CoBL Staff (@hooplove215)
The final week of the 2017-18 high school regular season is upon us. And as always, the slate of games is littered with important matchups both in terms of league races as well as the fight to get into the district playoffs. Here’s a primer of a number of important games to keep track of throughout the week:
Kharon Randolph (above) and The Haverford School can clinch the outright Inter-Ac title with a win Tuesday. (Photo: Josh Verlin/CoBL)
Tuesday February 6
Haverford School vs. SCH Academy (4:00 PM)
The Fords have already technically ended their Inter-Ac league championship drought, at 8-0 in league play with a two-game advantage on Malvern Prep (6-2) and two wins against the Friars anyways. But Haverford School really wants the title all to itself, which it can lock up by beating a plucky but young Blue Devils, who are 3-5 in the league; if it can also beat Penn Charter Friday, THS goes undefeated in the league for the first time since 1927. That’s no typo.
Phoenixville vs. Spring-Ford (6 PM)
In the first matchup of the Pioneer Athletic Conference’s inaugural final-six playoff template, Eric Burnett -- a Spring-Ford graduate -- and his Phoenixville Phantoms (6-4) will take on the Rams, who have won their last two after losing three straight. Spring-Ford (5-5), the no. 5 seed in the PAC, picked up a big win concerning district rankings over the weekend, taking down Pennsbury. Phoenixville has also won two of its last five games, and lost the first matchup this year against the Rams, 43-27.
Plymouth-Whitemarsh vs. Cheltenham (7 PM)
The Colonials (20-0, 12-0 Suburban One) can clinch the Suburban One American division with a win against Cheltenham (13-6, 9-2) on Tuesday. With two games left, Plymouth Whitemarsh holds a two-game lead over Cheltenham, which lost to Wissahickon on Friday night. The Panthers need to win out and a PW loss to Quakertown on Thursday in order to claim a share of the division title.
CB South vs. North Penn (7 PM)
Currently No. 13 in the District One 6A rankings, CB South (14-6, 8-2 in Suburban One Continental) rediscovered some of their early success this season with big wins on the road against William Tennent and Upper Moreland last week. On the other hand, North Penn (11-9, 4-5 in Suburban One Continental) absolutely needs this game as they sit in the final District One 6A playoff spot entering their final week of play.
Souderton vs. CB West (7 PM)
Sitting at No. 4 in the District One 6A rankings, CB West has all but locked up a first round bye in the district playoffs and currently holds the top spot in the Suburban One Continental. While the Bucks are sitting pretty, Souderton absolutely needs this game to continue their season. They are No. 26 in the District One 6A rankings and pulling off the upset at home might just be enough to get them into the district playoffs.
West Chester Rustin vs. Great Valley (7:15 PM)
Both of these squads come into Tuesday’s contest with one conference loss, so first place in the Ches-Mont American division will be on the line. Rustin (9-1) has one more league game left, against Oxford on Thursday, but for Great Valley (10-1) this is the final one in the league; if the Patriots win, they claim the American title; if Rustin wins, the Knights have a chance to close it out at the end of the week. Either both, both are already in the Ches-Mont Final Four.
West Chester East vs. Bishop Shanahan (7:15 PM)
Bishop Shanahan has been the class of the Ches-Mont National all season and continues to push along as the top team in the National while holding on to the No. 2 spot in the District One 5A rankings. The Eagles will be playing a West Chester East team that is fighting for their season, sitting just outside of the District One 5A bracket at No. 18; only 16 teams make it in.
Chester vs. Penn Wood (7:30 PM)
Chester’s 13-game winning streak gets tested on Tuesday night as the Clippers aim to lock up the Del-Val championship against Penn Wood. Chester (8-0) already has no worse than a shared championship, with a two-game lead on the field, but Penn Wood (5-3), has plenty to play for; at No. 21 in the unofficial district 6A rankings, the Patriots need to win their last few games to feel comfortable by district meetings this weekend.
Methacton vs. Owen J. Roberts (7:30 PM)
The No. 3/6 matchup in the PAC’s final-six, this should be one of the best matchups of the PAC’s postseason. OJR (4-6) won the first matchup back on January 3, but lost to Methacton (7-3) last week. OJR just barely snuck in the playoffs; a loss by Pottsgrove propelled the Wildcats in over Perkiomen Valley. Methacton has won its last four games after losing to Norristown on Jan. 26.
Wednesday February 7
Archbishop Carroll vs. Archbishop Wood (7 PM)
There are exactly 15 games left in the PCL regular season, and just about every single one of them has postseason implications. Not only is Carroll (8-2 PCL) only a game above Wood (7-3), but they’re both 5A schools, so this also is quite meaningful for state playoff qualification. The defending league champs, Wood comes in having won eight of nine, including a two-point win at St. Joe’s Prep on Monday; Carroll has also won eight of its past nine games; its only two league losses come to the two teams above it, Neumann-Goretti and Bonner-Prendergast.
