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By TED SILARY
Philadelphia Daily News

silaryt@phillynews.com
Instant replay has come to Public League basketball!

For amusement purposes only.

In retrospect, all on hand yesterday at Pepper Middle School in deep Southwest Philly, hard by the airport, should not have been surprised when a game that was no walk in the park was decided in controversial fashion: by a jumper that appeared to follow a walk in the lane.

The situation: Communications Tech and Strawberry Mansion were tied in a wild Division C contest that featured a little bit of everything and lots of some things, namely intensity and memory-making plays.

As the clock wound down, CT senior point guard Antonio “Gee” Monroe had the ball and, although the general plans called for dish first, launch second, his teammates had little prayer of seeing it.

“As a senior leader, in a situation like that, it’s my job to put the team on my back,” the 6-foot, 180-pound Monroe said. “I wanted to take the shot. Wanted to get my team the ‘W’ . . . I wasn’t passin’. Well, if two guys were on me I would have, but otherwise that last play was mine.”

Monroe made hard penetration into the lane, slightly to the left. He cut loose a flip shot from about 10 feet . . . gooooooood!

CT 59, Mansion 57. No more time on the clock. Many minutes of controversy remaining.

The big question: Had Monroe traveled?

“I think he was fouled first,” CT coach Lou Biester said.

“That was a walk. The game should have gone to overtime,” Mansion boss Gerald Hendricks said.

“Walk? Nah, I got pushed,” Monroe said. “Did it look like I walked?”

“He might have walked,” said Monroe’s father, Charles, a spirited spectator and long a coach/organizer in city hoops.

“I was just hoping he’d pass it,” cracked CT’s center, Lijah Thompson. Read the rest of this entry »

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Antonio Monroe showed a flair for the dramatic for Communications Tech in a Public League basketball game yesterday.

Monroe drilled an 11-foot shot at the buzzer and handed the Phoenix a 59-57 win over visiting Strawberry Mansion, handing the Knights their first loss of the season.

Monroe finished the game with 13 points for Communications Tech (4-1, 2-1) and Devonte Newville paced Mansion (5-1, 2-1) with 22 points.

University City came back from a 48-43 deficit to beat visiting Southern, 62-58.

Marcus Holland scored 19 points for the Jaguars.

New Media Charter overcame a 37-point performance by GAMP’s Laron Byrd and beat the Pioneers, 59-53.

Isaiah Clark scored 20 points for the Jaguars. Read the rest of this entry »

By TED SILARY
Philadelphia Daily News
silaryt@phillynews.com

It almost reached the point where Ferg Myrick was afraid to show up for school.

Not because he’d neglected to study for tests, or because someone was trying to bully him, or because he couldn’t take 1 more day of wicked cafeteria food.

The transfer winds were the problem. And they were blowin’ hard in the wrong direction.

In a 1-week span last spring, Prep Charter’s elite basketball program lost one . . . two . . . three starters.

The way Myrick remembers the sequence, the first to depart was guard Parrish Grant. He’s now at Imhotep Charter. Following in quick order were two more guards, shooter Jesse “Boog” Morgan (Olney) and ballhandler Willis Nicholson (Cherokee, of New Jersey).

“I couldn’t believe it,” Myrick said. “That was some drastic stuff.

“It was like, ‘What’s going on here? Will anybody still be around? How much is this going to mess up our team? Will we even be good anymore?’ ”

Welcome to modern-day high-school basketball. Comings and goings are a constant, and Myrick can relate.

Read the rest of this entry »

Thursday, December 11, 2008 5:44 AM EST

By Christopher A. Vito, cvito@delcotimes.com

UPPER DARBY — Life. Love. Loyalty.

Those three words, tattooed to the left side of Lijah Thompson’s neck, embody what the 6-7 senior forward is all about on a basketball court.

He lives the game, loves the game and wanted to stay loyal to his Monsignor Bonner teammates.

A series of disciplinary pitfalls led Thompson away from the game and, eventually, away from Monsignor Bonner. He transferred from Bonner at the end of last week and enrolled at Communications Tech High School in Southwest Philadelphia, where he is in his first week of studies.

If Thompson could replay the start of his senior year at Bonner, he admits that he would do a few things differently. But his transfer from the school where he scored 639 career points has provided him a fresh start both on the court and in the classroom.

“Some of the stuff I got in trouble for, some of it wasn’t in the rule book,” Thompson said Tuesday while watching his former teammates beat Academy Park, 59-50. “I don’t want to badmouth Monsignor Bonner. I just wanted to get out of the environment.

“This whole thing was affecting my mom, too. She doesn’t need it because she’s a single parent working hard for us,” added Thompson, who is the youngest of three children. “I wanted to get out of that and make the situation better for my mom.”

Thompson was suspended indefinitely by Monsignor Bonner in October for failing the conduct portion of his report card. The 10-week suspension, of which he served four weeks, limited his after-school activities and prohibited him from practicing with the Friars.

His Nov. 26 appeal of the suspension was denied, which meant the soonest Thompson could rejoin the team he led to last season’s Catholic League semifinals would be in the last week of January.

Read the rest of this entry »

In degrees of richness, Communications Tech’s basketball program yesterday advanced from regular to filthy.

Arriving by transfer from Monsignor Bonner was Lijah Thompson, a 6-7 forward/center, and Robert Morris signee, who was considered the Catholic League’s No. 2 senior behind Roman Catholic guard Maalik Wayns (Villanova).

It didn’t take Thompson long to travel to CT, located in deep Southwest Philly. He lives within footsteps.

“I almost went there out of eighth grade. Everybody wanted me to,” he said. “I know all their players and coaches, and I’ve followed them through the years.”

Thompson said he was experiencing ongoing problems at Bonner over a personal issue.

“It was hard for me to deal with, and I didn’t want to put my mom through it anymore, either,” he said. “It was just time to go. Switching to a school real close to home just made the most sense. I talked with the Robert Morris coaches, and they were in favor of this, too.”

Thompson will be immediately eligible. CT, the defending champ, opens Pub play tomorrow at fellow toughie Prep Charter.

“I appreciate that Bonner signed my [eligibility] paperwork, and that I’ll be allowed to play,” he said. “I have a lot of friends at that school and it’s hard from that point; leaving them behind. I’m still going to go to a lot of their games and cheer them on.”

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