By John Knebels
Sports Columnist

When the Catholic League boys’ basketball season is about to get under way, it’s common for some teams to feel very good about their chances because of how they have performed against non-league competition. If that is the case, then Bishop McDevitt (8-1), La Salle (7-1), Father Judge (7-1), Conwell-Egan (6-2), Archbishop Wood (6-3), Archbishop Ryan (6-3), Archbishop Carroll (5-2), St. Joseph’s Prep (5-3), Roman Catholic (5-3), and Neumann-Goretti (3-2) must be feeling particularly optimistic right now.

Two particularly spirited contests among Catholic teams included Bishop Shanahan’s 88-84 overtime win over visiting Cardinal O’Hara Dec. 10. {{more}}

Two free throws by Shanahan’s Devon Sweeney (10 points) with 15 seconds left in regulation necessitated an extra session. Teammate Anthony Sam netted 23 points while Tom Henshey (17), Mike Ibarguen (15) and Ryan Conrad (12) also reached double figures for Shanahan (Ches-Mont League), which is currently 4-4 overall. For O’Hara, Sean Mayo and Terrell Grobes both scored 17 points.

Exactly three weeks later on New Year’s Eve, Malvern Prep erased a 13-point deficit with 12 minutes left to stun St. Joseph’s Prep 49-48. Malvern junior Brendan Kilpatrick led the winners with 14 points; sophomore Steve Vasturia tallied a game-high 16 for the Hawks.

Through Jan. 3, Kilpatrick has scored a team-best 240 points for the Inter-Academic League favorite Friars.

While the numbers are a bit skewed because of the disparity of games played, here are the leading scorers for the teams in the Catholic League: Joe Getz, Archbishop Wood, 210; Eric Fleming, Archbishop Ryan, 186; Juan’ya Green, Archbishop Carroll, 155; Jamal Nwaniemeka, Conwell-Egan, 130; Brahieme Jackson, Bishop McDevitt, 127; Fortunat Kangudi, Roman Catholic, 127; Gene Williams, St. Joseph’s Prep, 125; Reggie Charles, Father Judge, 121; Eddie Mitchell, La Salle, 126; Mark Perez, West Catholic, 75; Kyle Pagan, La Salle, 72; Scott Slade, Monsignor Bonner, 71; Sean Mayo, Cardinal O’Hara, 70; Lamin Fulton, Neumann-Goretti, 65.