Philadelphia High School Basketball
A Look at Roman Catholic's Six Consecutive
Catholic League Championships, 1989-94
This page includes stories, special lists, record breakdown,
recaps of the 18 playoff wins and (at the bottom)
scoring totals for all players in dvision/playoff games during the six seasons. The Cahillites were coached by
Dennis Seddon throughout this period of dominance.
Except for Central in the early part of the 20th century, no city leagues team had won six consecutive titles.
Those with five: Roman (1924-28), Penn Charter (1940-45, one shared), Malvern Prep (1973-77, one
shared) and West Philadelphia (1974-78).
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SEASON BY SEASON
Coach Seddon's All-Stars and 1,000-Point Scorers
* - Played in NBA
# - Played in NFL
DAILY NEW ALL-CITY
Roman Catholic's |
Six Straight Titles
Dennis Seddon coached Roman Catholic to six consecutive Catholic League championships from 1989 through 1994. The first one came as Jim O'Rourke scored 25 points, 16 above his average. Here is that story . . .
By Ted Silary
Discuss the involvement of Jim O'Rourke's extended family in Catholic League
basketball and you're discussing immersion.
"He said, 'You were right, you
little bugger,' " said O'Rourke, who returned to the game momentarily. "Hey,
hooting the ball under pressure. I've never cracked and I never will. I wanted the ball when it counted."
O'Rourke had an incredible final minute, totaling 6 points, 2 rebounds and the steal of the game. It came at 0:32, as
O'Rourke intercepted a pass, raced three-quarters court and ducked under Jack Stanczak for a layup, staking Roman to a
The block of the game, meanwhile, had occurred at 0:51. Roman's Ruben Colon, who had seven blocks total, absolutely
engulfed a layup bid by Mark Fitzgerald. Marvin Harrison rebounded, then Alan Watkins (14 points; 1,247 for career) made
the first of two free throws at 0:43.
"We said to Ruben all day, 'Put the ball in the stands,' " Seddon said. ''In key situations, La Salle's players were jerking the
ball on their shots. We noticed that Fitzgerald had certain tendencies, that he was predictable. We told Ruben that he could
look to help on (Chris) Lazorcheck. Obviously, he did a good job."
Colon, a 6-7 junior from Salinas, Puerto Rico, Friday contributed 18 points and 16 rebounds, but no blocks, as Roman
took the South final from Cardinal O'Hara, 72-56. Yesterday, he had 11 points and rebounds apiece, in addition to the
"Defense was needed more," Colon said. "It was more important. I looked for blocks, and got them."
In some respects, La Salle amazed by remaining close deep into the contest. Coach Marty Jackson's two prime scoring
threats, Fitzgerald and Lazorcheck, combined to shoot 7-for-26 and the Explorers' first-half, foul-line showing was 6-for-15.
However, 6-6 bull Marc Borrelli had 12 points and 11 rebounds, despite being limited to 20 minutes by foul trouble, and
several times made back-in moves that seemed to say, "You guys can run and jump all you want, but here's some strength.
Just try to stop me."
He set the no-fear tone.
"Our kids are tough," Jackson said. "They don't back down. Colon's blocks killed us, though. He was quick off his feet."
Seddon also was quick - to point out some facts involving his club.
"We finished 25-3," he said. "We played the toughest schedule in the city. We lost only one game east of the Mississippi
two losses were in tournaments). We lost by three at O'Hara, then won our next 10 games in a row, all by double figures.
That includes the three playoffs.
"That says something about how good this team is . . . Now maybe we'll get our just due."
Mike McKee, Roman's junior lead guard, had nine assists . . . La Salle thrice drew within one in the final quarter - 50-49
with 3:17 left, 52-51 at 2:47 and 54-53 at 2:20 . . . Dennis Seddon credited former player Maynard Merriman for making a
moving speech before the game. Seddon also said he appreciated receiving a pregame telegram from teacher Fran
McMenamin, a Roman star in the 1940s now recuperating from surgery . . . La Salle last won the title in '81, under Bill
Michuda . . . Alan Watkins: "Remember how I said Roman was on a mission this year? Mission accomplished." . . .
Seddon's three-year record is 66-18.
This story about Dennis Seddon was written in 1991 . . .
By Ted Silary
Dennis Seddon knows ceramics.
He also has a good feel for arts and crafts, floor hockey, dance, soccer, tumbling, softball and . . . well, all sorts of neat
For several hours a day, Seddon heads one of the most prestigious high school basketball programs in the country, at Roman
Otherwise, he's Dennis the Playground Worker.
