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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

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 »

By Joe Juliano

Inquirer Staff Writer
LAWRENCE, Kan. – It’s a trip of about 1,200 miles from their Hunting Park neighborhood to this charming college town with a population roughly one-20th that of Philadelphia, and yes, Markieff and Marcus Morris miss their hometown a lot.

But the 19-year-old twins, who led Prep Charter to back-to-back PIAA state championships before spending last year at Apex Academy in Cherry Hill, made the decision to attend Kansas after passing on Memphis and Villanova and have found the adjustment to college basketball to be a rocky one.

Both have struggled to meet the exacting standards of coach Bill Self, whose Jayhawks won the 2008 national championship but now have seven newcomers. Self follows the old-school coaching dictum of “You play how you practice” and has yo-yoed the pair in and out of the lineup.

Then there was an incident in which Markieff Morris shot a 47-year-old woman with plastic BBs in a university dorm courtyard last August, according to campus police. The woman suffered minor injuries, and Morris agreed to perform 20 hours of community service, admitting: “I made bad decisions.”

So it’s been a challenge for the twins to adapt, particularly given the spotlight on them because of their renown and the fact they come from the city that gave Kansas one of its all-time greats, Wilt Chamberlain. But they say that being put to the test will help them.

“It’s something big to handle, but that’s what a Philly guy does,” Marcus Morris, a 6-foot-8 forward, said after the Jayhawks’ 71-59 win over Temple on Saturday. “Wilt came out here into the spotlight, and he did what he had to do. It’s just a big adjustment. I think we’re handling it well. I think it’s actually making us better because we’ve been thrown into the fire.” Read the rest of this entry »

By Phil Anastasia
Inquirer Columnist
It was a defensive game, Kendall White’s kind of game.

The twist last night was that Rancocas Valley’s defensive ace made his biggest impact at the offensive end.

Oh, White was up to his usual tricks at the other end, pressuring the basketball, clogging the lanes, drawing two of the five offensive fouls the Red Devils took against Williamstown.

“That’s what our team is all about, taking charges,” White said.

Still, it was at the other end of the court where White made the biggest difference on this cold night inside Rancocas Valley’s gymnasium. The 6-foot-4 senior scored 18 points, including 12 in the fourth quarter, as the Red Devils emerged with a 62-54 victory in an entertaining and competitive clash of South Jersey Group 4 heavyweights.

“Kendall took over the game,” said Rancocas Valley coach Jay Flanagan, whose 2-0 team is No. 2 in The Inquirer Top 10.

As the defending Group 4 state champions, Rancocas Valley can expect every opponent’s best punch. But the Red Devils knew what to expect from Williamstown, which lost in overtime to Rancocas Valley last season.

Last night’s game had that look for long stretches, as neither team was able to generate much in the way of offensive continuity. It was the game both coaches wanted – and expected: two teams playing tight man-to-man defense, denying every pass, battling every possession.

“I know Jay, and he knows me,” Williamstown coach Bill Hunt said. “We played 99 percent man defense and so do they. You knew it was going to be a good, hard-nosed game, with neither team giving an inch.” Read the rest of this entry »

Winslow Township’s boys did not have the easiest basketball opener. With no returning starters, the Eagles had to face defending South Jersey Group 3 champion Timber Creek, which was ranked No. 5 in The Inquirer’s preseason South Jersey top 10.The lack of experience apparently did not mean a whole lot as Winslow Township defeated the Chargers, 51-50, in one of the more remarkable showings of the opening weekend.

“We have had some on-the-job training and I think the guys responded,” Winslow coach Chris Martin said.

According to Martin, the defensive job done by his only senior starter, 6-foot-2 Darrell Brown, was a key. Brown guarded Navy recruit Montez Blair and held him to nine points.

Timber Creek was led by two sophomores, 6-6 Shawn Valentine, who had 21 points, and 5-11 Bill Belton, who added 13.

Young team. Bishop Eustace’s boys had four freshmen see action in Friday’s opening 77-68 loss to Camden. Forward Dexter Harris started and classmates Carson Purlefoy, Sho DaSilva and Will Lennon saw action off the bench.

“We like our freshman class,” Eustace coach Bob Falconiero said.

He also likes his juniors, led by 6-2 Pat Vasturia, who has scored 53 points in the first two games for the 1-1 Crusaders.

Big win, tough injury. Gloucester Catholic had one of the most impressive girls’ victories of the opening weekend with a 56-48 win over defending Tri-County Diamond Division champion Glassboro.

However, the Rams are now on pins and needles waiting to know the status of sophomore point guard Alex Balara, who suffered a leg injury late in the game.

It was originally feared that she broke her leg, but coach Lisa Gedaka said X-rays were negative. Balara will undergo an MRI exam today.

“She was playing so well,” Gedaka said of her point guard.

Gloucester Catholic received a balanced effort, with five players scoring from eight to 12 points. Junior Marisa Kinsley led the Rams with 12.

Nearing a milestone. Haddon Township girls’ coach Tom Mulligan could be hitting a milestone right after Christmas. Mulligan has 298 career wins. The Hawks (2-0) host Camden Charter Academy today and then meet Triton in the Clearview Tournament on Saturday.

Quron Pratt, an Inquirer first-team all-South Jersey defensive back from Palmyra, made an oral commitment yesterday to attend Rutgers.

Pratt made an unofficial visit yesterday to Rutgers and told the coaching staff of his decision before going home.

“I liked everything about Rutgers, what Greg Schiano has done. Plus it’s close to home, and my family, who have always supported me, can get to my games,” Pratt said last night.

Pratt said he would make his official visit to Rutgers on Jan. 23.

