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UPPER DARBY — With four seconds remaining before halftime, Upper Darby coach Bob Miller threw his arms up, put his head down and headed for the locker room.

That was the way Friday night’s game went for the Royals: Plenty going on, but nothing worth watching.

The Royals stayed with Conestoga, Southeastern Pennsylvania’s lone unbeaten team, for 10 minutes. Fortunately for the Pioneers, regulation games last 32 minutes and the visitors cruised past the Royals, 65-45, to sweep the Central League season series.

Upper Darby (13-5, 11-3) took the lead two minutes into the second quarter, then Conestoga (20-0, 14-0) outscored the host, 40-16, over the next 16 minutes to take control for good.

The outlandish scoring spree was enough to send both sides over the edge. Players from Upper Darby and Conestoga began issuing shoves in the second half. Two technical fouls were issued to the Royals.

Even the post-game receiving line was uncivil, as additional pushing took place halfway through the handshake procession.

“There’s no bad blood between the teams,” Miller said. “At the end of the game, when you get beat up and down — and I don’t mean physically, I mean on the scoreboard — we lost our poise and we lost our control. I think it started in that second quarter.”

Senior Khayri West knocked down a jumper at the top of the key and gave the Royals their first lead, 14-12, with 6:42 to play in the second. It was the Royals’ last basket until the third quarter. The Pioneers went on an 18-2 run to close out the half, prompting Miller to leave the Royals’ bench.

There were a number of incentives for Upper Darby in this one. Aside from playing an undefeated team on senior night, a win would have solidified their District One Class AAAA tournament resume.

Additionally, a win would have created the need for a four-team Central League championship tournament, which will be tabled if Conestoga finishes the season unbeaten.

The Pioneers’ lead ballooned to as many as 24 points, at 52-28 in the third quarter, and the tension grew more severe as the game wore on. The Royals scored 12 of the next 14 points, and both teams responded by increasing their levels of physicality. Read the rest of this entry »

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By TED SILARY
Philadelphia Daily News

silaryt@phillynews.com

EVEN AFTER a 44-minute game, Kadeem Patterson still put forth maximum effort.
When describing how he felt, he could have gone the one-syllable route: drained – or the two – tired. Instead . . .

“I’m exhausted,” he said, smiling.

No wonder. Olney High yesterday needed three overtimes to finally conquer visiting Southern, 86-81, in a Public A memory-maker. And if the first part of that score looks familiar, that’s because the Trojans won an 86-85 classic at John Bartram on Thursday.

“I was really feeling it, especially near the end,” Patterson said. “My legs were like jelly. Can’t think about that, though. Can’t let it affect you. The only way you’re going to win is to keep going hard.”

Patterson, a 6-2, 190-pound junior, serves coach Jeff McKenna at wing guard. And in this one, aside from scoring 21 points with the help of four treys, he collected nine rebounds, three assists and two steals, and he played aggressive stretch-run defense against Southern’s Deshon “Biggie” Minnis.

When we tell you Minnis finished with 27 points, you’re going to bellow, “Tough defense?! Gimme a break!”

But it was true. Southern kept running clear-outs for Minnis and Patterson kept using his grit and strength to make things a challenge.

In the fourth quarter and OTs, Olney’s Terrance “T-Mac” Bennett registered seven blocks. Almost every time, he did so after Patterson went chest to chest with Minnis and at least made him turn his back to the basket, allowing Bennett to sidle over for sneak-attack snuffs.

“Defense comes first,” Patterson said. “You don’t play that, you don’t even get to offense. Ninety-four feet, baby. That’s what it is. That guy’s tough. But I had to clamp him down.”

A full-sized court is 94 feet in length and Patterson knows that because he spent his first 2 years at Simon Gratz.

“I loved the coaches and the discipline and the history and everything about Gratz’ program,” he said. “The only thing was, I was sitting on the bench. I felt I was good enough to play. I knew by coming over here I’d get my shot. And then when I transferred, I really got happy when my AAU teammate came over here, too.”

He was speaking of senior wing guard Jesse “Booge” Morgan, who’s performing as if he wants to challenge Roman’s Maalik Wayns for the city’s best-player designation.

