Andrew Robinson (@ADrobinson3)
(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.)
As the largest league in District 1 — with 24 member schools in four divisions spread across Montgomery and Bucks counties — the SOL’s numbers game always means there are likely to be a few power teams and one or two that get in as a lower seed and end up playing in the state tournament. The league is also described as a grinder for good reason, with teams playing the standard home-and-away sets within their division plus six crossover games with a partner division, locking up 16 of the 22 available game dates in the regular season.
It’s as hard a league to predict on a year-to-year basis as any other too, given the usual high turnover and shuffling of balance on the four separate tables and those crossover games counting toward league standings. Rivalries reign strong and league nights are always intriguing with a result that might seem unexpected anywhere else simply being chalked up as another day in Suburban One.
Here’s a quick peek at the Suburban One’s boys side for 2022-23:
Junior three-year guard Jake Cummiskey is back at C.B. East. (Photo: Owen McCue/CoBL)
There’s no way to overlook the losses at CB East, with seven seniors from last year’s co-champion team departed but the Patriots have Jake Cummiskey back and that’s a really good starting point. The junior returns off a first team All-SOL selection and a resume of big shots to his name and he’s not alone with Joey Giordano and Kyle Berndt looking to pick up where they left off.
Multi-sport athletes are a hallmark of the Colonial’s teams on a yearly basis, so there’s plenty of familiarity in every match-up, but the four games against the archrival Central Bucks West and Central Bucks South always seem to hold a little more value.
Ryan Zeltt absolutely lit it up throwing the football for North Penn’s football team, now the 6-foot-5 senior will try to carry that production indoors for a Knights team that has some intriguing pieces back. Generally, the Knights finish seasons much stronger than they start but with a solid guard in Mario Sgro coming back, North Penn will try to put its mix of size and experience to full effect early.
It’s a new start at CB South, with coach Jason Campbell stepping down last year and moving to the staff at Upper Moreland and Louie Ditri taking charge of the Titans. There are pieces to replace, but that’s a theme across the division and with Tyler Meinel, Sean Rieber and Jack Carver in the fold, the Titans will look to take more than a share of the division silverware this season.
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It was a rare down season for Pennridge, but Matt Campione was a standout performer earning his way to first team All-SOL honors. The sharpshooting guard, committed to Catholic University, will lead a Rams group without much experience looking for a return to form.
Michael Fountain headlines a relatively deep group at CB West, with the Bucks graduating six players but just two of them starters. West figures to look more West-like this winter, emphasizing its guards including senior Charlie Cashman.
Souderton finished 2021-22 with a 13-9 overall record, but were just 4-6 in division games. With seven seniors gone, Big Red will have to rebuild quickly but does have four seniors with varsity experience including Levi John and Jared Zimmerman, who likely takes over at point guard after a great season as the football team’s quarterback.
Neshaminy senior guard Emeer Coombs, above, is one of three returning starters. (Photo: Josh Verlin/CoBL)
Give or take, it’s about a 36-mile round-trip to hit all six schools in the Patriot division that calls lower Bucks County home. That proximity breeds some extremely fierce competition and in recent years, a changing of the guard atop the standings.
Neshaminy, which claimed the 2020 division, yielded it to Bensalem last year but the squad from Langhorne looks primed to try and take it back. Emeer Coombs, Nathan Townsend and Sean Curley return as starters for a team that got plenty of experience last year with eyes on getting back to the top seat of the table.
It’s a big season for Council Rock North, the Indians boasting a roster with seven players 6-foot-2 or taller including Jack Blum. Adam Mahtat is also back and with size to go around, CR North should be able to create and take advantage of mis-matches by sharing the ball.
Sure, a good deal of varsity minutes graduated off last year’s team, but there’s no shortage of options to fill out the first five and build a bench in the early stages of the season.
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Senior Ty Kocak will take on a big role early on as Pennsbury adjusts to first-year head coach Wes Emme, who returns to his alma mater to take over a young but promising group.
At CR South, Matt Robinson is the sole returning starter, but the Golden Hawks do have some varsity experience back and see a group with plenty of depth.
Antonio Morris is one of the three returning varsity players at Bensalem, with the Owls always a safe bet to be playing their best basketball in February for coach Ron Morris. Seniors Eric Gonzalez and Jake Wineberg, the other returners, will be asked to lead the new-look team.
Harry S. Truman will look to build on last season’s progress with a host of seniors including Kahvier Adams hoping to put the Tigers in contention for meaningful late-season games.
