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CoBL Weekly Preview: Jan. 24-27, 2023

01/23/2023, 9:15pm EST
By Josh Verlin + Owen McCue

CoBL Staff (@hooplove215)

We’re into the final couple weeks of the high school regular season for the vast majority of teams in the area, and the college season is coming down the stretch, too. Here’s a look at the next few days and the games you won’t want to miss:



The only City 6 game on Tuesday is one in the city, as La Salle (8-11, 2-4) hosts Davidson (9-10, 2-5), one of four teams below it in the Atlantic 10 standings. 

Khalif Battle (above) and Temple pulled off a stunning upset over No. 1 Houston on Sunday. (Photo: Nicole Ambruch/CoBL)

Wednesday gets a little more busy as the Temple men host South Florida coming off a victory over No. 1 Houston on Sunday and the St. Joe’s women host St. Bonaventure, which is currently 1-6 in the A-10. Temple’s women play at Tulane and St. Joe’s men, who have won three straight after dropping their first four A-10 games, bring a three-game win streak on the road at George Washington (fourth in A-10 at 4-2).
In the small-college world, West Chester hosts Shepherd in a men’s and women’s doubleheader, with the Rams’ men and women both 7-4; the Shepherd men (7-4) present a tougher challenge than their women (0-11). That same night Widener hosts Alvernia in a key MAC Commonwealth matchup and Cabrini hosts Neumann, also in men’s/women’s doubleheaders.

Drexel’s men, in the midst of their best CAA start under coach Zach Spiker, head to North Carolina A&T on Thursday. On Friday, Drexel’s women return to the DAC, where they are 8-0 this season, after a pair of road losses last week.


Boys’ HS

Jackson Hicke (above) and Radnor have their biggest game of the regular season at Lower Merion on Tuesday night. (Photo: Josh Verlin/CoBL)

All eyes will be on Lower Merion High School on Tuesday night, as the Aces (15-1, 9-1 Central) host Radnor (15-0, 10-0) in a preview of what’s likely to be the Central League championship game. LM comes in No. 2 in the District 1 6A rankings and Radnor No. 1 in 5A, and a rivalry that hasn’t been competitive on the hardwood in decades could reach its peak this season. As a fun side plot, Radnor’s Jackson Hicke (Princeton) goes up against future Ivy League foe Sam Brown (Penn), as they’ll see each other plenty in the years to come.

That’s only the tip of the iceberg on what’s a great Tuesday overall. In the Public League, Dobbins Tech hosts Olney at 4:30 PM, both teams 8-0 in the Public League ‘C’ Division.  A half-hour after that, a battle at the top of the Bicentennial tips off in Exton as Collegium Charter (8-2 BAL) hosts Dock Mennonite (10-0). In the Friends’ Schools League, George School (5-1) hosts Academy New Church (5-0) in a critical game for FSL playoff seeding; in the Ches-Mont National, it’s Coatesville (6-2) and West Chester East (6-2); in the Ches-Mont American, it’s Rustin (4-2) hosting Unionville (5-0) in the PAC Liberty, it’s Methacton (4-2) hosting Norristown (4-2). And don’t forget Pennsbury (7-1) hosting Neshaminy (7-4) for the SOL Patriot leadership position, and Penn Wood hosting Chester, both 3-1 in the Del-Val. Phew.

Wednesday’s much quieter, with only seven games on the docket. There is one can’t-miss Catholic League game in Delco, as Cardinal O’Hara (3-2) hosts West Catholic (4-2) for a key positioning battle in the PCL. 

There’s a few important Public League games on Thursday, like Frankford (7-1) hosting Boys’ Latin (8-0) atop the ‘B’ Division, and Ben Franklin (9-0) hosting Science Leadership (7-3) in the ‘E’ Division. In the PAC Frontier that night, Upper Merion plays Phoenixville and Pope John Paul II hosts Pottstown; all four teams are 4-2 in the division as of this writing. One game of some intrigue that evening is Harriton (5-5) hosting Strath Haven (4-6), with the Rams on the District 1 6A and Central League playoff bubbles.

