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William Tennent Spring League Notebook: Weds., May 17

05/18/2023, 11:00am EDT
By Ryan Coyle & Zak Wolf

By Zak Wolf (@ZakWolf22)
& Ryan Coyle (@ryancoyle35)

Mooney, William Tennent looking to repeat success

Coming off a stellar junior season, William Tennent senior Kirby Mooney looks to have another strong campaign for the Panthers.

In his fourth season on varsity and third season as a starter, Mooney is by far the most experienced player on Tennent's roster. The forward averaged 23.1 points, 7.7 rebounds and 2.2 assists per game in 2022-23, leading William Tennent to its first division title in 19 seasons. 

Kirby Mooney, William Tennent

“It's been a goal of mine ever since I was younger when my older brother played,” Mooney said. "Last year, going into it, we weren't expecting to win the division with teams like Cheltenham and Upper Moreland, Hamm who were pretty solid. So just getting done was awesome.”

Mooney wasn’t alone in his efforts. Although he’s now seen as the leader of the group, Mooney played alongside George Marion (Cabrini), Evan Devor, Isaiah Dawson, and Danny Scheller. Marion was a quick point guard who helped push the pace, allowing Tennent to play fast while Devor was a sharpshooter from the outside. Dawson and Scheller were both described as “energy guys” by assistant coach Nick Mackell

The Panthers finished 16-6 in the regular season going 11-5 in the SOL Freedom Division. Tennent was the No. 12 seed heading into the District 1 tournament, but was knocked out by Haverford. 

“Knowing how it feels to win helped the guys who were on the bench for it,” Mackell said. “They understand coming back, what they need to do. So I think getting it under our belt was big and then being able to say like, this is what we did last year to do it. And now we have to take the next step for sure.”

Without the seniors from last year, Mooney will get even more touches. The wing will get a lot of looks in the paint with his 6-3 frame, but is also looking to expand his game to the outside with his improved jump shot. The senior has been helping his lesser-experienced teammates adjust to the atmosphere of the varsity game. 

“The game is a lot quicker,” Mooney said.  “You get used to it by playing better players. It's good, especially for the younger guys. We have a couple of sophomores coming in and they can shoot the ball really well. Getting stronger and getting quicker will help them a whole lot.” 

Last season, the Panthers ran a fast-paced offense led by Marion, allowing them to put up big numbers. Mackell said this year’s team will still be able to score a lot of points, but by shooting the ball better as well as being stronger on defense. Along with Mooney, Tennent's rising senior class consists of Imad Abunima, a 6-3 wing who will play a big part for the Panthers as well as guards Sean Devine and Vincent Sulpizio. Tennent expects rising juniors Tony Pople and Jaden Bright to also have an impact with their shooting.

"It’s good to get these kids acclimated because we’re going to need them to be ready when the season comes along,” Mackell said. “We're also doing Philly Live later in the month, so we want to make sure these guys learn how to play together and that should be another good test.”

Pennsbury looking to build off of strong first year under Emme

After a decade plus tenure as the head coach at Jenkintown High School, Wes Emme returned to his alma mater, Pennsbury, last year to coach the Falcons. He led them to a 16-8 overall record and an SOL Patriot division title in his first year leading the program he used to play for.

“It was a special, special year for me, my family, and all the kids,” Emme said, reminiscing on last season. “Anytime you are able to hang a banner in your gym, in my book that is a successful season. But, being able to do it where you grew up, with kids coming from the neighborhoods that you used to play basketball yourself at, it was a great year.”

Despite the strong regular season including the regular season league title, the Falcons weren’t able to do much damage in the playoffs losing to North Penn in the SOL Tournament and to Abington in the first round of the District 1 6A playoffs.

While Emme is losing a few key pieces from last year’s roster in first team all-league guard, Ty Kocack (Juniata) and Ryan Zuckerman, a University of Pittsburgh baseball commit, there is a reason to believe another strong season could be in the works with 22 of the 24 players from last year’s program back in the mix.

The Falcons demonstrated a well-balanced offensive attack that emphasized running the fast break, spacing the floor, sharing the ball and taking a lot of open threes on Wednesday night in a victory over Pennsbury.

“We are going to try and stretch people vertically and horizontally,” Emme said. “When you can put pressure on a team to cover you like that it will be difficult for your opponent because you can run offense in a few different ways. We have a lot of guards I think this year that can play and when they play together it is a fun group to be a part of.”

Some of those key pieces for this year's team will be rising seniors Connor Taddei and Teddy Mangan, two all-league players from last year who were part of the starting lineup. Other contributors for the Falcons expect to be Mike Roccograndi, Danny Cohen and Sam Callahan amongst others. With a lot of returning continuity and a standard in place after year one under Emme, he is looking to raise the bar heading into his second year at the helm.

“The goal and the expectation is to be playing deeper into districts, find our way into states, and hopefully continue to see our name on the schedule for some games when the calendar turns to March,” Emme said. — Ryan Coyle

Quick Hits:

— While undersized at only 5’8, rising Neshaminy senior Emeer Coombs looks primed to be one of the top point guards in the Suburban One this upcoming season. Coming off a junior season that saw him average 9.2 ppg and 3.1 apg, en route to earning second team all-league honors in the SOL, Coombs should see those numbers rise with last year’s leading scorer Sean Curley lost due to graduation.

Coombs carries a 4.4 GPA and should be on the radar of Division III programs around the area. His quickness, ability to handle the rock, and run the show for Neshaminy this winter should make him an attractive piece to the puzzle for a college program in their 2024 recruiting class. His on ball defense and quick hands makes him a valuable two-way player. 

— Pennsbury rising senior Teddy Mangan was another guard who impressed on Wednesday night. The returning starter for Wes Emme’s Falcons’ was an honorable mention nominee in the SOL Patriot Division last year and showed the ability to get to the cup, score off the bounce, and lead the team while on the floor. 

Entering his second year as a starter for Emme, it appears Mangan is ready to take his game to another level this winter and should be on the radar for Division III programs. Mangan is running with East Coast Power over the next few months for his final AAU season. 

— Council Rock South impressed in the William Tennent League for a second straight week, this week knocking off a veteran Neshaminy team that returns two all-league players. The Hawks are a young bunch that should be an exciting watch this winter, as they run an offense that emphasizes spacing the floor and taking a lot of three-pointers. After a 5-17 season last year, double-digit wins looks like a possibility for next year. CR South will be counting on a lot of sophomores and juniors in their rotation if they can continue their hot shooting they are showcasing this spring as they move along into the winter. 

— After losing nine seniors from last season, CB South has a young and inexperienced roster. The Titans are coming off a 9-13 season in which they missed the playoffs. Now without players like Tyler Meinel (Holy Family), who made first team All-Suburban One Colonial Division, and Chris Granito, head coach Lou Ditri’s team is adjusting. Ditri said his team is making a lot of “mental errors” and still getting used to the intensity opposing defenses play with. The only returning player who got minutes on varsity is senior forward Dylan Valentine along with J.D. Kollock and Kyle Moyer, who both were on the roster. The trio will look to lead a group of mostly JV players from the year before, including guards Ben Harrison and Dan Mccusker. 

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Tag(s): Home  Contributors  Ryan Coyle  Zak Wolf  High School  Suburban One (B)  SOL Colonial (B)  Central Bucks South  SOL Patriot (B)  Council Rock S.  Neshaminy  Pennsbury