Author: delcohoops

Delco basketball talent on display at All-Star Labor Classic

rachel conran & kylie mcnicholas

Springfield’s Rachel Conran, left, looks to pass against Ridley’s Kylie McNicholas in the Central League championship game last month, won by Springfield. MEDIANEWS GROUP FILE PHOTO

By Matt Smith

The All-Star Labor Classic is coming to Ridley High School.

The 34th annual boys and girls basketball showcase, which is sponsored by the Philadelphia Building & Construction Trades Council, is slated for Sunday, April 18. The City All-Stars will face the Suburban All-Stars. The girls game is scheduled for a 12:15 p.m. tip, followed by the boys at 2:30.

Due to COVID-19 restrictions, the event will be closed to the general public. Only the parents of the participants are permitted to attend.

“With a total of 18 players selected, Delaware County produced the most all-star basketball players for our 2021 All-Star Labor Classic,” said John J. Dougherty, business manager for the Philadelphia Building & Construction Trades Council. “That’s a tribute to the depth of hoops talent in Delco and their coaches. We look forward to seeing all of them show off their prodigious hoops skills on Sunday, April 18th.”

In addition to being named to the All-Star team, every player also receives a partial college scholarship. Other proceeds raised through event sponsorships benefit a local charity. This year’s charity beneficiary is the Greater Delaware Valley Chapter of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society.

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Girls: Siobhan Boylan was glue that held Cardinal O’Hara together

Boylan

Cardinal O’Hara’s Siobhan Boylan, right, takes a jump shot in the second half of the Lions’ 51-27 win over Chartiers Valley for the PIAA Class 5A championship game. PETE BANNAN – MEDIANEWS GROUP

By Matt Smith

Siobhan Boylan was the only active freshman on Cardinal O’Hara’s 2017-2018 team.

She paid her dues.

As she progressed, Boylan became a secret weapon for the Lions. She learned plenty from Daily Times Player of the Year Maura Hendrixson, Kenzie Gardler and Molly Paolino, who were all senior standouts.

Boylan searched for a path to semi-consistent playing time off the bench. She was a rookie, looking to do little more than fill a roster spot vacated by two-time Daily Times Player of the Year Hannah Nihill, who led the team to a Catholic League title and an appearance in the 2016 PIAA Class 4A final.

“For me, as a freshman, I knew it was going to be difficult to fill those shoes, coming in after Hannah left,” she said. “I knew that would be hard because she was such a great player.”

Boylan earned the trust of former head coach Linus McGinity, who retired after Boylan’s freshman year. In the 2018 Catholic League semifinal round against Archbishop Wood, Boylan hit two foul shots with 10 seconds left to put the game out of reach. And, in the championship against Neumann-Goretti, Boylan came up with a steal and made two free throws in the third quarter. At the time the Lions were battling back from a nine-point deficit, looking for some kind of spark.

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Chester Clippers 2020-21 Season Summary

By Terry Thomas

The 2020-2021 basketball season was definitely one for the history books. To begin, the start of the season was delayed until January 2021 as COVID-19 restrictions were finalized and implemented. All the Del Val League teams did not participate. Academy Park elected not to field a team thus shortening the League schedule to six games instead of eight. Travel restrictions caused the cancellation of games resulting in Chester’s ten game regular season schedule.  

This season also marked several firsts: 1) Chester High played Chester Charter Scholars Academy for the first “City Championship” game since St. James High School back in 1986-87; St. James Catholic High School closed in 1993. 2) The District Tournament was limited to the Top 10 teams based on their Power Rating and all games were play on the home court of the higher seed including the Championship game. 3) The State Tournament consisted of only the District Champions with games played at the home court of the higher seed with the exception of the Championship game. 

The Clippers opened the season winning their first four games before losing a close one to Imhotep Charter. The loss snapped the Clippers 7-game win streak and their 21-game win streak at the Clip Joint. They bounced back and won their remaining five regular season games. Along the way capturing the Del Val Championship, their fourth consecutive undefeated Championship. Goal #1 – Accomplished. 