Seddon's full-time job is with the Philadelphia Department of Recreation. He has been stationed for two years at Cohocksink
Recreation Center, in Port Richmond, and he formerly worked at McVeigh.
"Some people know I coach Roman," Seddon said. "But it's not like it's any big deal.
"Last year, somebody put the article where I was chosen Coach of the Year on the board. People said, 'Hey, that's our
Tonight at the Palestra, in the second game of a division-finals doubleheader (North's Kenrick-La Salle at 7, South's
Roman-West at about 8:45), Seddon and his players will continue their relentless pursuit of a third consecutive Catholic League
Like his predecessors, Speedy Morris, who compiled a 347-82 record from 1968 through '81 with six league titles, and Barry
Brodzinski, whose mark was 115-33 from '82 through '86 with two titles, Seddon has the program rolling along.
In five seasons, he has produced a record of 117-23 and two titles.
Yet, unlike his predecessors, Seddon maintains a profile not much higher than the scorekeeper's. Morris drew attention largely
because of his bench histrionics. Brodzinski often made strong, ill-timed statements.
Seddon, in contrast, is almost without ego. He lets his kids play, he rarely throws a sideline tantrum, and when the time comes
to dole out credit, his first words are often, "Which kid do you want to interview? You don't need me, right? "
Every CYO and youth club coach in the city should have Seddon's picture over his desk. He's the little guy who made it big
yet never forgot his roots. His assistants, Jeff Stepp, Rodney Handy and Steve Wermuth, followed the same path.
At North Catholic, Seddon was never quite good enough to make the varsity. After winning an academic scholarship to the
University of Richmond, he was the self-admitted 13th man on a 12-man freshman team. He had done some youth coaching
while in high school, however, and he quickly gravitated in that direction at Richmond.
"When the freshman coach had to go scouting, he'd let me run the practice," Seddon said. "I literally had the keys to the gym."
After returning to Philadelphia, he coached grade school (Ascension) and youth club ball. Seddon's Little Club teams, stocked
mostly with future North Catholic stars, including Brodzinski, won numerous area and city championships.
When Iggy Brodzinski, Barry's brother, became North's head coach for the '80 season, Seddon came on board as an assistant.
He switched to Roman in '82, when Barry replaced Morris.
When Brodzinski resigned, Seddon worried the school might seek another name person.
"Over 20 people applied for the job," Seddon said. "But we thought we had proven ourselves, recordwise, with the freshmen
and JV, and I felt comfortable with the relationships I had developed around here. I felt I was as qualified as anybody; if not
more so because of the relationships I had with the younger kids.
"I'm very fortunate. I have the best coaching job in the city of Philadelphia. I'm happy every day I walk in here. I love the
people, the building. It's a special place. "
When one of his players has a problem, Seddon, the true older-brother figure, works doggedly to find a solution.
He knows what it's like to feel alone, as if there's nowhere to turn. He also knows life can be cruel.
Between '81 and '87, Seddon endured seven operations on his nose. A form of cancer, rhinophyma, produced a series of
cysts that in time caused his nose to swell to the size of a small child's fist.
In his first season as Roman's head coach, Seddon coached while wearing a baseball cap pulled tightly over his forehead.
"Sure, subconsciously, I was trying to hide it," he said. "People's first tendency is to look at faces. It would make them
uncomfortable. I just dealt with it.
"I can breathe fine now. The doctors think it's under control. I go once a year for a cancer screening."
Sophomore forward Gus Wagner, whose brother, Josh, starts at point guard, already has a deep appreciation for Seddon,
coach and man.
"When he gets mad, he doesn't yell or scream," Wagner said. "He talks things out. He'll correct you in a nice way. It makes
you want to do right even more.
"He gets to know his players on a personal level. Any time you have a problem, you can go to him. He's helped Josh a
number of times."
Said starting wing guard Marvin Harrison: "On and off the court, he does whatever he can for us. He tells us what we have
to do and keeps our minds sharp along the way. If we need (scolding), he does it individually. No one likes to be hollered at
in front of 500 people."
This story was written in the fall of 2008, when Dennis retired . . .
By Ted Silary
The manner did not surprise.
When Dennis Seddon yesterday announced his retirement after a wildly successful, 22-year run as Roman Catholic High's
basketball coach, he did so not while standing behind a lectern, peering over a thicket of microphones.
