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The Daily Times' boys basketball blog

Monday, February 28, 2011


For the second straight season -- and to the same opponent -- Archbishop Carroll lost the Catholic League championship game.

Monday's 59-55 loss to Neumann-Goretti meant the Saints were able to take home their 15th league crown while concluding their third consecutive unbeaten slate in league play.

All the while, Carroll was unable to win its second such crown.

The Patriots relied too heavily upon All-Delco Juan'ya Green, who poured in a game-best 30 points. He shot 9-for-25 from the floor; his team combined to shoot 10-for-24, which doesn't sound all that bad ... but it was.

The Patriots' second-leading scorer this season, Yosef Yacob, who had 18 points in the league semifinal, finished with six. Alec Stavetski, another usually reliable offensive cog, was left scoreless. Jay Donovan, a long-range sniper, had only one trey and seven total points.

"We didn't do enough," Donovan said.

"Sometimes we stand too much. It happened tonight," he added. "We stand around and watch Juan'ya too much. We should set picks and get each other open better. We need to play better as a team. We can't rely on Juan'ya like that. One versus five won't work. He's a great player, but we need to help him out."

Tracy Peal was Carroll's only other double-figure scorer, tallying 12 points with eight rebounds.

For more on the game, including a column by Jack McCaffery and sidebar special to the Times by Tom Kerrane, pick up Tuesday's edition of the Daily Times.

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Friday, February 25, 2011


I'm not a fan of making predictions. Never have been, never will. The only ones I've ever made (at least in a high school basketball sense) have been for the Daily Times' state-championship preview packages. And in those, I'm a respectable 3-1.

So let's try this out:
District One Class AAAA Quarterfinal - Bensalem at Chester. The ninth-seeded Owls, who advanced to the state tourney for the first time since 1991, played physically late to overcome North Penn Tuesday. They're seasoned by districts ... but nothing prepares you for a game at the Clip Joint. Clippers roll, 74-57.

District One Class AAAA Playback - Pennridge at Penn Wood. There's nothing like having your back against the wall to bring out the best in your game. Everyone is entitled to a bad game. That's what I chalk up the Patriots' last game to. They are too good to be denied this early into the postseason. Penn Wood cruises past an undermanned and inexperienced Rams team, 74-50.

District One Class AAAA Playback - Glen Mills at Upper Darby. In a rematch of the teams' regular-season finale - the one that cost the Royals an undefeated season - the Battlin' Bulls clearly have the size advantage. It's something they exploited against UD. My guess is Upper Darby, having learned its lesson, battles down low early and often. It'll be close, but the edge goes to the Royals, 49-46.

District One Class AAAA Playback - Springfield at North Penn. The Knights blew their lead at home against Bensalem in Round 2, so they might be antsy to return to the court. Meanwhile, the Cougars had their hands full at Chester. This will be the closest, most back-and-forth game of all the remaining teams from Delco. My guess is Springfield senior Zack DeVito, who has been limited this postseason, turns it up. Springfield wins a nailbiter, 54-50.

District One Class A Quarterfinal: Delco Christian at Faith Christian. The Knights have meandered above and below .500 for much of the season, while FC has lost just once since the turn of the calendar. Looks like DC could be up against it, even with newly minted 1,000-point scorer Jordan Sbraccia at the ready. FC gets the nod, 49-47.

Catholic League championship - Neumann-Goretti vs. Archbishop Carroll, Monday at the Palestra. Watch the reigning league, district and state champion Saints for 32 minutes and you'll be as convinced as I am that they are much more beatable than they were a year ago. They don't shoot the ball as well, nor do they protect it as well. Though the Patriots are young, they are disciplined. I'm going the upset route. Patriots and upstart point guard Yosef Yacob (pictured above) eke out a win, 67-64.

One final note: Last week began with 13 of Delco's 23 boys basketball teams in the playoffs. Now, we're down to six. Kind of sad, really. This is my favorite time of the year. Here's hoping a few of them can maintain a heartbeat for their playoff lives.

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Wednesday, February 23, 2011


Just logged in to the (impossible) wireless connection at the Palestra, where Archbishop Carroll is only minutes away from its Catholic League semifinal tipoff with La Salle.

A quick refresher: Carroll, which lost the Catholic championship game against Neumann-Goretti last year, is looking for a chance at redemption ... in more ways than one. The Patriots dropped a regular-season meeting against the Explorers, one in which they led early but coughed up the lead late and in overtime.

