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Westmoreland high school notebook: Penn-Trafford’s Allen gets another scholarship offer

in School News/Sports

Source: Trib Live

Penn-Trafford senior football player Noah Allen is drawing Division I attention as national signing day (Feb. 5) approaches.

Allen received his second Division I FCS scholarship offer, from Butler. The 6-foot-2, 175-pound Allen also has an offer from Valparaiso.

He had 15 receptions for 228 yards and two touchdowns this past season and added 20 tackles and three interceptions.

Johnson nears 1,000

Mt. Pleasant basketball standout Jake “J.J.” Johnson needs 22 points to reach 1,000 for his career. The Vikings (9-6, 3-2) host No. 1-ranked Knoch (12-1, 5-0) on Tuesday night in a Section 1-4A game.

Johnson would become the seventh boys player to reach the scoring milestone at Mt. Pleasant, joining John Rogers (1,265), Kevin Kozak (1,196), Chris Hobson (1,167), John Picarsic (1,221), Rob Patula (1,101) and Ryan Gumbita (1,038).

PIHL coaches

Coaches were selected for the PIHL All-Star Games to be played Jan. 26 at Robert Morris Island Sports Center.

Westmoreland County names picked for the games include Corey Mentch of Greensburg Salem (Class A assistant), Josh Werner of Latrobe (Class AA head coach), John Winebrenner of Franklin Regional (Class AA assistant) and Eric Grant of Hempfield (Class AA assistant).

The all-star schedule starts with the Class B game at noon, followed by Class A at 2 p.m., Class AA at 4 and Class AAA at 6.

Hetrick wins award

Kerry Hetrick, athletic director at Penn-Trafford, received the Pennsylvania State Athletic Directors Association Distinguished Coaching Educator (DICE) Award.

The award goes to an AD with the greatest efforts, dedication, leadership and achievements in athletic administration.

The head of Warriors athletics since 2010, Hetrick was inducted into the Pennsylvania Sports Hall of Fame East Boros Chapter in 2014 and was named the Eastern Association of Interscholastic Football Officials High School Administrator of the Year in 2018.


Franklin Regional senior bowler Alex Smith signed a letter of intent to continue his career at Robert Morris.

Smith is best known for bowling two 300 games on the same day, in the same series (879) in his youth league a year ago.

It is a Pittsburgh region juniors record. Smith received two rings from the United States Bowling Congress, one for a 300 game and the other for rolling an over-800 series, which included 11 consecutive strikes.

• Norwin senior baseball player Aidan Shephard gave a verbal commitment to Mercyhurst. The Lakers are a Division II program. Shephard (6-4, 190) is an outfielder and also pitches for the Knights.

• Hempfield soccer player Zach Vanek, a senior midfielder, committed to play at Cal (Pa.).

• Norwin senior Logan Huss, a sprinter and standout relay runner for the Knights track and field team, announced he committed to Pitt-Johnstown. Huss is the cousin of Derry football standout Justin Huss.

• Division II Lake Erie offered Greensburg Central Catholic senior football player Luke Mazowiecki. A wide receiver and defensive back, Mazowiecki caught 31 passes for 376 yards and three touchdowns this season. He had 65 tackles, five for loss, and six interceptions.

• Mercyhurst offered Derry senior lineman Max Malis. The 6-3, 270-pound Malis played on the offensive and defensive lines for the Trojans and also saw time at H-back.

• Yough senior tight end and defensive end Russell Pytlak (6-3, 235) also grabbed an offer from Mercyhurst.

• Lake Erie also extended an offer to Hempfield senior Paul Newill, a 6-foot-3, 275-pound offensive guard and nose guard.

• Penn-Trafford senior tight end and linebacker Cole DeFillippo (6-1, 200) received an offer from Division II Millersville.


Westmoreland County rosters loaded with basketball brother combos

in Sports

Source: Trib Live

Things got a little heated, Norwin junior basketball player Ty Bilinsky said while recalling a run-in with his younger brother.