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PIAA Class 5A Girls Basketball: Confident O’Hara produces complete effort in winning state title

OHara State Championship

Cardinal O’Hara’s Maggie Doogan fires a 3-point shot amid the Lions’ state title triumph over Chartiers Valley Saturday at Giant Center in Hershey. PETE BANNAN – MEDIANEWS GROUP

By Matt Smith

The early returns to Cardinal O’Hara’s 2021 season were cause for concern.

The Lions started the year losing three of six in the Catholic League. At the time, third-year Lions coach Chrissie Doogan challenged her players to be better and learn to finish games. She wanted her juniors and seniors to play like veterans and lead by example.

“We lost at West Catholic, the third loss of the season, and that was kind of our turning point,” said junior forward Maggie Doogan, the coach’s daughter. “It was, like, do we really want this? How badly do we want this? We had to show that we wanted it.”

Ultimately, the Lions answered their coach’s call and became a great team, one for the local history books.

After that look-in-the-mirror moment earlier in the season, the Lions rattled off nine consecutive victories and advanced to the Philadelphia Catholic League final before embarking on a three-game journey in states. It was one that culminated Saturday in a 51-27 rout of Chartiers Valley at the Giant Center in Hershey, O’Hara celebrating the school’s first PIAA basketball championship.

The outcome was never in doubt.

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Girls: Victory in Hershey puts O’Hara’s name in (police) lights

Ohara girls

The 2021 PIAA 5A state champion Cardinal O’Hara basketball team posing after their 51-27 win over Chartiers Valley Saturday in Hershey at the Giant Center. PETE BANNAN – MEDIANEWS GROUP

 

By Bob Grotz

Long before the PIAA Class 5A championship game began Saturday, the Cardinal O’Hara girls had a sense that they would make history.

The bus ride to the Giant Center was so full of energy, Sydni Scott showing her teammates a cool dance, they figured something remarkable and historical was next. Voila, the Lions recorded the school’s first state championship in basketball.

“The bus ride, we just kept telling ourselves that we’ve got it,” said Scott, who scored a game-high 16 points. “Just bring energy, talk and play hard. Oh, and I fell. The bus driver hit the brakes mid-ride and I fell. But I feel fine.”

The same could be said of the Lions, who on the way to a 51-27 victory, held Chartiers Valley to a season-low 27 points.

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Simply the best? Debatable … but these Lions will always be first state champions

OHara State Championship

Cardinal O’Hara’s Lions celebrate their PIAA Class 5A girls basketball championship victory over Chartiers Valley Saturday evening at Giant Center in Hershey. PETE BANNAN – MEDIANEWS GROUP

 

By Bob Grotz

From the rousing sendoff with the school band in Marple, to the masked and sparsely populated Giant Center witnesses serving as a reminder of the world in which we live, the Cardinal O’Hara girls’ basketball team collected a lifetime worth of memories Saturday.

Even the ride to the PIAA Class 5A state final was special, Syndi Scott shrugging off a fall during a sudden stop to wind up leading everyone with 16 points. The alumni support, the well wishes of classmates and parents, even the conversations the Lions shared on the 90-minute bus ride west are a part of the legacy. The Lions earned every accolade, and five, 10, 20 years from now they’ll get together and live it again. Particularly the game.

The Lions and coach Chrissie Doogan crushed Chartiers Valley, 51-27, to bring home the school’s first girls basketball state title, and the first state championship for a Delaware County girls’ program since Chuck Creighton and Archbishop Carroll won it all in Class 4A in 2009.

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Girls: Cardinal O’Hara hoping third trip to state final pays off

Maggie Doogan

Maggie Doogan scores a basket in the first half of Cardinal O’Hara’s 40-28 victory over Springfield in the PIAA Class 5A semifinals Tuesday. Doogan, a junior forward, watched from the Giant Center seats when O’Hara played for a state title back in 2016. Pete Bannan – MediaNews Group

By Matt Smith

Cardinal O’Hara is hoping the third time is the charm.

