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Prepping for Preps '22-23: Conwell-Egan (Girls)

11/16/2022, 10:00am EST
By Missy Dougherty

Missy Dougherty (@Missyingyou)

(Ed. Note: This story is part of 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 2022-23 season preview coverage. The complete list of schools previewed thus far can be found here.)


When Chris Brennan took the Conwell-Egan girls’ basketball job six years ago, the Eagles hadn’t won a PCL game in two years.

“We just wanted to get on the radar in terms of PCL basketball,” Brennan said. “We hoped to turn the corner from the stigma that playing Conwell-Egan was an easy win.”

Consider the corner turned in Fairless Hills.

The Eagles not only made themselves visible on the PCL  girls’ basketball radar during the 2021-22 campaign, but also made program history by earning a spot in the state tournament for the first time. 

Conwell-Egan guard Kyliyah Carmichael is the only senior in the starting lineup. (Photo: Josh Verlin/CoBL)

Not content to just be there, Conwell-Egan claimed its first two state wins before falling to eventual 3A state champion and fellow PCL member, Neumann-Goretti, 72-47, in quarterfinal action. 

Registering its first winning record (13-11) in almost 10 years, the Eagles won eight of their last 12 contests and took their fanbase on a memorable ride that saw the squad beat PCL teams it hadn’t beaten in years before its historic state run.

No longer an afterthought on the PCL radar with a 5-5 conference record in 2021-22, Conwell-Egan now turns its sights to PCL contender status. 

“I think we are capable of so much more than what we have done in the past,” said 5-foot-9 junior guard Brooke McFadden, the Eagles’ leading scorer last season. “The whole team has so much talent and when we come together, we will do great things.”

McFadden is one of 12 returning varsity players, and four returning starters, for the Eagles who will be aiming to do the aforementioned great things.

The lone senior starter, 5-foot-7 point guard Kyliyah Carmichael, is an indispensable piece to the team’s success. 

“Kyliyah is the straw that stirs our drink,” Brennan said. “She doesn’t light up the stat sheet but she calms the nerves.”

Seeing herself as the ‘teammate you can call on for anything,’ Carmichael identifies last year’s state run as a great leadership (learning) experience and expects this year’s team to take a step further.

Junior Mya Aizen, the squad’s lone All-Catholic selection in 2021-22, agrees with Carmichael’s forecast for the season ahead. 

“I believe the team is capable of being one of the top teams in the PCL,” Aizen said.

“The leadership on the team has improved the team tremendously compared to years past. With the help of these leaders, there was a great amount of progress made in the last season, and With all the work already being put in, there will be double the amount of progress made by the end of this season.”

Conwell-Egan junior guard Brooke McFadden was the team's leading scorer last season. (Photo: Josh Verlin/CoBL)

Aizen missed her freshman season due to an ACL injury, so last season was her high school debut. Her second full season another year removed from the injury should be even better.

“Mya looks really strong,” Brennan said.

 Brennan said sophomore Lily Milewski should be a force for Conwell-Egan this season. The 6-foot forward really came into her own down the stretch for the Eagles. 

“Lily is a transcendent player,” Brennan said. “The sky's the limit. As the stakes got higher last year, she got better.” 

Projected to be a guard at the college level, Milewski will look to grow her inside-out game this season.

“Lily has the ability to draw the other team’s post out of the lane,” Brennan said. “Opponents have been put on notice about Lily. She is a very special player.”

Although the Eagles had no seniors last year, they lost two key players off their roster when juniors Saniyah Spell (Trenton Catholic) and Gianna Johnson (George School) transferred.

There is still plenty of talent on the roster as juniors Brianna McFadden (Brooke’s twin sister) and Emma Candy, along with senior Katey Brennan, should play big roles. 

Brianna will likely be the first guard off the bench, while the 5-foot-10 Candy returns to Egan after transferring out before her sophomore season. 

Brennan (no relation to her head coach) helped the Eagles rewrite the program’s history books on the diamond last spring as Egan became the first PCL softball team to advance to a state final. Named the league’s softball MVP as a junior, the 5-foot-2 Brennan will continue her career at Seton Hall University.

 Coach Chris Brennan can already feel the excitement in the gym.

 “All of the girls are great teammates,” he said. “It’s a cool environment to be around in terms of seeing the incredible effort they are putting in daily. The attendance level, and corresponding energy, during offseason workouts is the highest level it's been in all my previous years at Egan. We are hopeful.”

 Noting that the school itself has done great job building up the student body, Brennan acknowledges the Eagles will have some new challenges on hand as they move up a class to 4A.

“We have systematically flipped our schedule this year,” Brennan said, in referring to a schedule upgrade that offers one test after another.  Egan’s early non-league slate includes a matchup against Georgetown Day School (D.C.) on Dec. 9 in the She Got Game Classic in Washington D.C. and a Dec. 17 date with Germantown Academy in the Patriots’ annual Make-A-Wish Tournament, before closing out the calendar year in Wildwood at the Boardwalk Classic.

“The December schedule will be a gauntlet to prepare us for the January gauntlet of the PCL,” Brennan said. “We beat some league schools last year we hadn’t beaten in years. It’s time to go get one of the top teams.”

 While Brennan’s squad made great strides last year in terms of establishing itself as a force in the PCL, the challenge remains of getting over the proverbial ‘hump’ of taking down one of the teams in the upper echelon of the league.

Brennan believes scaling that fictitious PCL mountain of sorts will be that much more attainable this year after the maturity gained last season.

 Acknowledging that competing in the PCL, and the school’s tradition of ringing a bell to celebrate victories, are her favorite things about playing basketball at Conwell-Egan, Milewski is definitely ready to get going.

 “The PCL atmosphere is completely different from the non-league games,” Milewski said. “I think that we can do better in the Catholic League this year, and then make another run in the PIAA state championship (tournament).”

Sounds like the Eagles’ victory bell will get quite a workout this winter.

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