Andrew Robinson (@ADRobinson3)
The high school season is entering the stretch run, with every game taking on more and more importance as league and district standings start to sort themselves out.
Here’s a look around several of the region’s girls basketball leagues, with updates on leaders, key games, and stories to watch; click here for Josh Verlin's roundup on the boys' side:
Suburban One League
The SOL is right in the middle of its crossover competition, but those games all count toward conference standings. The four tables could still undergo a lot of shifting before starting the second go-round of inter-conference play next month.
Ava Sciolla (above) and Pennsbury are one of the favorites in the Suburban One League. (Photo: Josh Verlin/CoBL)
Prior to the season, the SOL Colonial conference looked fairly wide open and like it would be a very competitive race to the finish. Near the midway mark, that hasn’t really changed.
Souderton currently tops the league with a 7-1 SOL record, aided by a win over CB West on Jan. 4 and a win over SOL Patriot leader Pennsbury on Jan. 13. The Bucks are currently 5-2 while CB South is very much in the picture with a 5-3 SOL mark.
Souderton has two tough road games this week, visiting Patriot co-leaders Neshaminy on Tuesday then Council Rock South on Friday to finish a slate against the top three teams in the crossover conference. After surrendering 61 to Lansdale Catholic in the season opener, it’s been a clamp-down defensive season for Souderton, which has not allowed more than 45 points to anyone in its last 11 outings.
The Bucks still have to go through Neshaminy (Jan. 22) and Pennsbury (Jan. 25) while the Titans get a trip to Pennsbury on Tuesday this week then host Neshaminy on Friday night.
Central Bucks East is 4-4 in SOL play but the Patriots already have wins over Souderton and CB West so if any team could play spoiler once crossover play ends, they have the resume.
Pennsbury’s loss at Souderton was Neshaminy’s benefit thanks to the crossover setup. While the two archrival teams are tied atop the Patriot with 6-1 SOL marks, both have a long way to go before they meet again on Feb. 1.
The Falcons took the first meeting on Dec. 16 but had their undefeated start thwarted by Souderton last Thursday. Neshaminy meanwhile ripped off six straight after that setback but just had its streak snapped in a nonleague loss to Lansdale Catholic on Saturday.
Pennsbury still has to clash with the Central Bucks triangle while Neshaminy hasn’t faced any of the current top three teams in the Colonial.
Council Rock South had a strong start to the season, but the Golden Hawks have dropped their last two to fall to 4-4 in the SOL. With games against Pennridge and Souderton this week and CB South on Jan. 25, it’s an important stretch if CR South aims to try and keep pace in the Patriot table.
In the SOL Liberty, there’s a clear-cut top two of Abington and Plymouth Whitemarsh with each currently holding perfect 7-0 SOL records.
The Ghosts and Colonials haven’t played yet, with their scheduled Dec. 23 game postponed due to a COVID shutdown at Abington, but that has been rescheduled for Jan. 27.
Upper Dublin sits third in the table but is already 0-3 against the top two, having played PW twice and only has one game left with Abington.
Upper Moreland picked up a key win over New Hope-Solebury on Jan. 10 to take over the SOL Freedom’s top spot but then fell to Upper Dublin to pick up its first league loss. Despite that, the Golden Bears are still 5-1 in SOL play but still have to play PW (Jan. 21) and Abington (Jan. 25) in crossover competition.
New Hope-Solebury is currently 4-4 combined in SOL play.
Pioneer Athletic Conference
A big week from Methacton vaulted the Warriors to the top of the PAC Liberty standings.
Picking up victories over Spring-Ford on Tuesday and Perk Valley on Saturday have Methacton at 5-0 in the conference.
In the PAC Frontier, it’s Pope John Paul II at 4-0 to set the table, but Upper Perkiomen is only a game out.
The two current conference leaders meet on Wednesday when Methacton visits PJP II.
S-F and PV are tied 3-1 in second place and they’ll be able to sort that out on Tuesday when the Rams visit the Vikings for the first of their two scheduled meetings this winter.
Methacton goes against Spring-Ford again on Feb. 1 and Perk Valley on Feb. 3 while the Rams and Vikings meet again less than a week after their first contest on Jan. 24.
Owen J Roberts may have gone 0-3 its first time around against the top trio, but the Wildcats get another chance at Methacton, Spring-Ford and PV and could have a say in the final conference outcome.
Upper Perk could force a tie in the Frontier if it can top PJP II on Tuesday in their second meeting of the season. PJP II took the first 49-40 on Dec. 21.
At 2-2 in the Frontier, Phoenixville and Upper Merion are both still within striking distance.
PAC teams do play crossover games that count toward an overall PAC record that can have an impact on the league playoffs, but the tables are decided solely by inter-conference records.
Drexel commit Grace O'Neill (above) and Archbishop Carroll are amongst the front-runners in the PCL. (Photo: Josh Verlin/CoBL)
Philadelphia Catholic League
After using a two-division format the last two years, the PCL is back to a round-robin league schedule this winter, meaning everyone gets one game against everyone else.
