All-Delco Girl’s Basketball Player of the Year – Erin Sweeney

Archbishop Carroll’s Erin Sweeney battled injuries this season but still had the Patriots on a deep run in the PIAA Class 5A tournament when the plug was pulled on the season. (Pete Bannan/MediaNews Group)

By Matthew DeGeorge

Erin Sweeney wanted to be a softball player.

“When I was younger, softball was the sport that I really liked,” the Archbishop Carroll senior said. “I played basketball, but softball was my favorite sport.”

In the sixth grade, everything changed for Sweeney. That’s when she decided to try out for the Comets, one of the best travel basketball organizations in the country, which has developed more than 600 college players since the mid-1980s.

“I made Comets, and after that first year, that’s when I decided basketball was what I wanted to play,” Sweeney said. “From that point on, basketball became my main thing and it’s because of the Comets. That’s when I pretty much decided, basketball is what I’m going to focus on.”

The Havertown resident was a standout player at St. Bernadette’s before joining Carroll, where she was coached all four years by ones of her Comets coaches, Renie Shields.

A four-year starter, Sweeney led Carroll to the Catholic League championship in 2019. She eclipsed the 1,000-point mark as a junior and committed to Drexel University prior to her senior campaign.

(click on this link for the full story)

Sophomores O’Neill, Scott, McErlane talented beyond their years

Sophomore guard Sydni Scott helped a well-balanced and youthful Cardinal O’Hara team advance to the quarterfinal round of the PIAA Class 6A tournament. (Pete Bannan/MediaNews Group)

By Matt Smith

In addition to Player of the Year Erin Sweeney of Archbishop Carroll, the rest of the All-Delco first team includes:

Grace O’Neill, Archbishop Carroll: A sophomore guard, O’Neill is a cerebral player and the best point guard in the county, someone who flourishes in every aspect of the game. O’Neill has been in coach Renie Shields’ starting lineup since the start of her freshman year. “Grace is so good and does so much for us,” Shields said. “She’s just a very good, very smart basketball player.” In what was an up-and-down season by Carroll’s lofty standards, O’Neill blossomed into one of the best all-around talents in the Philadelphia area. In Carroll’s two wins in the PIAA Class 5A tournament, O’Neill was excellent. In a 47-41 decision over Mount St. Joseph, she totaled a game-high 17 points and went 6-for-6 at the foul line in the fourth quarter. She tallied 15 points in the Patriots’ 55-34 rout of West Scranton in the second round. O’Neill, who earned All-Catholic League first-team honors, averaged 12.2 points and 2.6 assists per games for the Patriots.

(click on this link for the the rest of the All-Delco first team)

As far as local hoops legacies go, those of 2020 are sadly incomplete


Bonner-Prendergast’s Malik Edwards puts a shot up against Roman Catholic in a regular-season game. Photo by: Digital First Media/Pete Bannan

By Matthew DeGeorge

It wasn’t easy for Kevin Funston to address his Bonner-Prendergast boys basketball team last week.

The conversation was freighted with disappointments, so many of them frighteningly familiar to us all. Of a season ending prematurely. Of careers ending early. Of disruptions to routine and habit.

But Funston and his Friars carried something else, deep in their hearts.

“I’m sure every other team that was still playing thinks this,” Funston said Monday. “But I think this was our championship to win.”

Funston’s Friars had evidence on their side. The Friars had won their two PIAA Class 4A games by an average of 36 points. Ahead lay District 3’s Bishop McDevitt in a never-to-be-requited quarterfinal, then either Pope John Paul or Tamaqua. The state final could bring Imhotep Charter, which Bonner-Prendie  had beaten in the District 12 final, with a chance to avenge last year’s state-final loss against a Panthers team that had graduated three Division I players.

What-ifs abound in the time of coronavirus, but the one Bonner-Prendie harbors is among the most salient.

(click on this link for the full story)

Time for PIAA to cancel winter championships

By Matt Smith

It’s time for the PIAA to cancel the state basketball and swimming championships.

The PIAA Board of Directors released Monday an update on the winter sports championships. 

Buried in the fourth paragraph of the statement was this message:

“No action was taken regarding the start of spring sports or the possible re-start of the winter championships.”

After noting Gov. Tom Wolf’s announcement Monday to keep schools closed indefinitely, the statement continued.

“PIAA will continue to receive and assess information from the Governor’s office, the Department of Health and the Department of Education before making any decisions re-starting sports activities.”

What’s the point?

With Wolf’s update about school closures earlier in the day, this so-called update from the PIAA was the best news possible for basketball teams. Unfortunately, everything we know about the COVID-19 pandemic seems to suggest that our country will not be returning to normalcy anytime soon. If you listen to the medical experts, and ignore the very stable genius in the Oval Office, you’ll know by now the worst has yet to come.

(click on this link for the full story)