“He pushed me into a glass door on the side of our house,” he said. “The glass broke. I was OK but we had to call that game off because we got in trouble.”

So go the one-on-one driveway battles at the Bilinsky house.

Another time, Adam Bilinsky, a freshman guard at Norwin, was knocked sideways into a parked car by his brother.

“It left a dent,” Adam said. “We got in trouble for that too.”

Tensions ebb and flow, but the Bilinskys have short memories.

Watch a Norwin game and there is chemistry, not bitterness, between siblings who have become teammates this season.

How quickly the dust-ups are forgotten.

The backcourt buds have assisted one another, high-fived and even hugged after wins.

At each other’s throats one minute and in their arms the next, brotherly love is a real thing this season in area basketball.

The Bilinskys are just one of a half-dozen brother combos that play together on local varsity teams as starters or key reserves.

Others include Ryan and Chase Sickenberger at Latrobe, Aidan and Ryan Bushey at Derry, Michael and Matthew Marinchak at Ligonier Valley, Imani and James Sanders at Jeannette, and Ryan and Ben Thomas at Greensburg Salem.

“We know each other’s strengths and weaknesses,” Ty Bilinsky said. “We know where the other will be on the court.”

Ty is a 17-point scorer to lead the Knights (9-4) while Adam is the spark-generating sixth man who has touch from the outside.

They come from a basketball family. Their father, Allan, a former two-sport standout at Norwin, is the boys basketball coach at Mt. Pleasant.

“Ty is very athletic and better off the dribble,” Norwin first-year coach Buddy Valinsky said. “Adam is a better shooter right now.”

Latrobe has had many sibling combos come through the program, the most notable, perhaps, being the Butlers — Austin, Bryce and now, Landon.

But the Sickenbergers are the latest duo to take the court together for the Wildcats (3-11).

“I don’t think we’ve had a set of brothers yet that are the same type of players,” Latrobe coach Brad Wetzel said. “They always seem to be very different in their styles.”

Ryan Sickenberger, a junior, and Chase, a sophomore, have each played point guard. They often are in the same lineup, with each looking to kick the ball out to the other for a 3-pointer.

“We’re always competing,” Chase said. “Video games, especially. Madden or NBA. We both want to win.”

Ryan (15.2 ppg) said dunk contests on a shortened hoop at home can get testy. They also have a trampoline with a hoop to compare hops.

“We even dress the same,” he said.

Their father, Dean, played at Saint Vincent.

At Derry, Bushey-to-Bushey is a regular occurrence. Another backcourt tandem with scoring punch, Aidan is a senior and Ryan a junior.

They have come to an impasse many times, but the matters quickly are resolved.

“Mostly in the driveway,” said Aidan (18.5 ppg), “it’s whether or not it was a foul. In practice or games, it’s whether or not one of us should’ve made an extra pass.”

Like the Bilinskys, the game comes home with them. Their father, Don, is an assistant coach at Derry.

“I can say pretty much anything to him,” Aidan said of his brother. “Whether it’s harsh or a confidence booster, he’ll take it and build off of it. We build off each other’s energy in games, especially when we’re on a roll, but when we’re struggling, we feed off each other to pick the other one up.”

Ryan is the point guard for the Trojans (4-9). He does not like comparisons that might be drawn between he and his brother.

“The advantages of playing with him would be our knowledge of each other’s game and knowing all of each other’s tendencies, ” he said. “Disadvantages would be being compared to one another in respect to how we both play. A big disadvantage is our competitiveness with each other, which sometimes leads to us arguing about either practices or games.”

And don’t forget the film sessions.

“Before games, Aidan and I watch film and talk about the other team’s tendencies, and we then talk about what we need to do to score and execute,” Ryan said. “Our communication with each other is great, and that’s what I think helps us perform at the high level we do.”

Aidan said he and Ryan have a “different connection” on the court.

