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All-Delco Boys Basketball: Watkins made his own brand of history at ‘the High’

Karell Watkins is the 2021 Daily Times Boys Basketball Player of the Year. (Pete Bannan/MediaNews Group)

By Matthew DeGeorge

The whispers started soon after the calendar flipped to 2018. There was this kid on the Chester JV team lighting it up. He was tall for his age, but more than that, was able to score in the lane, rebound and shoot. Against JV opposition, to the tune of 30 points per game, it was man-among-boys stuff.

It wouldn’t be long, they said, until that kid would get a look on varsity, at an age when few Clippers were afforded such a promotion. And maybe, just maybe …

The last part of that sentence is often left unsaid in Chester, and powerfully so. Maybe he’d be the one to lead the Clippers back to the PIAA promised land. Maybe he’d be the next one worthy of the city’s basketball lineage. Maybe … such a loaded word when it’s painted in orange and outlined in black.

Three years and more than 1,400 points later, the promise may not have been fulfilled all the way, Karell Watkins admits. But along the way, he built one of the most outstanding Chester careers ever.

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All-Delco Boys Basketball: Burton, Schaller natural floor generals for Chester, GV

Chester’s Fareed Burton, right, goes to the net during the District 1 Class 5A championship game against West Chester Rustin, won by the Clippers. (Pete Bannan/MediaNews Group)

By Matthew DeGeorge

In addition to Player of the Year Karell Watkins of Chester, the rest of the 2021 All-Delco team includes:

Fareed Burton, Chester: The senior point guard was the floor general for the Clippers on the way to another Del Val League title, the District 1 Class 5A crown and the state semifinals. Burton averaged 16.3 points per game, second on the team only to Watkins, who was the beneficiary of many a pinpoint Burton feed. He also chipped in 4.6 rebounds, 3.6 assists and 3.4 steals per game. He led Chester with 27 made 3-pointers. Burton scored in double figures in 13 of 15 outings, topping out at 27 points in the state semifinal loss to Archbishop Ryan, the Clippers’ leading scorer on the night. Burton also scored 21 points in the states win over Crestwood and 22 in a one-point loss to Imhotep, the Clippers’ only setback of the regular season. Burton posted a triple-double of 17 points, 12 assists and 11 rebounds (plus five steals) in a win over Interboro on Feb. 9.

(click on this link for all the All-Delco Team members)

All-Delco Girls Basketball: Banner season for younger Doogan won’t be forgotten

All-Delco girls basketball player of the year Maggie Doogan of Cardinal O’Hara. (Pete Bannan/MediaNews Group)

By Matt Smith
Maggie Doogan hasn’t shied away from her bloodlines. She realizes how fortunate she is to be the daughter of a Big Five Hall of Fame player, yet she’s never felt pressure to follow in the footsteps of her mom.

Chrissie (Donahue) Doogan was a two-time Daily Times Player of the Year in her heyday at Cardinal O’Hara, who went on to become one of the greatest players in La Salle history, scoring 1,818 career points.

“It’s not a big deal,” Maggie said, smiling. “Her name is always in here (O’Hara’s gymnasium). Well, they took down the banner with her name, but it’s usually always in here. It’s not a big deal. I just try to play my best for O’Hara.”

Doogan focused on her development as a dynamic 6-foot-plus forward who can post up, defend, and shoot from just about anywhere on the floor. In 2021, her junior season, she became the best player in Delaware County and the latest in a long list of Daily Times Players of the Year from O’Hara.

(click on this link for the full story)

All-Delco Girls Basketball: Springfield’s Conran, ND’s McErlane complement O’Hara standouts

Cardinal O’Hara’s Amaris Baker, right, is show scoring over Chartiers Valley’s Abbey Vaites as the Lions were on their way to a PIAA state championship, and placing four players on this year’s All-Delco first team.(PETE BANNAN/MEDIANEWS GROUP).

By Matt Smith
In addition to Cardinal O’Hara’s Maggie Doogan, the 2021 Daily Times Player of the Year, the All-Delco team includes:

Amaris Baker, Cardinal O’Hara: The senior guard was the floor general for the PIAA Class 5A champions. Her court savvy and leadership were critical to the team’s success. A three-year starter at O’Hara, Baker eclipsed the 1,000-point plateau in her senior year. She excelled in all three seasons with O’Hara after transferring from Baldwin School following her freshman year. The All-Catholic League selection earned All-Delco second-team honors a year ago. Baker averaged eight points and three assists per game. She will continue her basketball career at Kennesaw State in Georgia.

(click on this link for all the All-Delco Team members)

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.

(click on this link for the full story)

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.

(click on this link for the full story)

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. 

(click on this link for the full story)

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.

(click on this link for the full story)

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.

(click on this link for the full story)

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.

(click on this link for the full story)