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Boys summer league a boon to SOL teams


While he was the head boys basketball coach at North Penn 20 years ago, Mike Fergus started a boys summer league.

However, it didn’t find a permanent home there.

Instead, the league was in transit, moving to Central Bucks South, Central Bucks West and Upper Dublin, and eventually found new directors.

Three years ago, Fergus again took charge of the league at Dock Mennonite Academy, and it continues to be one of the more competitive leagues in the greater Delaware Valley and throughout the state.

“We have a good foundation here,” said Fergus, who has coached the boys team at Dock for the past five seasons and 42 years overall. “We have two nice gyms for the games, and it is a good atmosphere for spectators.

“We have (Class) 5A and 6A teams and two 2A teams. It’s a good mix and a team is playing back-to-back hour games. They get a break and don’t have to wait around.”

The 12-team league plays on Monday nights; games started June 17 and will conclude July 29. Philadelphia Catholic League (PCL), Suburban One League (SOL), Pioneer Athletic Conference (PAC-10) and Bicentennial Athletic League (BAL) are represented. Beginning at 5:30 p.m., four hourly games are played each night.

La Salle and Lansdale Catholic represent the PCL; CB East, CB South, CB West, Pennridge, Souderton and Quakertown comprise the SOL schools; Phoenixville and Methacton are from the PAC-10; and New Hope-Solebury and Dock are the BAL participants.

“For us being a 2A school, it is a win-win,” added Fergus about his team. “Our kids face some very good competition, and we don’t have to travel.”

Pennridge head coach Dean Behrens watched the league revolve around the counties before it recently finally settled at Dock.

“Mike Fergus started it at North Penn and then it moved around for a while,” said Behrens. The league did well for a time at Upper Dublin, he added, but then lost its leadership.

“Mike Fergus took control of it again and brought it to Dock. He has done a great job,” Behrens said.

Among other things about the league, Behrens is grateful for the proximity to his school.

“We’re in a tight spot,” said Behrens. “We could go to Allentown or travel south, but it would be over an hour. This has worked out well for us.

“It has been really effective. We see a lot of the same teams during the year, but we also see teams like Dock, Lansdale Catholic and Methacton who we don’t see during the season. We get to keep eyes on our kids and it keeps them competitive.

“We lost a lot from last year’s class. Most of our JVs are working this summer and are ready to move up.”

CB West head coach Adam Sherman looks at the league as a proving ground for his players.

“Summer is a great time for our guys to focus on skill development,” said Sherman. “All of our guys made tremendous improvements over the past couple of months. We are hoping to continue to improve as we go through the summer.

“We have a lot of guys that are competing to be in the mix for this upcoming season. We are just focused on improving versus in season when we are more focused on winning.”

Fergus has been entertaining the thought of having an inaugural playoff format of the top four teams after the regular season ends.

“I’ll speak to the coaches and see what the consensus is,” said Fergus. “With the league only playing Monday nights, it gives kids the opportunity to arrange their schedules, and we normally aren’t in conflict with other leagues and opportunities.

“I like the idea of a championship as it further gives the kids something to play for down the stretch.”