A transfer from Prep Charter, Morgan poured in 47 points vs. Bartram. He came back with 31 vs. Southern. He bombed away for 12 in the first quarter, but seemed to hit a no-more-energy wall for a while. He did score nine in the extra sessions, including a clinching basket at 0:09 on a fullcourt inbound pass from Patterson.

Regulation ended at 61-61 after Bennett blocked Minnis’ layup attempt. The final moments of the first OT featured a missed floater by Southern’s Shaquille Gaskins, as did the second. That time, Olney got off a last heave and Morgan almost connected from a long step beyond halfcourt.

“I knew we were showing the necessary heart,” Patterson said. “That’s why I was confident we would win.”

Bennett posted 26 points and 11 rebounds in addition to his seven blocks. Khailief “Kizzy” Coates had seven assists and three steals.

For Southern, skywalking Jamir Hanner totaled 15 points and 23 rebounds, Lamar Speller drained four treys en route to 19 points, Gaskins scored 16 points and Haywood Henderson mixed five assists with six steals.

Patterson went 4-for-6 on treys. Several were launched from Germantown, which is beyond the area where he lives, Logan.

“Coach lets me take them because I usually hit them,” he said with a shrug. “You should see me in practice.” *

By Keith Pompey

Inquirer Staff Writer

Whew!
Neumann-Goretti jumped out to a 20-point fourth-quarter cushion. The Saints then fell into a deep slumber and woke up just in time to escape with a 71-62 victory over Penn Wood in the Primetime Shootout.

Last night’s victory at Villanova’s Pavilion improved Neumann-Goretti, ranked fifth in Southeastern Pennsylvania by The Inquirer, to 17-2. The Saints have also won 14 of their last 15 games. The Saints’ lone loss during that time came against national powerhouse DeMatha Catholic (Md.)

The 10th-ranked Patriots, on the other hand, dropped to 17-3. Penn Wood lost for the second time in four games.

“We just had to keep our focus late in the game,” Neumann-Goretti forward Daniel Stewart said. “It felt good to hang on this lead. I don’t want that to happen ever again.”

Stewart and Company had a commanding 58-38 cushion with 4 minutes, 23 seconds left to play.

But sparked by senior guard Duane Johnson, the Patriots closed the gap to 66-60 with 59.3 seconds remaining.

However, the Saints made five foul shots down the stretch to clinch the victory.

Johnson scored 17 of his game-high 25 points in the fourth quarter. He was named the Patriots’ MVP of the game.

Guard Tyree Duren finished with a team-high 15 points for Neumann-Goretti. Backcourt mate Tony Chennault, who finished with 14 points, was the Saints’ MVP.

Neumann-Goretti 16 9 24 22 – 71

Penn Wood 10 10 14 28 – 62

NG: Tyreen Duren 15, Mustafaa Jones 13, Tony Chennault 14, Andre Gillette 13, Daniel Stewart 6, Lamin Fulton 10.

PW: Tyree Johnson 14, Will Brown 3, Aaron Brown 8, Duane Johnson 25, Chris White 3, Thomas White 5, Shawn Oakman 4.

By Marc Narducci

Inquirer Staff Writer

Kingsway sophomore point guard Rondell Gilmore only knows how to play at one speed, so it didn’t matter that last night’s Tri-County Royal Division game with Clearview was well in hand with under four minutes remaining.
The Dragons were leading 64-41 in an eventual 69-48 win over Clearview, but Gilmore just couldn’t go through the motions.

So he tried to take a charge and got the worst of the encounter with Clearview’s Brian Burke, who also lay on the ground for a few moments.

Gilmore eventually got up and went to the bench. Afterwards he departed the gym with an icepack on his achy back.

“I keep playing hard until the last whistle,” said Gilmore, who scored 10 points.

Actually Gilmore has brought a football player’s mentality to basketball. That’s because he’s a heck of a football player, the starting quarterback and brother of former Kingsway and Purdue University star Dorien Bryant.

So is he a football player competing in basketball or the other way around?

“I’m both,” Gilmore said, smiling. “When it’s football season I am a football player and basketball season, I’m a basketball player.”

Last night Kingsway improved to 9-4 overall and 5-2 in the Royal Division while also clinching a Group 3 playoff berth.

Gilmore’s development will be a key down the stretch, both in the Royal Division and Group 3 playoffs.

