Entering this season Plymouth Whitemarsh, Cheltenham and Wissahickon were expected to be the top three teams in the Suburban One League American Conference.
All three schools made deep District 1 playoff runs last year — PW and Cheltenham reached the 6A semifinals and Wiss the 5A quarters — and all three qualified for the state playoffs. The three rivals also returned most of their top players from 2016-17.
So far, these teams have met expectations. They are a combined 20-6 overall and 9-1 in SOL American play — the only league loss came when PW topped Wissahickon 67-66 on Dec. 22.
We’ll find out more about how these teams stack up and how the SOL American race will play out this week.
Wissahickon hosts Cheltenham Tuesday at 7 p.m. and Cheltenham hosts Plymouth Whitemarsh Friday at 7 p.m.
PW and Wissahickon also both travel to Hatboro-Horsham, which is tied for third in the SOL American with Wissahickon at 2-1, this week. The Colonials play the Hatters at 7 p.m. Tuesday and Wissahickon faces them at the same time Wednesday.
The Colonials (9-0, 4-0) have faced plenty of challenges early on this season and have conquered each one.
They beat perennial Philadelphia Catholic League power Archbishop Carroll, 66-53, defending PCL, District 12 and state champion Archbishop Wood, 55-43, and up-and-coming Bonner-Prendergast, 64-60, in double overtime.
PW, arguably the deepest team in the area, had a different player led them to those three wins over Catholic League schools. Senior Alan Glover had 16 points and 10 rebounds against Carroll, senior Ish Horn dropped 20 points against Wood and senior Ahmad Williams scored 15 points against Bonner.
Senior Ahmin Williams scored 15 points — including the game-winning free throw — in the one-point win over Wissahickon.
The Panthers (6-3, 3-0) also put together a challenging schedule before the calendar flipped to 2018. Their three losses came against Catholic League opponents Archbishop Carroll, Neumann-Goretti and St. Joe’s Prep. They have wins against the PCL’s Archbishop Ryan and Philadelphia Public League schools Northeast and Frankford.
In league play, Cheltenham’s beaten Upper Dublin, 85-64, Springfield (Montco), 99-60, and Upper Moreland, 65-50.
Senior wing and La Salle commit Jack Clark leads the Panthers. He scored 12 points and grabbed 11 rebounds in the loss against Neumann-Goretti.
Ahmad Bickley, Amir Lewis and Kyin Healey are key players for Cheltenham who helped the Panthers get off to a 6-3 start.
The Trojans (6-2, 2-1) have played their share of heart-stopping games this year. They have one-point wins over Norristown (46-45) and Perk Valley (57-56) and a one-point loss to Plymouth Whitemarsh (67-66).
They have more comfortable wins over Bensalem, Quakertown, Methacton and Upper Dublin.
Most of the offense has come from Max Rapoport, Eddie Fortescue and Zach Reiner.
Rapoport took over both of the Trojans’ one-point wins. He made the game-winning basket with 17 seconds left against Norristown and hit two three-pointers — including the game-winner at the buzzer — in the final 22 seconds against Perk Valley. He also had 20 points in the win over Methacton and 19 against Upper Dublin.
Fortescue dropped 30 points against Quakertown, 20 against PW and 10 against Methacton.
Reiner had 15 points and 13 rebounds against Methacton and 12 points in a loss to Pennridge.
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