The usual suspects are sitting at the top of the pack. Archbishop Wood, under Coach John Mosco, has emerged as perennial power in the Philadelphia Catholic League. They’ve won 2 PCL Championships in recent years. Each time they were led by one of the best point guards on the eastern seaboard. Villanova’s All-American candidate, Collin Gillespie settled all possible and potential disputes and arguments as to who was Philly’s finest player on the court on his way to being named the Philadelphia Player of the Year by the Philadelphia Daily News after averaging 24.1 points per game and leading Wood to a PCL title in 2017.

Four years later, his successor, UConn freshman Rahsool Diggins, etched his name in stone as a senior in 2020-21. That year, Diggins was named MaxPreps Pennsylvania High School Player of the Year and Pennsylvania Class 6A Player of the Year. These on top of being named two-time Philadelphia Catholic League Player of the Year, two-time Philadelphia City Player of the Year and three-time first team All-State. He averaged 16.4 points, 5.3 rebounds, 6.8 assists and 2.8 steals as a senior in 2020-21, leading Wood to a second Philadelphia Catholic League championship.

Thomas Sorber ’24, Archbishop Ryan

Other than Wood’s two breakthrough titles, the Philadelphia Catholic League Championship has been the birthright of two nationally renown programs: Roman Catholic and Neumann-Goretti. It seems like Neumann-Goretti has won 957 PCL Championships and Roman has 958 under its belt. For more than a quarter century, Roman and Neumann-Goretti have feasted on titles while everyone has gone hungry.

For years, it seemed like the other Catholic schools had to take Chris McNesby and Carl Arrigale to Family Court just to get visitation rights with the Championship trophy. McNesby and Arrigale, not unlike angry, bitter baby mommas, would NOT let the other coaches even see or spend just a little time with the trophy.

Wood has demonstrated that it is, at least, possible for an upstart to crash the party and sit at the head of the table. Mosco and the Vikings are once again in the mix. The fact that they sit undefeated at the top of the standings is remarkable. Mosco lost five starters that scored sumthin’ like 4,723,834 high school points. He lost a back up big that played in the BCS football playoffs this year for Cincinnati. His top Assistant, Chris Roantree, took the head job at Father Judge. The lunch lady left to become a supervisor at Old Country Buffet. The crossing guard is directing traffic at Parx Casino. Even the dissection frogs arose from their slumber up and scurried to the Delaware River.

No way Mosco and the Vikings should be at the top of the standings… No fuckin’ way…

Catholic League Standings 02/02/22

But there they are… 1st place… All alone…

Ryan’s Joe Zeglinski and West Catholic’s Miguel Bocachica have watched Wood’s ascension to the elite level with Roman and Neumann-Goretti. It should be noted that Zeglinski has consistently been able to get his team to the party. They’ve have been regulars on the Palestra dance floor for the past six years. However, unlike Mosco, Zeglinski hasn’t managed to be smiling when the music stopped.

Bocachica and his Burrs have yet to join the party. For the past three years, they have had to press their faces against the Palestra windows and watch as the others danced the night away. (The West girls did take over the party a couple years ago). The bouncers have always checked the boys from 45th and Chestnut at the door. This time Boc is bringing a rapidly developing junior wing Zion Stanford with him. I don’t think Zion cares what the bouncer has to say… He’s seems really determined to get in this year.

Zion Stanford ’23, West Catholic

Likewise, Zeglinski is bringing his “muscle” with him in the form of young Thomas Sorber. The sophomore PF/C has emerged as the most dominant “big” in the city. But can he deliver when the heat it turned up? How will Sorber perform when it’s hotter than “project heat” in these late season big games?

These questions remain unanswered for now…

Kaseem and Kareem Watson ’22, West Catholic

One thing for sure, Zeglinski and Sorber better be ready on Friday. Boc, Stanford and the versatile Watson twins will be trying to invade and run roughshod over Ryan. This has all the makings of a battle to determine who will join the three “blue bloods” in the Final Four at the Palestra.

Wood, Roman and Neumann-Goretti are ALWAYS there.

Ryan’s been there more often than not over the past 6 seasons. West Catholic is coming to the party like Damon in Cooley High. Dem boys looking to smash the breakfront…

You can catch this exciting Philadelphia Catholic League game right here on!

Tune in Friday, February 4, 2022 at 7:00 pm to watch Archbishop Ryan host West Catholic in a Catholic League showdown with heavy playoff seeding implications. The game will be a pay-per-view event priced at $4.99.

Marco Morcos will be handling play-by-play responsibilities and James Nelson-Stewart will be providing color commentary.

Marco Morcos, Black Cager Sports
James Nelson Stewart, Black Cager Sports

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