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The Daily Times' boys basketball blog

Sunday, February 28, 2010


In case you didn't pick up the Sunday Times, the Daily Times sports staff was ALL over the District One Class AAAA, AAA and A playoffs. We had a writer at all six boys basketball postseason games.

We also had staff photographer at a few of them. Here's Bob Gurecki's view from the baseline:

Marple Newtown's Soutiri Sapnas drives past a Harriton defender Wednesday during the Tigers' District One Class AAA first-round victory.

Penncrest's Rodney Duncan eludes Plymouth-Whitemarsh's C.J. Aiken Saturday in the Lions' loss to the Colonials in a District One Class AAAA quarterfinal.

Chester's Rondae Jefferson tries to bring in an offensive rebound in the Clippers' District One Class AAAA quarterfinal loss to Souderton.

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Saturday, February 27, 2010


Archbishop Carroll's D.J. Irving has never missed a game in his four-year varsity career, though it seems likely the senior will sit out Monday's Catholic League championship game against Neumann-Goretti.

Irving broke the middle finger on his right shooting hand Wednesday during the Patriots' 51-47 Catholic semifinal victory over La Salle. His hand is set in a cast. Irving said he will make a decision Monday based on how he feels.

Here's more from Irving on the injury:

Q: How do you feel about your team playing without you?
A: I'm pretty confident and we haven't even had practice yet, because of the snow the last two days. Everybody's going to step up and do what they need to do to be successful.

Q: How did you know your finger was broken?
A: I felt something and I heard a little crack. I thought it was just my knuckle cracking. I knew I never felt anything like that before. Usually I could just shake it off, but this was killing me.

Q: So why did you try to get back in the game?
A: I had to test it. I told the trainer that I felt fine and I checked myself back into the game, basically. When I first got in, I could dribble a little with my right hand. I drove to the basket with my right and missed a layup. Later, I shot a 3. I was wide open and I missed it. I knew it was something serious when that happened.

For the full story, check out Saturday's Daily Times.

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Friday, February 26, 2010


Did that subject line shock anyone? It shouldn't have, seeing as the only Delaware County school that held classes Friday was Springfield (with a two-hour delay, of course).

Anyway, here's what you need to know about the District One playoffs:
**All Friday boys games were moved to Saturday, same times and same places
**Only exception to the above statement: Marple Newtown vs. Holy Ghost Prep at 4 p.m. (rather than 7:30)
**Two Saturday girls games slated to be played at Harriton High were moved to Plymouth-Whitemarsh.

And this is the entire Delco slate, including girls games:
Boys Class AAAA
Chester vs. Souderton, Norristown High School, 6
Penncrest vs. Plymouth-Whitemarsh, Norristown High School, 7:30
Penn Wood vs. Neshaminy, West Chester East High School, 7:30
Boys Class AAA
Springfield vs. Phoenixville, West Chester East High School, 1
Marple Newtown vs. Holy Ghost Prep, Plymouth-Whitemarsh High School, 4
Boys Class A
Delco Christian vs. Christopher Dock, West Chester East High School, 6
Girls Class AAA
Radnor vs. Villa Maria, Plymouth-Whitemarsh High School, 1
Springfield vs. Merion Mercy, Plymouth-Whitemarsh High School, 2:30
Girls Class A
Delco Christian vs. Sacred Heart, West Chester Rustin High School, 1

Check here for the full report.

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Thursday, February 25, 2010


The All-Star Labor Classic rosters are here.

One of the best all-star games around, the game benefits United Cerebral Palsy -- a very worthy cause. The showcase will be held Sunday, April 11, at La Salle’s Tom Gola Arena. It follows a Suburban vs. City format (click photo below to view an enlarged view of the whole roster.)

SUBURBAN TEAM. The 16-man team, coached in part by Penncrest's Mike Doyle, features 10 players from Delaware County (including three from Penn Wood):
***Will Brown, Penn Wood
***Tyree Johnson, Penn Wood
***Dequan Pelzer, Penn Wood
***Brian Parker, Chichester
***Soutiri Sapnas, Marple Newtown
***Ryan Hanley, Marple Newtown
***Cameron Gunter, Ridley
***Laquan Robinson, Chester
***Rodney Duncan, Penncrest
***Andrew Radomicki, Penncrest

CITY TEAM. The 16-man team, coached by Neumann-Goretti's Carl Arrigale, has only two Delco representatives:
***D.J. Irving, Archbishop Carroll
***Ben Mingledough, Archbishop Carroll

It's sure to be a competitive game. I've been there and the past - it always has been, always will be. Save the date and check it out.



Wednesday's win was big for Marple Newtown. How big? After taking down Harriton, 71-61, a throng of Marple fans - who wouldn't stop screaming throughout the game's duration - emptied the stands and occupied space on the floor.

But it's not over yet. The No. 8 Tigers (11-12) have a huge test looming Saturday in the quarterfinals of the District One Class AAA tournament, in top-seeded Holy Ghost Prep.

