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2024 Philly Girls Live: Coverage Notebook (Pt. 1)

06/17/2024, 2:45pm EDT
By Joseph Santoliquito + Josh Verlin

By CoBL Staff (@hooplove215)

The inaugural Philly Live girls’ event took place this past weekend at Jefferson University, with 26 girls’ teams from Pennsylvania, N.J. and Delaware coming up to play live games in front of Division I coaches as well as small-college coaches, scouts and media.

Here’s Pt. 1 of our coverage notebook, focusing on local teams and players over the course of the event:

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2024 Philly Girls Live Coverage
Notebook (Pt. 1) | (Notebook (Pt. 2) | Day 1-2 Standouts | Day 3 Standouts | 

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Pennsbury looks good in first outing post-Vitucci

Falcons’ coach Frank Sciolla is one of the more underappreciated coaches in the area. He runs a shut-down, defensive system that even when he is not present, his veteran players know the scheme so well that they can run themselves, like they did Friday afternoon. The Falcons played early on, and bolted to a 20-0 over New Jersey’s OLMA en route to winning easily.


Joley Hohman (above, left) and Maggie Burns are two returning starters for Pennsbury. (Photo: Joseph Santoliquito/CoBL)

What will not be easy for the Falcons, who finished 20-8 overall, losing to District 2 champion Hazleton in the first round of the PIAA Class 6A state playoffs. Pennsbury lost leading scorer Sofia Vitucci (Harcum) to graduation, taking her 1,400-plus career points with her.

It leaves returning starters 5-foot-7 senior guard Maggie Burns and 5-7 sophomore guard Joley Hohman to pick up the scoring slack. They will be joined this season by returners 5-10 junior center Emily Panaro, 5-7 sophomore guard Sammie Haws and 5-8 senior forward Ava Jordan.

“We are all going to have to score, because we will never have someone who can score 30 points a night like Sophie did,” Burns said. “None of us are really scorers like that, but we are all great passers, we are all smart and we know how to work the ball around. And we play our system. I will have a new role, and I am using this summer to rebound and defend, but I do have to be more of a scorer. I have worked really hard to hone that part of my game. I think I am ready to lead this team.

“If we stick with the plan, we can go as far as we want to. Sticking with the system can get us pretty far.”

Burns and Hohman feel Haws can be an impactful player, and 5-2 sophomore Ryan Burdette will be counted on to contribute.

“We will have to play a different way, and I think coach Sciolla will allow us to run,” Hohman said. “We play under high expectations. Our playing time is based on how we play defense, and how hard you work at practice, it does not come off of what you are doing offensively. We live by defensive stops. But we are all the same size.

“I am looking to score more, with what I have been doing in AAU. I am a pass-first point guard and this summer everyone is working hard in the offseason. By October, it will be like we never stopped working.” — Joseph Santoliquito

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Chloe Knox comes back home to Chester

Chloe Knox will be coming home to Chester, after playing her first three years for Notre Dame Academy. The 5-foot-6 senior guard was a two-year starter for Notre Dame, but feels going to Chester is a good move.

She will certainly make the defending Del-Val League champion Clippers a better team. The Lady Clippers finished 14-9 overall last season, losing to No. 7 seed Phoenixville in the opening round of the PIAA Class 5A District 1 playoffs.

“It was a very hard decision to make,” admitted Knox, who made the decision in April. “I put a lot of thought and prayer into it. I just went with my gut and transferred. I was thinking about doing it since my sophomore year. I lost a little love for the game, and coming home made me regain that love.

“Notre Dame taught me a lot and I appreciate my experience there and my time there. But I am home now with girls that I have grown up with. I have not gotten any college offers yet, which is a goal this summer. Lincoln University has sent me some letters, but no offers.”

Knox began playing basketball when she was 6. She stressed that she is far more comfortable and settled than she was a few months ago. She wants to pick up on her training, lifting more frequently and increasing her speed.

