Philadelphia High School Basketball
A Look at Lou Biester's 15-Year Coaching Career at John
Bartram (1989, 2000-05) and Communications Tech (2006-13)
This page includes stories, special lists, record breakdown, recaps of wins in championship games and (at the bottom)
the names of all varsity players during Coach Biester's 15 seasons. . . .
To provide additions/corrections: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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2006-13, Comm Tech
Lou Biester coached basketball at John Bartram (1999 partial, 2000-05) and Communications Tech (2006-13) for 15 seasons, winning exactly 300 games, one Public League championship at each school and two City Titles at the latter. He won his first crown at Bartram in 2003. Here is that story . . .
By Ted Silary
Todd McCoy is so popular at John Bartram High, everyone from students to
teachers to administrators - yes, even the principal - calls him "Kojak."
PUBLIC LEAGUE TITLES
"The last part of the
week was rough, though. I don't think we slept from Wednesday night on. We
just kept talking
about the game."
McCoy was referring to himself and Jones. Due to some personal issues, the former recently moved in with the
"I'm having fun with them," McCoy said. "They're good to me. Charles, that's my brother. "
Said Jones: "Kojak gets us stirred up. He's the heart and soul of this team. He's the only guy willing to dive for loose
Not to mention take an elbow to the chin. And shrug it off.
The blow opened up a decently sized gash and caused McCoy to go to the bench for a large bandage. Even
yesterday, he said, the cut was still bleeding off and on.
"I guess it's going to need stitches," he said. "I'll have to go see a doctor."
Bartram could have won in regulation, but with his team holding a 50-49 lead, Jones (21 points, four assists, 5-for-14
at line) blew a double-bonus with 34.7 seconds left and Cain (eight points, nine rebounds, seven assists, seven blocks)
could only make the second of two free throws at 7.9.
In between, Omar Johnson nailed two free throws for Gratz. After Cain's success, Johnson went hard to the hole, but
was unable to connect on a runner.
Bartram's Antwan Garfield began the OT scoring with a layup on a pass from Jones. The Braves attempted no other
field goals in the session while going 11-for-18 at the line.
Afterward, the on-court celebrating was intense.
"Unbelievable," coach Lou Biester said. "I was hearing all week from alumni and neighborhood people. This title's
going to put the school in a positive light."
As bright as the shine off the original Kojak's head.
Title Tidbits: Khalil Abdus-Salaam had 10 rebounds and five blocks and his strong defense limited Mark Tyndale to
10 points . . . Gratz used nine players. Eight scored from six to 10 points . . . Paul Graham, grandfather of Gratz sub
Paul Graham, officiated the girls' title game. The in-between Paul, a k a "Snoop," played in the NBA . . . Todd
"Kojak" McCoy is receiving football interest mostly from Division II schools. He might attend prep school.
This story was written after Lou steered Comm Tech to the 2008 PL crown . . .
By Ted Silary
ANDREW "SCOOTIE" Randall never will forget his first game as a bound-for-Temple Owl.
How could he?
Not only did the contest, played yesterday in sloppy, but spirited (and eventually pulsating) fashion at the Liacouras
Center, enable Communications Tech to capture the Public League's final all-one-loop basketball championship, it
also featured gigantic ups and downs for the coaches' MVP.
The final, in double overtime, was CT 77, Frankford 73.
As the buzzer sounded, Randall looked like someone who envisioned playing not small forward at Temple, but
That was the sound the ball made as Randall, a 6-6, 220-pound senior, whipped it high toward the upper deck
behind Frankford's bench.
That was the sound it made as it crashed, hard, off a section of Plexiglas.
"Everything that was inside me, that was it coming out," Randall said. "It was like, 'We won. That's it. I'm done
with this. No more for today.' "
Randall is indeed bound for Temple, and he'll tell the world this morning in a 10 o'clock news conference at his
school. He let bits and pieces slip in the moments not long after the Phoenix cried like babies (well, some of them),
posed for thousands of pictures, cut down the net, mingled with loved ones, etc.
"I'll be here next year," he said. "I love the coaches and the players. I've been leaning this way [over La Salle]
for a while."