Here's what those around Marple's program had to say about their upcoming opponent:
Head coach Gerry Doemling: "They know what's coming up. We'll be ready. We know how good Holy Ghost is, but we also know that when we're playing our best, we can play with anyone. Other than St. Joe's Prep, we've been in every game this year.

Senior forward Ryan Hanley: "We've just got to keep playing hard. We have Holy Ghost next. People were predicted us to play for the championship. We knew we'd have to play them at some point. Might as well get it out of the way.

Senior guard Soutiri Sapnas (pictured): "They're the next team on the schedule. It's as simple as that."

Sapnas might have seemed like a man of few words, but that's only because he doesn't usually talk about upcoming opponents. He lets his play do the talking. And against Harriton, Sapnas dropped in 36. He'll need another game like that Saturday if the Tigers expect to beat the Firebirds.

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Wednesday, February 24, 2010


When I attend games, I don't like to sit at the scorer's table. Well, I do. But it's not my first choice. And especially not at a gym in which I've never seen a game.

So when I found a spot at Council Rock North Tuesday behind the Chester bench, I took it. In case you didn't get today's paper, the Chester backcourt of Laquan Robinson and Maurice Nelson (pictured) tore it up in the Clippers' win. Here's what I saw and heard from my vantage point:

TV timeout? At Rock North, there was a huge projection screen set up in the far right corner of the gym – sort of like a closed-circuit television broadcast of the game. But the opening tip was delayed for 60 seconds until technical difficulties had been ironed out and the refs had gotten a thumbs-up from the staff at Rock North. So, in a high school game, we had a TV timeout. … Good grief.

“Call it both ways.” Late in the second quarter, Council Rock North's John Raymon was whistled for a personal foul, the Indians' second of the half. A fan of the home team shouted toward the court, “Hey, ref, call it both ways.” … to which Chester assistant coach Keddy Harris shouted back, “Yeah, that's right – call it both ways.” By the time Rock North got its second foul, Chester already had seven.

Just in awe. At halftime, the Rock North cheerleaders did their little song and dance … then they waited on the court to watch the Chester High cheerleaders. Standing there, hands on their waist, they applauded the Clippers' crew after their in-unison splits. And the home-fan-heavy crowd gave the visiting cheerleaders a greater applause than its own squad.

22 … turnovers by Council Rock North
15 … Chester's biggest lead, at 32-17 with more than 12 minutes remaining
9 … missed free throws by Chester
4 … first-quarter 3-pointers by Chester's Nelson
2 … offensive rebounds and subsequent putbacks by Chester's Ronnell Williams at the second- and third-quarter buzzers, effectively breaking the Indians' will

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Tuesday, February 23, 2010


Nine teams from District One Class AAAA advance to the PIAA Class AAAA bracket. After Tuesday, it became clear that three of those nine will be from Delco.

Penn Wood (in a squeaker), Chester (in a cozy win) and Penncrest (in a clear victory) all punched their tickets to the state tournament. Here are the results from Tuesday night's second-round action ... and, perhaps more importantly, the district quarterfinal pairings:

Second Round - Tuesday
Plymouth Whitemarsh 58, Upper Dublin 51
Penncrest 49, Downingtown West 39
Pennsbury 40, Coatesville 39
West Chester Rustin 66, Norristown 43
Penn Wood 56, Bensalem 55
Neshaminy 45, Wissahickon 44
Souderton 64, Central Bucks South 54
Chester 50, Council Rock North 42

No. 8 Penncrest vs. No. 1 Plymouth Whitemarsh
No. 13 Pennsbury vs. No. 5 West Chester Rustin
No. 7 Neshaminy vs. No. 2 Penn Wood
No. 11 Chester vs. No. 3 Souderton

No. 24 Downingtown West vs. No. 17 Upper Dublin
No. 12 Norristown vs. No. 4 Coatesville
No. 15 Bensalem vs. No. 10 Wissahichon
No. 14 Central Bucks South vs. No. 6 Council Rock North
Semifinals: Tuesday, March 2, at Villanova
Championship: Friday, March 6, at Villanova
NOTE: Nine (9) teams qualify for the PIAA tournament.



The latest PIAA state basketball rankings were released Monday, by the Harrisburg Patriot-News. And each of Delco's representatives have stayed put.

Here's a look:

Rank, Team (District) Record, Previous Rank
1. Plymouth-Whitemarsh (1) 22-1 1
2. Penn Wood* (1) 19-3 2
3. Mount Lebanon (7) 21-1 3
4. Frankford (12) 19-2 4
5. Reading (3) 23-2 6
6. La Salle College (12) 18-4 7
7. Bayard Rustin (1) 20-3 5
8. Hempfield (3) 24-0 9
9. Coatesville (1) 20-4 10
10. Saint Joseph’s Prep (12) 17-7 NR
Honorable mention: Bartram (12) 15-7, Chester (1) 15-7, Council Rock North (1) 19-4, Norristown (1) 16-7, Pocono Mountain East (11) 17-6, Roman Catholic (12) 14-8, Wissahickon (1) 18-5, York (3) 21-4

