AA’s Weekly Notes 2/26

By Amauro Austin Sr


FB: aasnotes.com

IG: @aasnotes

Twitter: @AA215

Been a Long week as the plot is starting to thicken on the hoops scene.. The games have more meaning and some of the best of the best are closing out their careers. Late February to Late March is like a month long holiday for me from Championship level HS Hoops to Championship level college hoops. Every game I saw this week was of the meaningful variety and that’ll continue to be the case going forward…

Coach Jim Mora

Our first stop of the week was a Monday afternoon trip to the Phelps School in Malvern to check out a PA-ISAA state playoff quarterfinal between ANC & Phelps. Phelps just had too much size for the tough/gritty Lions and won going away 86-67 in a competitive yet comfortable win. This was my first look at Phelps all season. The Phelps School, also nicknamed the Lions, has a very interesting roster with 4 seniors & 4 sophomores in its 8-man rotation. The standout of the group Soph wing Will Riley, a Canadian import, who goes in the 6-7/6-8 range and many believe to be the best 10th grade prospect in the the region. From my 1st look at him, I’d have to agree with that assessment. He’s got a Union Electrician’s toolbox 🧰 and his only current weakness looks to be lack of physical strength. He has everything else and has it in abundance. One National Publication lists him in the top 25 in the Class of 2025 and I see why.. Riley is one of those rare guys that can dribble, pass and shoot at a high level. Soph wing Gavin Doty was a pleasant surprise cause I hadn’t heard much buzz about him going in. He hails from the Syracuse, NY area and lists in the 6-4/6-5 range. He’s a big time outside shooter with above average athleticism.. 6-11 Soph Center Justin Houser has shown great improvement from this time last year. He’s a big presence on both ends inside and looks to have a big Spring & Summer. Sr guards Saleem Payne formerly of Cheltenham & IV Pettit, a post-grad formerly of Devon Prep are both playing for scholarships and both played well on this day.. Pettit hit 3 dagger-like treys in the 2nd half and Payne put so much pressure on the ANC defense with his paint touches. West Chester head coach Damien Blair was the the building watching Payne.. ANC had a very good season. Coach Kevin Givens didn’t fully know what to expect after McDonald’s AllAmerican guard Elmarko Jackson transferred to South Kent Prep in CT this summer. Sr G Deywilk Tavares, coming off a 2 knee injuries that ruined his last 2 summers, has re-affirmed his status as a D1 level combo guard. He had a fantastic Senior season with averages of 19.5pts, 6.8rebs, 4.7assts & 3.5stls shooting 37% from 3.. 6-5 Jr wing Bahsil Laster (14p, 6.7r, 3.3a) transferred in from Archbishop Wood and had a very good season as well. Laster will be a hot commodity in Mid Major land this spring & summer on the circuit, a consistent outside shot could get him up to A10 level recruitment as he’s already one of the more versatile players in the region being able to play & defend 3 positions.. And there’s plenty to like about 6-3 sr wing Jarell Keel. Keel is a small college hidden gem. He plays the right way and always impacts games positively whether it’s his defense on the perimeter, his leadership or timely shot-making ability, definitely a culture guy that’ll instantly make your roster better..

ANC sr wing Jarell Keel (4) is hidden gem. Should be on the D2 radar. Phelps post-grad G IV Pettit also pictured