Currently, there are four unbeaten teams in the league standings and a few really big games are right around the corner, starting this week. Delco rivals Archbishop Carroll and Cardinal O’Hara are both 3-0, while Archbishop Wood and Lansdale Catholic are 2-0.
Wood, the defending PCL champ, hosts Carroll on Thursday in a rematch of last season’s PCL semifinals in the marquee game of this week’s schedule. It doesn’t get easier for the Vikings next week as they travel down to O’Hara for a PCL title game rematch on Jan. 25.
O’Hara and Carroll will meet at Carroll on Feb. 1.
LC picked up an important win over Bonner-Prendie on Jan. 11 that not only matters for the league standings but the Class 4A playoff picture with the Crusaders, Pandas and Vikings of Wood making up the PCL’s three 4A programs.
Lansdale Catholic will go through a gauntlet to end the PCL regular season, visiting O’Hara on Feb. 3, hosting Neumann-Goretti in a rescheduled game on Feb. 5, visiting Wood on Feb. 8 then hosting Carroll on the final league date of Feb. 10.
Unfortunately due to health and safety protocols, Neumann-Goretti hasn’t played a league game yet but the Saints figure to be a major player in the standings. The Saints are slated to play at Wood on Jan. 27, Carroll on Feb. 3 and host O’Hara on Feb. 8.
It’s been Gwynedd Mercy Academy’s league so far with everyone else battling it out for running order halfway through.
The Monarchs have a perfect 4-0 record in the league although they’ll have to put that to the test Monday against Villa Joseph Marie squad they edged out 41-39 on Dec. 21. GMA has not played Nazareth Academy yet but has picked up a win over every other league foe thus far.
Last season, GMA finished first in the league standings during the regular season but fell to St. Basil Academy in the AACA title game. However this year’s standings shake out, there will be a new champion after St. Basil closed at the end of last academic year having won five straight league tournaments.
Villa Maria Academy is currently second in the league at 4-1, it’s only AACA loss a 37-27 setback at home to Gwynedd Mercy on Jan. 11. The Hurricanes get a second crack at GMA on Jan. 27.
Boosted by an influx of arrivals from St. Basil Academy, the Jems have started 3-2 in AACA play with the two-pont loss to GMA and a 47-34 setback to VMA. Villa Joseph Marie could get a few more looks at the Monarchs, starting with Monday’s important league clash, in the AACA playoffs and District 1 4A tournament.
Villa Maria and Villa Joseph Marie face off for the second time on Feb. 1.
Mount Saint Joseph sits fourth at 2-3 with Merion Mercy (1-4) and Nazareth Academy (0-4) rounding out the standings.
The Ches-Mont is almost at the halfway mark of its divisional play and so far, it’s West Chester Rustin on top in the American with a 4-0 mark.
Rustin’s 66-35 win over Kennett on Jan. 13 is the difference in the table thus far, with the Blue Demons trailing just behind the Golden Knights with a 3-1 mark in American competition. The teams meet again at Rustin on Feb. 8.
Sun Valley and Great Valley are both 2-2 in the American with SV the next up to face Rustin before the second set of division games begins.
That’s all that separates division leader Downingtown East from Bishop Shanahan by virtue of a 42-40 Cougars win on Jan. 11. Downingtown East does have one more game, Tuesday against Henderson, to finish its first half but its 4-0 mark is enough to hold first place for now.
Shanahan is right there at 4-1 and will get another shot at the Cougars on Feb. 3.
Springfield (Delco.) is in some usual territory, sitting atop the league but not by much.
The Cougars are still unblemished at 7-0, but hold only a single game lead over Marple-Newtown and Conestoga, both 7-1. Springfield has already faced off with Marple-Newtown, beating the Tigers 42-36 on Dec. 17 but M-N is currently a higher seed in the District 1 5A rankings in the top spot with the Cougars at No. 3.
As for Conestoga, the Pioneers can tilt the table a bit this week when they face off with Springfield on Wednesday for their lone meeting of the regular season. Meanwhile, ‘Stoga’s lone setback so far came against Marple-Newtown in a 49-45 loss on Jan. 6.
Haverford and Garnet Valley are in the next tier, both holding 5-3 marks in the league
Tag(s): Home Boys HS Catholic League (B) Archbishop Carroll Archbishop Wood Bonner-Prendergast Cardinal O'Hara Lansdale Catholic Neumann-Goretti Central League (B) Conestoga Garnet Valley Haverford High Marple Newtown Springfield (Delco.) Ches-Mont (B) Ches-Mont American (B) Great Valley Kennett Sun Valley Oxford Unionville West Chester Rustin Ches-Mont National (B) Avon Grove Bishop Shanahan Coatesville Downingtown East Pac-10 (B) PAC-10 Frontier (B) Pope John Paul II Upper Perk PAC-10 Liberty (B) Methacton Spring-Ford Suburban One (B) SOL Colonial (B) Central Bucks East Central Bucks West North Penn Pennridge Souderton SOL Freedom (B) Cheltenham New Hope-Solebury Upper Moreland SOL Liberty (B) Abington Plymouth Whitemarsh SOL Patriot (B) Council Rock N. Neshaminy Pennsbury High School Women's