Conestoga vs. Garnet Valley (7:30 PM)
A surprising loss by Garnett Valley (15-6, 10-5 Central) to Haverford on Monday night means that Conestoga (14-6, 10-5) needs only to beat the Jaguars to secure a spot in the Central League playoffs; if Garnet Valley loses, it has to hope Upper Darby also loses (to Ridley) to get in, otherwise it has to wait for districts. Beyond that, this game will have huge District One 6A implications with Garnet Valley currently No. 9 and Conestoga No. 14, and the top eight teams getting byes into the second round. The first time these two teams matched up, the Jaguars won 79-66.
Sean Yoder (above) and Pennridge are trying to hold onto a bye in the District 1 6A playoffs. (Photo: Josh Verlin/CoBL)
Thursday February 8
North Penn vs. Pennridge (7 PM)
At No. 6 in the District One 6A rankings and feeling confident after beating Reading over the weekend, Pennridge holds onto a project district first-round bye going into this week, while sitting in third in the Suburban One Continental. Despite not being able to catch the Rams in the standings, North Penn has a lot to play for in this game. At No. 24 in the District One 6A, the Knights need to keep themselves on the right side of the bubble for district playoffs.
Downingtown East vs. Bishop Shanahan (7:30 PM)
Downingtown East will be out for revenge on their home court after Bishop Shanahan beat the Cougars 57-43 on January 16th, 2018. Senior forwards Thomas Ford (15 points, seven rebounds) and Kevin Dodds (18 points, six rebounds) starred for the Eagles in the win while Malik Slay led the Cougars with 18 points. This matchup would become particularly intriguing if Downingtown East wins on Tuesday and Bishop Shanahan doesn’t take care of business against West Chester East, setting up a chance for the Cougars to pull even with the Eagles.
Friday February 9
St. Joe’s Prep vs. Neumann-Goretti (3:30 PM)
Prep is in the midst of a brutal closing stretch, which began with a win over La Salle but then saw the Hawks (7-4 PCL) blow a 14-point halftime lead in a two-point loss to Wood on Monday. Now Speedy Morris has to close against the second-place Saints (10-1) and then Roman Catholic Sunday, and if the Hawks lose both, they could finish as low as seventh place. Meanwhile, Neumann needs two wins and a Bonner loss to get the regular-season crown; the Saints would need to lose both of their final two games (finishing against West Catholic on Sunday) to finish lower than second.
West Catholic vs. Bishop McDevitt (6:30 PM)
At the moment, West Catholic (3-8) sits in 10th place in the PCL, the final spot for a playoff berth in the 14-team league. But McDevitt (2-9) has been very competitive this year, taking teams like La Salle and O’Hara to the wire and keeping others within range after going 8-0 in its non-league. Considering West has to close with N-G and McDevitt gets Father Judge (1-10) in its finale, McDevitt wins here and on Sunday should put the Lancers in that coveted 10th spot, a nice prize after going 1-12 a year ago. If West can hold them off, the Burrs should all but lock it up.
Archbishop Wood vs. Roman Catholic (7 PM)
If Wood beats Carroll on Wednesday, this sets up a showdown for third place in Warminster, and the home-court advantage could be a difference-maker in this one. Even if the Vikings don’t beat the Patriots in the earlier game, this will still be a crucial one, the difference between falling back into the pack and staying in the hunt to host a quarterfinal game in the PCL playoffs. Expect a high-scoring affair with all the bucket-getting wings, like Roman’s Allen Betrand, Seth Lundy, Hakim Hart and Lynn Greer III against Wood’s Ty Pickron, Andrew Funk, Karrington Wallace and more.
Bonner-Prendergast vs. Archbishop Carroll (7 PM)
If you haven’t figured it out by now, every Catholic League game is crucial. This could be the one for Bonner to lock up the No. 1 seed in the playoffs, as the Friars (10-1) play O’Hara on Sunday; not to count out the Lions, but the Patriots (8-2) are a league title contender for a reason. Carroll doesn’t have quite the size of Bonner’s Ajiri Johnson (6-8) and Tariq Ingraham (6-9), but sophomore guard A.J. Hoggard leads a group that’s getting great efforts this year out of senior Keyon Butler and junior Luke House, among many others.
Tag(s): Home Old HS Josh Verlin Rich's Page Owen McCue High School Catholic League Archbishop Carroll Archbishop Wood Bishop McDevitt Bonner-Prendergast Cardinal O'Hara La Salle College HS Neumann-Goretti Roman Catholic St. Joe's Prep West Catholic Central League Conestoga Garnet Valley Lower Merion Penncrest Upper Darby Ches-Mont American West Chester Rustin Great Valley Ches-Mont National Bishop Shanahan Coatesville Downingtown West Chester Penn Wood Inter-Ac Haverford School SOL Continental Central Bucks South Central Bucks West North Penn SOL National Abington