He made a telephone call, and simply said, "Well, it's time. "
Rumors of Seddon's impending departure persisted throughout the summer and into the fall. Whenver he was asked about
them, he laughed and came out with quips such as, "I'm having a press conference tomorrow? What time should I be there?"
But now, rumor is fact, and the Catholic League is losing a gem. The more he produced, the less he seemed to realize it.
"It was always about the team," Seddon said. "I cringed any time I saw a reference to 'Dennis Seddon's basketball team.'
This was always Roman Catholic's basketball team. It was always about the players. I just happened to be there."
Said Delaware assistant R.C. Kehoe, a mid-'90s point guard for Seddon: "He's a terrific person. Every coach should take a
page from his book. It was always about the team and the school. Not him. "
Seddon went 516-128 for an .801 career winning percentage. He ranks second in city history behind William "Speedy"
Morris - 557-137 (.803) in 23 seasons at Roman, Penn Charter and St. Joseph's Prep - in that category, and also barely trails
Morris in wins per season, 24.2 to 23.5.
Seddon stands alone in Catholic League championships, with 10, highlighted by a six-season run from 1989 to '94, and his
playoff winning percentage (.784, a record of 40-11) is mighty darn close to his overall number.
This decision, he said, is based strictly on time - not enough of it.
Last May, Seddon was appointed to a supervisory position at Cione Playground in Port Richmond. He'd earlier spent 10
years apiece as a staff member at Shissler in Fishtown and Cohocksink in Port Richmond.
"In my current position," Seddon said, "I have to be around earlier in the afternoon, and there's just more responsibility,
"I could make it to only a couple of our summer-league games, and once we got through this first month of school, I could
see that my chances to get to Roman in the afternoon were limited. From the time standpoint, it just wasn't going to work
anymore. I couldn't give 100 percent."
Seddon fell just short of lasting through '09, which had been his intent after the '04 season resulted in a third consecutive
disappointment - not even a visit to the semifinals.
"I set five goals to accomplish," he said.
Get back to the title game. Check. Make sure the cupboard would not be bare upon his departure. Check. Return the
program to national prominence. Check. Arrange return trips (as happened in December '04 and '06) to a prestigious
pre-Christmas tournament in Hawaii. Check.
"The fifth thing I wanted to do," he said, "was mentor somebody who'd be able to keep things going. And that has
happened with [JV coach, varsity righthand man] Chris McNesby."
How the opening will be filled is undecided.
"He deserves it," Seddon said. "He'll do a great job."
When asked whether he felt melancholy, Seddon at first said, "Don't know. Too early to tell."
He then added: "I'm not. We accomplished a lot and had fun along the way. We won. We lost. Hopefully, the kids feel
like I do, that we got as much out of the experience as we could."
While Seddon intends to become involved in coaching Special Olympics basketball, he hopes to remain with Roman in
an advisory capacity.
He's especially excited that '95 grad Lari Ketner, who advanced to the NBA (as did Seddon-era Cahillites Marc Jackson,
Rasual Butler and Eddie Griffin), has joined Roman's staff as an assistant.
"That's 32 former players who've gone into coaching," he said.
Even there, he couldn't bring himself to add the qualifier, "of mine."
Dennis Seddon . . . Still humble after all of these amazing accomplishments.
Results and leading scorers for all
division/playoff games during the six
consecutive championship seasons . . .
