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Philly Live II: Day One High School Notebook (June 24, 2022)

06/25/2022, 8:45am EDT
By CoBL Staff

CoBL Staff (@hooplove215)
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The second weekend of Philly Live kicked off on Friday at Jefferson University with eight sets of games on four courts running from noon until about 9 p.m. to kick off the three-day event, which will continue at both Jefferson and St. Joe’s Prep on Saturday. The CoBL staff was on hand to take in all the action, watching almost every game that took place at the Gallagher Athletic Center over the course of the afternoon and evening.

Here are some storylines from the high school teams who were in action during Sunday’s games:
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Holy Ghost Prep ready for Year 2 as independent

Holy Ghost finished up its first season as an independent school this winter after years of success in the Bicentennial League. The hope was that the schedule would allow the Firebirds to bolster their schedule, which they tried to do in 2021.

They may not have won as many games as they did in the BAL, going 13-9 in the regular season, but Ghost was able to play against more competitive teams. The Firebirds played against the District 1-5A runner up-Radnor, as well as tough 6A teams like Upper Dublin and Penn Wood (PIAA qualifier), among others. 

“It was tough…Playing those better teams, you’re going to lose some games, but that’s going to help us as a program move forward,” rising senior point guard Seamus McDermott said. “Rather than getting 20 easy wins in the BAL, maybe getting 13 or 14 while losing to some tough teams.”


Holy Ghost Prep's Mel Lindsey spins toward the basket. (Photo: Owen McCue/CoBL)

McDermott was the starting point guard for Holy Ghost last season, getting his first varsity experience. He’s ready to step up into a bigger role this season with Ghost’s two top scorers graduating. Shane Riley and Dylan Shead (PSU Abington) were both key pieces for a team that was the 9th seed in District 1-5A classification last year. The Firebirds lost in the first round to Sun Valley, which left a sour taste in McDermott’s mouth, 

“We had a good team last season and it felt like we could’ve gone further in districts, but we underachieved,” he said.

McDermott is ready to bounce back and lead his team with his excellent three-point shooting and ball handling skills. He’s the heart and soul for Holy Ghost on both ends of the floor, along with Mel Lindsey, who complements McDermott well. Lindsey stands at 6-6 and does the work inside, while McDermott does his thing on the perimeter.

The Ghosts also have experience in guards Ian Hendrix and Gavin McLaughlin along with forwards Brandon Boutilier and Colin Todd, who are all ready to step up if they’re asked to. Ghost has a very close group of guys who have been playing basketball together for a long time and it shows on the court with their quick ball movement and communication on defense.“I just think it’s the guys, we all like each other. It’s a fun atmosphere where we’re all pulling for each other.” McDermott said

— Zak Wolf

MCS has a fresh look heading into 2022-23

There’s going to be a lot of fresh faces on the floor for Math Civics and Sciences this season after losing its entire starting 5 from last year. It’s going to be difficult for them to replace players like Jaheim Beteha (IUPI), Khalif Crawley (Kentucky State) and Trent Middleton, all of whom were big-time players for MCS. 

The trio all contributed in different ways, whether it was Bethea’s distribution and ability to get into the lane, Middleton’s shot making and creation for himself, or Crawley dominating the paint. A lot of roles are still left open for a team that advanced to the Philadelphia Public League semi-finals and the PIAA Class 3A quarterfinals last season.  

“We’ve been here before, it’s just going to take a lot of work,” head coach Lonnie Diggs said. 

Most of the MCS rotation will be seniors who have spent a long time with the program, but they just haven’t gotten the opportunity to get minutes on the floor before. An example is point guard Jeff King, who has been at MCS since ninth grade, but will get significant playing time for the first time this year. 

Isaiah Griffin and Nayeem Johnson will be two of the Elephants’ most important players this upcoming season because of their experience coming off the bench last season. Griffin averaged around 6 points per game and although Johnson’s time was limited because of a groin injury last season, the coaching staff expects big things from him if he can stay healthy. 

MCS doesn’t necessarily have a number one option on offense, so it’s going to have to rely on its defense to create easy offense. 

“Defense is going to be our calling card,” Diggs said. “We don’t have that one great guy on offense who’s going to be able to score 25-30 points. We have to be able to stop people and play together.” 

MCS showed it can spread the scoring out in a 78-64 win over White Plains (N.Y) on Friday. The Elephants had four players in double figures: Isaiah Griffin (17), Chauncy Presley (15), Yassir Joyner (14) and Jeff King (11).

They’re going to need consistent scoring like that if they want to compete in the Pub against nationally ranked powerhouse Imhotep as well as a tough Lincoln squad who took them down in the Pub playoffs last year. 

