March 18, 2014 |
JALEN HERDSMAN might not be much of a bowler, but that doesn't mean his work between the lanes didn't help his skills on the court for La Salle High. Well, indirectly anyway. High school basketball can become a grind after hours of schoolwork during the day followed by hours of practice in the evening and gobs of homework at night. And then - lather, rinse, repeat - for months. With that in mind, it may seem peculiar for Herdsman and La Salle to have appeared so energized in Saturday's PIAA quarterfinal win against Lower Merion, which had previously vanquished District 12 top-seed Roman Catholic.
March 17, 2014 |
Among European travelers, more and more people are cruising. Of course, cruising is - in many ways - anathema to the "backdoor travel" philosophy that I've been preaching for 30 years. But I've learned it can be done thoughtfully and independently. Recently I gave my new guidebook, Rick Steves' Mediterranean Cruise Posts , a shakedown cruise of its own. I sailed in the western Mediterranean on Royal Caribbean and in the eastern Mediterranean on Celebrity. I admit that I'd thought cruising was some kind of Vegas-on-the-sea experience.
March 15, 2014 |
NEW YORK - A year after making a run to the NCAA tournament's Sweet 16, La Salle ended this season with a much different vibe. Even though forward Jerrell Wright scored a career-high 26 points and grabbed nine rebounds Thursday, eighth-seeded La Salle suffered an 82-72 loss to ninth-seeded St. Bonaventure in an Atlantic 10 tournament opener for both at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn. St. Bonaventure (17-14) will meet top-seeded St. Louis in the quarterfinals Friday at noon. La Salle will contemplate a season that began with high expectations but ended in mediocrity.
March 13, 2014 |
LA SALLE will arrive in Brooklyn for this year's Atlantic 10 Tournament in much different standing than it found itself a year ago. The consensus last year was that the Explorers, coming off a 24-point loss at Saint Louis in their regular-season finale, needed at least one win to secure their place in the NCAA Tournament. After an 11-point loss to Butler in their first game at the Barclays Center, they sweated out Selection Sunday before learning they were indeed included in the field of 68. The rest, as they say, is history.
March 12, 2014 |
IT IS LAST-CHANCE time for Temple and La Salle, another chance for Saint Joseph's and an opportunity for Villanova to lock up a No. 1 seed. Temple (9-21) goes first in tomorrow's American Athletic Conference opening round in Memphis, Tenn. The Owls can certainly beat Central Florida, but can they beat Cincinnati in Thursday's quarterfinals, followed by wins against two from a list that likely will include Memphis, SMU, Connecticut and Louisville? Not likely, unless Sam Hinkie decides to trade them Memphis native Thaddeus Young who only used that one year of eligibility at Georgia Tech.
March 12, 2014 |
TWO NORTH Philadelphia schools that were awarded grants last year to create their own turnaround models are revealing their plans to the community. James G. Blaine Elementary and William D. Kelley Elementary will become district-run turnaround schools in September. The schools will keep their principals, unlike Promise Academies - another district-run turnaround model - but teachers must reapply for their positions, with no more than half being brought back. After receiving additional students due to nearby school closings, both schools won a $1.5 million grant in July from the Philadelphia School Partnership, a controversial nonprofit group that funnels philanthropic dollars to schools.
March 11, 2014 |
SAINT JOSEPH'S picked a bad time to have its first two-game losing streak in just over 3 months. La Salle, meanwhile, picked the best time to come up with maybe its top effort of the season. A win would have gone a long way toward securing the Hawks' (21-9, 11-5 Atlantic 10) first NCAA bid since 2008. Now they're back on the bubble, after closing out the regular season by losing to the Explorers (15-15, 7-9) at Hagan Arena, 71-63. That means they might have to win another game or two at the conference tournament, which begins Wednesday in Brooklyn.
March 8, 2014 |
One of the differences between last year's La Salle team, which reached the NCAA's Sweet 16, and this season's edition was the ability to win close games. La Salle failed to close out another one Thursday night in a 59-57 Atlantic Ten loss to George Mason at Tom Gola Arena. Last season, La Salle was 7-1 in games decided by one or two points or games that went into overtime. This season, the Explorers are 1-4 in those games. "That is not by accident or luck," coach John Giannini said.
February 28, 2014 |
One could almost sense the relief in both John Giannini and his players after La Salle had finally snapped a five-game losing streak in a season that hasn't come close to meeting expectations. The Explorers saw the streak end with Wednesday's 75-67 Atlantic Ten victory over St. Bonaventure at Tom Gola Arena. Not since the 2009-2010 season, when La Salle lost eight in a row, had they endured such a long streak. So while Giannini wouldn't suggest that the win had cured all the ills of his 13-14 team that is now 5-8 in the A-10, he gave an idea of what going through this season, and this particular stretch, has been like.
February 28, 2014 |
IT AIN'T always about how many points you score. Sometimes what means more are the winning plays you make, and when you make them. Last night, La Salle junior forward David Krmpotich didn't exactly shine brightest, but when called upon, the 6-7 forward came up big against Central's senior center Christopher Bing. "I don't really go up against too many players that are an inch or two taller than me," Krmpotich said postgame. "It was definitely a challenge and I embraced it. I didn't do as well as I wanted to and I struggled a little bit on defense, but he's a good player and he's hard to stop.