Rank, Team (District) Record, Previous Rank
1. Neumann-Goretti (12) 22-1 1
2. Archbishop Carroll* (12) 20-3 2
3. Chartiers Valley (7) 21-1 3
4. Eastern York (3) 24-0 4
5. Hampton (7) 18-2 5
6. Holy Ghost Prep (1) 21-3 7
7. Abington Heights (2) 22-2 9
8. Erie East (10) 20-2 6
9. Hershey (3) 20-4 NR
10. Holy Redeemer (2) 20-2 NR
Honorable mention: Crestwood (2) 18-4, Farrell (10) 17-4, Oliver (8) 16-4, Perry Traditional (8) 16-2, Simon Gratz (12) 18-3, Springfield (1) 16-7, Steelton-Highspire (3) 16-7, York Suburban (3) 20-3

Note: An asterisk (*) denotes reigning PIAA champion.


Monday, February 22, 2010


There are so many reasons to like Archbishop Carroll's odds to get past La Salle Wednesday and punch its ticket to the Catholic League championship game: Mainly, you've got three: D.J. Irving, Juan'ya Green and Ben Mingledough.

These are three of Delco's top 12 scorers this year. Irving, an All-Delco guard (pictured), provides leadership in the backcourt whereas fellow senior Mingledough, a forward, does so down low. And Green, well, he does just about everything right.

Against La Salle, however, the Patriots will face one of their stiffest tests of the season. The Explorers (19-4) have won 11 of their last 12 games, including Saturday's Catholic League quarterfinal. They are the Red Division's top team.

Sure, La Salle hasn't won a league title since 1981. But they own eight, which ranks among the league's leaders in that category. And in Eddie Mitchell and Troy Hockaday, the Explorers have two potent scorers who will create fits for any defense.

It's going to be a heck of a game (Palestra, 7 p.m.), so be sure to get there early to guarantee yourself a ticket.

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Sunday, February 21, 2010


...And Delco Christian is in a favorable spot. The Knights, who earned the No. 4 seed, will face one of their Bicentennial Athletic League rivals in the second round --- No. 12 Calvary Christian or No. 5 Christopher Dock.

In another development, defending PIAA Class A state-champion Girard College was beaten out for the field's top overall seed. That belongs to Church Farm.

Here's the bracket shakes out:
First Round - Wednesday
No. 1 Church Farm, bye
No. 9 Plumstead Christian at No. 8 Jenkintown
No. 4 Delco Christian, bye
No. 12 Calvary Christian at No. 5 Christopher Dock
No. 2 Girard College, bye
No. 10 Bristol at No. 7 Calvary Baptist
No. 3 Faith Christian, bye
No. 11 Morrisville at No. 6 Phil-Mont Christian
Second Round - Feb. 26
Semifinals - March 2
Final - March 6, at Villanova

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Friday, February 19, 2010


Here are the scores from Friday night:

First Round

Plymouth Whitemarsh 70, West Chester East 28
Penncrest 44, Owen J Roberts 39
Downingtown West 56, Lower Merion 54
Coatesville 70, Hatboro Horsham 51
Pennsbury 40, North Penn 28
West Chester Rustin 53, Cheltenham 41
Norristown 50, Boyertown 41
Penn Wood 80, Oxford 36
Bensalem 60, West Chester Henderson 44
Neshaminy 59, Abington 41
Wissahickon 47, Central Bucks West 44
Souderton 60, Glen Mills 33
Central Bucks South 41, Ridley 32
Council Rock North 64, Quakertown 47
Chester 57, Conestoga 39
No. 17 Upper Dublin at No. 16 Spring-Ford, 7

Second Round

No. 17 Upper Dublin/No. 16 Spring-Ford winner at No. 1 Plymouth Whitemarsh
No. 24 Downingtown West at No. 8 Penncrest
No. 13 Pennsbury at No. 13 Pennsbury
No. 12 Norristown at No. 5 West Chester Rustin
No. 15 Bensalem at No. 2 Penn Wood
No. 10 Wissahickon at No. 7 Neshaminy
No. 14 Central Bucks South at No. 3 Souderton
No. 11 Chester at No. 6 Council Rock North

Pick up a copy of Saturday's Daily Times for coverage of Chester's first-round win over Conestoga and Penncrest's victory against Owen J. Roberts.

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The basketball season's extension is here ... finally. It seemed like forever, the five or six days between the seeding meeting and the first-round games.

When the District One Class AAAA commence tonight, let Gettin' Schooled be your first stop for scores from around the district. I'll update tonight when all the scores have been reported, from No. 1 Plymouth Whitemarsh all the way through the bracket.

Check back throughout the night for the latest ... and enjoy a fun night of basketball.


Thursday, February 18, 2010


Despite winning a state title a year ago, fan turnout at Archbishop Carroll's home gym hasn't been exactly what Juan'ya Green expected. But Sunday, there was one member of the crowd who was most noticeable.

Temple coach Fran Dunphy was there, watching Green and the Patriots fall, 66-58, to Neumann-Goretti. Dunphy is one of many coaches volleying for Green's services.

