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Donofrio Classic Report: Tues., April 9, 2024

04/10/2024, 2:45pm EDT
By Owen McCue

By Owen McCue (@Owen_McCue)

CONSHOHOCKEN — The second round of the 2024 Donofrio Classic concluded Tuesday night with the beginning of Week 3, cutting the 26-team field is down to eight quarterfinalists. 

CLICK HERE to access our 2024 Donofrio hub. Read ahead for game recaps and a notebook featuring a couple players who took the court in a hot Fellowship House gym on Tuesday night:


Malvern Prep senior Ryan Williams had 26 points for M-Sport. (Photo: Owen McCue/CoBL)

Game One: M-Sport 108, Difference Makers 93

Northeastern commit Ryan Williams (2024 | Malvern Prep) led the way with 26 points as M-Sport cruised to a win in its tournament opener. M-Sport also got 20 points from Jake West (2025 | Penn Charter) and 19 points from Miami (Fla.) commit Jalil Bethea (2024 | Archbishop Wood) fresh off last week's McDonald's All-American game. Milan Dean (2025 | Archbishop Wood) added 10 points and fours steals with Kingston Wheatley (2026 | West Catholic) providing impactful defense with three blocks.

Aiden Derkack (2026 | Colonia, N.J.) and Matt Gilhool (2025 | Penn Charter) both finished with 19 points for Difference Makers, throwing down several thunderous slams, including one by Derkack that may have been the highlight of the tournament. Tyler Sutton (2027 | George School) added 15.

Game Two: Friends of Dave Oldfield 84, Love Basketball 78

Friends of Dave Oldfield held on for a win over the reigning Donofrio champs. Matt Gardler (2025 | Marple Newtown) had 17 of his 19 points, including five threes, in the first half to help his team out to a 43-25 lead at the break.

The lead stayed around 20 for most of the second half until high school teammates Ryan Warren (2026 | Academy New Church) and Cameron Smith (2026 | Academy New Church), who combined for 40 points, powered a Love Basketball comeback. Love had the chance to cut the lead down to five or six in the final minute before Gardler came up with a big steal.

Owen McCabe (2024 | Lower Merion) had 10 of his 14 points in the second half and Billy Rayer (2024 | Haverford School) added 13 in the win for Friends of Dave Oldfield. Warren had 22 and Smith had 18 for Love Basketball.

Delaware standout Aiden Tobiason ready for Temple

Aiden Tobiason stood in the lobby at the Fellowship House in Conshohocken with a beaming smile on his face, wearing a cherry Temple “T” across his black shirt.

Tobiason’s high school career came to an unofficial conclusion at the Donofrio Classic on Tuesday night. The 6-foot-5 guard from St. Elizabeth’s in Delaware is now focused on getting ready to help the Owls next year.

“I’m very excited,” Tobiason said. “We’ve got some guys in the transfer portal, so I know I’m going to have to step up into a big role and I know I’m going to have to work in the offseason really hard.”

Tobiason was an all-state honorable mention as a junior in 2022-23 as the Vikings went 12-8 and missed out on the state playoffs. He mostly had interest from Division II and III levels heading into last June’s live period before a breakout summer developed some buzz.

St. Elizabeth's senior Aiden Tobiason is ready to play at Temple next year. (Photo: Owen McCue/CoBL)

He continued that momentum into the fall, landing on Temple coach Adam Fisher’s radar and committing in early November after a speedy recruiting process.

Tobiason followed up his breakout offseason with a terrific senior campaign, averaging 18.8 ppg and being named Delaware State Player of the Year as he helped St. Elizabeth’s to a 22-2 mark and the state Final Four.

“A small community, but a very supportive community,” Tobiason said of St. Elizabeth’s. “Last year we didn’t make the playoffs, and then we got to the Final Four at the Bob. … I love those guys, and I’m going to miss them because we really built a relationship up during the summer after coming off a bad season.”

Tobiason and Dillon Battie, a 6-foot-7 power forward from Texas, make up Fisher’s first recruiting class as he heads into his second season as the Owls’ head coach. The two have talked throughout the season as they prepare to try and head a resurgence at Temple, which went 16-20 this year, including a 5-13 record in the American Athletic Conference, but also reached the AAC Tournament title game.