|West Catholic||Won||91||56||Marvin Harrison||25|
|St. James||Won||76||46||Alan Watkins||18|
|SJ Prep||Won||75||66||Alan Watkins||24|
|West Catholic||Won||97||55||Alan Watkins||26|
|St. James||Won||125||65||Bernard Jones||17|
|SJ Prep||Won||64||43||Watkins/Cliff Smith||13|
|La Salle||Won||66||56||Jim O'Rourke||25|
|St. James||Won||104||68||Bernard Jones||20|
|West Catholic||Won||98||66||Marvin Harrison||28|
|SJ Prep||Won||88||66||Marvin Harrison||23|
|St. James||Won||69||42||Bernard Jones||18|
|West Catholic||Won||85||55||Bernard Jones||26|
|SJ Prep||Won||71||47||Bernard Jones||28|
|West Catholic||Won||47||32||Mike Watson||13|
|La Salle||Won||64||62||Bernard Jones||30|
|SJ Prep||Won||88||45||Bernard Jones||25|
|West Catholic||Won||89||44||Smith/Marvin Harrison||21|
|St. James||Won||81||48||Bernard Jones||26|
|SJ Prep||Won||82||47||Marvin Harrison||18|
|West Catholic||Won||98||66||Bernard Jones||29|
|St. James||Won||99||55||Bernard Jones||32|
|West Catholic||Won||73||43||Marvin Harrison||16|
|Bonner||Won||65||40||Kyle Locke/Dennis Bohn||16|
|SJ Prep||Won||55||48||Kyle Locke||15|
|West Catholic||Won||91||90||Kyle Locke||35|
|St. James||Won||58||41||Kyle Locke||14|
|SJ Prep||Won||83||64||Kyle Locke||22|
|West Catholic||Won||90||83||Locke/Marc Jackson||24|
|St. James||Won||89||61||Kyle Locke||24|
|St. James||Won||64||29||Jackson/Eugene Small||13|
|West Catholic||Won||46||44||Dennis Bohn||12|
|SJ Prep||Won||74||40||Marc Jackson||20|
|St. James||Won||85||47||Eugene Small||18|
|West Catholic||Won||91||50||Marc Jackson||20|
|SJ Prep||Won||78||59||Marc Jackson||23|
|West Catholic||Won||58||50||Marc Jackson||19|
|North Catholic||Won||62||55||Marc Jackson||22|
|SJ Prep||Won||71||51||Donnie Carr||19|
|West Catholic||Won||57||47||Carr/Lari Ketner||17|
|SJ Prep||Won||79||59||Lari Ketner||21|
|West Catholic||Won||52||47||Lari Ketner||13|
|North Catholic||Won||60||53||Lari Ketner||20|
Recaps of the 18 playoff
victories, 1989-94 . . .
Roman 67, Carroll 57
At St. Joseph’s University, Alan Watkins shot 10-for-11 and 3-for-4 for 23 points and grabbed 11 rebounds. Mike McKee dealt seven assists. Carroll’s Joe Warden had 16 points, 10 rebounds.
At the Palestra
Roman 72, O’Hara 56
Ruben Colon posted 18 points (9-for-12) and 16 rebounds and Alan Watkins (16, 10) was close behind. Mike McKee had five assists. O’Hara’s Eddie Malloy had 26 points, 15 boards.
At the Palestra
Roman 66, La Salle 56
Jim O'Rourke fired away for 25 points, including eight of Roman's final nine, and Ruben Colon had 11 points, 11 rebounds and seven blocks. Mike McKee sprinkled nine assists and Alan Watkins scored 14 points. La Salle got 17 points from Chris Lazorcheck and trailed by just one, 54-53, with 2:20 left.
Roman 47, West 32
At Bonner, Mike Watson had 13 points, 10 rebounds and three blocks and Bernard Jones added 10 points, nine boards. Jeremy ‘‘Saddle’’ Lawimore and Jeremy ‘‘J.J.’’ Smith held West’s Kevin Smith, the South scoring leader (21.1 average), to four points.
At the Palestra
Roman 66, Neumann 54
Mike McKee sprinkled 14 assists — setting CL and city-leagues playoff records — while Bernard Jones scored 22 points and Mike Watson had 12 points, 11 rebounds. In three games versus Neumann, Jones shot 27-for-45 en route to 76 points. Neumann sub Troy Aursby scored 18 points.
At the Palestra
Roman 64, La Salle 62 (ot)
With 0:10 left, Marvin Harrison took a pass from Mike McKee (nine assists), sped down the left side of the lane virtually unmolested and flipped in a lefthanded layup at 0:06. La Salle called time at 0:03 and then missed two shots, Chris Lazorcheck's three and Ernie Koschineg's hurried follow. Roman was the first CL team to storm through division and playoff action unbeaten since Neumann in 1965. Bernard Jones shot 12-for-18 and 6-for-9 for 30 points, tying the title-game mark set in 1988 by Bonner's Brian Daly. Jones added 13 rebounds. Mike Watson had 18 points. Koschineg scored 24 points for La Salle.
Roman 89, Bonner 55
At Dougherty, sub Jeremy ‘‘Saddle’’ Lawimore had 15 points, seven boards and five assists in 18 minutes while Bernard Jones had 21 points and eight rebounds in 17 minutes on a tender ankle. The Cahillites scored 26 consecutive points to create a 34-16 bulge. Mark Mulroy and Chris McFadden had 10 each for Bonner.