As Randall undoubtedly will acknowledge at some future date, the timing of all this could have been better.
Imagine if CT had lost. What a downer preceding an occasion that's supposed to be over-the-top joyous. Plus,
Randall likely placed extra pressure on himself by attending Saturday's Temple-Fordham game and envisioning all
the things he'd do about 22 hours later on that very same floor.
"I wanted to have a great game," he said. "I looked at this as my homecoming."
Then came the first half. For most of it, he could have been at home, watching on Fox-29.
Randall incurred his second foul just 2 minutes, 10 seconds into the action. He returned briefly late in the first
quarter, then witnessed the entire second.
Yes, he was begging coach Lou Biester to relent. There must have been too much wax in Biester's ears.
"If things had gone too much the other way, OK, then I do put him back in," Biester said. "I was telling him,
'We're OK. Let's see how it goes. As long as it's close, you're staying with me. ' We got to halftime with a
three-point lead. And though the game went two OTs, Scootie was still on the floor at the end. That was
Randall finished with 16 points, 12 rebounds and five assists. He scored eight of his points from the fourth
quarter on, in addition to handing out four of his dimes.
He scored in tight to put CT ahead for good, at 70-68, then passed to Chris Jones for a layup and four-point
lead with 47.8 seconds left.
Frankford received a left-corner trey at 10.3 from star forward Malik Tinsley (21 points, 15 rebounds), but a
timeout was called and the supply had been exhausted and Jones hit a pair of clinching techs.
Of his late-game approach, Randall said, "I knew the double-teams were coming. I feel I'm a great passer, so
I told the guys to expect the ball. I said, 'Cut and you will receive it. ' Their open shots were going to be better
than my doubled shots.
"I have faith in my teammates. I had it when I was sitting down, too."
He smiled, "But you still want to be out there, especially with the championship on the line."
Most prominent - big'un body aside - among those who took up Scootie's slack was Manny Jordan, a 6-5,
Doing everything from grabbing to swallowing up rebounds, Jordan notched 17 boards. He also added nine
points and six blocks and was given two postgame honors. Aside from receiving a game-MVP and nearly
squeezing the life out of the presenter, he also wound up with the cut-down net around his neck.
"Everything I had, from sweat to tears, was going to be left on the court," Jordan said. "I stayed calm by just
repeating to myself what coach Biester kept saying, 'This is one more game.' "
Pause. Smile. "Just five more wins for a state title."
The reference was obvious. Jordan was around in 2006 when CT, a former John Bartram annex in its first
season, was thumped by Simon Gratz, 62-36, for the Pub title, but then regrouped and advanced all the way
to the Class AAA state title contest, where it fell to Franklin, of the northwest part of the state, 74-63.
One amend made. Another in the offing?
"I know the '06 guys are happy with this one," Jordan said.
When regulation ended at 54-54, old heads could not help but flash back to Frankford's first PL title, in '88.
That one required four OTs and the Pioneers had fallen to the team they conquered, West Philadelphia, by
16 points during the regular season. This year, CT had thumped Frankford by 17.
The Phoenix had a chance to triumph in one OT, but Jones (11 points) missed the second of a double-bonus
at 8.4, leaving the count at 62-up.
Even in victory, CT went just 7-for-16 at the line in the extra sessions. Some ugly game-total stats: The
teams combined to shoot 58-for-154 (38 percent) from the floor and 24-for-46 (52 percent) at the line. There
were 38 turnovers and an annoying amount of ticky-tack fouls.
Good thing the fourth quarter (it began at 44-44) and the overtimes stirred the juices. Beforehand, the game
was a borderline dud.
Soon, as the celebration began to wane, assorted police and security personnel moved in to, in friendly
fashion, nudge everyone off the floor.
Or, with Andrew Randall in mind, should we say scoot?
Point guard Antonio "Gee" Monroe added 14 points and five assists for CT before fouling out in the first
OT. Frankford lost Khayree Brown (13 points, 11 rebounds) and Steven "Spud" Haynes to personals, as wel
. . . Frankford's Malik Ballard had 20 points and four assists . . . Good hoops things happen quickly in
Southwest Philly: Bartram won the title in its fourth Pub season ('44).
