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Sunday, December 14, 2008 7:04 AM EST

By Christopher A. Vito,

MIDDLETOWN — Before the season, Marvin Holman-Little had members of his family autograph his basketball sneakers with a Sharpie marker.

“Not just my family (at home),” the Penncrest senior said. “I had my family here sign them, too.”

“Family” is the word the Lions shout when they break their in-game huddles. And it took a family-sized effort Friday night, not just that of the sizeable Holman-Little, to take down visiting Strath Haven.

The Lions overcame Haven’s Calvin Newell, the county’s leading scorer, to win their home opener and Central League debut, 41-37.

Holman-Little scored 14 points, brought down eight rebounds and blocked a pair of shots to keep the Lions (2-0, 1-0) perfect through the season’s first week. Rodney Duncan scored 12 more and knocked down two free throws with seven seconds remaining to ice the game.

A 6-6 forward, Holman-Little needed to have a big game if the Lions were going to defeat their neighborhood rivals. He contends, however, that his teammates were just as worthy of credit.

Point guard Andrew Radomicki kept a close eye on Newell all night, fighting to keep the steady scorer on the perimeter. And forward Chris Voutsakis came off the bench and grabbed some valuable rebounds in the second half.

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By Christopher A. Vito,

A look around the county at the top players you need to know as basketball season tips off:


These five players can catch fire offensively and take over a game single-handedly:

1. Soutiri Sapnas, Jr. G, Marple Newtown: As a sophomore, the speedy shooting guard established the Tigers’ single-season scoring record by recording 527 points in 25 games.

2. Duane Johnson, Sr. F, Penn Wood: A big-game player, he averaged 13 points in the Patriots’ nine losses but upped the ante to 23 points in 23 wins for the state quarterfinalists.

3. Calvin Newell, Sr. G, Strath Haven: A 10-game casualty last year as a transfer from Ridley, he scored fewer than a dozen only once. He scored a season-best and county-high 41 points against Radnor.

4. Tom Brennan, Sr. F, Sun Valley: The county’s leading-returning scorer from last season, he tossed in 24 points per game in the always-competitive Del Val League.

5. Khayri West, Sr. F, Upper Darby: He averaged a modest 9.3 points per game overall, but turned up his play amidst the Royals’ District One playoff run (15.0 ppg in last five games).

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