Article & Post Interviews by: John Knebels
Photos & Game Highlights by: Zamani Feelings
PHILADELPHIA –It’s too bad that every basketball league doesn’t do what the Inter-Ac does.
In a tripleheader Friday at Philadelphia University, all six teams participated in their league opener. The approximate five hours provided more than merely a glimpse as to which team or teams would be early-season favorites to ultimately take home the crown.
With 10 percent of the Inter-Ac season accounted for, defending champion Haverford School and Malvern Prep appear to be the title front-runners.
HAV vs. PC - Photos by Zamani Feelings
“The first one is always the hardest,” said Haverford School senior center Asim Richards, whose Fords defeated Penn Charter, 71-43, in the middle contest. “It just feels good getting that first one.”
The undefeated Fords (13-0, 1-0) broke open a surprisingly minuscule, 26-25 halftime advantage with a 45-18 second half. Inter-Ac Most Valuable Player Christian Ray was unstoppable. The senior guard contributed 28 points in balanced fashion, dishing five, six, eight, and nine points by quarters. Richards netted 13 and freshman Jameel Brown added 12. For Penn Charter (8-5, 0-1), freshman swing Colin Schumm’s 10 points paced 10 different Quaker scorers.
“There’s a lot of pressure being the reigning champs and going 10-0,” said Ray. “After the first half, we kind of put the pedal to the metal. It feels good to be able to get it done.”
Among the more interesting vignettes was an exchange between Haverford School coach Bernie Rogers and one of his many talented underclassmen. With the triumph already secured and only 3:22 remaining in the game, the player missed what seemed like a gimme layup. Instead of hustling back on defense, he displayed frustration and tepidly returned down the court.
Rogers immediately entered a sub for him, sat him down, reminded him that such actions would not be tolerated, and then subbed him back in. In other words, regardless of the score and the situation, compounding self-pity with a lackluster response is never, ever acceptable.
“I wasn’t upset about the missed layups, that happens,” said Rogers. “I was trying to impress upon him the importance of the next play; come back and help us. That play is over with, so get over it. I think it was a good learning lesson.”
After watching Malvern Prep dismantle Germantown Academy, 92-68, in the final event, it was difficult not to quickly look ahead and see when the Friars will meet Haverford School (January 18 and February 5, the latter being the final game of the regular season, wink-wink).
MP vs. GA - Photos by Zamani Feelings
Behind splendid efforts throughout the lineup, the Friars (9-5, 1-0) sped to a scary 28-12 first-quarter lead and never looked back, despite sophomore guard Jordan Longino’s 26 points for the Patriots (6-5, 0-1). Four double-digit scorers included 24 points from star junior guard Deuce Turner, 23 from sophomore forward Frank Oschell, 15 from sophomore guard Rahdir Hicks, and 13 from junior guard Spencer Cochran.
It was Oschell, however, who engineered an unofficial MVP evening. Along with a career-high 23 points, Oschell pulled down 12 rebounds and blocked six shots. Perhaps his most impressive moment occurred halfway through the final stanza and Malvern ahead by 31 points.
After swatting away an attempted shot, Oschell scored his final basket of the game. He then hustled back on defense and appeared to consume yet another block, but he was called for a questionable foul.
“We’re a really tough team, really gritty,” said Oschell. “We’ve had a lot of injuries this year. We’ve known that we really need to work hard. We’re all we got, but we’re all we need.”
The initial contest came down to the wire before Episcopal Academy edged Springside Chestnut Hill, 60-56. The victorious Churchmen (8-7, 1-0) led 37-21 at half before a 19-6, third-quarter run by the Blue Devils (7-8, 0-1) set up a nail-biting fourth quarter during which there were four deadlocks and six lead changes.
SCH vs. EA - Photos by Zamani Feelings
With the scored tied at 56, Episcopal senior forward Matt Dade knocked home a short jumper with 17.3 seconds remaining. Two missed free throws by SCH and a rebound by EA resulted in junior Colin Chambers on the free throw line with 2.2 seconds remaining and an opportunity to seal the victory.
Chambers did precisely that.
“I just wanted to ice the game,” said Chambers. “After I saw the first one go in, I was more confident for the second one.”
With the game on the line, Dade and junior guard Alex Capitano took control. Dade scored 10 of his game-high 21 points over the final five minutes; in fact, he scored all of EA’s final points other than the aforementioned Chambers free throws. Capitano scored five of his 14 in the fourth quarter. Chambers finished with 13.
SCH nearly pulled off the comeback win behind junior Ke’Shawn Williams (19 points), junior forward David Robinson (18), and senior forward Zyon Grant (nine).
“I think I started off really slow,” said Dade. “I knew down the stretch that me and (Capitano), when it’s the fourth quarter, we just have to take over.”
Capitano said the victory formula is not complex.
“One possession at a time,” said Capitano. “We talk about that all the time in practice, about how much every possession matters.”
Tag(s): Home Schools Inter Academic League Boys Basketball Inter-Ac Episcopal Acad Boys B-Ball Germantown Acad Boys B-Ball Haverford Basketball Malvern Prep Basketball Springside CH Boys Basketball Penn Charter Boys Basketball