Delco Boys Basketball Notebook: Elder Taylor happy to watch Akeem’s dream

There are two high school programs in Chester once again this season, and both prominently bear the name Taylor.

Keith Taylor is in his first season as the head coach of his alma mater, Chester High, which clinched at least a share of a Del Val title Thursday night with its 12th consecutive win. Taylor’s nephew, Akeem, is the leading scorer at Chester Charter School for the Arts, which in its first season of PIAA competition has a chance of qualifying for the District 1 Class A playoffs with an 8-12 record and two games left.

Both say that the prospects of those two uniting at Chester High, though, is slim.

“It was crazy,” Akeem said after a win over Interboro Jan. 27. “A lot of people expected me to go there, but I decided to stay here.”

Akeem, a sophomore guard who is averaging more than 20 points per game this season, was drawn to the challenge at CCSA, part of the first generation of players on the Sabers team. The program, which played as an independent outside the PIAA last year, has grown from the elementary ranks up. As such, coach Donnie Dodds’ roster has no seniors this season, relying on the cohort of underclassmen that has grown up with the school.

Akeem was drawn to that challenge.

“It was hard but I think it was the right decision,” Akeem said. “… We’re going to build chemistry over the years. We’re going to get better over time.”

His uncle recognized that desire early on, so any conversations about a family reunion on the court were short and always within a joking context.

“I knew he’d been with that school his whole entire life, so I knew him coming here wasn’t going to happen,” Keith said. “I’m just happy for him that he’s doing well and making a name for himself. I don’t want people to try to compare him to me. He’s out there making a name for himself.”


Penn Wood’s 60-59 loss to Chichester Tuesday night snapped a four-game winning streak and a run of six wins in seven games to put the Patriots on solid footing to qualify for the District 1 Class 6A playoffs. It’s no coincidence that six of those games have come after the injury return of Vatangoe Donzo.

Donzo was a monster Tuesday against Chichester with 18 points, 10 rebounds and nine blocks. Including Tuesday, he’s averaging 13.7 points in seven contests.

“He’s huge,” coach Matt Lindeman said. “He anchors our defense. He’s a good player. We’ve been waiting for him to get back, and he’s definitely provided a huge lift.”

Donzo fractured a bone in his wrist in September and took most of the fall to recover. He played sparingly as a junior, appearing in eight games and averaging two points per contest in his first season at Penn Wood after moving from Minnesota. The lanky 6-6 forward projected as a major contributor this year. Albeit at a delay, Donzo has stepped in as the team’s longest player, providing off-ball defensive help and drawing bigs out to the post with his perimeter game, which includes four made 3-pointers.

“He can shoot the ball. He can do a lot of things,” Lindeman said. “He’s working on his perimeter game. He can shoot the ball, but he’s one of the best shot blockers we’ve ever had.”


Milestone Watch >> Austin Laughlin’s 36 points against Chichester last Saturday didn’t just tie a season-high and mark his third 30-point game of the season. It also made Laughlin the all-time leading scorer in Garnet Valley history.

After pouring in 35 against Upper Darby Thursday, Laughlin has 1,388 career points. The senior guard passed 1995 graduate Dave Bitting (1,346) for the program lead. Bitting split his career between Garnet Valley and Ridley. Laughlin earlier in the season had passed Nate Daltry (1,186 points) as the all-time leading scorer among players who’d spent their entire careers at Garnet Valley.

Only five Jaguars have crossed the 1,000-point threshold, including Andrew Louden (who split his career with Cardinal O’Hara) and Joe Nosko.

We could soon be having the same conversation about Tyler Norwood, who through Tuesday night’s game has 1,484 points, trailing Penncrest all-time leader Corey Johnson (1,551) by 67. Norwood last week passed Gene Armstead (1,393) for second all-time in program history.


There’s just over a week left before the District 1 brackets are finalized and plenty of work to be done for Delco teams with postseason aspirations.

Through Thursday’s games, both Upper Darby (seventh seed) and Garnet Valley (ninth) are squarely in the Class 6A field, per the power rankings on the District 1 site. Penn Wood is seeded 22nd for the 24-team field with a decent cushion over 25th-placed Souderton. Haverford (29th) is likely out of the picture.

In Class 5A, Penncrest has a narrow grasp on the top seed in the 16-team field, just percentage points ahead of Bishop Shanahan. Chester (third), Chichester (sixth), Sun Valley (seventh) and Marple Newtown (11th) appear securely in. Strath Haven is 13th, Springfield is 15th and Academy Park is 17th despite a 6-14 record. Glen Mills sits 21st at 4-13.

Delco Christian has some cushion in Class 2A, where it is the second seed at 9-8. Four teams make the field out of six.

In Class A, Christian Academy is a distant fifth, while Chester Charter School for the Arts is seventh. Six teams make the cut, and TCA, Jenkintown and Chester Charter are clustered together by minuscule margins.

To contact Matthew De George, email Follow him on Twitter @sportsdoctormd.

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