PHILADELPHIA >> The last 29 years, the Labor Classic has provided senior basketball players from southeastern Pennsylvania a chance to play without the pressure of a win or loss.
Sunday afternoon at New Foundations Charter School in the northeast part of Philadelphia, nearly two dozen players from The Reporter/Montgomery coverage took part in the 29th rendition of the event. Players were divided into “Suburban” and “City” teams, but those rosters weren’t strictly based on geography.
Given that it was an all-star game, it wasn’t too serious but it didn’t stop some local players from having a solid day.
TWO BETTER THAN ONE
A number of schools had a pair of representatives in the two games. On the girls side, Archbishop Wood (Claire Bassetti and Bailey Greenberg), Gwynedd Mercy Academy (Brigit Coleman and Erica DeCandido), Mount St. Joseph (Libby Tacka and Caitlyn Cunningham), Abington (Leah Simmons and Sammy Lochner), Abington Friends (Asia Turner and Alexa Middleton) and Germantown Academy (Kendall Grasela and Erin Lindahl) each had two.
In the boys game, Phil-Mont Christian Academy (Noah Baldez and Sean Griffin) and Germantown Academy (Devon Goodman and Gabe Alter) had two representatives.
NICE DAY FOR GA
The Patriots won Inter-Ac titles in boys and girls basketball and had the player of the year in each gender with Devon Goodman and Erin Lindahl. With four players in Sunday’s game, GA had some strong representation and some highlight plays.
Grasela, a Penn-bound point guard, scored two points in the girls’ game but she also stuffed the rest of the stat sheet with three rebounds and three assists. Lindahl, who is playing at Emory, joining Upper Dublin senior Allison Chernow in the recruiting class, had six points, two of them coming at the line after she was fouled on a 3-point attempt. A tenacious defender as well, Lindahl chipped in two steals, an assist and three rebounds in her minutes.
The all-star invite to the boys game was a deserved reward for Gabe Alter. After laboring back through grueling rehab in his sophomore and junior years, Alter filled in all the gaps for the Inter-Ac champs this past season as they advanced to the PAISAA title game. Sunday, he took a little while to warm up but finished the game with two points, two rebounds and a pair of really nice assists.
Goodman, who like Grasela is playing at Penn next year, showed why he was the top player in the league with 11 points, hitting one 3-pointer and slashing to the hoop for the rest of his points. The shifty and lightning-quick guard also had a steal and two rebounds.
CUNNINGHAM IN THE CLUTCH
While there wasn’t much more than bragging rights at stake, the girls’ game was competitive and a one-possession game into the final minute. The City squad wasn’t going down without a fight and ended up putting Mount St. Joseph’s Caitlyn Cunningham on the line.
All the Philadelphia University commit did was knock down a pair of free throws to seal up the 42-38 win for Suburban. Cunningham was strong down the stretch and finished the game with eight points and three boards. Her Mount teammate and West Point commit Libby Tacka had six points and two assists.
Just before the girls’ tip, the Suburban team sent a couple of players over to balance out the City side in numbers. Every player got in as the teams did hockey-style line changes every four to five minutes. One of the exchanged players was Abington Friends guard Asia Turner, pitting her against Kangaroos teammate Alexa Middleton.
It didn’t faze Turner, who hit two 3-pointers, scored eight points and came up with a steal. Middleton, who is signed with Monmouth, had four points, six rebounds and a block.
PASSING WITH PURPOSE
The boys’ game featured a lot more scoring and with it, quite a few dandy assists. Granted, that was to be expected with the lead guards who took part in the game.
Archbishop Wood point guard Tommy Funk, who is continuing his career at West Point set the tone with a couple of early dimes, finishing with three helpers to go with five points and two rebounds. Phil-Mont guard Noah Baldez had two dimes late in the game, one of them going to longtime teammate Sean Griffin as part of a two point, four rebound and one block day for Baldez.
Lower Moreland’s Danny Duffey also had three assists, including a nice pass to Archbishop Carroll’s Ryan Daly for a 3-pointer. Duffey had three points and three rebounds to fill out his line.
GAME OF LAUGHS
In the current basketball landscape, plenty of local players from different schools are teammates on the AAU circuit. So, it’s common to see those athletes at each other’s games throughout the regular season and playoffs.
Wood’s Bailey Greenberg, GMA’s Erica DeCandido, North Penn’s Mikaela Giuliani and CB South’s Jordan Vitelli were often common sightings at the other’s games and they certainly had a good time with it Sunday. Greenberg was on the City roster and matched up against her friends, but they were quick to laugh off a couple of plays where they went up against each other.
GIRLS: Sammy Lochner (Abington) 6 points, 2 3-pointers, steal, assist, block; Leah Simmons (Abington): 0 points, 2 rebounds; Asia Turner (Abington Friends) 8 points, 2 3-pointers, steal; Alexa Middleton (Abington Friends) 4 points, 6 rebounds, block; Bailey Greenberg (Archbishop Wood) 7 points, rebound, steal; Claire Bassetti (Archbishop Wood) 0 points, rebound; Kendall Grasela (Germantown Academy) 2 points, 3 rebounds, 2 assists; Erin Lindahl (Germantown Academy) 6 points, 3 rebounds, assist, steal; Erica DeCandido (Gwynedd Mercy Academy) 2 points, 3 rebounds, 2 assists; Brigit Coleman (Gwynedd Mercy Academy) 4 points, 4 rebounds; Mikaela Giuliani (North Penn) 0 points, rebound, steal, 3 blocks; Libby Tacka (Mount St. Joseph) 6 points, rebound, assist; Caitlyn Cunningham (Mount St. Joseph)8 points, 3 rebounds; Karen Lapkiewicz (St. Basil) 0 points, rebound, assist, steal
BOYS: Tommy Funk (Archbishop Wood) 5 points, 2 rebounds, 3 assists; Devon Goodman (Germantown Academy) 11 points, 3-pointer, 2 rebounds, steal; Gabe Alter (Germantown Academy) 2 points, 2 rebounds, 2 assists; Ryan McTamney (LaSalle) 4 points; Danny Duffey (Lower Moreland) 3 points, 3 rebounds, 3 assists; Noah Baldez (Phil-Mont) 2 points, 4 rebounds, 2 assists, block; Sean Griffin (Phil-Mont) 17 points, 3 rebounds