Check back to Gettin' Schooled later tonight for a brief game recap - and a little bit of a Catholic League championship preview ... assuming Carroll advances.

After having seen Neumann-Goretti, the other semifinal winner (along with Carroll), for a full game for the first time all season, I have to say that I think the Saints are beatable.

Roman Catholic, which has taken its lumps this season -- which includes a loss to Father Judge -- took Neumann-Goretti to the brink of an upset. The Cahillites were ahead by three with less than a minute to play, before crumbling against the seasoned Saints.

Lamin Fulton's a heck of a player, but he's not Juan'ya Green caliber. And I wasn't impressed with Derrick Stewart and Co. in the low post for N-G. I think Carroll matches up nicely with N-G, which could make Monday's championship game a fun one for Patriots fans.

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Tuesday, February 22, 2011


Try as she might, Mother Nature couldn't hold off the District One playoffs.

The snow storm that dumped four to eight inches of the white stuff Monday into Tuesday will not cause the postponement of any games Tuesday night, according to District One executive secretary Bob Ruoff.

That includes the eight second-round dates in the Class AAAA bracket -- and the four that involve Delco teams (Springfield at Chester, Glen Mills at Neshaminy, Penn Wood at WC Rustin, Lower Merion at Upper Darby).

If I hear anything different, I'll post it here. Otherwise, game on.

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Sunday, February 20, 2011


In Archbishop Carroll's quarterfinal win Friday, All-Delco Juan'ya Green scored 39 points. No player ever has scored more in a Catholic League playoff game.

Only one has ever scored as many, though.

Roman Catholic's Kyle Locke dropped 39 in the 1992 CL final. Anyone wondering what Locke is up to these days? It took a little bit of looking around, but it seems Locke is an assistant coach with the University of Washington women's basketball team. Huh. What'ya know?

Pennridge coach Dean Behrins and the Rams Friday earned their first home playoff victory in program history. Their reward? They get to face Plymouth Whitemarsh in Round 2.

"What the heck," Behrens said. "It's a great situation. The kids are going to get an opportunity to play against Jaylen Bond and whoever else they recruited into that school. It's a great opportunity for us." (Courtesy The Intelligencer)

A while back, I asked Springfield senior Zack DeVito about how different it will be with the Cougars jumping into the District One Class AAAA bracket. He offered me this quote:

"I think it'd be cool to play Chester in Chester. Packed house, lots of fans yelling, the whole thing. I don't know if it'll happen. ... I've never played there before, but I think it'd be cool."

Tuesday, DeVito and 17th-seeded Springfield get their chance against No. 1 Chester.

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Friday, February 18, 2011


The rosters for the 2011 All-Star Labor Classic were released Friday, and eight boys from Delaware County teams were among the cut.

Players for the all-star game, which benefits United Cerebral Palsy of Philadelphia & Vicinity, were selected by a vote of members from the region's many media outlets.

Six made the Suburban team while two made the City squad. The full rosters for the game, April 3 at La Salle University's Tom Gola Arena, are listed below:

Darien T. Barnes, Penn Wood High School (pictured)
Cory Blake, West Chester Rustin High School
Jaylen Bond, Plymouth Whitemarsh High School
Terrance D. Bridgers, Upper Darby High School
Lamon Church, Chester High School
Joey Gripper, Abington Friends School
Ky Howard, The Shipley School
Kenneth Johnson, Abington Friends School
Kurt Johnson, Marple Newtown High School
Tyler Juchno, Holy Ghost Prep
Dylan Moody, Abington Friends School
Maurice Nelson, Chester High School
Samuel Pygatt, Plymouth Whitemarsh High School
Jabril Trawick, Abington Friends School
Shawn Valentine, The Phelps School
Dequann Walker, Chester High School
Longji Yiljep, Westtown School

David Appolon, Imhotep Charter High School
Earl Brown, Imhotep Charter High School
Devante Chance, Philadelphia Electrical and Technical
Reggie Charles, Father Judge High School
Erik Copes, Imhotep Charter High School
Junior Fortunat, Roman Catholic High School
Lamin Fulton, Neumann-Goretti High School
Joe Getz, Archbishop Wood High School
Juan’ya Green, Archbishop Carroll High School
Xavier Harris, Constitution High School
Eddie Mitchell, LaSalle High School
Markeith Mont, World Communications Charter High School
Tracy Peal, Jr., Archbishop Carroll High School (pictured)
Seamus Radtke, Father Judge High School
Ameen Tanksley, Imhotep Charter High School
Jerrell Wright, Murrell Dobbins Tech High School
Aquil Imon Younger, Simon Gratz High School


Tuesday, February 15, 2011


In case you haven't heard, we at the Daily Times have begun a Wednesday night Web show called "Live From The Newsroom." Our first two installments have handled hard-hitting news subjects.

