Ryan Coyle (@RyanCoyle35)
(Ed. Note: This story is the latest in CoBL’s “Prepping for Preps” series, which will take a look at many of the top high school programs in the region as part of our 2021-22 season preview coverage. As we publish more, the complete list of schools previewed will be found here.)
In the modern era of basketball, we see teams playing guard heavy lineups, with an emphasis on players spreading the floor and shooting a lot of 3-pointers, while guarding five different positions on the defensive end of the floor.
The typical high school basketball team is lucky to have one player that stands around 6-foot-4 or 6-5 who’s athletic enough to hold their own on the perimeter. The Central Bucks South basketball program has the luxury, though, of having two players that stand over 6-5 and fit in that modern style of hoops, with the ability to impose their will inside as well.
Michael Farley (above) is one of two versatile forwards the CB South attack will feature this year. (Photo: Josh Verlin/CoBL)
It really is the best of both worlds for Titans head coach Jason Campbell, who has been at the helm of the Central Bucks South program since the school opened up in 2004, to have players like 6-5 junior forward Tyler Meinel and 6-7 senior forward Michael Farley that allow him to play that versatile style of basketball at a high level.
“It is great to have your two biggest players to be as athletic as they are,” Campbell said. With them being able to guard out on the perimeter, get up and down the floor on offense and move their feet well enough to feel comfortable playing a lot of different defenses.”
Farley, who is being recruited by numerous high academic Division III programs and a few Division II schools as well, is an evolving forward, with an ability to take advantage of teams both on the perimeter and in the paint will be a key cog for Cambell and company this year.
Last year he earned second team all-league in the Suburban One Colonial Division as a junior, competing against Central Bucks West, Central Bucks East, North Penn, Pennridge, and Souderton in the SOL’s new four-division format.
“Farley has done a really good job of playing both inside and outside for us,” Campbell said. “He is a very good, all-around, complete player. He hit the weight room a lot this offseason and it is starting to really show up for him. He can shoot the ball from the outside, put it on the floor, to go with his inside ability as well. He creates a lot of mismatches for us.”
Meinel returns to the lineup for the Titans to play in the frontcourt alongside Farley after garnering first team all-league honors in the Suburban One Colonial Division as a sophomore.
“Meinel is a different type of player than Farley,” Campbell said. “He is very quick and has super athletic ability. Some of the things he does are really eye opening like spin moves, being able to finish in different ways around the rim. He is super long and athletic that way. Both guys can play above the rim, block shots, and do a lot to help us. They are a great duo together.”
While the versatile duo of Farley and Meinel return, Campbell’s squad did lose a few key players from last year’s team, including starting point guard Evan D’Orazio. The Titans also lost a key defender and rebounder in forward Owen Petrich, who is playing baseball at Delaware, and Nate Macalindong, a rotational guard on last year’s team.
CB South, located in Warrington, went 9-7 overall last season, dropping their opening playoff game to Methacton. This year's group has the personnel to do a little bit more damage this year, the players and coaches within the program believe.
“I am expecting this team to outperform last year's team,” Cambell said. “We will see how far of a run we can make in districts. But, we should be able to compete for our conference title. We play in a very competitive league. It usually comes down to the last two or three games of the season to determine who wins it. We feel like we can be right there in position to win that title this year and that is one of our team goals.”
Jay Maclindong was AAU teammates this summer with Michael Farley on Philly Heat. (Photo: Josh Verlin/CoBL
Rounding out the starting five to go with Farley and Meinel are senior point guard Jay Macalindong, Nate’s younger brother, senior wing/forward Joe Rooney, and junor guard Chris Granito.
“Our point guard, Jay Macalindong, is really good when it comes to getting us into our offense, but he can score as well and has a strong mid-range game,” Campbell said. “Joe Rooney is a senior this year and he has improved a lot. He is bigger, stronger, can shoot the ball, and make an impact inside. He is another guy that I feel we can use for mismatches.”
“Our starting shooting guard plays both ends of the floor really well with Chris Granito. He is a very good athlete, can shoot the ball, get to the rim and is one of those guys who takes a lot of charges, gets deflections, gets rebounds, he is a nice player.”
This is a team that brings back a lot of experience with seniors Brayan Delara, Aidan Van Zanten, and Jesse Rotunno coming off the bench to fill in other minutes for this year's Titans roster.
In order to make a run at the District 1 6A title, Campbell designed a schedule that will challenge his team and prepare them for the playoffs to avenge that loss from last season against Methacton. Besides the always-competitive Suburban One league slate, CB South will be facing Perkiomen Valley, Spring-Ford, Neshaminy, and Emmaus, all of which are 6A programs that will be vying for district playoff berths this year.
Having a coach on the sidelines with the experience of Cambell, who has over 200 wins in his time as the CB South head coach gives the Titans’ program an extra advantage in the eyes of his team.
“(Campbell) has done a lot in terms of helping me develop as a player,” Farley said. “He’s got a ton of experience coaching, he is the only head coach at CB South since we opened. Not only is he great at helping the bigs, but the guards as well, he has a ton of knowledge on the game. I think he gives us a great advantage every game with our playbook and getting guys fired up to play, he always has us ready to go.”
With the versatility and athleticism that the roster has, look for CB South to switch it up on defenses and throw the proverbial “kitchen sink” at its opponents on a game by game basis.
“In terms of defense we have a group that I think can switch it up on that end of the floor,” Campbell said. “We have the personnel to play man, zone, full court press, and do a lot of different things.”
The main thing that this season could come down to for CB South is whether or not they can play a full 32 minutes together each night.
“We run into issues when we go away from who we are and what we do well and don’t play together, which we saw at times this summer,” Campbell said. “But, we also saw this summer when we do play together and play smart basketball that we can be really good. I feel very confident in this team and I feel like we are going to have a very strong season.”
While team chemistry could go a long way in deciding the Titans' fate this season, the play of Farley and Meinel on the interior is going to be the driving force of this bunch. Farley, along with the other seniors have been preparing for this moment for the past four years and know their time is now.
“Me and the other seniors have talked about for years how we have wanted to win a conference championship during our time here,” Farley said. “Being able to walk into our gym down the line and see 2022 up on that conference championship banner is a major goal for us.”