You are currently browsing the monthly archive for December 2008.

By TED SILARY
Philadelphia Daily News

silaryt@phillynews.com

ALL’S WELL in Wayns’ World.
Really, how it could not be?

Not only is Maalik Wayns, a 6-1, 192-pound senior point guard at Roman Catholic High, considered the city’s top scholastic basketball player.

His name also can be found in lofty locations on national rankings lists and he is signed to play college ball for a program (Villanova) that pretty much owns the local spotlight.

Is there pressure? Of course. Does Wayns realize that some people this season will attend Roman’s games mostly (only?) because of his presence? He’s no dummy.

He also knows this: The best stars are those who keep evvvvvvverything in perspective.

In the midst of the holiday season, at an out-of-the-way college (Gwynedd-Mercy) 21 miles from Roman, an overflow crowd last night turned out to watch Wayns and the Cahillites battle North Catholic, the defending Catholic League champion, in a Red Division contest.

Playingwise, Wayns satisfied the fans by totaling 14 points, seven assists and five rebounds in a 58-55 win that wound up being hairy.

Though Roman led by 50-39 with 4:47 remaining, a partial stall did not produce the desired results. There were turnovers and missed shots at one end. At the other, among other things, Jaleel Mack buried a trio of treys.

His last, with 4.4 seconds remaining, moved North within 56-55. But on the inbound play, following a timeout at 3.8, the Falcons allowed Andre Horne to break free downcourt unattended and Kevin Regan, the football quarterback, hit him with a pass for an easy, buzzer-beating layup.

For those who paid attention, Wayns also provided assurance that, yes, he’s enjoying himself and that his head is not even close to basketball-sized.

Fourth quarter. Wayns got way ahead of the field. The chance to uncork a bring-the-house down dunk was there. He motored to the hoop. Left his feet and began to soar . . .

Oops. Clang. The ball slammed hard against the rim. Baskets are still 10 feet high. Not 9 1/2.

“I could tell as I jumped that it wasn’t gonna work,” Wayns said.

Luckily for Wayns, Roman maintained possession and there was a stoppage in play. As the house buzzed and he peeled toward the sideline opposite Roman’s bench, Maalik smiled broadly.

Other stars might have mumbled curse words under their breath. Might have done something – wiped supposedly sweaty hands on pants, for instance – to steer the fault someplace else. Not Maalik Wayns. Not the city’s newest megastar. He smiled.

Because? Read the rest of this entry »

Advertisements

By TED SILARY
Philadelphia Daily News

silaryt@phillynews.com

Above all else, athletic endeavors are supposed to teach kids lessons for life.
On a pseudo-exam given Dec. 14 at West Catholic High, the across-the-board grade for Rob Hollomon and five close buddies was a resounding A-plus.

One day earlier, the football Burrs, covered in stardust all season and most folks’ solid (if not overwhelming) favorite, had suffered a devastating loss – 35-34 in two overtimes – to Wilmington in the PIAA Class AA state final in Hershey.

If Hollomon and the other football players had skipped basketball practice that next day, everyone would have understood. In fact, coach Bill Ludlow had put out the word that their participation was not required.

But as the gymnasium door swing open, and the basketballs began to bounce, there they were, partaking and earning respect.

The football aftermath was a natural topic of conversation last night after West swooshed past Cardinal O’Hara, 62-48, in the championship game of the latter’s Christmas tournament.

With 15 points, three assists and four steals, the 5-8, 160-pound Hollomon, a senior combination guard, was one of West’s headliners.

He was even better afterward, when he was asked to flash back to mid-December and did not kindly – or even not so kindly, no offense would have been taken – ask a reporter to come up with another line of questioning.

“That loss was rough,” Hollomon said. “It hurt a lot the first week and it still bothered me into the second week.

“Now? I’m over it. I don’t like that it happened, and that’ll never change, but I’m learning not to dwell on it. I’m looking forward to all the great things that are still going to happen in my life.” Read the rest of this entry »

Timber Creek put its first win of the season to good use.
The Chargers pulled away from Holy Cross in the second half and beat the Lancers, 57-35, in a Boardwalk Basketball Classic Boardwalk Cup Bracket boys’ semifinal game at the Wildwoods Convention Center yesterday.

Timber Creek (1-2) held a 28-20 lead at halftime, and outscored Holy Cross in the second half, 29-15. Colin Johnson scored 15 points for the Chargers.

In another Boardwalk Cup semifinal, Pleasantville got 12 points from Tariq Taliferro, but lost to West Windsor-Plainsboro South, 63-47.

In other tournaments:

Camden Catholic shot 20 for 36 from the floor and used a 19-3 first quarter to beat Archbishop Ryan, 50-29, in the Atlantic Cup consolation game.

