SOL basketball coverage begins this weekend on SuburbanOneSports.com. Be sure to check the site’s scoreboard and standings to keep track of all the SOL teams in action.
By Scott Huff
The 2009-2010 Plymouth Whitemarsh basketball team is on a very strict non-league diet.
“There was an opportunity to get this team’s name out there and get some national recognition,” said Plymouth Whitemarsh coach Jim Donofrio. “I owe it to my team to get out there and play some great competition – to challenge them.
“This is an extremely talented team, and I have to coach them to that next level,” added Donofrio. “When you get to the PIAA state semifinals – and return the number of good players we had from that team – you get a lot of invitations.”
How about these impressive invites?
Plymouth Whitemarsh will face Chester as part of the Pete Nelson Holiday Classic at Widener University on December 26.
The Colonials will then play Academy of the New Church on December 30 as part of the Jameer Nelson Classic at Gwynedd Mercy College.
PW will square off with St. Raymond Boys (Bronx New York) on January 18 as part of the Big Apple Classic to be held in Manhatten – New York City.
Plymouth Whitemarsh will face Roman Catholic of the Philadelphia Catholic League at Widener University on January 24.
The Colonials will then participate in the Prime Time Shootout at Villanova University on January 29 against Imhotep Charter.
PW will travel to Parkland High School to play against St. Benedict’s Prep (Newark N.J.) at the Lehigh Valley Hoop Festival on January 31.
“We didn’t take all of the invitations that we received,” said Donofrio. “We were invited to play in a tournament in Florida over the holiday break, but we decided to stay local and play Chester.
“Some people might not think that the smart thing to do might be to avoid some of these games – with the point system and all in the district playoffs,” added Donofrio. “But win or lose, I feel it is important to take these games.”
The Colonials open their season by hosting its own Rock The Rim tournament this weekend. PW opens with Central Bucks South and will play either Conestoga or Neshaminy the following night.
“Those are three quality basketball programs,” said Donofrio. “All three of them went into the district playoffs last year, and it is a great way for us to get this season started.”
PW finished last season with a 25-6 mark, while Central Bucks South ended its season at 22-7. Conestoga – which defeated PW in the Rock The Rim tournament final – finished at 27-4, while Neshaminy won 16 games and a berth in the PIAA District One playoffs.
“Not to take anything away from our league schedule, but we want to keep the juices flowing,” said Donofrio. “We want a test every night.”
Within the Suburban One League American Conference, the best of the teams appear to be Wissahickon, Cheltenham, and of course – Norristown.
“This is a team that has experience, size, and speed,” said Donofrio. “C.J. Aiken and Jaylen Bond are Division One players, and we are really ten deep off the bench.
“This is also a team that is very humble – very unselfish,” added Donofrio. “I go to practice, watch these kids play, and thank the basketball gods every day.”
Pennsbury is on that same stringent non-league diet as Plymouth Whitemarsh this 2009-2010 season.
“The players like it and it provides a lot of motivation,” said Pennsbury head coach Frank Sciola in reference to the non-league schedule. “We always talk about dialing it back after the year, and then we don’t really do anything about it.
“We schedule these games to provide the best competition possible,” added Sciola. “It is by design, and I think that it has improved our team.”
Some of the non-league gems on tap for the Falcons include a trip to the prestigious Benedictine Holiday Classic in North Carolina, a contest against Holy Ghost Prep in the Kobe Bryant Classic, and a Prime Time Shootout appearance against Pennington at Villanova University.
“Almost all of our non-league games are on the road,” said Sciola. “We had an opportunity to play Simon Gratz at home this year, and we are excited about hosting that game.”
Pennsbury opens with Gratz – a Philadelphia Public League power – this Friday.
The Dalton Pepper Era is over at Pennsbury, but the Falcon standout has been far from forgotten. Pepper received a D-1 basketball scholarship to West Virginia – currently ranked seventh in the country.
“Dalton is in a battle for minutes as a freshman,” said Sciola. “His time will come.”
Quakertown will begin the 2009-2010-basketball season without its graduated 6-foot, 9-inch center Brett Roseboro.
“This is going to be a totally different basketball team,” said veteran Quakertown head coach Kevin Keeler. “We are going to have to be a guard-oriented team because we lack the size under the basket.
“This year we are going to have to rely on Dalton Nyce,” added Keeler of his four-year starter who begins the season with 916 career points. “Dalton can catch and shoot the 3-pointer.”
Roseboro may be gone, but also not forgotten. He initially signed to play at Marquette University, but plans changed and he ended up playing his Division One basketball at St. Bonaventure University.
“I check the box scores every day,” said Keeler. “I do know that he is happy playing there.”
The highlight of Roseboro’s short career with the Bonnies was a 13-minute – four point – performance against Mississippi State.