“I see the coaches in the stands,” said Green, a junior, “but I try to just go about my business.”

Once considered the darling of Jay Wright's 2011recruiting class at Villanova, Green has dropped off the Wildcats' radar (probably because the No. 3 team in the country figures it can do better). In any case, Green is an incredibly skilled guard/forward that any Division I school would be willing to have.

Need evidence of that? Green has offers from Maryland, Temple, Saint Joseph's, George Mason and Boston University – where his Carroll teammate D.J. Irving is headed next fall. Green also has recruiting interest from Georgetown and Providence – Villanova's rivals in the Big East.

Should be an interesting decision for Green.


Speaking of Green, he was Delco's lone representative on the All-Catholic League Blue Division team. The All-Catholic teams, decided upon by the league's coaches, were unveiled Wednesday.

In the Blue Division, Green made the first team along with three members of Neumann-Goretti's division-championship squad – including MVP Tony Chennault. Also for Carroll, senior point guard DJ Irving and senior forward Ben Mingledough made the Second Team.

In the Red Division, Monsignor Bonner had three players earn all-league honors. Senior point guard Jamal Melvin was a Second-Team pick while senior forwards Kiefer Francis and Scott Slade were chosen to the Third Team.

Roman Catholic's Rakeem Brookins was the Red's MVP.

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Wednesday, February 17, 2010


The District One Class AAAA bracket has been out for a couple days, being decided upon by the coaches Sunday. And as such, I have had a couple days to let it marinate.

Here are some of my observations surrounding the district playoffs, which begin Friday:
Deserved draw – No. 1 Plymouth-Whitemarsh. The Colonials lost only once – to a nationally ranked team from out of state. Penn Wood, the No. 2 seed, lost three games – all to nationally ranked teams from out of state. You could say it could've gone either way, with one PW team jumping ahead of the other. Penn Wood lost the top spot by five-tenths of a point. “They had the best season,” said Penn Wood coach Clyde Jones. “They deserved it more than we did.”

Best draw – No. 11 Chester. Nobody is ready to dismiss the Clippers. You can't do that to a team that has earned so much respect (and won so many district crowns) over the years. That being said, look at their bracket: First round vs. No. 22 Conestoga. Second round, either vs. No. 6 Council Rock North or No. 28 Quakertown. Quarterfinal, probably vs. No. 3 Souderton or No. 19 Ridley. Keep in mind, you only have to win two rounds to make states.

Flip-Flop draw – No. 4 Coatesville, No. 5 West Chester Rustin. Hours after the district seeding meeting, the numbers were run again and these two teams were flipped. I think Rustin got the worst of this, potentially seeing No. 12 (and defending district champ) Norristown in the second round.

Head-scratching draw – No. 6 Council Rock North. The Indians, based on a few highly unofficial pre-seeding meeting projections, should have been ranked in the top five. Instead the earned the sixth seed, which could work against them. They might have the talent to escape the first round, but getting Chester (potentially) in Round 2 is a tough draw.

Luckiest draw – No. 30 Glen Mills. It's tough to call the 30 th seed in a 32-team bracket lucky, but at least the Battlin' Bulls get to avoid No. 1 Plymouth-Whitemarsh and No. 2 Penn Wood in the first round. For a team that – in this writer's opinion – was on the outside of the playoff bubble looking in, the Bulls have a great chance to get into Round 2 and vie for a state-playoff spot. More power to them.


Tuesday, February 16, 2010


It wasn't as dramatic as most championship games are, but Penncrest will take it.

The Lions thumped Ridley, 45-26, Tuesday night in the Central League championship game at Harriton High School. The teams' only other meeting this season went to overtime, with the visiting Green Raiders stealing a victory.

This time, it was all Penncrest (21-3), which won its first league title since 1999 and only its seventh all-time. Senior Rodney Duncan inflicted most of the damage, dropping in 20 points. Fellow senior and backcourt mate Andrew Radomicki dropped in 12 for the Lions, who outscored the Green Raiders (16-8) in each quarter.

Both teams could end up seeing each other in the District One Class AAAA playoffs, which commence Friday. Eighth-seeded Penncrest will host No. 15 Owen J Roberts and 19th-seeded Ridley heads to No. 14 Central Bucks South.

For more on the Central League championship game, pick up a copy of Wednesday's Daily Times.

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I gave a mention to the PIAA basketball rankings in my weekly boys basketball notebook, which appeared in today's Daily Times.