The Lions have appeared in two PIAA championship games. Each time, they have come home empty-handed.

In 2009, Daily Times Player of the Year Stephanie Holzer re-aggravated an ankle injury as the Lions lost to Mount Lebanon, 57-48, at Penn State University’s Bryce Jordan Center. Seven years later, behind two-time Player of the Year Hannah Nihill and All-Delcos Mary Sheehan, Kenzie Gardler and Maura Hendrixson, O’Hara suffered a 57-34 defeat to Cumberland Valley, which celebrated its third straight PIAA title at the expense of the Lions. In both prior final appearances, O’Hara was competing in Class AAAA, the PIAA’s highest enrollment classifications until 2017.

Delaware County’s top girls basketball program has a third chance to make history Saturday. The Lions will meet reigning Class 5A champion Chartiers Valley (15-3) at 5 p.m. at the Giant Center in Hershey.

O’Hara (14-4) is the District 12 champion and Philadelphia Catholic League runner-up. The Lions were victorious over previously undefeated Springfield, 40-28, in an all-Delco semifinal contest Tuesday. Three of O’Hara’s four losses have come by three points or fewer. The Lions lost two of three against Catholic League champion Archbishop Wood, which is playing for the Class 4A title Saturday at noon.

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Girls: Springfield battles, but can’t overcome Cardinal O’Hara in PIAA semifinal

O'Hara vs. Springfield

Cardinal O’Hara’s Siobhan Boylan, right, hits a basket over the defense of Springfield’s Lexi Aaron in the first half of the PIAA Class 5A semifinals Tuesday night. Boylan had a team-high 12 points as O’Hara advanced to the state final, 40-28. Pete Bannan – MediaNews Group


By Matt Smith

Cardinal O’Hara players threw Hershey’s Kisses to their fans in the Springfield gymnasium after clinching a berth to the PIAA Class 5A championship game Saturday. The Lions were in full celebration mode following a 40-28 victory.

O’Hara will playing reigning Class 5A champion Chartiers Valley at the GIANT Center.

For the District 12 champion Lions, who are the No. 1 team in Delaware County and arguably one of the top five teams in eastern Pennsylvania regardless of PIAA classification, Tuesday’s Class 5A semifinal against the District 1 and Central League champion was supposed to go their way. Anyone who follows high school basketball in Delco would’ve told you that Catholic League teams are just bigger, stronger, faster and better.

Springfield (21-1) didn’t buy into the talk.

The Lions emerged victorious, but they had to fight every second to earn it.

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Girls: Friendship runs deep between uncommon Comets opponents

O'Hara vs Springfield

Cardinal O’Hara’s Maggie Doogan dives ahead of Springfield’s Alexa Abbonizio, right, in the second half of a PIAA Tournament semifinal Tuesday evening. O’Hara was victorious and moves on the state final in Hershey Saturday night. PETE BANNAN – MEDIANEWS GROUP

By Terry Toohey

A month from now, when the AAU season starts, Springfield High’s Alexa Abbonizio and Cardinal O’Hara’s Amaris Baker, Siobhan Boylan and Maggie Doogan will be wearing the same uniform.

They’re all teammates on the Comets Under Armour team that will kick off its season at the Finley Sports Center in Hoover, Ala. They’ve already been practicing together for nearly a month.

On Tuesday night, though, they were opponents, trying to bring the other’s season to a close as the Cougars and Lions battled at Springfield for a berth in Saturday’s PIAA Class 5A championship game.

“It was really weird playing against them,” Boylan said. “Alexa Abbonizio is my teammate this year and Rachel Conran was my teammate sophomore year, so I’m used to playing with them, not against them. So it was strange going against them.”

O’Hara won that fight, 40-28, to end Springfield’s undefeated season and earn the Lions a third trip to the state final Saturday night. They will take on defending state champion Chartiers Valley, a 50-33 winner over District 3 champ Spring Grove.

“I know all of us have been waiting to get there since we came here,” Boylan said. “We want to be the first team to win a state championship for O’Hara.”

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