Besides Rutgers, Pratt also made official visits to Delaware and Pittsburgh. The 6-foot-1, 180-pound Pratt was recruited as a defensive back, although he was told that Rutgers wouldn’t discount the idea of playing him at wide receiver.

A top athlete who is also the starting point guard in basketball, Pratt set the Palmyra career record with 20 interceptions. He picked off four passes this season and also had 10 touchdown receptions in leading Palmyra to a 9-1 record and the Burlco/Olympic Freedom Division title.

According to NCAA rules, a high school football player can’t officially sign a letter of intent until Feb. 4.

Georgetown's Austin Freeman, left, battles for a loose ball against Memphis' Tyreke Evans (12) during the first half of an NCAA college men's basketball game, Saturday, Dec. 13, 2008, in Washington.(AP Photo/Nick Wass)

Georgetown’s Austin Freeman, left, battles for a loose ball against Memphis’ Tyreke Evans (12) during the first half of an NCAA college men’s basketball game, Saturday, Dec. 13, 2008, in Washington.(AP Photo/Nick Wass)
Tyreke Evans, shortly before heading to Memphis for his freshman year... Stephanie Bahnatka- 1stflashphotography.com

Tyreke Evans, shortly before heading to Memphis for his freshman year... Stephanie Bahnatka- 1stflashphotography.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

By Kevin Tatum
Inquirer Staff Writer

Tyreke Evans left home to play college basketball and certainly took his jump shot with him.
Memphis played for the NCAA title last season, but this season, the Chester native is the Tigers’ leading scorer.

Evans, a freshman guard, was averaging 16.1 points, 5.8 rebounds, 3.7 assists and 2.6 steals going into Memphis’ game against Syracuse today. Evans and the Tigers will play Drexel on Monday in Memphis.

But Evans also took with him a sense that it was time to grow up.

“Leaving home is big,” Evans said in a recent interview. “Time to man up, being in college and doing what you have to do. It’s like I thought it would be, and I like it better than high school. You’re more on your own.” Read the rest of this entry »

By Marc Narducci
Inquirer Staff Writer

Camden senior Aaron Walton-Moss didn’t force the issue, but he helped decide it. Last year’s South Jersey scoring leader with a 25.9 average, Walton scored 10 of his 20 points in the fourth quarter as Camden earned a 77-68 win over visiting Bishop Eustace in yesterday’s opening game for both Olympic Conference National Division basketball teams.

Ranked No. 9 in South Jersey by The Inquirer, Camden is a young team, and Walton-Moss is more than willing to provide the leadership.

For the game, the 6-foot-2 Walton-Moss, who said Temple and Texas-El Paso are showing the most interest in him, shot 10 for 16 from the field. He also contributed seven rebounds, four assists and four steals.

In the critical fourth quarter in which Camden outscored Eustace, 24-18, Walton-Moss hit all five of his shots.

“I don’t want them to depend solely on me, so I wanted to make sure everybody got involved,” Walton-Moss said. “I also want Vinny to know what it’s like to take big shots because he’s going to have to.”

He was referring to junior guard Vinny Walls, who had a team-high 24 points. Walls isn’t bashful about taking a big shot – or any shot, for that matter. He hit 9 of 22 from the field, including 6 of 12 from beyond the arc. So Walls isn’t about to get dejected after missing a few shots.

“My dad was here, and he said keep playing hard,” Walls said.
Read the rest of this entry »

By Phil Anastasia
Inquirer Columnist

Mike Stargell coaches in a gymnasium named after his predecessor.
His players run beneath banners and plaques that commemorate the most-famous basketball program in South Jersey.

Stargell and the members of the Camden High School basketball team are looking to the future, but the past is everywhere: Tradition is ingrained in those old, tiled walls in Clarence Turner Gymnasium.

“Camden High basketball has one of the strongest traditions I’ve ever seen,” Stargell said. “If I go anywhere, nationwide, and mention Camden High basketball, people take notice.”

Stargell wasn’t complaining. He was celebrating.

He knows he has “big shoes to fill” as the new Camden coach, as the relative unknown who has replaced Turner, as the man in charge of the most-fabled program in South Jersey.

But to Stargell, Camden’s rich history is a help, not a hindrance. His players know the standard that has been set for them. He knows it, too.

“I’ve been around this program for a long time,” Stargell said. “I know Camden High School basketball. I’m not trying to set a new direction. I’m just trying to continue what Coach Turner established here.

“He’s the reason I have this job. This opportunity arose for me because of him.” Read the rest of this entry »

DAVID SWANSON)

"They are looking at me for leadership. So I am trying to bring it here for them," says Imhotep's Parrish Grant. (Photo Credit: DAVID SWANSON)

Parrish Grant is a champion.These days, Grant is a senior point guard for the Imhotep Charter boys’ basketball team. But around Southeastern Pennsylvania, the 18-year-old is recognized for his exploits at Prep Charter.

Grant was a member of Huskies’ back-to-back Class AA state championship teams during his freshman and sophomore seasons. Prep Charter also won the Philadelphia Public League title during his sophomore campaign.

After transferring to Imhotep, the North Philly native hopes to help the Panthers win a state title.

The District 1 prospect took time to chat about the possibility of winning another state title with a different team.

Question: How has the adjustment been for you on a new team?

Answer: It’s been great. My teammates are showing me a lot of love. It’s just like it was at Prep Charter.

Q: What is your role on this team?

A: The guys on the team look at me as a leader, because as a sophomore I won the state and Public League titles. So they are looking at me for leadership. So I am trying to bring it here for them.

Q: Does this team possess the same hunger and desire of those championship-winning Prep Charter squads?

A: Yes. . . . We try to come out and outwork our opponents every game.

Q: What separates the Panthers from this season’s other state-championship hopefuls?

A: Ball pressure in the game. And we work hard every day. Read the rest of this entry »

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