Here are the latest installments, courtesy the Harrisburg Patriot-News. You'll find four Delco teams ranked within, including Dequan Pelzer (pictured) and Penn Wood:

Rank, Team (District) Record, Previous Rank
1. Plymouth-Whitemarsh (1) 21-1 1
2. PENN WOOD* (1) 18-3 2
3. Mt. Lebanon (7) 21-1 3
4. Frankford (12) 14-2 4
5. Bayard Rustin (1) 19-2 7
6. Reading (3) 20-2 8
7. La Salle (12) 17-4 5
8. Roman Catholic (12) 14-7 6
9. Hempfield (3) 21-0 10
10. Coatesville (1) 18-3 NR
Honorable mention: Bartram (12) 13-7, CHESTER (1) 14-7, Council Rock North (1) 18-4, Liberty (11) 18-4, Norristown (1) 14-6, Saint Joseph’s Prep (12) 15-7, Wissahickon (1) 17-5, York (3) 19-3

Rank, Team (District) Record, Previous Rank
1. Neumann-Goretti (12) 20-1, 1
2. ARCH. CARROLL* (12) 19-3, 2
3. Chartiers Valley (7) 19-1, 4
4. Eastern York (3) 21-0, 5
5. Hampton (7) 17-2, 3
6. Erie East (10) 19-1, 6
7. Holy Ghost Prep (1) 19-3, 8
8. Steelton-Highspire (3) 15-6, NR
9. Abington Heights (2) 19-2, 7
10. Perry Traditional (8) 15-1, 10
Honorable mention: Crestwood (2) 18-3, Hershey (3) 17-4, Holy Redeemer (2) 19-2, Oliver (8) 13-4, Simon Gratz (12) 15-3, SPRINGFIELD (1) 16-7, West Scranton (2) 16-5, York Suburban (3) 19-2
NOTE: An asterisk (*) denotes reigning state champion.


Sunday, February 14, 2010


You want 'em, you've got 'em. Here are the District One Class AAAA and AAA playoff brackets. (Analysis from your favorite boys basketball beat writer soon to follow):

District One Class AAAA Playoffs
(Higher seeds host in first two rounds)
First Round – Feb. 19
(32) West Chester East at (1) Plymouth Whitemarsh
(17) Upper Dublin at (16) Spring-Ford
(25) Owen J Roberts at (8) Penncrest
(24) Downingtown West at (9) Lower Merion
(29) Hatboro Horsham at (4) West Chester Rustin
(20) North Penn at (13) Pennsbury
(28) Cheltenham at (5) Coatesville
(21) Boyertown at (12) Norristown
(31) Oxford at (2) Penn Wood
(18) West Chester Henderson at (15) Bensalem
(26) Abington at (7) Neshaminy
(23) Central Bucks West at (10) Wissahickon
(30) Glen Mills at (3) Souderton
(19) Ridley at (14) Central Bucks South
(27) Quakertown at (6) Council Rock North
(22) Conestoga at (11) Chester
Second Round: Feb. 23
Quarterfinals: Feb. 26
Semifinals: March 2, at Villanova
Championship: March 6, at Villanova
NOTE: Nine (9) teams qualify for the PIAA tournament.


District One Class AAA Playoffs
(Higher seeds host in first two rounds)
First Round – Feb. 24
(9)Harriton at (8) Marple Newtowna
(12) Upper Merion at (5) Upper Perkiomen
(10) Pottstown at (7) Lower Moreland
(11) Phoenixville at (6) Strath Haven
Quarterfinals – Feb. 27
Harriton/Marple Newtown winner at (1) Holy Ghost Prep
Upper Merion/Upper Perkiomen winner at (4) Pottsgrove
Pottstown/Lower Moreland winner at (2) Octorara
Phoenixville/Strath Haven winner at (3) Springfield
Semifinals: March 3
Championship: March 6, at Villanova
NOTE: Three (3) teams qualify for the PIAA tournament.

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Saturday, February 13, 2010


It's going to be an all-Delaware County final in the Central League championship tournament.

That became official when Penncrest put the finishing touches on its 51-40 victory over Springfield and, at Bala Cynwyd Middle School, Ridley pulled a 42-40 upset of top-seeded Lower Merion.

In Penncrest's victory, Ian Campbell led three double-figure scorers with 14 points. Rodney Duncan had 13 and Andrew Radomicki scored 11. The storyline for the Lions was Matt Atkinson (9 points, 8 rebounds, 7 assists, 7 steals), who came very close to a quadruple-double.

"We're very excited to be in this situation," said Penncrest coach Mike Doyle, whose team has steadily improved its win total in each of his seven years at the helm.

For Ridley, it was all Cameron Gunter, who had 15 points and 10 boards. But Marc Dziadon stole the spotlight. He only made two shots the entire game --- and one of them was a running layup as time expired, sealing the Green Raiders' upset. Shawn Church tossed in 13 points.

ABOUT THE CHAMPIONSHIP ... No. 4 Ridley takes on No. 2 Penncrest for the title Tuesday night in a 7 p.m. tipoff at Harriton High. Should be a good one.

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Penn Wood junior Aaron Brown needed only 10 points Thursday to notch a career milestone.

Mission accomplished.

Brown scored 14 to lead the Patriots past Glen Mills, 73-49, in a win that clinched Penn Wood's undefeated season in the Del Val League portion of their schedule. Brown joined the 1,000-point club in the win. Shawn Oakman and Tyree Johnson, the reigning Daily Times Player of the Year, joined Brown as the team's leading scorers -- all having scored 14 apiece. A senior, Johnson also eclipsed the 1,000-point mark this year.