As the Owls made their postseason push, which ultimately came up one game short of an NCAA Tournament run, Tobiason followed along.

“It was a big run,” Tobiason said. “I saw it coming though. For a lot of people it was unexpected. They just worked together, and Coach Fisher is a great coach and he brought everybody together and he had that big run.”

Fisher, who took over for Aaron McKie around this team last spring, has impressed Tobiason even before stepping on campus.

“He’s a great guy, he’s very funny and he’s very energetic on the sidelines if you watch him during the game,” Tobiason said. “He’s just a great coach to play for, and I’m excited to play for him.”

Tobiason was at the Liacouras Center for a game against Columbia early last season and went to the Wells Fargo Center to watch the Owls compete against St. Joe’s in the inaugural Big 5 Classic. He had the chance to talk with some of the team’s players throughout the year, noting freshman Zion Stanford, a West Catholic product, and redshirt-freshman Quante Barry as two of the players still on the team he got to know.

The Owls staff is expecting Tobiason and Battie to be important pieces right away next season as two of the team’s top three scorers Hysier Miller (15.9 ppg) and Jahlil White (10.1 ppg) and three others (Emmanuel Okpomo, Taj Thweatt, Deuce Roberts) have entered their names in the transfer portal.

“They told me I got a big role coming ahead of me, but I just gotta stay focused and work hard,” Tobiason said. “(They like) my shot making ability, my defensive ability and rebounding. I’m always looking to push the floor and I think that’s a big factor in our conference. … They’re looking at me like a 3-and-D player who can get to the rim at times. I’m just really excited to go there and do my thing.”

He mentioned the city’s campus life and the team’s facilities as other things he’s looking forward to. He knows the ability to get into a college weight room and built on his lanky frame will also be an asset this offseason.

Tobiason will join a program that is five years removed from it last NCAA Tournament appearance with just one winning season during that stretch. 

His  family is already decked out in gear like the shirt he was wearing on Tuesday. Friends in school have already purchased their Temple shirts to get ready to support him over the next several years as well.

“I’m excited for the rebuild, and I think it’s gonna be great,” Tobiason said.


Bonner’s Nelson back on court

Devon Nelson was back on the floor in front of fans for the first time since October on Tuesday night, scoring a couple buckets in front of a lively crowd at the Fellowship House to help M-Sport pick up a win. 

After being forced to sit and watch from the bench in street clothes during his first season at Bonner-Prendergast, the Friars junior embraced the opportunity to share the court with his friends.

Bonner juniro Devon Nelson suited up for M-Sport on Tuesday. (Photo: Owen McCue/CoBL)

”It got hard at times because there were certain times during games even where I knew I could be in the game helping my team win,” Nelson said. “But I just knew to get better I had to keep pushing, I had to keep working to make my teammates better everyday in practice.”

Nelson was a first team All-Pioneer Athletic Conference Frontier Division selection as a sophomore at Upper Merion. His mother purchased a house a few miles from Bonner and he transferred to the Philadelphia Catholic League school in Drexel Hill, but he wasn’t allowed to play this season due to a PIAA ruling.

Instead, Nelson did his best to stay patient, going up against All-Catholic League players Kevin Rucker and Deuce Ketner in practice everyday as he tried to continue to improve.

“Coming to Bonner, I wasn’t the greatest on-ball defender,” Nelson said. “Coach Cassidy definitely helped me become a good on-ball defender. He stresses defense a lot.”

Ketner, Rucker, Reggie Selden and Kyree Womack — the team’s top four scorers — will all be gone next season. Nelson will likely be one of the team leaders along with classmate Kenny Gatling with freshmen Kamden Jackson, Kenjai Gatling and Korey Francis the top players set to return.

“I’m looking to be the main leader, looking to set up the offense a lot, just keep pushing and make the younger guys better everyday, so they’re ready to take over when I leave,” Nelson said.

M-Sport will continue its Donofrio run against Philly Hoop Group on Thursday, when Nelson will get to step onto the floor again. He will play for Team Final Black 

“I’m very excited to show everybody what I can do, what I’ve been working on, and I’ll definitely be ready for next year, next school season,” Nelson said.

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