Jamar Sudan (above) and Chester take on Simon Gratz during the Fred PIckett Classic at Chester. (Photo: Josh Verlin/CoBL)
Josh Verlin (@jmverlin)
The Scholastic Play-By-Play Classics organization has been putting together high school showcase events for the better part of two decades, and this year’s slate is getting ready to get underway this weekend.
The Fred Pickett Classic, taking place this Saturday and Sunday, features six games to open up the year; the City Play-By-Play Classic, which takes place Wednesday at Arcadia, features another terrific pair of games.
Here’s a look at both events; all schools from Pennsylvania unless otherwise noted:
Fred Pickett Classic
Sat., Dec. 10 @ Chester HS
Northeast Academy vs. Friendship (Md.) -- 1:00 PM
West Catholic vs. Penn Wood -- 2:45 PM
St. Benedict’s (N.J.) vs. St. Thomas More (Del.) -- 4:30 PM
Constitution vs. Neumann-Goretti -- 6:15 PM
Chester vs. Simon Gratz -- 8:00 PM
Sun., Dec. 11 @ St. Joseph’s Prep
Del-Val Charter vs. St. Joseph’s Prep -- 1:00 PM
Named after the legendary late Chester coach, who won more than 331 games including three state championships during his time in charge of the Clippers, this six-game affair gets better and better as the day goes on. The Clip Joint will certainly be packed by the team the home team takes the court in the final game of the night against a Simon Gratz squad fresh off a 17-win season and Class AAAA quarterfinal run. Both teams graduated large senior classes; Chester, the defending District 1 AAAA champion, has to replace Marquis Collins, Maurice Henry, Khaleeq Campbell, Stanley Davis Jr. and more; 6-6 senior Jamar Sudan leads a relatively green group in a big-time early-season test.
Tamir Green (above) and Constitution start the season atop the 2A rankings after making it to the semifinals last year. (Photo: Josh Verlin/CoBL)
Just before that is a battle between two more teams with state championship aspirations; preseason No. 1 in Class 2A (Constitution) and 3A (Neumann-Goretti), both of which have won multiple championships this decade. The Generals made it to the Class A semifinals a year ago before falling to Math, Civics & Sciences, returning senior guard Tamir Green (6-0) and wing forward Maurice Waters (6-7) to lead Rob Moore’s eighth team in the program’s history. Neumann-Goretti, which is beginning its quest for its seventh PIAA championship in eight years, is led by recent Kentucky commit Quade Green (6-0), who had the best summer of anybody in the area; Villanova commit Dhamir Cosby-Roundtree (6-9), a shot-blocker with a much-improved offensive game, mans the paint for Carl Arrigale’s Saints.
A little earlier in the day, West Catholic makes its debut under new head coach Jason Hasson, going up against a Penn Wood program that's also under new management, with Matt Lindeman taking over for Clyde Jones, who's now at Girard College. Penn Wood's got senior veteran experience in Pernell Ghee (6-3), Rashaad Anderson (6-4) and Kairi Jones (5-8), but West Catholic has some impressive youngsters, like sophomores Imere Harris (6-1), Daijon Womack (6-3), Tyree Corbett (6-6) and Aytotunde Sanusi (7-0).
City Play-By-Play Classic
Wed., Dec. 14 @ Arcadia
Archbishop Wood vs. Abington -- 6:30 PM
Imhotep Charter vs. Neumann-Goretti -- 8:15 PM
This is quite a pair of games, featuring the preseason No. 1 squad in PIAA Class 3A (Neumann-Goretti), 4A (Imhotep Charter) and 5A (Archbishop Wood) plus the No. 2 squad in 6A (Abington) in our Michael Bullock’s rankings. Expect quite a few Division I coaches in the building, with no fewer than a dozen D-I prospects who will be playing over the course of the evening.
Tyree Pickron (above) and Wood are the top-ranked team in the 5A preseason rankings. (Photo: Josh Verlin/CoBL)
Archbishop Wood and Abington are somewhat programs in similar shape: well-coached, with good senior leadership and experience but with the most promising long-term prospects residing in the younger classes. The Vikings, under fourth-year head coach John Mosco, feature senior guard Collin Gillespie, who holds several D-I and D-II offers, as well as talented D-I prospect juniors Tyree Pickron (6-3) and Seth Pinkney (6-10); they should be one of the top teams in the always-impressive Catholic League. The Ghosts, which won the 2015 District 1 AAAA championship under Charles Grasty’s guidance, have seniors Rob Young (6-0), Joe O’Brien (6-9) and Eric Dougherty (6-6) all in key roles, but the stars are junior point guard Robbie Heath (6-1) and sophomores Lucas Monroe (6-5) and Eric Dixon (6-7). Both teams have confident lead guards, both teams can shoot and both teams have good size in the post; don’t expect either one to pull away.
The nightcap is going to be a high-scoring affair for certain, with two teams that can really get up and down the floor and score in all sorts of ways. The Saints will have the highest-profile player of the night in Kentucky commit Quade Green, but Imhotep’s backcourt of David Beatty (South Carolina) and Daron Russell (Rhode Island) are electric scoring guards in their own right. Up front, the Panthers feature 6-8 freshman Elijah Taylor, while Neumann-Goretti counters with Villanova commit Dhamir Cosby-Roundtree.
Tag(s): Home Old HS Schedule/Standings Catholic League Archbishop Wood Neumann-Goretti St. Joe's Prep West Catholic Chester Penn Wood Public League A Constitution Imhotep Simon Gratz SOL Patriot Abington