Last year he came off the bench and this season he has been the starting point guard, growing into the job each game.

“He makes a lot of things happen,” Kingsway coach George Passante said. “He is learning and making much better decisions on the court and that comes from experience.”

Passante, who is in his fifth year, also likes the toughness that Gilmore brings to a team that certainly isn’t lacking in that department.

According to Passante, Gilmore leads the teams in taking charges, with the number around 15.

“He’s a tough kid,” Passante said.

Clearview (4-10, 0-8) lost to Kingsway, 52-50 earlier this season and also had a prestige win last week over Collingswood.

So the Dragons weren’t taking the Pioneers lightly. After leading 11-10 following the first quarter, Kingsway used a 22-7 second quarter to run away from the Pioneers.

Nobody can run away from any opponent like Gilmore, who has blazing speed. One time on the court he made a dazzling drive to the basket, slithering between defenders and laying it in.

With each effort he is showing how comfortable he feels on the court even though he wasn’t very comfortable walking out of the locker room.

“It was a nasty spill,” Gilmore said. “But I will be all right.”

As long as Gilmore is directing the team, so apparently will Kingsway.

Clearview 10 7 12 19 – 48

Kingsway 11 22 14 22 – 69

C: Kevin Burke 11, George Eisenhart 1, Kyle Holcombe 4, Josh Quinones 11, Brian Burke 7, Chad Gravinese 10, Andrew Bodine 4.

K: Rondel Gilmore 10, Ryan Juhring 14, T.J. Pratt 9, Tom Dickson 2, Stephen Pigford 8, Jared Flynn 3, Julian Drumgode 7, Mike Powers 14, Kyle Grigsby 2.

By TED SILARY
Philadelphia Daily News

silaryt@phillynews.com

Perhaps the casual observer wondered whether Mike Leithead would wither after losing his starting job with St. Joseph’s Prep’s basketball team.
The insiders knew better. After all, this was a kid who’d lost a season.

We take you back to Jan. 4 of 2008. The Prep is hosting Cardinal O’Hara; Leithead is playing defense.

“I was just going around a baseline screen off an inbound play,” he said, “and my [right] knee kind of twisted a little. I felt a shooting pain going up my leg, but I didn’t think it was that bad at first.

“But when I went to the doctor, they told me it was a torn ACL.”

Knife not to the heart not included.

The 6-4, 190-pound Leithead is now a senior forward and lately he has been coming off the bench. How’s that working out? Quite nicely, thank you.

After getting an early call to duty from coach William “Speedy” Morris due to a leg injury, which turned out to be minor, to his starting-lineup replacement, Brandon Robinson, Leithead last night helped the visiting Hawks down Father Judge, 61-50, in Catholic Red.

He did what he what he always seems to do – hang out along the baseline or near wing, accept snappy passes from the guards or frontcourter Pete Buzby, who thinks like a guard, and knock down soft-touch jumpers.

Leithead (leet-head) scored 16 points, shooting 7-for-9 from the floor and 2-for-2 at the line. He also grabbed three rebounds and, really, one of his misses should barely count because it came on a rushed follow at the very end of the third quarter.

Otherwise, he was pretty much golden. Two inches off the floor. Two points on the scoreboard.

OK, so we exaggerate, but not by a whole lot.

“The injury didn’t take away my confidence,” Leithead said. “I do know I don’t have the same athleticism. I can’t jump like I used to, or move as well overall, so I just do what I can. My dad always says, ‘Just try to be crafty. Know what you can and can’t do.’ The guys do a great job of passing me the ball.

“I was shut down until April-May. I began with flat-footed jumpers. Even later, I couldn’t really make cuts to go by guys. I’ve always been a corner shooter, but I guess I started developing the shot I have now from that.”

Originally, the recovery process was projected to last 6-9 months.

“The doctor was being conservative,” Leithead said, “so I wouldn’t try to rush back and do something stupid to mess me up for my senior year. Just to get back to playing was such a great feeling. It’s not easy laying around watching everybody else.”

His last start was made Jan. 7 vs. Monsignor Bonner.

“Coach called me in and said Brandon was doing a better job defensively and with rebounding and that he was going to be starting,” Leithead said. “I accepted it and moved on. I wasn’t going to hang my head.”