The Irish used a 20-3 scoring surge in the final quarter to put the game away. Anthony D’Orazio shot 7 for 11 from the field and scored 16 points for Camden Catholic.

Oak Thomas shot 9 for 15 from the floor including a 5 for 8 performance from three-point-range and accounted for 26 points as Schalick tripped Wildwood Catholic, 56-51, in a Frank McAlarnen Memorial Bracket semifinal game.

Julian Miller struck for 26 points for the Crusaders, but was negated by an 11-4 scoring run by the Cougars in the final quarter.

Middle Township used a full-court press to race to a 19-5 lead in the first quarter and beat Absegami, 62-42, in a Jay Craven Memorial Bracket semifinal game.

Taz Harris led the Panthers with 13 points.

Hammonton Blue Devil Tournament. Barry Numan dropped in 18 points and was named the most valuable player of the game for Salem in a 58-34 win over Haddon Heights in the championship game.

Derrick Parsley added 14 points and 10 rebounds and was named the most valuable player of the tournament.

Ransom Eaves converted a trio of three-pointers and scored 17 points as Pemberton downed host Hammonton, 63-46, in the consolation game.

1. Camden Cath. (1) 2-1 Irish don’t drop after a loss to Communications Tech (6-1).

2. Rancocas Valley (2) 3-0 Depth will be tested with Mike Bersch expected out 4-6 weeks.

3. Atlantic City (3) 3-0 Umar Shannon averaged 22.3 ppg. in the first three wins.

4. St. Augustine (4) 3-0 Senior Bill Giberson is averaging 20 ppg.

5. Eastern (5) 2-0 Vikings opened with wins over Cherokee and C.H. West.

6. Holy Spirit (6) 2-0 Spartans used a 24-8 first quarter to beat Absegami, 61-46.

7. Lenape (7) 2-0 Indians own wins over C.H. East and Woodrow Wilson.

8. Camden (8) 1-0 Panthers idle since a Dec. 19 win over Bishop Eustace.

9. Shawnee (9) 2-1 Renegades don’t drop after 45-42 loss to Atlantic City.

10. WashingtonTwp. (-) 2-1 Minutemen opened eyes with win over Winslow Township.

Under consideration (listed alphabetically): Cherokee (0-1), Williamstown (2-1).

– Marc Narducci

Jaylen Bond helped Plymouth Whitemarsh’s basketball team avert a potential collapse at the Pete Nelson Classic yesterday.

Bond stole the ball with one second left and time expired as the Colonials held on for a 44-42 win over St. Joseph’s Prep in the championship game.

With five seconds left, the Colonials (7-3) had the inbounds pass stolen momemtarily but, after a scramble at midcourt, Bond came away with the ball and the game as the buzzer sounded.

Plymouth Whitemarsh was led by C.J. Aiken’s 11 points.

In other Nelson games:

Jack McDonnell’s two free throws with 5.9 seconds left put Germantown Academy up by four in a 57-56 win over North Catholic.

Dominic Morris scored 17 points for Friends’ Central in a 61-53 win over Souderton.

Boardwalk Classic. In a semifinal Ocean Cup Bracket game at the Wildwood (N.J.) Convention Center, Communications Tech needed overtime to hand Camden Catholic its first loss, 68-53. The Phoenix put the game away with a 13-0 run that spanned the final 1 minute, 30 seconds of regulation and the first minute of overtime. Lijah Thompson’s free throw with 24 seconds left in regulation forced the overtime.

Lower Cape May outlasted Lower Moreland, 42-40, to win the Ray Martin Bracket title.

In the Jersey Shore Bracket title game, Math, Civics and Science topped St. Joseph (N.J.), 64-47, behind Andre Thomas (16 points, 12 rebounds).

Bensalem Tournament. MVP Corey Canestrare scored 23 points to lead the host Owls past Bristol, 62-43, for the title.

Father Judge Tournament. John McGrath scored 19 points to lead the host Crusaders past Cardinal Dougherty, 52-48.

Cardinal O’Hara Tournament. West Catholic advanced to the title game by beating Living Faith Christian, 68-46, behind Rob Holloman’s 22 points.

Lancaster Black Knight. Hempfield shot 15 for 20 at the free-throw line to beat Southern, 60-49, for the title.

Sneaker Villa Classic. At Ben Franklin, Devonte’ Newbill scored 28 points to lead Strawberry Mansion past Girard College, 81-78.

Malcolm Lites’ only point of the game, a free throw with eight seconds left, gave Academy of the New Church a 49-48 win over Life Center (N.J.)

By Keith Pompey

Inquirer Staff Writer
This game wasn’t played in front of big crowds like last season’s matchups at Villanova and Penn State, and a PIAA Class AAAA state championship title wasn’t on the line.

