The 2011-2012 season continues for the Philadelphia Catholic League boys’ basketball teams. While some have gotten off to a better start than others, all of the teams believe they can end the year on a strong note and have a shot at the playoffs.
Archbishop Wood, under the direction of head coach Jack Walsh, brings back a wide array of key players from last year’s squad. Among them are senior guards Kyle Adkins and Colin Davis (captain), junior forward/center Shane Neher, junior guard Michael Drum, junior forward Chase Nicolosi, junior guard/forward T.J. Kuhar and sophomore center Joe Lostracco (captain).
Wood began its season with a non-league record of 6-2. It then opened up Catholic League play with a 52-49 win over Archbishop Ryan and a 58-40 victory over West Catholic.
Archbishop Carroll remains undefeated in Catholic League action with a record of 3-0. It holds an overall record of 7-6. Two main starters for Carroll include junior guard Yosef Yacob and senior guard/forward Alec Stavetski.
“We’re a very hardworking team,” said Archbishop Carroll head coach Paul Romanczuk. “We’ve been pretty good defensively. We’re limiting teams to 37-38 percentages in field goals.”
Most of the remainder of the season for Carroll consists of Catholic League games including a home one against Delaware County rival Monsignor Bonner Friday, Jan. 20 and the season finale against St. Joseph’s Prep Saturday, Feb. 12.
“It’s going to be a tough road,” Romanczuk said. “The Catholic League is one of the best leagues around. St. Joe’s has core guys.”
In 2011, Carroll lost to Neumann-Goretti, 59-55, in the Catholic league championship game.
There was a fierce Catholic League rivalry game Friday, Jan. 13. Cardinal O’Hara hosted and upset its longtime Delaware County nemesis, Monsignor Bonner, 51-25. In addition to the intense competition between the two schools, emotions were running high for the Friars and their supporters because the Archdiocese had announced Jan. 6 that Bonner is slated to close at the end of this school year.
Despite the disappointing news and facing an already difficult season without a victory, Bonner players prepared for this game as they would for any other game.
“They were ready for this game,” said Monsignor Bonner head coach Tom Meakin. “It’s tough. We’re a young team. Seniors want to help the younger players.”
Starters for Bonner in this game included senior guard Mike Proska, senior forward Paul Pfeffinger, sophomore guard Jack Carden, junior forward/center Pat Vanderslice and junior center Nick Czibik. Senior center Ed Allen, senior guard Jared Robinson started for O’Hara along with juniors Chris Duffin, Mike Louden and Raymond Harris.
“We tried to make it like it was just another game for us,” said Cardinal O’Hara head coach Tim Kelly. “We approached it like we always would.”
This victory brought the O’Hara record to 7-4 overall as it picked up its first Catholic League victory of the season (1-2). “It feels good,” Kelly said. “This should give us a momentum.”
O’Hara then dropped a 69-62 decision to Archbishop Wood Sunday Jan. 15.
Elsewhere in the Catholic League, Bishop McDevitt stands at 9-3, ahead of Conwell-Egan (8-4) and Pope John Paul II (10-5).
In Ches-Mont League action, Bishop Shanahan holds an overall record of 4-10 and 2-3 in the league. It dropped a 57-50 decision to Archbishop Wood on Jan. 2.
All these teams still have several tough league games remaining, and it just may come down to the end to determine the seeding for the Catholic League playoffs. The top two teams in the league will receive a first round bye in the postseason. The third-ranked team will host the No. 6 seed in the opening round. The fifth seed will travel to take on the fourth-place team.