This story was written in 2013 after
one brother beat another in the Class AA
City Title . . .
By Ted Silary
IT'S NOT TOO often a guy can claim a win and suffer a loss in the exact same basketball game.
Welcome to Terrence Brown's world.
Return with us now to St. Joseph's Prep for Saturday's Class AA City Title, specifically to the court's west end
with a shade under 7 minutes remaining.
Out front, standing with the ball and preparing to make a move, is sophomore Jordan Burney, a 6-1, 180-pound
substitute guard for Conwell-Egan. Maybe 5 feet directly in front is Brown, a 6-4, 195-pound senior forward for
"When I saw him guarding me, I started smiling in my head," Burney would say much later, "but I didn't want
to smile out loud. I knew what I was gonna do - go right at him."
And so he did . . . For maybe the 1,000th time.
You see, Brown and Burney are brothers.
"I knew what he was thinking, that I was gonna go to my right," Burney said. "So, I started that way. He fell
for it. I finished it."
Well, not completely. After the impressive crossover that commenced his journey to the left side of the lane and
placed Older Bro in the rearview mirror, Burney was hacked by another player as he attempted the layup. He
made the first of two free throws.
Though C-E wound up losing, 70-60, in part because Brown performed well enough (19 points, six rebounds)
to garner game MVP honors, Burney did not leave the premises with tears in his eyes.
It's all about the B brothers' braggin' rights, baby.
"I've been in games with a lot more pressure," Burney said. "But this was a game against my older brother, and
I might never get that chance again. So, I was feeling excited."
Except for this one duel, Brown and Burney experienced little interaction. Once, they were spotted standing next
to each other on the side of the lane, during free throws, and not one word was spoken. In fact, they didn't even
look at each other.
"We had that agreement - no talking," Brown said. "We'd do our talking after the game."
About getting scorched, Brown laughed and said, "I knew he was going to do that. Knew it. Because we play
each other all the time. I tried to stop him, but . . . I need to work on my footwork. Learn to slide better."
A year ago, both brothers played for Comm Tech, as had their older brother, Chris Burney, who's now a factor
at Cheyney. But Jordan was given an opportunity to transfer to Conwell-Egan and, after much agonizing, he
decided to take it.
C-E, in Levittown, is almost 30 miles from the Brown/Burney household, on Parrish Street, near 41st, in West
Philly. So Jordan spends weekdays with a host family, in Bensalem, and then returns for weekends.
"I didn't want him to do it, especially since this was going to be our last season together," Brown said. "But I
understood why he did it - better academics; help for his future - and I supported his decision. We talk on the
phone every day. The environment's different up there, and he's still getting used to it. But he likes it.
"I had my chance to go to Egan, too. Couldn't do it, though. I've been at Comm Tech from ninth grade on up. I
love this place and I love coach 'Bies' [Lou Biester]. I would have felt bad about leaving everybody behind."
Standing nearby was the young men's mother, Tasha Burney. Their dad, Terrence Brown, was not far away,
mingling with friends.
"I didn't want Jordan to go, but I knew it would be better for him," she said. "It's a good thing."
Brown scored his 19 points while shooting 7-for-14 and 5-for-7. His best field goal, off a pass from Briheam
Anthony, was a dunk to cap a fastbreak given life by David Johnson's steal.
His mother said of the dunk, while raising her arms and making her eyes bug out, "I was going, 'Ahhhhhhh!
. . . Ha ha ha!' "
She repeated the routine and words when asked to comment on Jordan's dustup of Terrence.
Though Terrence has been an impressive player all season, college interest has not yet been generated. He
might go the junior college route and plans to major in business.
Johnson, with the help of two treys, also scored 19 points for CT while adding three assists and four steals.
Anthony (11) and Hyking Brisbon (10) likewise scored in double figures and soph Samir Doughty, a great
friend to the brothers, mixed five assists with four steals.
Freshman LaPri Pace topped C-E in points (18) and rebounds (nine) while classmates Stevie Jordan (five
assists) and Vinny Dalessandro (six boards) helped.
CT was slow out of the blocks.