Leithead scored 10 of his points as the Hawks led at half, 24-12.

In time, he shared team high-scorer honors with Dan Fitzpatrick, while Joe Nardi used a late rush, mostly accomplished with free throws, to finish with 13.

Judge’s far-and-away leader was Tom Ryan, who again has committed to Towson for football (wideout) now that the new coaching staff has offered a scholarship it had withdrawn upon replacing the previous regime. He had 20 points, six rebounds and two apiece of assists and steals.

Leithead’s father, also named Mike, was a coaches’ first team All-Catholic forward for Archbishop Ryan in 1980, and then starred at LeMoyne. Young Mike doubts he’ll play anything in college aside from intramurals.

The star student – the family recently moved from Northeast Philly to Northampton – wants to major in business and has already been accepted by Fordham, Saint Joseph’s and Villanova. He’s awaiting word from Penn and Georgetown.

Mike sometimes answers to leeth-head. “Either one,” he smiled. “Just don’t call me light-head.”

You’re also advised not to call him light on his feet. Not that it matters. This revised version of Mike Leithead is doing just fine.

In other news:

* Roman Catholic will be spending time without its franchise point guard. Villanova-bound Maalik Wayns will have surgery Monday to repair a torn meniscus in his right knee, coach Chris McNesby said yesterday. A visit to a second doctor confirmed the fear. “He’s looking at missing 2-5 weeks,” McNesby said. *

By Keith Pompey

Inquirer Staff Writer

After a year of waiting and weeks of buildup, Chester and Roman Catholic played one of the most eagerly awaited boys’ basketball games in Southeastern Pennsylvania last night.
The result?

Chester, ranked first in the area by The Inquirer, defeated second-ranked Roman Catholic for the second consecutive season.

This time, the Clippers’ Maurice Nelson scored 24 points to lead his team to a 61-47 victory in the Primetime Shootout at Villanova’s Pavilion. Teammate Rahlir Jefferson added 19 points en route to being named his team’s MVP of the game.

Last night’s victory enabled Chester to improve to 17-2.

The Cahillites, playing without McDonald’s all-American candidate Maalik Wayns, dropped to 13-6. Roman had its nine-game winning streak snapped.

Wayns, a senior point guard, will be sidelined for about three weeks with a meniscus tear in his right knee.

Junior guard Rakeem Brookins led the Cahillites with 22 points. He was named Roman’s MVP. Senior forward Koron Reed had 17 points and seven blocks.

Roman Catholic 9 13 14 11 – 47

Chester 15 18 7 21 – 61

RC: Rakeem Brookins 22, Kawaun Chavis 3, Andre Horne 5, Koron Reed 17.

C: Kareem Robinson 1, Laquan Robinson 9, Maurice Nelson 24, Alvin Tinch 2, Dymere Crews 5, Keyon Staples 1, Rahlir Jefferson 19.

By Keith Pompey

Inquirer Staff Writer

Now, this is one game that lived up to all the hype.
The Bartram-Olney boys’ basketball contest was billed as matchup showcasing two of Southeastern Pennsylvania’s top players in Bartram’s Tyrone Garland and Olney’s Jesse Morgan. It was also a game involving two of the Public League A Division’s top teams. And it turned out to be arguably one of the best games of the season.

Morgan scored a career-high 47 points as Olney defeated Bartram, 86-85, in yesterday’s game at the Maroon Wave’s gym.

Morgan, a Prep Charter transfer, also scored his 1,000th career point in the game; he now has 1,010.

None of those points were bigger than his decisive basket with 17 seconds left. The 6-foot-4 senior guard sank a short jumper to give Olney an 85-83 advantage.

“Getting a bucket – that was the only thing that was on my mind,” Morgan said. “Then I wanted to try to get back on defense, get a stop and get out of here.”

After Bartram missed a layup and put-back, Terrance Bennett’s free throw gave the Trojans an 86-83 lead with 8.5 seconds left.

Olney improved to 15-2 overall and 11-1 in the division.

The Trojans take a nine-game winning streak into today’s game against Southern.

Bartram dropped to 15-5 and 10-3.

The Maroon Wave have lost three straight and five of their last six games.

Like Morgan, Garland had an impressive outing.