For those who don't know about Brown, you need to see the kid play. The 6-5 forward thrives on the wing. His jumpshot works well in his game, but he's at his best when he can get to the rim on his dribble-drive attack. He's even worked on his 3-point shot, too.

Brown emerged as a legitimate threat for the Patriots late last season in their district- and state-playoff runs en route to the PIAA Class AAAA championship. In the state semifinal victory against Mt. Lebanon, his worth really shone through when he shot 10-for-10 from the floor. This season, he has ranked within the county's top-five scorers from the first game of the year.

And scoring his 1,000th career point is only the latest milestone on Brown's resume.

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Tuesday, February 9, 2010


OK, gang. You know enough about Delco's best basketball teams (assuming you like reading my game stories and features as much as I enjoy writing them). So here's a glimpse at the finest another section of District One has to offer.

Kevin Cooney, a veteran reporter at the Bucks County Courier Times, agreed to give me the low-down on the teams he covers regularly. Cooney and I go way back. (I first met the guy when I was a sports intern at the Courier Times in 2005, so I'm sure I'll talk Delco hoops with him at some point.)

But, anyway – here's what you need to know about Bucks County's best:

Council Rock North
is the hottest team in Bucks, winning 14 of its last 15 after starting the year 2-3. “They've gotten on a nice roll,” Cooney said, “and the guy behind it is John Raymon,” a senior who gives the Indians a nice inside presence. The Suburban One League's National Conference leaders are tied with Neshaminy at 9-3, but have beaten them twice.

Neshaminy. Speaking of the Redskins, they can be dangerous in the Class AAAA bracket if sophomore Ryan Arcidiacono (pictured above) “can go on some sort of a run,” Cooney said, “because they're one-dimensional, around him.” Neshaminy's scoring leader doesn't have much around him and the Redskins – who lost to Plymouth Whitemarsh, Holy Ghost Prep, Council Rock North and Bensalem – lack a signature win. The 'Skins have beaten Lower Merion, however.

Bensalem entered week ninth in the Class AAAA power rankings but, like Neshaminy, the Owls (14-6) have lost twice to Council Rock North. They've also gotten blown out at Neshaminy. The Owls are hot, having won eight in a row – thanks to senior guard Nick Christian (the leading scorer who's headed Army) and junior center Ivan Flores.

Pennsbury is the odd-team out in Bucks. They've had a lot of up seasons in recent history, but this one is down for the Falcons. Senior point guard Jesse Krasna (pictured), a varsity contributor since his freshman year, and forward Dante Devine are the engines Pennsbury needs to fire up to make a run in districts.

Holy Ghost Prep
“should win the tournament,” according to Cooney. The main thing for the Firebirds is balance. Nate Lorence and Duffy Barrett give HGP good size inside, but Mike Byrne and Tyler Juchno can beat teams outside. Cooney pointed out that, against BAL opponent Christopher Dock, Ghost had 10 players scorer and six finished with between 5 and 12 points. “Their balance is what sets them apart, but they're also very defense oriented,” Cooney said.

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Monday, February 8, 2010


There's something about Chester freshman Rondae Jefferson that looks awfully familiar.

He's agile and quick, hits the boards hard and can score from anywhere inside the 3-point line. Sound familiar? It sounds like a description of Jefferson's older brother, Rahlir, who was an All-Delco last season.

The elder Jefferson, enjoying a strong freshman season with 17th-ranked Temple, said his younger brother has the potential to be better than him

“He's playing well. He hit a couple of jumpers,” Rahlir Jefferson said, after the Clippers' 57-40 loss to Penn Wood last Thursday. “He's still getting used to the movement in his leg, from when he was injured. Once that gets healed, he'll be good. He'll be better than me. I'm the big brother. I know. I just watch. I can see it.”

“He tells me that sometimes,” said Rondae Jefferson. “I don't know. His work ethic is better than mine, but I just give all of my heart every chance I get. I just twisted my ankle before the game. All I could do was lace up the sneakers and give it my all.”

Rondae Jefferson is averaging five points per game for the Clippers, playing in only three of their games because of a preseason leg injury. Already, Chester coach Larry Yarbray can see similarities in the brothers' play.

“At this stage, as far as talent with him being a freshman, he's got more than what Rahlir had,” Yarbray said. “Rahlir's work ethic got better over the years once his confidence got up. In terms of confidence, Rondae already has that.

“He says stuff like, 'Coach, I'm going to get you a foul shot.' I trust his abilities to a certain extent. If you saw it, in the heat of the battle tonight, he pulled the whole team together. He's a leader. He believes in himself already. Not a lot of guys have that, which is amazing because some of them have played for three years. If he hadn't gone down in the beginning of the year, those (seven) losses we have, we might only have three of them.”

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Saturday, February 6, 2010


If you stopped out to Acme last night - or decided to stay in and avoid the apocalyptic-type snow that was forecast - you probably missed this one.

It was a doozy.

Springfield knocked off Penncrest, 57-48, Friday in a night game-turned-matinee in the Cougars' home gym. Snow kept the game, part of the Central League's Coaches v. Cancer fundraiser, from being played after dark, but it couldn't keep the Cougars from pulling the upset.