“Just seeing his eyes, I know where he’s going or where he wants me to go,” he said. “and when we’re really connecting it’s so much fun to play.”

The Marinchak brothers — senior, Michael, and Matthew, a sophomore — are best pictured wearing their black goggles.

Call them their trademark trait (among slick passes and long-range shots with hands in their faces).

“That’s definitely our thing,” Michael said of the protective glasses. “We have another player on our team that has them, and we’ve had parents tell us their kids want a pair to be like us. It’s amazing that kids look up to you like that. We incorporate it in our handshake we do before every game. We’ve definitely embraced the nickname, ‘The Goggle Bros.’”

The Marinchaks have the Rams (10-2) back in the chase for a Heritage Conference title and are primed for another District 6 playoff run — their final one since the program will join the WPIAL next school year.

The siblings, who both score in double figures, embrace competition, pure and simple.

“It’s been super fun,” Michael said of playing alongside his brother. “It creates tension but good tension. At practice, we are always going at each other, trying to score on each other and trying to stop each other. It’s made us come up with different moves. It makes us both better players and then when game time comes, everybody knows to be ready because he’ll find you open when he’s driving. He’s definitely the best ball-handler I’ve ever played with, which makes it easier for me.”

In another family tree-type situation, John Berger not only is the head coach at Ligonier Valley, he also is the Marinchaks’ uncle.

Senior Ryan Thomas is a key starter at Greensburg Salem while sophomore Ben Thomas comes off the bench. Imani Sanders is a senior guard at Jeannette, with James Sanders often accompanying him in the Jayhawks’ backcourt. Jeannette (8-6) is riding a seven-game winning streak.

The Sanders also shared a backfield in football with Imani at tailback and James as the quarterback.

Yough high-scoring junior guard Gamal Marballie is having a strong season but has yet to play a varsity game with his freshman brother, Khadeem, who plays on the junior varsity.

Stay tuned for that connection.

“I am looking forward to it,” Gamal said. “It’s going to be interesting to see what we can do.”

The same case exists at Norwin, where junior Nick Fleming, a starting forward this season, could play more regularly with his brother, Michael, a sophomore, in the future.


Westmoreland campus clippings: Norwin grad Cole hits milestone, again

in School News/Sports

Source: Trib Live

Jenna Cole is one of those rare cases: a basketball player who gets to celebrate the 1,000-point mark twice in her college career.

Cole, a Norwin graduate and a senior forward at La Roche, accomplished the feat over the weekend as she scored her 1,000th point as a player at La Roche.

She started her career at Pitt-Greensburg and scored 397 points there. She tallied more than 600 in her first two seasons at La Roche to top 1,000 points last January.

But when she tallied a team-best 18 points in a 78-69 win over Penn State Behrend, she eclipsed 1,000 points at La Roche, raising her career total to 1,403.

The returning Allegheny Mountain Collegiate Conference Player of the Year, Cole is the 14th player in La Roche program history to reach the milestone.

The Redhawks (8-4) are 8-0 in the AMCC, and Cole is contributing 12.4 points and 4.6 rebounds while shooting 46% from the field.

Women’s basketball

Pitt-Greensburg: Junior Nadege Durand registered her seventh double-double of the season with 23 points and 12 rebounds, sophomore Maddie Sitler had 12 points and junior Shaquoia McCray grabbed 11 rebounds for UPG in a 62-55 victory over Medaille.

Junior Maddy Coddington (Greensburg Central Catholic) had six assists for the Bobcats, who assisted on 13 of their 20 field goals.

UPG will host Mt. Aloysius Wednesday for its first weekday game in a month.

Saint Vincent: Junior forward Madison Kollar (Latrobe) scored 17 points on 6-of-10 shooting, and junior guard Carlee Kilgus added 15 points as the Bearcats (9-5, 5-0 PAC) defeated Bethany, 79-58, for their third straight win.