The 6-foot junior point guard hit four three-pointers en route to a team-high 31 points. Twelve of his points came in the third quarter.

Olney 21 18 19 28 – 86

Bartram 26 16 24 19 – 85

O: Terrance Bennett 16, Tito Burgos 1, Khailief Coates 1, Jaree Cooper 2, Jesse Morgan 47, Kadeem Patterson 17, Darrelle Sherman 2.

B: Devon Moore 2, Al Hajj Shabazz 3, Quasim Jones 13, Tyrone Garland 31, Solomon Davis 17, Darryl Lane 4, Danny Walker 15.

By TED SILARY
Philadelphia Daily News

silaryt@phillynews.com

Knees can be tricky, but the city’s top scholastic basketball player is hoping for the best.
Maalik Wayns, point guard extraordinaire for Roman Catholic High and a Villanova signee, is pretty sure there’s at least a strained meniscus in his right knee.

“I don’t want to think negative – about anything beyond that,” he said last night. “I haven’t practiced and I didn’t play [in yesterday’s 58-42 Catholic Red win over visiting La Salle]. I’m getting around on crutches and feeling a lot of pain.

“I’ve been icing and elevating. Just trying to get better.”

Wayns is scheduled to receive a second opinion this morning.

One would have to think his status for tonight’s showdown vs. longtime suburban power Chester, set for 9 o’clock at Villanova as part of a showcase event, is doubtful, at best, and that his near-future prognosis also is shaky.

Roman coach Chris McNesby said Wayns first felt “a little pain” in his knee during practice last Sunday.

“Early in the third quarter vs. O’Hara,” he added, referring to game played Monday, “he went up for a layup on a breakaway, with nobody around, and felt the same pain.

“They’ve ruled out ACL, but it could be a meniscus issue.”

Star wing guard Rakeem “Rahk” Brookins, a junior, wound up playing the majority of yesterday’s game at the point.

“I was forcing shots early,” he said. “I had to let the game come to me. I need to get my point-guard skills up.

“It’s real difficult seeing Maalik go through this. But as much as I want him to come back, I don’t want him to rush it. If he does that, maybe he hurts it worse.” *

Aaron Burt’s only points of the game came on a basket with 6.9 seconds left, capping Pennsauken’s comeback from a 13-point fourth-quarter deficit and stunning visiting Washington Township, 66-64, in Olympic Conference boys’ basketball last night.
Township (7-6), ranked No. 10 in South Jersey by The Inquirer, took the lead with a 22-point game by Matt Lopez, but Pennsauken (6-8) reeled off a 26-11 fourth quarter in which Eric Johnson scored 13 of his 27 points.

Burt’s one-handed runner in the lane gave the Indians their first lead of the contest.

Also in the Olympic, Phil Jackson scored seven of his 10 points in a 17-6 second quarter that ignited Lenape’s 58-44 win over visiting Cherry Hill East.

Shawnee spotted host Triton a three-point lead after one quarter before storming back to win, 62-44. The Renegades’ Dave Westman (25) and Matt Chiusano (12) had eight points each in a 23-10 second quarter when Triton’s top defender, Will Simmons, was in foul trouble.

Chris Jermyn (12) and Robert Poole (23) each converted one-and-one foul opportunities in the final 90 seconds of the game to secure Paul VI’s 53-51 win at Woodrow Wilson.

Colonial. Senior guard Jonathan Gardner reached the 1,000-point mark for his career with his first basket of the game, and finished with 30 points for the contest, boosting his career mark to 1,029 and aiding Paulsboro’s 67-51 success against visiting Overbrook.

Tyrone Mann-Barnes collected 22 points and 10 assists, but Collingswood needed all of Kyle Bowman’s 11 points in the fourth quarter to edge visiting Audubon, 74-65.

Sterling clinched a playoff berth with a 51-42 victory over visiting Haddon Township. Jack Lomas gave the Silver Knights a career-high 19 points, and Jaheem Taylor scored nine in his first game back from knee surgery in the football season.

Lindenwold (7-7) shocked visiting Haddonfield (10-4), 45-44, when junior guard Leon Jones sank four foul shots in the last 49 seconds and Mike Williams blocked a final Bulldogs shot with 1.2 seconds left.

