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For the Daily News
This season is supposed to be special for the Penn Wood basketball team. The Patriots know it. Their fans know it. But there was no anxiety prior to their season opener last night against Holy Ghost Prep.

Patriots point guard Tyree Johnson was serenading his teammates before the game in a very relaxed, giddy locker room.

Penn Wood then went out and did what it was supposed to do, what talented teams do, in beating back pesky Holy Ghost, 63-50, at the packed Penn Wood gym.

Penn Wood’s Duane Johnson led all scorers with 15 points, with 12 points coming from Chris White and 11 from Johnson. It was the first loss of the year for Holy Ghost, which dropped to 2-1.

For Penn Wood, the victory was a sampling of just how good this team could be. The Pats led by as much as 55-36 early in the fourth quarter, but also trailed for a good portion of the second quarter, down by as much as 24-19.
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Looking up. Venture inside Harrison Gymnasium and you’ll see why there’s optimism at Glen Mills.

Familiar faces are on the Bulls’ basketball team.

Aaric Murray, a McDonald’s all-American nominee, and senior forward Darnell Plummer are the returning starters from a 16-10 campaign.

Murray, a 6-foot-11 senior center, averaged 19 points, 11 rebounds and 2 blocked shots last season. The 6-3 Plummer averaged 11 points.

Senior point guard Reggie Miles, senior forward Tyrik Gass and junior forward Anthony Hall (6-6) also are back.

“Just the fact that we have multiple returners always excites us and gives us a lot of optimism for the long-term success,” coach Craig Mellinger said.

Glen Mills is a residential school in Delaware County for court-adjudicated young men. Players often arrive at the school with no or very little organized basketball experience. That leaves the Bulls’ coaching staff with the task of teaching Basketball 101.

“The real successful seasons are set up when the core of the guys from the previous return,” Mellinger said.

Welcome back. Academy Park also welcomes back two starters.

Senior shooting guard Devon Cain is the only returning full-time starter. Senior center Devin Hunter (6-6) was a part-time starter.

Senior forward Kenny Green will join the two in the starting lineup. As of last week, two starting positions still were being contested.

Sophomore Jordan Tucker and junior Taylor Boulware were battling the point-guard spot. Junior Brandon Jackson and Jordan McClendon were battling for the last starting guard position. Once the starting lineup is set, Academy Park will look to improve on last season’s 13-12.
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