Men’s basketball

Pitt-Greensburg: UPG (11-2, 7-1) ran its winning streak to four with an 89-70 victory over Medaille as junior Matt Johnson scored 25 points on 11-of-16 shooting, and junior Cam Seigfreid (Penn-Trafford) added 19 points, including three 3-pointers.

Sophomore Jojo France scored 13 points, sophomore Torian Jenkins came off the bench to net 12 and senior Brady Kingston had 10 and five assists.

UPG made 36 of 65 shots (55.4%).

Saint Vincent: The Bearcats (9-5, 4-1 PAC) went back-and-forth with Bethany to earn their sixth straight win, 67-66. Junior Cletus Helton made a late floater in the lane, and Bethany missed a couple of chances to go ahead in the closing seconds. Junior Shemar Bennett led SVC with 22 points and 19 rebounds, Helton added 18 points and David Stephen chipped in 14.

Bennett was named the Presidents’ Athletic Conference Player of the Week.

Women’s indoor track & field

Penn State: Senior Maddie Holmberg (Hempfield) won the season-opening long jump title at the Nittany Lion Challenge with a mark of 6.12 meters.

Seton Hill: Four Griffins placed first at the Marietta Open. Sophomore TerryLee Talasky won the 300-meter dash (43.18 seconds), senior Skye Christian won the mile (5:13.63), junior Julia Lersch won the 3,000 (11:29.42) and redshirt sophomore Morgan Vincent was victorious in the pole vault (3.45 meters).

Christian was named the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference Women’s Track Athlete of the Week.

Men’s indoor track & field

Chatham: Sophomore Brett Seich (Belle Vernon) was named the PAC Athlete of the Week. He won the mile at the Oberlin Dan Kinsey Invitational. He also anchored the 1,600-meter relay (3:47.05).

St. Francis (Pa.): Freshman Nick Hyde was named the Northeast Conference Men’s Rookie of the Week after winning the shot put at the Great Dane Classic in Staten Island, N.Y. His winning throw was 56 feet, 4.75 inches. Hyde attended Southmoreland before finishing his prep career at Somerset.

Seton Hill: Winners for the Griffins at the Marietta Open were freshman Joseph Piper (Latrobe) in the 55-meter dash (6.54 seconds), freshman Zakharee Williams (Latrobe) in the 400 (53.56), sophomore Samuel Hartman (7.67) in the 55-meter hurdles and freshman Hunter Martin in the long jump (6.43 meters) and triple jump (13.15 meters).

Westminster: Freshman Ryan Beard (Franklin Regional) was named the PAC Field Athlete of the Week after a strong showing at the Dan Kinsey Invitational. He was fifth in the 60-meter dash (7.37 seconds) and the 200 (23.66).


Westmoreland notebook: Local talent will be on display in PIHL all-star games

in Sports

Source: Trib Live

The Robert Morris Island Sports Center will be the site for the annual PIHL All-Star games on Jan. 26.

The schedule starts with the Class B game at noon, followed by Class A at 2 p.m., Class AA at 4 and Class AAA at 6.

In Class AA, selections include sophomore forward Chase Williams, and senior forwards Trent Lunden and Kevin Cakanac of Franklin Regional; Latrobe junior forward Alex Walker and senior Cole Ferri, senior defenders Lane Ruffner and Derrick Hrytanski and senior goaltender Greg Irons; senior forwards Matt Traczynski and Christian Konieczka, and senior defender Trent Gray of Hempfield; and senior forwards Ryan Mickey and Jake Hughes, and senior defender Ethan Tamborski of Penn-Trafford.

The Class A game features four forwards from Greensburg Salem in seniors Cole McNair and Brendon Linderman, junior Colin Kruth and freshman Owen Tutich; Kiski Area junior forward Michael Rayburg and senior goaltender Eric Petika; Norwin senior forwards Jake Dally, Mason Pivarnik and Logan Connelly and sophomore defender Jake Meier.