Our next stop was a great game in the round of the 16 in the PIAA playoffs as Penn Wood came to visit Plymouth Whitemarsh. Back in the 2009 & 2010 seasons the PWs went back to back claiming 4A state titles (The biggest classification at the time) with Penn Wood winning in 09 and Plymouth Whitemarsh thwarting Penn Wood’s repeat attempt by knocking them off in the final in 2010. There was some high end talent on those teams as both programs hung around in the National rankings those years. This year, Penn Wood has had a roller coaster of a year while the Colonials have now won 25 games this season before the state tournament has even begun.. This one was probably their most satisfying win cause the Patriots from Delco flat out brought the heat. They weren’t there to just come in and lay down. In fact, they came to win. Kudos to Coach Matt Lindeman and his staff for having his squad prepared to go on the road and take down a top rated team in the district. The Patriots had the ball down two with their best player taking the last shot of the game. Can’t ask for more than that.. Sr WG Nasir Washington’s contested corner three attempt with 1.6 seconds left looked like money when it left his hands but softly hit the front of the rim ending a thriller with the Colonials winning this chapter, 64-62. Washington was sensational as he made contested shot after contested shot en route to 23 points. We first saw Washington last season as a junior at West Philadelphia HS and liked his potential. At that time, Nas was only in his 1st full year of Varsity basketball after an abbreviated sophomore year in 2021 due to COVID. Now his game has transformed from young Nas to Mr Washington as arguably the top senior in district 1.. Not many guys can score it from all three levels like he does while also giving a dogged effort on defense. PW was down 7 heading into the 4th quarter but turned up the heat on their press quickly erasing the Patriots edge and taking one of their own. Jr G Chase Coleman had a fantastic night going for 26 points, including the game deciding acrobatic layup in traffic to decide the game, while doing a nice job slowing down Washington when he guarded him in the 2nd half. Sr F Qudire Bennett (22 points), again had a big night in a consistent season’s worth of them. If District 1 were to name an MVP, he’d be the guy without question. It’s becoming a shock when “Q” doesn’t have a big number to the right of his name.. Sr Big Man Lincoln Sharpe had a huge 2nd half scoring all 8 of his points and snatching double figure rebounds in a battle of big lefties with Penn Wood sr Mekhi Shillingford (10pts). Both snatched 12 boards.. We saw PW go on to handle North Penn in the Quarterfinals on Friday night, 83-53 to set up a big semifinal matchup at backyard Rival Lower Merion on Tuesday night. We’ll be there to cover that one as well. Penn Wood dropped a decision at Coatesville on Friday in a win or go home situation that ended their season..

PW Jr G Chase Coleman (3) is one of the better two-way players in the area

Of course on Wednesday we were at the Palestra with nine thousand of our good friends for the Catholic League semis which we documented and covered in our last Blog post.. The Catholic League semis is the one must attend event every year now days around here and it didn’t disappoint. Again check out our quick thoughts recap posted last Thursday here on aasnotes.com. And check out the Archdiocese Sports website: aopathletics.org for all things involving the league. The Catholic League Final boy-girl doubleheader will be tonight tipping off at 6pm with a Lansdale Catholic vs Archbishop Wood girls game followed by another Roman-Neumann final at 8.. Of course back at the world renowned Palestra or if you wanna watch from home or on your phone you can do so at SFBNPPV.com on a stream for $20..


Saturday afternoon we made the trip down to Temple’s Liacouras Center to check out the Public League Championship between the incumbent Imhotep Panthers & the upstart West Philly Speedboys. It feels funny calling the Speedboys upstarts cause for 2 decades (70s & 80s) under legendary Coach Joe Goldenberg (410 wins in 21 seasons from 1969-70 to 1990, 5 Public League titles) they were Imhotep playing National schedules, putting plenty of guys in D1 schools, had the Pub’s first and second McDonalds All Americans and won Mythical high school National titles in 1977 & 78 finishing both seasons as #1 in the Nation.. Some of the Great Speedboys of that era: Timmy Smith 75’ (Penn), Darryl Warwick 77’ (Hampton), Gene Banks 77’ (Duke), Clarence Tillman 78’ (Kentucky/Rutgers), Vince Ross 78’ (Penn), Howie Evans 84’ (Temple), Henry Smith 84’ (Ohio U/St Joseph’s), Rodney Jones 86’ (Illinois) Mik Kilgore 88’ (Temple), Shawn Harvey 91’ (West Virginia State – NBA) & Gerald Jordan 91’ (Morgan State/Pittsburgh).. West Philadelphia High holds a special place in my own lineage. I’d venture to say that about 60% of my own elder family members are Speedboys including my mom 77’ & her mom 52’.. And of course as we’ve mentioned in a prior story my first High School game was the Pub Championship at Temple’s McGonigle Hall in 1988 as West fell in 4OTs to Frankford.. 35 years later, 2023 is their first time back since. Meanwhile Tep is on an epic run in the Pub seeking either their 11th or 12th (depending on what we’re calling the pandemic year in 2021) Public League title.. And seek and you shall find as the Panthers completed the mission behind another star studded performance by the law firm of Edwards (MVP), Barno & Nowell.. 72-43 Panthers.. And now it’s on to a state title chase in 5A right after a District Title matchup against Ryan on Thursday.. The Nationally ranked Panthers are heavy favorites to take states this year.. Coach Andre Noble is hunting his 9th State Title in a stellar career all at the school where he built the basketball program from scratch.. Better days are ahead for the Speedyboys. 4 starters are seniors but 4 freshman are heavily in the rotation and could easily be considered the top players on the team. They’ll be back next year for some action and they’ll be ready after seeing it all this go-round.. Another great experience with the 5A state tournament is ahead for the Coach Adrian Burke’s young Speedboys.. They’ll enter the field as the 3-seed from district 12 with a winnable 1st round game against the 2-seed from district 2 likely to be on the road AT West Scranton HS..