Friday night’s marquee game will be at 17th and Girard as St. Joe’s Prep (5-1) hosts Neumann-Goretti (4-1) at 6 PM. The Hawks and Saints are both in good positioning in the PCL for a home game in the quarterfinals, which is all that really matters at this point in the season besides bragging rights, and whoever wins will be in good position midway through the slate. And keep an eye on Father Judge hosting La Salle, as the Crusaders are trying to stay in the top 10 in the league and qualify for the postseason. In the SOL Colonial, CB East hosts CB South in what’s not only a rivalry game but one that could determine whether South makes the SOL playoffs and District 1 6A playoffs. And though SCH Academy might be out of the Inter-Ac running, the Blue Devils will certainly be hoping to spoil Penn Charter’s perfect run thus far with a home game at 7 PM.


Girls’ HS

Cire Worley (above) became Abington's all-time leading girls' scorer this weekend with 1,499 points. (Photo: Josh Verlin/CoBL)

Just a few days removed from a monster slate of impactful league games last Friday, Tuesday night marks another night packed with contests that will play a big role in league races. Take your pick between Plymouth Whitemarsh vs. Abington and Archbishop Wood vs. Cardinal O’Hara for the game of the night. The Colonials and Ghosts already played a good one earlier this year at Abington — a 55-53 Abington win that came down to the final seconds. With both teams sporting identical 10-1 league records, this one will likely decided the SOL Colonial Division, which PW has won three straight seasons. 

Wood and O’Hara met in the PCL semifinals a season ago, the Lions taking down the Vikings on the way to claiming a PCL title. The squads entered this season as two of the favorites in the league this season and that’s held up early in league play as they are both 4-0, along with Lansdale Catholic, thus far. Neshaminy and Pennsbury has plenty of implications as well. Neshaminy holds a one game lead, but Pennsbury won the first meeting by one so another  victory would give the Falcons a tiebreaker in the standings.

Wednesday features a Public League clash between Imhotep and Audenried. The Panthers enter the afternoon clash at 6-0 in the league, while the Rockets sport a 5-1 league record coming in.

O’Hara headlines the slate of games again on Thursday as it hosts Archbishop Carroll in a rematch of last season’s PCL title game. We’ll get a good sense of who the PCL front runners are after the Lions’ two PCL clashes. Conestoga and Garnet Valley meet in what should be a good Central League clash that night as well. The Jags are currently holding off Radnor by a game for the fourth spot in the league standings, while the Pioneers are one game behind undefeated Haverford and hope to keep things that way until their rematch with the Fords after losing in OT in the first one. 

Also on Thursday, Unionville and Great Valley are the clear second and third best teams behind Rustin in the Ches-Mont American and No. 12 and 13, respectively, in the District 1-6A power rankings, so that should be a good one. In the Pioneer Athletic Conference, Pope John Paul II (4-2), Phoenixville (4-2), Upper Merion (4-2) and Pottstown (3-3) are bunched in the Frontier standings. Pottstown hosts PJP and Phoenixville hosts Upper Merion in a pair of games that will shake up the standings regardless of result.

North Penn and CB West is a battle between teams fighting for district playoff spots, with the Knights on the right side of the line at No. 19 and the Bucks on the wrong side at No. 27. Westtown (4-0 in FSL) hosts one-loss Shipley in Friends League action. Souderton handled Pennridge in the teams’ first meeting, but the Rams have since played several other top squads tough. Neshaminy and Council Rock South should be another good one in the SOL.

On Saturday, Conestoga gets its rematch with Haverford. The Pioneers played the Fords tougher than anyone this season back on Dec. 13, falling 43-41 in OT. They’ve won 10 of their last 11 (10-0 against District 1 teams) since the loss and bring a seven-game win streak into this week, while the Fords are undefeated and No. 1 in the district rankings after knocking off Abington on Sunday.

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