Tri-County. Sal Capone matched nine points with nine rebounds, and junior point guard Ryan Turner made five of seven fourth-quarter foul shots to put the finishing touches on a 13-point game and Gloucester Catholic’s 45-36 win at Pennsville.

Royal Division leader Williamstown rolled past visiting Delsea, 60-28, behind Justin Chaney’s 16 points and Anthony Selby’s 14 rebounds.

Glassboro’s 66-54 win over visiting Woodstown featured Dainen Green’s 10 points and 22 rebounds, and Timmy Breaker’s 26 points and five assists.

Cape-Atlantic. St. Joseph scored the last five points of the game, including Greg Cusick’s three-pointer with 12 seconds left and Dylan DeSorte’s two foul shots, wrapping up a 38-34 win over visiting Buena. Cusick’s three-pointer was his only successful field goal in 11 shots taken.

Holy Spirit rebounded from its first loss of the season with a 68-30 win over visiting Lower Cape May in which Preston Smith scored 16 points, and Giovanny Perdomo had 10 points and 12 rebounds

Senior point guard Umar Shannon, Atlantic City’s leading scorer, was held to four points through three quarters but came through with seven in the fourth period, securing a 60-54 win over visiting Mainland

By Marc Narducci

Inquirer Staff Writer

Before yesterday’s rematch with Eastern, Cherokee basketball coach Ron Powell jokingly told Ronson Quick that he expected 20 rebounds out of him.
Quick fell just short of that goal, but not in the bigger scheme of things. The 6-foot-5, 238-pound senior tied his season high of 18 points and added 16 rebounds in yesterday’s 69-59 win over host Eastern in the Olympic Conference’s American Division.

Cherokee is 7-5 overall and 3-3 in South Jersey’s deepest division. The Chiefs have won five of their last six and suddenly look like a team that nobody will enjoy playing in the Group 4 state tournament.

Eastern, a 64-63 winner over Cherokee on opening night, is 10-6 and 5-1.

The Chiefs, who led by 17-2 early in the game, were clinging to a 55-52 lead midway through the fourth quarter when Quick hit two free throws and then scored inside to extend the advantage to 59-52 with 3 minutes, 10 seconds remaining.

Cherokee was 17 for 19 from the foul line in one of many other positive aspects of its game.

Even though Eastern’s Bobby Harris scored 23 points, Cherokee’s A.J. Valentine made him work hard for them while getting plenty of off-the-ball defensive help.

The Chiefs also received 15 points from Christian Jordan and 14 from Nelson Torres, but the main reason for the Vikings’ loss was the player who fell four rebounds short of 20.

“Quick was just too big and too talented for us,” Eastern coach Joe Murphy said. “We just couldn’t contain him.”

Quick collected most of his points on his own, scoring on follows after hitting the offensive glass. He shot 7 for 12 from the field and made all four of his free throws.

“I asked him for 20 rebounds, but we’ll take that performance,” Powell said, laughing. “Around the basket, Ronson is just a force to be reckoned with.”

Quick, the son of former Eagles all-pro receiver Mike Quick, says that although he would like to have 20 rebounds in a game this year, he’s happy with the direction the Chiefs are taking.

“I came up a little short of the 20,” he said, smiling. “But our team is really playing well, and we’re playing a lot harder on defense and we’re rebounding the ball better.”

If that isn’t enough, Cherokee will have reinforcements next week. That’s when highly touted point guard Willis Nicholson, a transfer from Philadelphia’s Prep Charter, and swingman Wes Tysdale, a transfer from Eastern, become eligible.

“Those additions will make us a better team,” said Quick, who has won a basketball scholarship to Assumption College in Massachusetts, a Division II school.

Right now, Quick is focused on making this season like his sophomore year, when Cherokee won the South Jersey Group 4 title.

If the Chiefs can accomplish that in such a deep field, it would please Quick more than any 20-rebound performance.

Cherokee 20 15 14 20 – 69

Eastern 7 24 11 17 – 59

C: Christian Jordan 15, Nelson Torres 14, Maurice Jackson 4, A.J. Valentine 10, Ryan McKearney 8, Ronson Quick 18.

E: Baas Harvey 9, Shumeek Scott 10, Bobby Harris 23, Mike Newman 4, Kyle Jose 3, Josh Balshem 8, Anthony Paolini 2.

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