But Chester vs. Norristown is still one of the biggest tickets in Pennsylvania. And in case you’re wondering, the Clippers still have the Eagles’ number.

Chester defeated Norristown, 58-47, in last night’s Pete Nelson Classic at Widener University.

It was the Clippers’ third victory in as many meetings with the Eagles dating back to last season. Chester (5-1) defeated Norristown in last season’s District 1 Class AAAA final at Villanova. The Clippers then prevailed in the state championship game at Penn State.

Guard Maurice Nelson, a junior transfer from Valley Forge Military Academy, paced the Clippers.

Nelson scored a team-high 16 points for The Inquirer’s fifth-ranked team in Southeastern Pennsylvania. Kareem Robinson added 8.

Senior guard Khalif Wyatt led the area’s 10th-ranked Norristown Eagles (5-2) with a team-high 16 points.

The Eagles had early 5-0 and 8-4 cushions over the inexperienced Clippers. But Rahlir Jefferson’s three-point play gave Chester a commanding 37-23 lead midway through the third quarter.

Norristown refused to give up, though, and pulled to within six points, 39-33, late in the quarter. But that was as close as the Eagles got.

Norristown 12 7 14 14 – 47

Chester 12 9 21 16 – 58

N: Sheldon Mayer 3, Khalif Wyatt 16, Lorenzo Christmas 9, Jarrell Gardner 5, James Ramsey 4, Tevin Bush 2, Tom Smith 8.

C: Kareem Robinson 8, Laquan Robinson 6, Maurice Nelson 16, Alvin Tinch 3, Dymore Crews 6, Keyon Staples 2, Rahlir Jefferson 12, Learon Pray 5.

While standards are always high for the Camden Catholic boys’ basketball team, coach Jim Crawford is a realist.

The bar that is set in December differs from those in January, February and, more important, March, when the Irish have made a habit of enjoying extended seasons.

So in addition to the leaks that must be plugged, Crawford saw plenty of positive signs in last night’s 65-53 win over visiting Timber Creek in an interdivisional Olympic Conference game.

The play at times was choppy, and the Irish committed six turnovers in the second quarter and five in the third.

Still, they beat a quality Timber Creek team despite the usual growing pains in the beginning of a season.

“Coach told us after the game that there are things we have to work on,” said senior Jahseer Bronson, who scored 15 points and is already looking comfortable at point guard after playing shooting guard last year.

Still, Crawford wasn’t down on the effort. One of his top scorers, junior forward Tim Crawford, his nephew, was in foul trouble and held to four points.

Fellow 6-foot-6 junior Gerry Wixted picked up the slack with 25 points and 12 rebounds while shooting 8 for 12 from the field. Junior guard Anthony D’Orazio scored 10 of his 13 points in the second half.

“I am not disappointed in our performance,” Crawford said. “I am understanding of it.” Read the rest of this entry »

Two games, two dramatic finishes.

Here’s hoping it’s an omen for the South Jersey boys’ basketball season.

I saw a great game Friday night at Cherokee. Eastern rallied from way back and won 64-63 when Shumeek Scott made both ends of a one-and-one with eight-tenths of a second on the clock.

The 6-2 Scott, who finished with 24, was a monster in the second half. He’s surprisngly quick for a big, burly athlete and an impossible matchup for most teams. He drives past bigger defenders and overpowers smaller ones. Plus, he’s got soft hands for a big guy. Cherokee coach Ron Powell called Scott one of the best players in the Olympic. If Scott was still at Gloucester Catholic, where he played as a freshman and sophomore, he’d be making major hay in the Tri-County Conference.

Eastern also has a nice scorer in Bobby Harris and a few other elements. It will be tough for the Vikings every night in the Olympic American but they could be right in the mix.

Cherokee’s Ronson Quick had a solid game with 18 points. He’s a load on the blocks and has good hands too. His dad, former Eagles receiver Mike Quick, was talking before the game about how happy he was that Ronson has decided on Assumption College, a D-2 program in Massachusetts. Sounds like a great fit for Ronson. Read the rest of this entry »

By Marc Narducci

Inquirer Staff Writer

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. – Gerald Henderson and Brian Zoubek insist they made the right decision to leave the area and rest their basketball fortunes with Duke University.
Now juniors, both departed the area as high school hotshots with high hopes for college success. But neither has reached his expected level, mostly because of injuries.

Fortunately for the pair, they are regaining their health and confidence and are looking to step up their game to the level they displayed when they were dominant figures on the Philadelphia area scholastic scene.

Henderson was a McDonald’s all-American from Episcopal Academy. Zoubek led Haddonfield to three consecutive New Jersey state titles and was named to the 2006 Jordan All-America team.

