestling term, get it? Albeit a WWE one) the state championships, where Springfield had four wrestlers make states and three win medals.

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Saturday, February 14, 2009


Delaware County had a rough showing in Friday's opening round of the District One Class AAAA playoffs. Seven local teams made the bracket, and only three moved on to the next round:

  • At Upper Darby, Tre Davis (pictured) and the No. 16 Royals could not keep up with Souderton's A.J. Picard, who shot 8-for-11 from the floor. Harry Chaykun reports.
  • At Penn Wood, the No. 3 Patriots were on a mission to make quick work of No. 30 Chichester. Mission accomplished. Matt Smith reports. And Bob Gurecki chips in with video coverage.
  • At Chester, the No. 1 Clippers were able to regroup after a difficult week in which freshman point guard Kareem Robinson was shot twice. It was an emotional win. Your favorite blogger was on the scene.
  • ELSEWHERE: No. 12 Glen Mills advanced, No. 10 Penncrest was upset and No. 22 Radnor could not spring a road win. The roundup.


When the District One Class AAA and A brackets were unveiled, Strath Haven coach Steve Lewis was a little apprehensive. Reason being, his No. 6 Panthers have to do battle in the first-round with an 11th-seeded Upper Moreland team that "smacked us in the mouth," he said.

More on the brackets.


Coming Sunday: The Daily Times has you (and the Catholic League playoffs) covered. Sports editor Rob Parent was on hand for Archbishop Carroll's win over West Catholic. A Northeast Philadelphia guy - born and raised - I didn't have to travel too far for Monsignor Bonner's loss to North Catholic, which was held at Archbishop Ryan. We'll have the latest in Sunday's edition.

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Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Springfield's Buchholz back in town

I love high school sports. If you ask me, sport is never more genuine. Your desire to play is never greater, neither is the camaraderie. But it's always good to get a breather.

So last night, I was at Citizens Bank Park alongside sports editor Rob Parent, who was writing the gamer and notes. (See, even our full-time Phillies guy Ryan Lawrence needs a day away from the beat.)

I was there to do a column on Rockies reliever Taylor Buchholz, who is best known for his stellar high school career at Springfield High.

I've said before to my peers and friends that the most humble pro athlete I've ever interviewed was Orlando's Jameer Nelson. But Buchholz trumps Jameer. He was a great chat and took minutes out of his schedule between pitchers' meetings to talk about life at home.

I hope you enjoy my first try at column writing with the Daily Times. (The last time I wrote one was in my career at The Temple News.)

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Thursday, March 13, 2008

Chester's win: We've got it covered

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

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

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

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

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

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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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