Tep Jr G Ahmad Nowell in stance against West sr G Elijah Hester

Finally we had to cover the PA-ISAA Title game on Sunday at St Joseph’s University’s Hagan Arena between powerful boarding schools George & Perkiomen, arguably right there with the Imhoteps and the Camdens and the Romans & Neumanns of the world as the best teams in the Region.. Before walking into the gym, I bumped into a hoop head parent duo and they were in awe of the size of Perkiomen School’s lineup as they watched them warmup before the game evening saying they presented like a “College Team.” That’s a very accurate assessment as coach Thomas Baudinet seems to attract long, athletic guys to his program yearly. This year Perk’s front court rotates 6 guys ranging from 6-5 to 6-10, 3 Srs & 3 Jrs.. The star of the group is 6-9 sr F Tommy Haugh (Florida). George is known for its large frontline as well.. Although not as deep as Perk, but high quality with high Major bigs in 6-8 sr Xavier signee Kache Nzeh & 6-10 Soph C Luke Bevilacqua.. The game itself was a classic seesaw type contest where neither team could separate themselves from the other which caused us to see an extra 4 minutes with OT after George couldn’t get a shot off at the end of regulation, 68-68.. And there looked like we could be getting a 2nd OT with the scores tied at 77-77, GS ball with 2 seconds left inbounding under Perk’s basket. A pass went to Nzeh at half court and another George player called for a Timeout. Unfortunately, GS didn’t have one remaining which sent Perk sr F Bobby Rosenberger to the line for 2 technical foul shots with just 1 second left on the clock in a tie ball game in OT. The 6-5 St Francis PA bound lefty calmly sank both Foul shots and the rest is history, 79-77 Perk wins in OT. Bobby was terrific throughout with his team high 20 points on an array of tough buckets mostly deep and mid range jumpers. It was fitting that Rosenberger would come up big here being that he was the longest tenured member of the Perk program and by all accounts, a great teammate. He truly deserved that moment. It was also needed as Panthers two leading scorers Sr forwards 6-6 Preist Ryan & the high flying Haugh battled game-long foul trouble each playing less than half the game only combining to score 14 points which is less than half of their combined scoring average. 6-4 Soph G Gabe Tanner (19 points) had a breakout performance showing he could score from all three levels in a big game environment. Jr PG Demahj Salisbery (13pts & 7assts) ran the show with precision getting paint touches for himself and others throughout. He continuously made plays for his teammates with making the most of his own scoring opportunities. Bookend 6-8 Jr Forwards Macon Emory & Brant Byers did the little things on especially on defense which Byers hit a huge trailer trey late in the 4th while Emory hit a huge trey in the OT period. George got another crafty, high-scoring effort from Jr G Christian Bliss (29 points). He just finds ways to put the ball in the hole. Not the fastest.. Not the highest leaper.. And ect. Nzeh went out with 21pts & 13rebs in great ending for George School’s program changing player. Soph G Luke Melniczek came off the bench to sink 3 big treys.. I could watch these two squads lock horns every day for a month if given the chance.. I’d bet after 30 days, it would be either 16-14 one way or the other or 15-15. That’s how razor close these two teams are to one another this year. Great seasons on both sides.. RESPECT!!!

Perk (4) Preist Ryan battles for a rebound while GS bigs Luke Bevilacqua & Kachi Nzeh look on

If you enjoy this content please like, share & subscribe.. Yours in Sports.. — AA

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