A 6-foot-4 swingman, Henderson is averaging 11.5 points and 4.1 rebounds in 23.7 minutes for the 10-1 Blue Devils. The 7-1 Zoubek is averaging 7.0 points and 4.5 rebounds in 14.1 minutes. He has started nine games; Henderson, 10.

One game neither started was a 99-56 win over UNC-Asheville on Dec. 17, when coach Mike Krzyzewski used an entirely different starting lineup following Duke’s lone loss, an 81-73 defeat at Michigan.

Henderson and Zoubek said they have expected more of themselves, but neither thought that injuries would factor into the situation.

Last February, the righthanded Henderson injured his shooting wrist. After the season, he underwent surgery to repair a torn ligament. Despite his ailing wrist, Henderson totaled 39 points in Duke’s two NCAA tournament games last season.

“If you get an injury like that, you kind of lose confidence because it’s your dominant hand,” Henderson said after scoring 19 points in Saturday’s 82-64 win over previously unbeaten Xavier at the Izod Center.

Henderson was sidelined about four months after the operation and is still getting his game in sync.

“My feeling is there is still a little bit of transition,” Krzyzewski said about Henderson’s recovery from the injury.

Krzyzewski said he realizes how important Henderson is to the team. With an explosive first step, Henderson separates himself from the rest of his teammates with his offensive creativity.

“G can get his own shot and is the only guy on our team who can do that,” Krzyzewski said, referring to Henderson by his nickname.

Zoubek has a longer injury history. He suffered a broken left foot twice as a sophomore. The first time was in July 2007. It happened again last January, and he missed nine games after that.

After last season, Zoubek had a second operation on the foot in April and wasn’t ready to resume basketball until September.

“I’m feeling really good now, still shaking off the rust and getting my confidence back,” Zoubek said.

Krzyzewski said the key for Zoubek is to stay healthy for an entire season.

“Last year was the season from hell, so to speak, for him,” Krzyzewski said. “He has shown a lot of progress, and, hopefully, he has the chance to stay injury-free the rest of the season.”

While the injuries have hindered both players, they insist that choosing Duke was the best decision.

“If I had gone the easy route and gone to a mid-major school, I would have been the man, the guy everybody went to,” Zoubek said. “In the end, that isn’t the person I wanted to be. I wanted to be part of something, and I am afforded that opportunity here.”

Henderson – who regularly keeps up with Wayne Ellington, his old Episcopal Academy teammate now competing down the road at North Carolina – said he couldn’t be happier to be a Blue Devil.

“I love the way we play, and it is all I could dream of as a kid and as a high school player,” Henderson said. “The fast pace, the intensity we play with, I feel it fits my game in particular, and I love the teammates I have here.”

Henderson also enjoys talking X’s and O’s with his father, Gerald Henderson, the former NBA player best known for his days with the Boston Celtics and now an analyst for Comcast SportsNet.

“He is still very much in the game of basketball and very helpful for me throughout my career,” Henderson said of his father.

Both Henderson and Zoubek said the prospect of playing in the pros creeps into their minds but never dominates their thoughts. Returning their games to the previous levels is paramount.

“Obviously, everybody wants to be a pro player after his college career,” Henderson said. “What is important is to work on improving, and I’m trying to live in the moment and enjoy the fun I’m having in college.”

“I would obviously love to get there, but I’m not really worried about it right now,” Zoubek said of a pro career. “I’m worried about developing my game. I know I will have a chance when I come to that point, but I can’t be concentrating on that right now.”

For now, both players hope the next few months are a springboard to a national championship run. And each is looking to stay on the court and out of the trainer’s room.

By Marc Narducci

Inquirer Columnist

While standards are always high for the Camden Catholic boys’ basketball team, coach Jim Crawford is a realist.
The bar that is set in December differs from those in January, February and, more important, March, when the Irish have made a habit of enjoying extended seasons.

So in addition to the leaks that must be plugged, Crawford saw plenty of positive signs in last night’s 65-53 win over visiting Timber Creek in an interdivisional Olympic Conference game.

The play at times was choppy, and the Irish committed six turnovers in the second quarter and five in the third.

Still, they beat a quality Timber Creek team despite the usual growing pains in the beginning of a season.

“Coach told us after the game that there are things we have to work on,” said senior Jahseer Bronson, who scored 15 points and is already looking comfortable at point guard after playing shooting guard last year.

Still, Crawford wasn’t down on the effort. One of his top scorers, junior forward Tim Crawford, his nephew, was in foul trouble and held to four points.

Fellow 6-foot-6 junior Gerry Wixted picked up the slack with 25 points and 12 rebounds while shooting 8 for 12 from the field. Junior guard Anthony D’Orazio scored 10 of his 13 points in the second half. Read the rest of this entry »

Visit Phillyhoops.net for more!