Not this Wednesday.

Former Chester High coach Fred Pickett will join me in the Daily Times newsroom to discuss the boys basketball bracket in District One Class AAAA.

The show, which can be viewed through, begins at 7 p.m. Be sure to check it out.

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Monday, February 14, 2011


In the state polls, there wasn't too much of a shake up.

It's been what many fellow boys basketball writers in this area would call "a down year" in Class AAAA across the state. That hasn't changed the fact that the road to State College rolls through District One.

Six of the top-10 in the Class AAAA poll (including Chester at No. 1 and Penn Wood, up from No. 6 to No. 4) are from District One. And three of the seven in honorable mention are also from this district.

Disappointingly, one loss meant the exit of Upper Darby (21-1) from those receiving votes in the Class AAAA poll.

In Class AAA, Archbishop Carroll is still holding strong at No. 2 ... behind perennial-thorn-in-side Neumann-Goretti.


Just a reminder to pick up Friday's Daily Times for the last edition of the boys basketball notebook for the year. You can expect a stat package on the final regular-season leaders and a good and solid playoff preview.


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Sunday, February 13, 2011


Well, it's official ... sort of.

While District One officials contend they have until Monday at noon to fix any last-second mathematical oversights, the Class AAAA and AAA brackets were announced Sunday, following a meeting at Council Rock South High School in Bucks County.

Nine Delco teams made the cut in Class AAAA and Sun Valley earned the second-to-last berth into the Class AAA field. All-Delco Mo Nelson (pictured) and Chester earned the top spot in Class AAAA.

For the complete brackets, check below. For more on the tournaments, pick up Monday's edition of the Daily Times.

District One Class AAAA
First Round
Friday, Feb. 18
(32) Perkiomen Valley at (1) Chester
(17) Springfield at (16) Cheltenham
(25) Upper Dublin at (8) North Penn
(24) Strath Haven at (9) Bensalem
(29) Kennett at (4) Upper Darby
(20) Methacton at (13) Lower Merion
(7) Central Bucks East at (5) Neshaminy
(8) Central Bucks West at (12) Glen Mills
(31) Great Valley at (2) Council Rock North
(18) Spring-Ford at (15) Wissahickon
(26) Ridley at (7) Norristown
(23) Souderton at (10) Coatesville
(30) Interboro (3) Plymouth Whitemarsh
(19) West Chester Henderson at (14) Pennridge
(27) Penncrest at (6) West Chester Rustin
(22) Conestoga at (11) Penn Wood
Second Round: Feb. 22
Quarterfinals: Feb. 25
Semifinals: March 1, at Villanova, 6/7:30
Championship: March 4, at Villanova, 9
NOTE: Nine (9) teams advance to PIAA playoffs. All games through quarterfinals played at the site of the higher seed.

District One Class AAA
First Round
Feb. 23
(1) Octorara, bye
(9) Phoenixville at (8) Upper Merion
(4) Pope John Paul, bye
(5) Pottstown, bye
(2) Holy Ghost Prep, bye
(10) Sun Valley at (7) Harriton
(3) Lower Moreland, bye
(11) Upper Moreland at (6) Bishop Shanahan
Quarterfinals: Feb. 26
Semifinals: March 2, at Council Rock South, 6/7:30
Championship: March 5, at Villanova, 8
NOTE: Three (3) teams advance to PIAA playoffs. All games through quarterfinals played at the site of the higher seed.

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Thursday, February 10, 2011


Chester and Upper Darby are league champs.

The Clippers dismantled host Academy Park, 86-44, to clinch their first outright league championship under coach Larry Yarbray. Chester got 17 points from DeQuann Walker, 15 from Lamon Church and 14 apiece from Maurice Nelson and Darius Robinson.