At the Palestra
Roman 73, West 43
Marvin Harrison led the rout with 16 points while Jeremy ‘‘J.J.’’ Smith added 13 points and nine rebounds. Rob Wharton (10) topped West.
At the Palestra
Roman 70, La Salle 36
Marvin Harrison (nine rebounds) and Bernard Jones totaled 18 points apiece and Mike Watson added 11 points and 14 rebounds as Roman won its 44th CL game in succession (regular season and playoffs). The Cahillites won their 14 division games by an average score of 83-48 and their three playoffs by an average score of 77-45. No one reached double figures for La Salle.
Roman 54, Bonner 52 (ot)
At Carroll, Dennis Bohn drove straight down the lane and flipped in a layup with 0:02 left. The lead was Roman’s first of the game. Bohn had 12 points, six rebounds and eight assists and Kyle Locke had 20 points. Bonner’s Bill Carr had 19 points, 10 boards.
At the Palestra
Roman 52, O’Hara 50
Seventh man Bill Shank scored five points in the final 0:23 — a one-and-one, a layup on an outlet pass from 6-9 Marc Jackson (15 points, six blocks) and a free throw at 0:02 after O’Hara was assessed a technical for calling a timeout it did not have. For O’Hara, John Watson had 22 points and Adonal Foyle had 12 points, nine boards, six blocks.
At the Palestra
Roman 77, Dougherty 68
Kyle Locke, a 6-6 senior forward, exploded for 39 points — most in CL playoff history — as the Cahillites won their fourth title in a row. Locke shot 11-for-17 and 17-for-18 and added eight rebounds. James "Flame" Lewis notched 15 points, seven boards and 5-8 Dwayne "Sugar" Hill plucked a game-high 11 rebounds. Dougherty's Cuttino "Cat" Mobley scored 28 points to finish with 42.8 percent of his team's 166 playoff points. The Cards used two sets of twins — starters Dan and Ed Kearney and subs Shawn and Brian Simkins.
Roman 58, West 50
At Dougherty, Marc Jackson banged for 19 points and 20 rebounds while Dwayne ‘‘Sugar’’ Hill added 18 points, five assists. West’s Scott Galloway scored 24 points.
At the Palestra
Roman 58, Carroll 47
Marc Jackson mixed 14 points, 19 rebounds and four blocks and Dwayne ‘‘Sugar’’ Hill added 14 points, nine boards, six assists. Bryan Brennan (17) paced Carroll.
At the Palestra
Roman 62, North 55 (ot)
Marc Jackson accumulated 22 points, 18 rebounds and three blocks and Dwayne "Sugar" Hill added 17 points, eight assists and three steals as Roman won a fifth consecutive title under coach Dennis Seddon to match a feat that had been done only once in CL history — by Roman from 1924 to '28. There was no scoring in the final 2:30 of regulation and then Jackson passed to Mike Tabb for the first two baskets of overtime. Joe Harvey (14) and Matt Comey (13) paced North.
Roman 67, Neumann 56
At North, Donnie Carr bagged 22 points, Eugene Small mixed 10 points and 14 rebounds and Lari Ketner swept 17 rebounds. Neumann’s Rashid Bey had 17 points, eight rebounds, six assists and four steals.
At the Palestra
Roman 56, Carroll 49
Days after winning the state indoor championship in the triple jump (45-11), sub Will McKnight shot 6-for-8 and 2-for-2 for a season-high 15 points in 20 minutes as Roman broke the CL and city records for consecutive playoff victories. Roman upped its total to 17. West Philadelphia won 16 in succession from 1974 to ‘79. Eugene Small added 16 points and 11 rebounds and put the Cahillites for good, 46-44, with a left-baseline jumper on a pass from R.C. Kehoe. For Carroll, Mike Dzik scored 16 points and Brian Dunn dealt seven assists.
At the Palestra
Roman 60, North 53
Lari Ketner produced 20 points, 10 rebounds and six blocks, sub Will McKnight added 16 points and R.C. Kehoe hustled for nine assists and six steals as the Cahillites won yet again. The teams combined for 48 turnovers. North's Chris Heck hit four threes en route to 23 points while guard Dennis Comey added 10 points and 14 rebounds.
Points totals for all players during
championship seasons . . .
Division games and playoffs . . .
|Dwayne "Sugar" Hill||3||400|
|Jeremy "Saddle" Lawimore||3||225|
|James "Flames" Lewis||2||145|
|Tyrone "Tyke" Bacon||1||118|