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Delco Boys Basketball: Super 7, Jan. 18

Radnor's Jackson Hicke, right, is congratulated by teammate Cliff Smith in a states game last season. (PETE BANNAN - DAILY TIMES)

It shouldn’t offend anyone to suggest that the top of the Super 7 these days looks something like what a mythical bottom 7 might have looked like in years’ past.

Radnor last year made the state tournament for the first time since 2006. Chichester made it for the first time ever. Garnet Valley struggled as a Central League nonfactor for years before a sustained emergence that has now extended for more than a half-decade. And Cardinal O’Hara was traditionally among the bottom half of the Catholic League.

But all four teams made their respective state tournaments last year, and they’ve come back this season arguably better. All are in position not just to repeat those feats but maybe journey further than a season ago. The times they are a-changin’ ….

That’s enough preamble to the Super 7, which appeared in Thursday’s paper with this week’s boys basketball notebook. (Records through Jan. 17.)

1. Radnor (14-0)

The Raptors have won their first 14 games by an average of 20 points each. There’s nothing to add.

The next three games will present the most severe tests of the season: Upper Darby Thursday, Downingtown West Sunday and at Lower Merion Tuesday. Should they survive that gauntlet, they should carry a 0 in the loss column into the Central League playoffs.

2. Chichester (12-2)

Chi’s two losses are to Perkiomen Valley and Coatesville, both 10-win 6A teams. They won at Penn Wood and at Garnet Valley. The road for the Eagles to win the Del Val is laid out before them, starting Thursday night against Chester.

3. Garnet Valley (11-4)

A home loss to Harriton wasn’t great, but otherwise, the Jaguars have been pretty solid in winning the games they should. That includes toss-ups at Upper Darby and Conestoga plus the first meeting with Haverford (and a win at Penn Wood steels them for the postseason). The balance on this team is not there yet – Logan McKee has three games of 23 or more points and three of eight or fewer, and the synergy between Max Koehler and new backcourt arrival Quinn O’Hara remains a work in progress. But it’s not a bad place to be.

4. Cardinal O’Hara (9-5)

The Lions ran the Archbishop gambit – loss to Wood, win at Carroll, loss to Ryan. Those two losses and a setback to Roman Catholic indicate that O’Hara is in the 4-6 range in the Catholic League, but they’re at this juncture atop the heap of three Delco PCL squads.

5. Upper Darby (10-3)

The Royals have not been this talented in a while, and they’re putting it together consistently. Much of that is Nadir Myers’ exemplary floor leadership and the hard work of role players like Lovo Mulbah and Khysir Slaughter. With just Radnor and Penncrest remaining in the big school/small school Central crossover games, the Royals have thus far avoided a regrettable loss.

6. Penn Wood (8-4)

A win at Chester is a certain barometer for success, though losing to Chichester cedes the advantage in the league title chase. The Patriots ultimate goal might be states, since they would need to upend Chichester on the road to get back into the Del Val conversation. But with Nasir Washington, the Patriots can beat just about anybody on any night.

7. Archbishop Carroll (10-4)

Carroll won 12 games in the regular season last year, then dashed to the PIAA Class 4A semifinals. They’re at 10 wins already, including a 20-point pasting at Bonner. If last year is any blueprint, the Patriots are in good shape to peak in the postseason.

Honorable mention: Chester (8-7; the Clippers look like a team that lost its top two underclass scorers from last season. They’ve got some work to do to make districts in 6A this year, currently 25th, though the explosive scoring of Terrence Cobb has been a significant addition); Bonner & Prendergast (9-4; things are getting no easier for the Friars after two lopsided league losses to St. Joseph’s Prep and Archbishop Carroll – at Ryan, vs. O’Hara, at Wood. Bonner could end up starting 1-7 in the league, after going 8-0 in their nonleague schedule); Haverford (7-6; losses to Strath Haven and Marple Newtown in the crossover portion of the schedule make Harriton Thursday a near must-win); Marple Newtown (8-6; as covered in the notebook, a Tigers team with Matt Gardler, PJ Esposito et al. healthy should find itself back in states); Sun Valley (8-6; to go from losing to Rustin by 18 to beating them last week shows the Vanguards can turn things around quickly. Let’s see how they do against Great Valley Thursday, having lost to the Patriots by 16 in Malvern.)

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