With the win, Springfield (15-6, 11-4) locked up a spot in next week's Central League championship tournament. Also, the Cougars have won 11 of their last 12, after dropping five in a row from Dec. 22 to Jan. 5.

Senior forward Wally Rutecki, pictured, had the big game for the Cougars, with 22 points and eight rebounds. Brendan McNamee and Zack DeVito tossed in 18 and 11, respectively, for the victors.

How bad did things get for visiting Penncrest (18-3, 12-3)? The Lions trailed, 24-13, at halftime and 41-21 entering the fourth quarter. Andrew Radomicki scored 22 for Penncrest.

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Friday, February 5, 2010


There's somewhere from 8 to 18 inches of snow headed our way, and high school basketball teams have taken the necessary precautions.

Friday night games that have been postponed include:
**Garnet Valley at Haverford
**Lower Merion at Ridley
**Delco Christian at Phil-Mont Christian
**Strath Haven at Radnor
**Upper Darby at Conestoga
**Atlantic Christian at Christian Academy
**Harriton at Marple Newtown (Saturday)

And for those brave souls out there, here are games that will be played Friday, with their new start times to follow:
**Monsignor Bonner at Father Judge, 3:45
**Penncrest at Springfield, 5:30
**Cardinal O'Hara at St. Joseph's Prep, 3:15
**Haverford School at Chestnut Hill Academy, 4 p.m.

Stay close to Gettin' Schooled. If something else breaks, you'll hear it here first.

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Here's a closer look at Penn Wood's 57-40 win over Chester Thursday:

***LAUGH IT OFF. Clippers forward Ronnell Williams experienced the joy and ire of coach Larry Yarbray in one trip to the free throw line. When the sophomore banked in a foul shot, Yarbray laughed and smiled at his young big man. And when Williams clanked the next one, Yarbray screamed at him to get down the floor and defend.

***COLLEGE ROLL CALL. Three members of the nationally-ranked Temple Owls' rotation were at the Clip Joint. Chester All-Delco Rahlir Jefferson sat beside former Clippers coach Fred Pickett, while Scootie Randall and Ramone Moore (Jefferson's teammates with the No. 19 Owls) were seated in the row in front of him.

***1,000 POINT CLUB, PART I. Before the game, Chester honored Maurice Nelson, who scored his career 1,000th point Tuesday in a road game at Interboro. But Tyree Johnson got the best of Nelson. Johnson, who scored his 1,000th point in an earlier meeting with Chester, had the better game this time around, too. ...And he did so less than 24 hours after making his college commitment.

***SUPER 7 DISCUSSION. Speaking of Pickett, the longtime Clippers coach asked me why Chester had slipped to No. 4 in the latest Daily Times' Super 7. After giving my explanation, Pickett walked away. He wanted nothing of it. But he's a good sport. He came back a minute later, smiling. (Like any good coach, he knows not to take sports too seriously. That's the key.)

***1,000 POINT CLUB, PART II. One of Darby Township's finest was a referee Thursday. Derick Loury, who scored 1,137 points in his career with the Eagles, worked the game at the Clip Joint.

(Note: PHOTOS BY DAILY TIMES STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER BOB GURECKI. Check Friday for video from the game.)

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Thursday, February 4, 2010


Tyree Johnson finally knows where he'll play his college basketball.

Penn Wood's senior point guard gave Hartford coach Dan Leibovitz a verbal commitment by telephone late Wednesday night. How late? Try 10 p.m.

"I wouldn't call it late. I wanted to weigh my options," said Johnson, the 2008-09 Daily Times Player of the Year. "I had to make the right decision and the right decision was to play for him. I had talked to my coach (Clyde Jones) earlier and I told him I was thinking about it. I told him that, most likely, I was going to do it (Wednesday) night."

Johnson had interest from a bevy of Atlantic 10 schools and had offers from Siena and Northeastern before committing to Leibovitz and the Hawks. Johnson plans on being academically eligible next fall. He said he's taking the SAT again just to make sure.

As for his first game after giving his verbal, well, Johnson was just trying to have fun. He did just that in Penn Wood's 57-40, Del Val League-clinching win over Chester. He couldn't help but smile after the Clippers' Maurice Nelson picked Johnson clean on one possession and then Johnson returned the favor on Chester's next trip up the court.

"It's basketball. I love it," Johnson said. "You've got to have fun with it."

Next season, Johnson will be having fun at Hartford.

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Wednesday, February 3, 2010


Penncrest assistant coach Jason Ritter is an algebra teacher, which means he fiddles with numbers for fun. (Crazy, right?) Curious where his Lions would be seeded in the upcoming District One Class AAAA playoff bracket - if the season ended today - Ritter went to work.

He volunteered his time and effort to assemble the top 20 seeds of the district-playoff field. He utilized various Web sites to piece together a points system that, while it's highly unofficial, should provoke some water-cooler talk among the types who enjoy that sort of thing. Will Brown and Penn Wood and Del Val League rival Chester, and Robert Pittman (pictured above), will factor in somewhere.

