Here’s the first Top 10 ranking for Southeastern Pennsylvania basketball:
(Records through Dec. 30)
1. Roman Catholic (5-2): The Cahillites showed their poise and persistence in rallying from an 11-point deficit in the third quarter to beat Camden, 70-59, before a capacity-plus crowd at the Dajuan Wagner Play-by-Play Classic Monday night at Cherry Hill East. Sophomore forward Jalen Duren looked every bit like one of the top players in the class of 2022 with 18 points, 17 rebounds, an intimidating defensive presence, and 100 percent focus at both ends.
2. Neumann-Goretti (8-2): Senior guard Hakim Byrd leads the remarkably balanced Saints in scoring with a 14.9 average. Five players average between 9.4 and 14.9 points for a team that specializes in ball movement, spacing, and unselfish play.
3. Westtown (7-4): Junior big man Franck Kepnang is emerging as a dominant force for the Moose. Junior guard Jalen Worley recently picked up an Oregon offer while senior Noah Collier, a Pitt commit, is the team’s veteran hand with tons of big-game experience.
4. Methacton (8-1): Colgate-bound big man Jeff Woodward leads the way for the Warriors, whose lone loss was by seven to Roman Catholic. Senior guard Erik Timko, another veteran of last year’s playoff run, dropped 20 in two quarters of work in a recent win over North Penn.
5. Archbishop Wood (5-3): Junior forward Muneer Newton does the dirty work for the Vikings. His offensive rebound off a missed free throw was a key play in a 54-52 win over Wildwood Catholic at Cherry Hill East.
6. Archbishop Carroll (8-0): Juniors John Camden, a swingman with range, and Tairi Ketner, a Bryant commit and force in the paint, have the Patriots off to a running start on their way into the teeth of Catholic League competition.
7. Gratz (8-1): Senior guard Yassir Stover is averaging 19.4 points with 24 three-pointers for the Bulldogs, who own an impressive victory over Public League power Imhotep Charter.
8. Imhotep Charter (3-2): Senior forward Elijah Taylor, a Notre Dame recruit, scored 20 in a five-point loss to Roman Catholic at the Jameer and Pete Nelson Classic.
9. Cardinal O’Hara (8-0): Junior guards Adrian Irving and Anthony Purnell shined in two victories at the Jameer and Pete Nelson Classic, serving notice the Lions could be ready to make some noise in the Catholic League.
10. Bishop McDevitt (4-3): The Royal Lancers made their mark at the Jameer and Pete Nelson Classic, too. They scored victories over quality opponents in Cheltenham and Germantown Academy. Senior big man Jamil Manigo had 26 in the victory over Cheltenham.