"I was telling the guys, 'They're young with all those freshmen, but they're gonna play hard the whole game,' "
Brown said. "We had some chemistry problems in the first half. But then we came back out and played harder
and more together."
Meanwhile, Burney also plays football at C-E.
"He's good in that," Brown said, "but his best sport is basketball. If they work with him the right way, he'll
be a D-I player. He's got the skill levels of Chris and me."
Along with Saturday's memory.
Recaps of victories in
Public League finals . . .
At Temple's Liacouras Center
Bartram 64, Gratz 62 (OT)
Todd "Kojak" McCoy, usually a complimentary player, exploded for a career-high 23 points (9-for-13, 5-for-6) as the Braves captured their first title since 1972. He also wolfed down 14 rebounds. Charles Jones added 21 points, despite going 5-for-14 at the line, and four assists. Jason Cain mixed eight points, nine rebounds, seven assists and seven blocks. He also forced OT by hitting the second of two free throws with 7.9 seconds left in regulation. Khalil Abdus-Salaam played strong defense on Gratz's main scorer, Mark Tyndale (10 points). In OT, Bartram received an early field goal from sub Antwan Garfield, then went 11-for-18 at the line. Gratz used nine players. Eight scored from six to 10 points.
At Temple's Liacouras Center
Comm Tech 70, Frankford 61 (2 OTs): Though poor shooting and sloppy play made this one somewhat hard on the eyes through three quarters, it became quite the goodie in the fourth quarter and extra sessions as CT claimed a title in only its third Pub season. (CT was once an annex of Bartram, which won a PL title in its fourth season, 1944.) Andrew "Scootie" Randall, the coaches' choice as PL MVP, saw scant first half action due to foul trouble. He guided the Phoenix down the stretch while finalizing his numbers at 16 points, 12 rebounds, five assists. Manny Jordan, at 6-5, 255 pounds, won game MVP honors with 17 boards and six blocks in addition to nine points. Antonio "Gee" Monroe had 14 points and five assists before fouling out early in the first OT and Chris Jones saved eight of his 11 points for the OTs. Lou Biester (also Bartram '03) became the first Pub coach to win titles at different schools since Bill Nelson at Franklin in '51 and Germantown in '64. For Frankford, Malik Tinsley collected 21 points and 15 rebounds, Malik Ballard added 20 points, seven boards and four assists and Khayree Brown had 13 points, 11 boards. The teams combined to shoot 58-for-154 from the floor (38 percent) and 24-for-46 at the line (52). This was the league's last full-blown title and was followed the morning after by a rousing assembly, witnessed by all students, during which Randall announced his commitment to Temple.
Recaps of victories in
Titles . . .
(At SJ Prep)
Comm Tech 55, McDevitt 53
Markeise Chandler (15 points) hit the right side of the rim on a leaping push shot from just beyond halfcourt as McDevitt came close to posting what would have been its second postseason win in 49 years of Catholic League membership. The Lancers had gone 3-10 in CL play, qualifying for this contest but not earning one of 10 playoff berths. Frosh Samir Doughty (14), Tony Parker and Terrence Brown (11 apiece) paced CT. Parker snagged 12 rebounds and his identical twin, Terrell, mixed eight points with five boards despite missing a quarter's worth of playing time with an ankle injury. They were the first twins to start for a City champion.
(At St. Joseph's Prep)
Comm Tech 70, Conwell-Egan 60
Terrence Brown earned MVP honors by collecting 19 points and six rebounds, but lost the game’s only true family battle with 6:43 remaining when Jordan Burney, a sophomore sub for C-E, zipped right around him and was hacked by another player while attempting a layup; otherwise the brothers had little interaction. David Johnson added 19 points, three steals and four steals for CT and sixth man Hyking Brisbon had 10 apiece of points/rebounds. Frosh LaPri Pace posted 18 points and nine boards for C-E, which hadn't played since Feb. 11.
Below are the players who helped
Lou Biester notch earn 300 wins and two Public League
championships as the coach at John Bartram (1989, 2000-05) and Communications Tech
(2006-13). The year indicates the player's final season. Most were seniors. Some transferred
and some were underclassmen who did not play in the following season. NOTE: Some
played for Lou at Bartram in '05 and at Comm Tech in '06.