Here's what we're Ritter found, based on teams' records through Sunday:
1 Plymouth-Whitemarsh (14.4697 points)
2 Penn Wood (13.0*)
3 Neshaminy (12.79215)
4 Souderton (12.6101)
5 WC Rustin (12.3706)
6 Council Rock North (12.0545)
7 Coatesville (11.609)
8 Lower Merion (11.5519)
9 Bensalem (11.3967)
10 Penncrest (11.3747)
11 Central Bucks South (11.265)
12 Chester (11.207)
13 Norristown (10.9497)
14 Upper Dublin (10.6237)
15 Downingtown West (10.319)
16 Spring-Ford (9.9997)
17 Pennsbury (9.9008)
18 Owen J. Roberts (9.8868)
19 Wissahickon (9.8465)
20 WC Henderson (8.1725)

And here's what we can disseminate from all of this:
*** Penncrest would have the 10 seed for the second straight year. Despite the Lions' gaudy record, their only win against a team on this points table is No. 20 West Chester Henderson.
***Chester, at No. 12, would have its lowest seed in recent memory. However, who among us would want to face the Clippers in March? No takers? Didn't think so.
***Plymouth-Whitemarsh is good. Quite good. The Colonials' only loss is to perennial national power St. Benedict's (N.J.) And Penn Wood, well, let's just say it wouldn't surprise anyone to see an all PW district final.
***Neshaminy is kind of a surprise. The Redskins have a couple senior leaders who provide nice balance. But they primarily lean on Ryan Arcidiacano, a sharp-shooting sophomore. Sorry, but you can never count on an underclassman in the playoffs.

For dates and bracket specifics, visit District One's Web site.

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Tuesday, February 2, 2010


They had only minutes earlier finished off their biggest rival in a game decided by four points. They had, in the moments prior to that game, honored their two eldest players in Senior Day festivities.

Needless to say, The Haverford School coach Steve Cloran's players have not considered playing in the Pennsylvania Independent Schools Tournament, which begins next month.

The Fords (11-8, 2-4) were more trained on winning out the rest of their Inter-Academic League slate, which includes two important games with league-leading Chestnut Hill Academy. But they know only four games separate them from the Indy Tourney, which is for all the marbles.

It used to be that representatives from the Inter-Ac and the Catholic leagues - and a host of other smaller schools from outside the Philadelphia area - would play for the state title. Now, with the Catholic kids playing in the PIAA, it's mostly an Inter-Ac heavy playoff. That doesn't alter its importance.

But Cloran's players - and the coach himself - don't want to think about that just yet. They have important games to win.

"You kind of, with high school players, you don't want to put too much in their heads," Cloran said Thursday. "So we might only quickly talk about that with them. Our main goal this year is to win more games in the Inter-Ac League. We're not there yet, but we'll continue to stay in the present."

Added junior center Andrew Acker: "We haven't really talked about that tournament all that much. I think he wants all of us to focus on finishing up the Inter-Ac. ... We've got some tough ones coming up first."

The Pa. Independent Schools tourney kicks off Feb. 15 at the higher seeds' home gyms, and finishes Feb. 19 and 20 at Montgomery County Community College.

COMING TOMORROW: An updated look at the Inter-Ac standings, and what The Haverford School and Episcopal Academy need to do to finish near the top as the season nears conclusion.

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Monday, February 1, 2010


What's that old parable? It has something to do with a tree falling in the woods... Anyway, a high-school boys basketball game started Saturday and ended Sunday. It didn't go to overtime. And it certainly wasn't televised, so there weren't any television timeouts.

So why did Archbishop Carroll's nonleague game against Mount Lebanon require two calendar days to complete? It's the fault of showcase tournaments, creating glossy games that have more to do with feeding bodies through turnstiles than with maintaining the well-being of the student-athletes involved in the game.

Maybe it's just this reporter's opinion, but it seems absurd that a high school game be started - and finished - so late in the night. Maybe the players actually enjoy a break from the monotony of 3:45 and 7:30 p.m. starts. Maybe the fans enjoy taking in a game that requires a few coffee trips to prevent snoring while watching.

I don't. I'm old school that way. It's a shame Carroll's Juan'ya Green, pictured, one of the county's finest scoring guards, posted 26 points and made 15 of his 17 shots from the free-throw line ... and nobody probably saw it. It's a shame All-Delco D.J. Irving scored 16 points and added five steals and four assists for Archbishop Carroll ... and nobody read about it in the newspaper.


In games that started (and ended) Sunday:
Penn Wood 86, South Philadelphia 48: The Patriots absolutely pummeled their Public League foes in a game at Villanova's Pavilion. Four scorers hit for double figures, including All-Delco Tyree Johnson and forward Aaron Brown.

Parkland 61, Chester 59 (OT): The Clippers lost for the third time in five games and their second straight, in an overtime game at Parkland. Erikk Wright, a sophomore forward who scored 21 points and grabbed 12 rebounds, continues to emerge as a formidable player in the paint.

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