February 28, 1994 |
The Simon Gratz basketball players not named Lynard Stewart might find themselves in front of a blackboard today. They might be writing 100 times, "Lynard is tough inside. We must get him the ball. " Stewart, a 6-7 senior center, has hands as long as most people's feet and leaping ability that most people can only get with a trampoline. But for long stretches yesterday in a Public League semifinal at the Civic Center, it looked as though the Bulldogs had forgotten those facts.
December 30, 1995 |
It's a good thing Bill Ellerbee has scrapped his original coaching plan. If he hadn't, someone else would have to scribble X's and O's tonight in the all-Philadelphia championship game of the Slam Dunk to the Beach National Invitational Tournament. When Ellerbee assumed command of Gratz's program for the 1982-83 season, his thought was to stay around long enough to hit a milestone. "Either 300 wins or 100 losses," he said, smiling. Thankfully, Ellerbee is going nowhere, even though a basketball commemorating the former milestone soon will occupy a prominent spot among his personal treasures.
March 1, 1992 |
At a big holiday tournament in Florida last December, a high school boys' basketball team from Philadelphia was introduced to the crowd as "the Franklin Learning Center Bulldogs. " There was, you can be sure, some cringing on the FLC bench. The nickname that should have come over the loudspeaker was the Bobcats. The Bulldogs are that other team from Philadelphia, the one that has overshadowed the Bobcats almost all season and beaten them for the Public League title two years straight.
February 2, 1988 |
Frankford's Dave Ferrizzi showed this week why he is one of the top wrestlers in the Public League by brutalizing opponents at weights of 126 and 131 and not letting anyone score a point against him. In the Pioneers' 47-15 victory over Gratz on Wednesday, Ferrizzi (131) won a technical decision, 15-0. And in the Pioneers' 63-12 victory over King on Friday, Ferrizzi won another technical in 1:40. For the Pioneers (4-1), the mat was a good place to be last week. Reggie Blount moved up a weight class and won by decision against Gratz and won by a technical fall against King.
January 17, 1993 |
Since Simon Gratz started this season surfing atop the national polls, facing Dunbar of Baltimore in the Charm City Classic had always been a pivot point on the schedule. Not only was Dunbar the defending national champ, ranked high again, but the Poets had handed the Bulldogs two losses by five points last year. This year, it was much different, as Gratz coasted to a 61-44 win that sent the home fans to the exits after three quarters. Having now beaten Dunbar, Lake Clifton and DeMatha Catholic, Gratz could even lay claim to the Baltimore-area championship before it heads back into the thick of its Public League schedule.
February 25, 1991 |
From a basketball standpoint, both Public League semifinals were exciting to watch yesterday. While the Southern-Franklin Learning Center matchup was exciting because it went down to the wire, Gratz's 84-40 victory over Central was exciting because it didn't. Gratz, ranked by some polls as high as No. 2 in the nation, killed the Lancers softly in the first half and turned on the juice in the second. The Bulldogs, playing a deliberate, half-court style, were ahead at halftime, 33-19.
March 2, 1991 |
The beauty of last night's Public League championship game, a defensive battle that sometimes looked more like rugby than basketball, was lost on some fans. But if hoops purists expecting thunderous dunks (there were none) and precise execution (there was little) were disappointed with the way Gratz won its second straight league title - in a 47-43 victory over Franklin Learning Center at McGonigle Hall - they missed the point. "When you have two teams playing with that intensity and playing such hard defense, it can get sloppy," said Gratz coach Bill Ellerbee.
February 26, 1996 |
It was a matchup that would have attracted a crowd if played on a blacktop court with netless rims and cracked backboards: Frankford vs. Gratz, area boys' basketball powers loaded with athletes who can run, dribble and soar above most of their peers. They played a Public League semifinal yesterday at the Civic Center, where, amid all that talent, the referees took center stage. Fans streamed into the stands yesterday morning ready for a classic. What they saw, instead, was a bushel-ful of touch fouls and an endless parade to the foul line, with Gratz outlasting Frankford, 66-64.
January 8, 1992 |
Gratz guard Contrell Scott insisted he was never nervous yesterday. Not when Olney forced seven turnovers in the last 4 1/2 minutes. Not when the Trojans cut their deficit from 16 points to one with 2 minutes, 18 seconds left. Not even when he stepped to the line with a two-point lead and 51 seconds left for Olney to try to complete its rally and become the first Philadelphia team in almost three years to beat the Bulldogs. "We had all those (tournament) games in Florida and South Carolina, and they were all like playoff games," Scott said.
March 5, 1990 |
Doctors at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania let Pete Merlino out of bed yesterday morning. It was the first time the Franklin Learning Center coach had been allowed to walk since last Sunday, when he suffered a heart attack at the Civic Center while preparing his team to play in a Public League semifinal last Sunday. "I was almost thinking about walking to McGonigle Hall," Merlino said. If he had, Merlino would have seen his team lose the Public League championship to Gratz, 80-60.