More on Chester: There's a (really) good chance the state's top-ranked team in Class AAAA will be District One's No. 1 seed come Sunday, when the bracket is unveiled. If the Clippers are seeded anywhere else but No. 1, I'll be flat-out shocked ... but stranger things have happened.

The Royals held off a furious surge by host Ridley, clinching the Central League championship with a 48-47 victory. Daron Harris and Brandon Hashim had 14 points apiece to pace Upper Darby, which held its breath as Ridley - with the last possession - couldn't manage a final shot before time expired.

That locked up UD coach Bob Miller's first title since 2006-07.

More on Upper Darby: Despite playing to a perfect 21-0, 16-0 record (assuming they handle Glen Mills Saturday in a nonleague tilt), the Royals still would be lucky to manage a No. 3 seed. They're likely the No. 4, by virtue of a nonleague slate that wasn't loaded with any huge tests. But that doesn't mean UD isn't deserving.

Check out Friday's Daily Times for a rundown on both teams' title clinchers.

Two titles in one night. How 'bout those apples?

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Monday, February 7, 2011


Folks, this is the final week of the regular season ... before teams either bow out of the hunt or make their final push for the District One playoffs.

Here's a quick hit on the three teams that need big showings this week:

Springfield: The Cougars have picked a poor time to go on only their second losing streak of the season. With winnable games against Central League goes Garnet Valley and Radnor, Springfield could move up a few spots, to the high teens, in the Class AAAA bracket. That means the Cougars wouldn't be saddled with a second-round matchup with one of the district's top five seeds.

Penncrest: The reigning Central League champions might be on the outside looking in on the Class AAAA field without wins against Haverford and Marple Newtown this week. Going 2-0 down the stretch could give the Lions one of the final seeds.

Ridley: Above and below the Green Raiders go ... in relation to the .500 mark, that is. Ridley, like Penncrest, is flirting with one of the final spots in the Class AAAA tournament. A two-win week could go a long way toward making that happen.

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Friday, February 4, 2011


Tickets to next Thursday's Chester at Academy Park game will not be sold at the door. Instead, they will be available only by advance sale.

The tickets, to be purchased at Academy Park next week in Room 222, cost $3 for adults and $2 for students.

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Thursday, February 3, 2011


Penn Wood's Aaron Brown and Archbishop Carroll's Juan'ya Green have been nominated for the McDonald's All-America Game, which will be played next month in Chicago.

While the seniors face stiff odds to make the game, which pares down a list of 2,000 nominees to a 24-man game, it's still a considerable honor to be nominated in the first place.

Brown and Green are enjoying eerily similar senior seasons for their respective schools. The All-Delcos have been back and forth in the county's scoring-leader list. Green, who averages 21.3 points, holds a slight edge over Brown, who tosses in 21.1 per game.

Brown is a West Virginia commit. Green has signed on to play at Niagara.

For more on this, check out the boys basketball notebook in Friday's edition of the Daily Times.

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Tuesday, February 1, 2011


After Tuesday night's big 76-72 win over Penn Wood, you have to think Chester's got something special going on. Here's why:

***The Clippers took a 19-point lead midway through the third quarter against the defending Del Val League champion Patriots, who also happen to be the reigning District One champs and PIAA Class AAAA runners-up.

***All-Delco guard Maurice Nelson brings his A-game whenever the Clippers play an opponent worthy. (And let's be clear: the Patriots - despite a 9-7 record - are worthy. They will be a handful in the playoffs.) Against Penn Wood, Nelson is averaging 20.5 points per game.

***The Clippers' rebounding is superb, behind 6-3 Rondae Jefferson, 6-4 Lamon Church and 6-5 Erikk Wright.

***Their free-throw shooting has improved. Chester went 14-for-37 from the stripe in its first meeting with Penn Wood. Tuesday, the Clippers were a much-more-efficient 21-for-33. That's what it takes late in the season.

Check out Wednesday's Daily Times for more on the game.


I talked to Penn Wood alumnus Tyree Johnson Tuesday night. The 2008-09 Daily Times Player of the Year, Johnson provided a little clarity as to why he's in Lansdowne ... and not on the West Coast.

Johnson came home, leaving San Jacinto Junior College recently. He said it's something he'll give me more details about at a later date. But he said it was for personal reasons.

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