“I miss being home, and I grew up watching Chester play, so being in the orange-and-black is better for me,” she said. “I played with the Chester girls last summer. I wanted to be home.” — Joseph Santoliquito

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West Catholic’s progress shows in win over Lebanon

Granted, it is only June, but a year ago, the Lady Burrs would not have won what turned out to be the most exciting game of the night, when 5-foot-10 senior Nyla Coleman completed three-point play at the buzzer for a 55-54 victory over Lebanon and sterling 5-4 senior guard Kailah Correa.  

The Lady Burrs finished 12-14 overall, reaching the second round of the PIAA Class 3A state playoffs, losing to District 4 champion Hughesville. This could be a breakthrough season for West Catholic, considering a trio of three-year starters return in 5-10 junior forward Jasmine Butler, 5-7 junior guard Ciana Blake and 6-foot junior center Ciani Scott.

Add in Coleman and 5-11 senior Kiajah Henry and some good things could be ahead.

The Lady Burrs came back from a big deficit to beat Lebanon.

“We could be really good, as long as everyone plays together,” said Coleman said. “One big thing was communicating. We need to play together. We could be pretty good.”

Scott, who not received any offers yet, was a force inside. She is athletic and can block shots.

“I think we are good enough to win the Catholic League this year, and everyone brings a lot of effort,” Scott said. “We need more movement on offense, and our communication is better than last year. It could be even better.”

Butler stressed playing more under control this season as a factor for success.

“We rush things, and that goes back to communicating,” she said. “If we slowed things down, our offense would move better. We just need to take our time. I do not think we would have a game like this last summer. Everyone is older. We know better and we are more mature. We have the same team back.”

Blake feels the Lady Burrs will use Scott and Johnson inside more.

“Our confidence is very high,” Blake said. “We are playing better together, and we have been working out a lot more together. I would say our team chemistry is better. We are small, but we can be amazing. This is a team that will give a fight every time.” — Joseph Santoliquito

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Quick Hits

— One of the top teams in South Jersey, Paul VI had a strong Thursday evening, beating both Audenried Charter and Council Rock South by double digits thanks to an all-around team effort in both games; in beating Audenried, Orlando Hidalgo’s squad racked up 24 assists on 30 buckets. No doubt the biggest eye-opener was the play of 2027 G Keira Sellers; the 5-5 point guard racked up more than five assists in both games thanks to a terrific handle and some strong passing, and she also knocked down open shots and rebounded well beyond her height; she also had eight steals between the two games, a testament to her strong on-ball defense. Strong play from 2025s Kiyanna Blacks-Stewart (6-1), Azanah Campbell and Anya George, 2026 Rachel Thatcher and 2027 Brooke Stagliano permeated throughout both games as well.

—  Audenried’s offense is going to be heavily reliant on the talents of 2025 Shayla Smith for one more season, but Kevin Slaughter got his first taste of what’s next on Thursday in the shape of incoming freshman Milan Trusty. The super-quick 5-7 guard was a defensive pest all game long in a game against Paul VI, and she knocked down four 3-pointers to help her to a 15-point outing. No doubt one of the more talented freshmen in the Public League, Trusty will need to refine her shot selection to be her most effective self, but she’ll be an impact player right away thanks to her defense and shooting ability. 

—  Council Rock South was without head coach Jesse Krasna for the weekend, so it was former La Salle coach Kevin Gallagher — Krasna’s assistant, who coached the Explorers’ women in the early 80s — who was in charge. The Golden Eagles played admirably in a loss to Paul VI on Thursday night, leading for a good portion of the first half before PVI pulled away in the second. CR South is veteran and laden with 2025s, including Kathryn O’Kane, Fiona Reckner, Sarah Freeman and Lil Metrick, the quartet who did much of the heavy lifting against PVI. It’s a group that’s going to be pushing higher after finishing fourth in the SOL Freedom last year, and just one win shy of an appearance in the state playoffs. — Josh Verlin


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Tag(s): Home  Josh Verlin  High School  Joseph Santoliquito  Girls HS  Catholic League (G)  West Catholic  Del-Val (G)  Chester  Public League (G)  Public League A  Audenried  SOL Patriot (G)  Council Rock South  Pennsbury