In his first notebook of the season, Scott Huff highlights the opening weekend’s tournament action.
By Scott Huff
The curtain has opened for the 2012-2013 Suburban One League basketball season. And there were a number of SOL teams that collected hardware for their respective trophy cases with some impressive preseason tournament championships.
Suburban One League Continental Conference
Hatboro-Horsham (2-0) made the trek west to Carlisle and came home with a trophy and a pair of victories in the Carlisle Classic.
“It was a great atmosphere to play in hosted by a program that has tremendous tradition,” said Hatboro-Horsham head coach Dennis Steinly Jr. “Back in the 80’s, Carlisle won four state titles, and to be able to go away to play in that arena was special.
“We left early afternoon on Friday, played Friday night, and watched Carlisle play in the second game,” recalled Steinly. “Then we went back to the hotel, had some pizza, and just pretty much had some fun.
“When you go away on a trip like this, it builds chemistry within your team,” added Steinly. “And to be able to come back with two wins has to make you happy. It was a positive couple of days for this team.”
The Hatters have been touted as a contender in the conference this season with good reason. Make those three good reasons – Mike Brown, Zach Quattro, and Ryan Kelly.
Brown – the tournament Most Valuable Player – scored 18 points in a 48-40 victory over Mechanicsburg. Brown followed with 23-point performance in a 66-57 championship final victory over Carlisle.
“You could say that Mike has earned his stripes,” said Steinly of the 6-foot, 4-inch senior who will attend the Naval Academy next year. “Being accepted at Navy tells you all you need to know about the character of the kid.”
Quattro – a 6-5 junior – scored 12 points in the opening win and followed with a game-high 26 points in the championship final. In the win over Carlisle, Quattro hit four 3-point field goals.
“That was the best game that Zach has ever played for us,” said Steinly. “He is an excellent inside/out player that can score almost anywhere on the floor.
“And Ryan (Kelly) is a great spot shooter,” continued Steinly in reference to his 6-3 senior guard. “And he gives us great leadership on the floor.”
The Hatters will take its unbeaten show on the road with a date against Allentown Central Catholic on Wednesday (12/12/12).
“To play in Rockne Hall will be another great experience for the players,” said Steinly. “To play good teams early in the season will develop a toughness we need to have to compete in our conference.”
Highlights Around the SOL Continental
North Penn (2-0) was also able to collect a championship trophy as the Knights won the Phoenixville Tournament. MVP Stephan Brown scored 14 points in North Penn’s 48-45 win over Conestoga and followed with another 14-point outing in a 58-52 win over host Phoenixville.
Central Bucks West (1-1) and Central Bucks South (1-1) each competed in the SOL/PAC 10 challenge with interesting results. The Bucks defeated Spring-Ford 52-44 but were beaten by Pottstown 46-31. Meanwhile, the Titans lost to Spring-Ford 73-67 but were able to beat Pottstown 60-34.
Pennridge (1-1) hosted its season opening tournament, and the Rams played in the championship game. Pennridge collected a 56-45 win over Saucon Valley but was bested in the title game by Methacton by a 66-48 margin.
Souderton (1-1) also split a pair of games as the Indians played in the Church Farm School Tournament. Souderton defeated Perkiomen School 58-39 but lost a 54-47 contest to host Church Farm in the championship final.
Suburban One League National Conference
Council Rock South (2-0) added a trophy to its trophy case as the Golden Hawks captured its own Rabberman Tournament.
“To be 2-0 at this point couldn’t be any better,” said head coach John Easterly. “We graduated three starters from last year’s team, and we are very young and varsity inexperienced.”
The returning starters are senior Christian Crane – who was the tournament MVP - and junior Eric Gallo
“Christian was our leading scorer last year, and our job was to find another ‘go-to’ guy to score points,” said Easterly. “Eric does a great job off the boards and as a defender, but we still needed a second scorer.”
The Hawks may have found their man in Will Faccenda, who scored 20 points in CR South’s 51-35 victory over George School in the championship final. Faccenda was a perfect 6-6 from the free throw line in the final period.
“You want a guard to be able to control the ball at the end of the game and make free throws,” said Easterly. “And Will did a great job of doing both those things.”
Crane – who averaged 15 points per game for the Hawks during his junior season – scored 23 points in the 39-36 tournament opener against New Hope-Solebury.
“It was nice to see us win these first two games, but we have two huge tests coming up this week,” said Easterly. “We have Conwell-Egan on Wednesday, and the we play Abington on Friday. Abington is the clear favorite to win our league, and we are going to have to play our best to compete with them.”
Highlights Around the SOL National
Abington (2-0) hosted and won its own Tip-Off Tournament as the Ghosts defeated both Wissahickon (64-55) and Archbishop Wood (63-57). Jordan Simmons was the MVP with 19 and 9 points in the two games.
Harry S Truman (2-0) hosted and won its own Tip-Off Tournament as the Tigers defeated both Palmer (56-47) and Holy Ghost Prep (50-48). Merdic Green was the MVP with 29 and 27 points in the two games.
Pennsbury (2-0) won the West Catholic Tip-Off Tournament as the Falcons defeated both Prep Charter (59-44) and Bartram (49-37). Cameron Jones led the Falcons with 11 and 16 points in the two games.
Council Rock North (1-0) opened its season with a 56-17 victory over Malvern Prep, while Matt Alden scored 21 points to lead William Tennent (1-0) to a 51-43 victory over Chestnut Hill Academy.
Suburban One League American Conference
Norristown (1-0) enters the season as the American Conference favorite and the Eagles came up with a huge 72-67 victory over Coatesville.
“It was the first game of the season, and we did some good things and some bad things,” said Norristown head coach Michael Evans. “Our goal is to improve with each and every game we play.
“We have a veteran team back, and if we play the way we are capable of playing, we can do some damage,” added Evans as the Birds finished 20-9 last season. “We played 10 guys against Coatesville, and we want to be a deep team that can mix and match depending on who we are playing.”
Norristown returns a core of players that includes Luke Kelley, BJ Gordon, Jahbri Hargrove, Marquis Bryant, and Chris Evans.
“We had some success last season, and this group of players knows what it takes to be successful,” said Evans. “But knowing how and playing with that confidence are two different things. We have to be able to perform on the court if we want to win games.
“We play Abington next Saturday in a Coaches for Cancer game,” added Evans. “Abington is one of the best teams in the area, and that should be a great test for our guys. You want to be tested this time of year.”
Highlights Around the SOL American
Wissahickon (1-1) earned a split in the Abington Tip-Off Tournament as the Trojans lost in the opening round to Abington (64-55) and followed with a 67-51 victory over West Chester Henderson. Chase Wilson led Wissahickon in scoring in both games with 21 and 18 points.
Plymouth Whitemarsh (1-1) earned a split in its own Rock-the-Rim Tournament as the Colonials lost in the opening round to Dobbins (61-50) and followed with a 67-24 victory over Neshaminy. Anthony McKie led Plymouth Whitemarsh in scoring in both games with 18 and 13 points.
Springfield (1-1) earned a split in its own Oreland Lions Tournament as the Spartans lost in the finals to Bishop McDevitt (63-47) after winning a 63-50 contest in the tournament opener to Phil-Mont Christian. William Dahm led Springfield in scoring in both games with 18 and 23 points.
Upper Merion (1-1) earned a split in the Exeter Tournament with a 68-63 win against Pottsgrove behind the 22 point scoring effort of Justin Lewis, while Upper Moreland (1-0) won a 48-35 contest against Lower Moreland behind an 18-point scoring effort by Tommy Robinson.