CORNWELLS HEIGHTS – Holy Ghost Prep (HGP) entered Friday night’s battle with Bicentennial Athletic League (BAL) rival MaST Charter still seeking its first league win of the season. Determined to get it, the Firebirds followed a 16-4 scoring spurt in the first quarter with an 18-4 run in the second.
Up 34-8 at the half, Ghost went on to a 61-29 triumph over the Panthers to even their overall record at 2-2 and their league mark at 1-1.
“We just came out with a killer attitude; we didn’t want to let up,” said HGP forward Sean Sylvester. “We wanted to make it a blowout.”
A junior, Sylvester is one of the newest members of the squad, having recently transferred to HGP after attending his first two years at Archbishop Ryan. Currently, the 6-5, 210-pound forward is the ‘birds’ leading scorer, averaging 10.25 points-per-game.
“Sean gives us a lot of ways to play the game,” said Holy Ghost head coach Tony Chapman. “He can rebound inside, he can score inside. He also has a nice medium-range game.
“He gives us a dimension that we don’t usually have.”
While Sylvester didn’t take any shots from beyond the arch, the coach says, Sylvester is capable of knocking down baskets from 3-point range.
“Usually, our 3-point shooters are guards and our big guys are inside,” explained Chapman. “But he can do a little of both.
“That makes him a tough matchup for the opposing team to try to get somebody to guard him.”
Joining Sylvester in the starting lineup is his cousin Greg, a 5-11 junior guard who plays the point. Greg posted up with 18 points in the team’s season-opening win over Red Land Dec. 8 in the Manheim Township Tipoff Tournament. He is averaging 9.5 PPG.
“He’s the point guard so he runs the show,” said Chapman. “He’s made great strides since last year staying under control.
“Last season, he’s get a little excited out there as a sophomore, maybe tried to a little bit too much.
“This year, he’s playing within himself. He’s still playing aggressively but he’s playing smarter.”
Complementing the Sylvesters are junior Greg Calvin and senior Jack Elliot. A 6-5 forward/center, Calvin is the team’s third-leading scorer with 8.5 PPG thus far. Calvin came through with a dozen points in the season opener and 10 in the team’s BAL opener Dec. 12 against Valley Forge Military Academy.
“Greg is solid,” said Chapman. “I know, with him, he’s going to get us 6, 8, 10 points a game and he’s going to get us four or five rebounds every single night.
“He’s a solid player; he takes the shots he can make and he doesn’t try to do things he can’t do.
“He’s a great team player and really good team leader.”
The only returning starter on the team is Elliot. He came through with 11 points in the recent duel with Valley Forge and is averaging 6.5 PPG. Another forward in the starting lineup is Jack Rittenmeyer. The 6-3 junior is averaging 5 PPG in his last two contests.
“I like our starting five,” says Chapman. “Our basketball I.Q. a little higher than it’s been the past couple years.
“We always have kids who give great effort but I think this group has the potential to play a little bit smarter and blend a little bit better.”
Chapman says that one key to the season is going to be the contributions the Firebirds get off the bench. “That’s been kind of sporadic, so far,” he says.
One player chipping in from the reserve ranks is Tyler Mish. A 6-foot sophomore guard, Mish came through with eight points including a pair of 3-pointers in the first half against MaST. He is averaging 4.75 PPG.
“He plays really hard and plays with a tremendous amount of confidence for being a sophomore,” said Chapman. “I’m really looking forward to coaching him the next few years; he’s going to be real good.”
Bringing some size with him off the bench is senior Alec Zubyk. A returning varsity player, the 6-7 center came through with a pair of putbacks in the second half of the win over the Panthers, adding five points to HGP’s scoring effort. Junior Marco Dimitriadis also added a pair of buckets, posting up with a reverse layup and a 3-pointer in the win over MaST.
Before the loss to the Trojans, Ghost also came up short to the host team Dec. 9 in the Manheim Tipoff tourney. Leading 18-17 at the half and 29-26 after three periods, the Blue Streaks won the tournament championship a second straight season with a 48-36 triumph.
While the ‘birds gave it all they had in the loss to the Trojans, Valley Forge was ahead 34-26 at the half and won by double digits.
“Those are two tough teams – Manheim Township was good and Valley Forge was really good,” said Chapman. “It’s tough playing from behind.”
“Tonight, we were relaxed, we made some shots early and we extended the lead.
“You tend to relax a little more and shoot a little better when you’re ahead.
“And that’s what happened here tonight.”
Holy Ghost moves right into their next game tonight at Suburban One League (SOL) rival Neshaminy, which is unbeaten at 2-0. The Skins toppled PAC-10 rival Upper Merion by 32 point in their home- and season-opener and outpaced William Tennent 50-41 Dec. 14 on their home court. Tonight’s game will be Neshaminy’s first road duel.
Next week, the Firebirds travel to Devon Prep, Tuesday, Dec. 19 then to Morrisville Dec. 21.
Holy Ghost finishes the year hosting Philadelphia Public League rival Abraham Lincoln, Catholic League rival Bishop McDevitt and SOL rival Harry S Truman in the Jack Schott Memorial Tournament Dec. 28 and 29 at Chapman Gym. This will be the 20th year for the tournament, which was won by the Railsplitters last year.
Holy Ghost Prep 61, MaST Charter 29
(Dec. 15 at Holy Ghost Prep)
MaST Charter 4 4 7 14 – 29
Holy Ghost Prep 16 18 17 10 – 61
HOLY GHOST (2-2) — Alex Taylor 2, Alec Zubyk 5, Greg Calvin 8, Marco Dimitriatis 5, Jack Elliot 7, Sean Elliott 4, Tyler Mish 8, Kevin Morrison 2, Jack Rittenmayer 4, Greg Sylvester 4, Sean Sylvester 12; TOTALS — 24 8-12–61.
MaST CHARTER (0-2) — Adrian Vintila 3, Nick Vazquez 5, Richard Menefee 4, Lance Farlow 2, Jayden Birchmore 9, Calvin White 6; TOTALS — 11 3-3–29.
3-POINT GOALS: HGP — Elliot 2, Mish 2, Dimitriatis; M — Birchmore 3, Vintilla.
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