“Trust is going to be the biggest thing for us,” senior Isiah Griffin said. “We all trust each other, we all play together and I feel like we can go far.”

— Zak Wolf


Lincoln's Rashan Locke-Hicks throws up an alley-oop. (Photo: Owen McCue/CoBL)

— Lincoln has three “heavy hitters” back from its 2021-22 Public League runner-up squad, and the Rail Splitters are hoping that materializes in a special season. Lincoln opened with a win over Liberty on Friday before Devon Prep ran away in the second half in one of the final games of the day.

Speedy point guard Rashan Locke-Hicks and talented wing Nasseem Wright (6-6) are back to lead the way alongside Jameer Trout (6-3). Locke-Hicks has noted an improvement in Wright’s game. Classmate Rodney Shelton (6-7) also returns to give Lincoln a front-court presence. 

Brothers Stanley and Shamar Parker, who were at Sankofa Freedom last season, are two new players who Lindsey is excited for this season.

“We’re in a good place. It’s just finding roles for the ones who moved up and showing them how important their role is,” Lindsey said.

The Parker brothers are the only two new faces in the mix, so there is some holdover chemistry in this year’s group that Lindsey and Locke-Hicks are both excited about.

The Rail Splitters are hoping that chemistry continues to build as they work out together daily this offseason.

“We’re maturing as a group and building,” Locke-Hicks said. “We love it, working out hard and everything and getting ready for the next season.”

“They’re just hard working and there’s no attitudes,” Lindsey said. “Everybody’s all for one, one for all. I love that part. That’s what I love about coaching when you’re lucky enough to get a group that just doesn’t care about anything but winning.”

— With big man Sultan Adewale visiting his home in England this week, Neumann-Goretti relied on another front-court member in Friday’s win over Hayfield (Va.) — last year’s undefeated VHSL 6A State Champs.

2024 forward Larenzo Jerkins (6-6) did the dirty work for the Saints, scoring 14 points and grabbing 13 rebounds in the victory.

“A lot of energy, leadership and just keeping us pushing, rebounding, points,” Jerkins said of what he hopes to bring to N-G. “Just keeping us up and keeping all our heads up.”

“I knew they were trying to pressure Rob (Wright) and double team our good offensive players, so I tried to make myself as open as possible.”

Jerkins, an all-state player at Chester last season, had about four practices with N-G before last week’s live period. He saw some time in the Saints three games last weekend, but certainly played a more feature role on Friday.

“It’s good for Larenzo to get more familiar and get a little more action,” N-G coach Carl Arrigale said. “He’s tough and once he really understands what we’re about and everything  we do and gets more comfortable he’s going to fit in nicely.”


Methacton's Matt Christian shoots a three. (Photo: Owen McCue/CoBL)

— For the first time in about six seasons, Methacton is playing without a Division I big man.

The Warriors went right from four seasons of Jeff Woodward (Colgate) to two seasons of Cole Hargrove (Drexel) patrolling the middle on both ends of the floor.

Now, with the roster’s height topping out with rising junior Preston Hull (6-4), the Warriors are adjusting their style of play.

“It’s a lot different,” rising senior sharpshooter Matt Christian said. “The structure’s different. Everyone’s got to box out. We relied on Cole so much last year, and it’s gotta be a full team effort this year.”

Christian will be leaned on to shoulder the scoring load after the departure of Hargrove and Brett Byrne, a three-year varsity starter.

He did just that Friday, scoring 27 in a win over Notre Dame Green Pond and then 33 in a win over ACIT (N.J.).

“There’s a lot more pressure, a lot more work load for me,” Christian said. “It’s a big challenge, and I’m looking forward to it.”

Rising senior point guard Cam Chilson also returns to the starting lineup and will have more lead-guard duties without Byrne. Classmate Jason Lagana is one of several other returners who were in and out of the rotation last season. Chilson assisted Lagana on a lay-up for a sudden death triple overtime win against Notre Dame Green Pond on Friday.

Hull, Sal Iemello (2025), Alex Hermann (2024), Anthony Daddazio (2024), Evan Spang (2023) and Owen Goldstein (2023) will also compete for minutes this season.

— On Friday against Gloucester, Abington leaned on its depth to come away with a 68-54 victory. 11 different Galloping Ghosts scored, led by rising junior Kellen Ingram, who had 15 points. Rising senior Liam Rardin scored 12 points, rising junior Jeremiah Lee had nine points, and class of 2025 guard/wing Paul Glants showed off his impressive passing ability in the win. Last season, Abington went 16-12 (11-5 SOL) and lost in the second round of the PIAA 6A tournament to Lower Merion.


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