Here’s the reasoning behind the final Super 7. Remember, if I ranked you below someone else, it’s because I hate your school, your coach, you, all of the players and love the other team more.
1. Chester (28-4)
Not really all that surprising, is it? The Clippers came up short of their third straight state championship with a loss to Lower Merion, but their status as the county’s top team was never in question. Rondae Jefferson claimed a second straight Player of the Year honor from the Daily Times and Richard Granberry also nabbed an All-Delco spot. There are a whole lot of seniors leaving, including Jefferson, Granberry, Darius Robinson, James Kirksey and Rashan DeJarnette, but it’s Chester. The Clippers undoubtedly had some players who didn’t play this year who could start at other schools. They’ll be back.
2. Archbishop Carroll (23-7)
What an incredible run from the Patriots. Raise your hand if you had them making the state final when they lost to Neumann-Goretti and Philly Electrical PUT YOUR HAND DOWN YOU LIAR. Yosef Yacob earned his second straight All-Delco honor and he’s going to be an early contributor at Binghamton. Luckily for Carroll, it brings back a whole lot of talent, including rookie All-Delco Derrick Jones. Jones was unstoppable in the state tournament and Ernest Aflakpui made some huge strides forward. Can Nick Jones ably fill Yacob’s shoes at point guard next year?
3. The Haverford School (17-9)
The young Fords were runnersup in the Inter-Ac and semifinalists in the PAISAA tournament, coming up short in both departments to Germantown Academy. However, Haverford School will be a force to be reckoned with. Co-Inter Ac MVP Shawn Alston had a breakout year en route to earning his first All-Delco nod. Sean Lloyd probably would have been a second-teamer if he played Inter-Ac games, but if you don’t play any league games, it’s tough to be on that list. Eric Anderson also returns and he’s primed for a breakout year.
4. Upper Darby (19-10)
Dude, I can’t figure out this team. Win by two or lose by 30. The Royals that made the state tournament and won a game despite allowing more points than it scored this year, though that’s heavily skewed by blowout losses to Ridley x 2 and Chester. Kuity Slanger came up with some big shots this year to grab a second-team All-Delco nod and James Fisher made more 3-pointers than anyone this season. Coach Bob Miller did as good or better a coaching job than anyone this year and with him at the helm, Upper Darby will always be competitive.
5. Ridley (19-11)
Here’s another team that vastly outplayed its expectations. Jon McGill had a breakout year and he and Ken Bartow combined for 94 3-balls. Mike Smoluk‘s development was a pleasant surprise, too, and it definitely made a difference. Not many predicted that Ridley would make the state tournament, but the Green Raiders made it and were right there with District 11 champion Parkland before bowing out. Brett Foster will be a sophomore next year that could see his production skyrocket.
6. Penncrest (17-9)
The Lions weren’t quite where I expected them to be all year, but they nearly put it all together to make it to the state tournament before coming up short. Eddie Baxter stepped up big-time in the playoffs, averaging 15.5 points per game, and Rahmi Halaby is going to be one of the best forwards in the area next year. Kalvin Simpson and his ridiculous athleticism will be missed, but Ben Casanova is going to be a star.
7. Penn Wood (16-9)
Tough call between the Patriots and Strath Haven, but the fact that Penn Wood lost to a pair of state qualifiers gave it a slight edge. Texas Southern signee Tyree Bynum had a remarkable season and was incredibly consistent. Secean Johnson didn’t have the playoff run he envisioned, but he was still one of the elite forwards in the county. Without the two of them and 3-point sniper Gemil Holbrook, the Patriots would have struggled to break even with such a young team. Bynum and Johnson (East Stroudsburg) are gone, but Holbrook and a host of youngsters will be back.
I’ll have a post in the next day or so wrapping up the season, so check back soon.
– MATT CHANDIK