Johnstons a package deal

Jeannette senior softball players Faith and Grace Johnston, who are twins, will continue their playing career at Waynesburg.

Faith Johnston has been the team’s top player the past two seasons. A power pitcher who has pitched every inning of every game for the past three years, she batted .460 with four home runs and 24 RBIs last season.

She was 9-6 with a 2.71 ERA and 116 strikeouts as a junior. In her career, she has 19 wins and 283 Ks.

Faith Johnston batted .320 with eight RBIs last season and was a key defensive player.

She played a number of positions for the Jayhawks, including shortstop, catcher, both corner infield spots and outfielder.

Monessen alumni night

Monessen girls basketball is looking for former players to gather for an alumni night Feb. 10 when the Greyhounds host Greensburg Central Catholic.

Alumni interested in attending should contact coach Janine Vertacnik at 412-817-2492 or

Smooth as Silk

Ligonier Valley senior Kyle Silk had a big game against his former team.

Silk transferred from United in June but was denied football eligibility by District 6 and the PIAA. He was, however, cleared to play basketball.

He scored 25 points and pulled down eight rebounds in his return to United last Tuesday. Ligonier Valley won 72-53.

Petrof selected

Michael Petrof, a standout football player at Ligonier Valley, was named to the Mr. PA Football Terrific 10 Small School Team for Class 3A-A.

A defensive tackle and offensive guard, Petrof also made the Pennsylvania Football Writers Class 2A All-State Team as a defensive lineman.

Petrof, a Navy commit, had 55 tackles, including 11 for loss and three sacks, as the soon-to-be WPIAL member Rams (12-1) returned to the District 6 title game.


Derry senior football lineman Max Malis picked up an offer from Division II Frostburg State. Malis is a 6-foot-3, 270-pound two-way lineman who also played H-back for the Trojans.

He is a two-time, first-team all-conference defensive end.

• Belle Vernon senior running back Larry Callaway was offered by Gannon, a Division II program in the PSAC. Callaway led the WPIAL Class 4A runner-up Leopards (10-2) with 1,046 rushing yards and 16 touchdowns.


Freshman Savannah Schneck helps Norwin girls avenge playoff loss to North Allegheny

in Sports

Source: Trib Live

With its 13-point lead squeezed to three with about a minute to play, Norwin did what any seasoned team would do in such a chaotic situation. It gave the basketball to a freshman.

Reserve swing-guard Savannah Schneck made the most of her minutes, coming up clutch in a clash of Section 1-6A heavyweights.

Schneck made two key layups down the stretch to help No. 3 Norwin fend off No. 2 North Allegheny, 63-55, on Thursday night as the Knights avenged a loss to the Tigers in last year’s semifinals and moved into first place all by themselves.

“It was a little nerve-racking,” Schneck said. “But I felt comfortable because we all play together as a team. We used that punch from the start and played well all the way to the end.”

With a performance that was fueled by 11 3-pointers and nonstop pressure defense, pumped-up Norwin moved to 7-2 overall and 4-0 in section.

North Allegheny took its first loss to drop to 6-1, 3-1.

Norwin seniors Jayla Wehner and Olivia Gribble combined for 29 points, with Gribble hitting three shots from behind the arc and finishing with 16 points, and Wehner adding 13 points with four 3-pointers.

“We came into this game treating it like it was a WPIAL championship,” Wehner said. “We were really prepared and our scout team did a great job this week at practice to get us ready and replicate (North Allegheny) and what they do. This was a great team win.”

Norwin looked like it might run away and hide early in the fourth as it stretched the lead to 51-38. But North Allegheny, led by senior Lizzy Groetsch, chipped away, eventually pulling within 54-50 on a 3-pointer from sophomore Emma Fischer, and 57-54 on two free throws by Paige Morningstar with 1:48 remaining.

Schneck made back-to-back layups, the second with 45 seconds remaining, to put the Knights back in control to stay.

The pep band was glad it played this event.