Plymouth-Whitemarsh junior guard Jaden Colzie is hoping the Colonials can win the SOL Liberty. (Photo: Josh Verlin/CoBL)
This might as well have been the “Chaos Division” last year, with the title race going down to the final night with Upper Dublin and Plymouth Whitemarsh eventually sharing the spoils while Abington and Wissahickon were just a game off the pace.
The Colonials figure to be right back in the mix, with senior Qudire Bennett and junior Jaden Colzie returning as headliners for veteran coach Jim Donofrio. Chase Coleman, formerly of Archbishop Carroll, is back in the area after playing in Erie last year and gives PW even more firepower in the backcourt. PW needed some late-season heroics to split the division but with a bolstered frontcourt including Rodney Willis, Jimmy Flowers and Jahseir Sayles, the idea is to get things wrapped up a bit earlier this winter.
It might seem unusual to put a defending co-champion with a good deal of returners here, but thanks to the Cardinals’ football team making another long playoff run, Upper Dublin might take a while to look like itself. Derek Brooks comes over from New Hope-Solebury as a first-year head coach with projected starters such as Colin O’Sullivan, DJ Cerisier, Griffin Pensabene and a couple others acting as key cogs on the football field.
Wissahickon was right in that mix to potentially grab a share of the title too and coach Kyle Wilson likes his team’s make-up heading into the season. Veterans Earl Stout and Jaylon Williams lead a Trojans team that always seems to match-up well with everyone else in the division.
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Abington made another of its patented late-season surges in 2021-22, the Ghosts finding their way back to states but graduating several starters as a result. Junior Jeremiah Lee will look to take a more central role as coach Charles Grasty looks to put things together again.
Noah Schlosser’s athleticism makes him a three-sport standout at Hatboro-Horsham as a goalkeeper in soccer, an outfielder in baseball and a wing/guard in basketball - where he was second team All-SOL last year. Strong and explosive, he’s also a team captain looking to turn the Hatters’ fortunes around.
Quakertown senior Ty Wilkin earned Honorable Mention All-SOL last year and third-year coach Tony DaCosta will be looking to him, along with a few other experienced players, to try and make a playoff push.
Junior Kevin Addison is one of those hoping to help Cheltenham reload this season. (Photo: Owen McCue/CoBL)
In the two years the SOL Freedom has existed, Cheltenham has been the only team to win the division title. Panthers coach Patrick Fleury will be the first to say that doesn’t mean anything for this season, especially with a good number of last season’s top players now graduated.
What Cheltenham - which went 22-0 last regular season and won all 16 of its SOL games then the league’s postseason tournament - has done each is year is adapt, grow and do it with defense. Sophomore Josiah Hutson, a first-team All-SOL pick as a freshman returns at the point. Junior guards Kevin Addison (6-5) and Kamani Healy (6-4) add some length and athleticsm.
While Cheltenham has held its own in crossovers with the SOL Liberty - for good reason, as the Panthers used to face most of those teams twice a year anyway in the pre-2020 alignment - anyone looking to usurp the division will have to capitalize there.
Junior Kirby Mooney returns to William Tennent off a second team All-SOL campaign last winter. The Panthers under longtime coach Robert Mulville run their offense well and compete hard on defense, so turning a couple crossover losses into wins could make things interesting in the table.
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Springfield Twp. senior Dylan McKenzie did just about everything for the Spartans’ football team and the 6-foot-1 guard will look to lead his team on the hardwood. A great athlete, he was a first team All-SOL selection last season.
Jon Kroll enters his third season at Lower Moreland off an Honorable Mention All-SOL season. The Lions under coach Seth Baron are still looking to replicate the success they had in the BAL since moving to the SOL, but with a fairly experienced roster, could be poised to do it this year.
Senior Jon Clark and sophomore Colson Campbell return with some experience for an Upper Moreland team that will have a pretty new look for coach Dan Heiland.
New Hope-Solebury has a new coaching staff but they’ll have junior Miles Demby, an Honorable Mention All-SOL pick, to lean on in the early going.
Tag(s): Home Contributors 2023-24 Preview High School Andrew Robinson Boys HS Suburban One (B) SOL Colonial (B) Central Bucks East Central Bucks South Central Bucks West North Penn Pennridge Souderton SOL Freedom (B) Cheltenham Lower Moreland New Hope-Solebury Springfield (Mont.) Upper Moreland William Tennent SOL Liberty (B) Abington Hatboro-Horsham Plymouth Whitemarsh Upper Dublin Wissahickon Quakertown SOL Patriot (B) Bensalem Council Rock N. Council Rock S. Harry Truman Neshaminy Pennsbury