“They did a great job of taking away the things we do well,” North Allegheny coach Spencer Stefko said. “This was a great high school basketball game. But there were times tonight where they outplayed us and out-coached us.”

Gribble’s driving score gave Norwin a 13-point lead early in the fourth, but Fischer made a 3-pointer to jumpstart a comeback. She had six in the final frame.

Norwin did not flinch, though, as it managed to hold the defending WPIAL champions at arm’s length.

“I thought our girls did a great job of creating shots and moving the ball,” Norwin coach Brian Brozeski said. “We came out and wanted to see which way the momentum took us. We picked up the pace and shot it well.”

Brozeski said Schneck earned her time in a big game.

“It was nice to see her get rewarded,” he said. “We did a nice job creating those moments for her.”

Norwin came out firing from the perimeter and wasted little time with the possessions.

The Knights connected on four 3-pointers in the breakneck first quarter — two apiece from Wehner and Mara Polczynski — to take a 21-16 lead.

Three of the threes came in a row as the Knights went on an 11-0 spurt early in the quarter.

Groetsch, who has a dozen Division I offers, scored nine points in the second quarter to help the Tigers cut into the early deficit. She finished with a game-high 21.

But after her three-point play narrowed the margin to 26-22, Gribble, Wehner and Danielle Rosso all hit threes to build the score back to double digits, at 37-26, with 1:58 left in the half.

Groetsch made a layup, but Rosso ended the half with a three-point play to give the Knights a 40-30 lead at the break.

A 6-0 run by North Allegheny to start the third made it 40-36, but Norwin ended the quarter with a 9-2 run to take a 49-38 advantage into the fourth.

“It’s gut-check time for us now,” Stefko said. “We’ll see how we respond. Now we know what the standard is. (Norwin) is the standard.”

North Allegheny’s only lead was 3-0 on an opening three-point play by Groetsch.

“This is a great one for us,” Brozeski said. “We have to keep this game in perspective.”

Sophomore Brianna Zajicek added 10 points for Norwin. Morningstar finished with 11 for the Tigers.

Norwin and North Allegheny split their section series last year before the Tigers edged by the Knights in the WPIAL semis, 37-36.

Norwin also handed the Tigers their first loss last year when they came to North Huntingdon with a 17-0 record.


Norwin’s Kurtis Phipps happy with win, but not DQ finish, at Powerade

in Sports

Source: Trib Live

Norwin senior Kurtis Phipps was locked in a tight battle with Wyoming Seminary sophomore Nic Bouzakis in the 126-pound final Saturday at Powerade Tournament.

With the score tied 3-3, Phipps stood up to attempt an escape. Bouzakis decided the take Phipps back down to the mat, but he lifted him up to shoulder level and slammed Phipps down.

Phipps landed on his shoulder and neck area and Bouzakis was called for an illegal slam, which awarded Phipps a point.

After medical officials would not allow Phipps to continue, he was awarded the win, his third Powerade title, by disqualification.

“It sucks because I didn’t want to win this way,” Phipps said. “My head hurt, but I told them I was fine and I wanted to continue.”

Bouzakis and his coaches showed class by not protesting the call. The wrestlers shook hands and didn’t appear to have hard feelings.

“It’s wrestling. Sometimes things happen like that,” Phipps said. “”It’s awesome to be a three-time champion. I just wish I could have showed it.”

Southmoreland tournament

Greensburg Salem didn’t win the team title at the Southmoreland Holiday Classic, but the Golden Lions finishes with the most champions – three.

Corry was the team champion with 225 points and nine placewinners. Butler was second with 205 points, four finalists and two champions.

Greensburg Salem finished third with 186.5 points.

Winning titles for the Golden Lions were Ian Ewing (152), John Meyers (220) and heavyweight Bill McChesney.

Placewinners were Caleb Chismar (fourth, 195), Christian McChesney (eighth, 182), Cody Kaufman (third, 132), Colt Rubrecht (seventh, 138), Nico Williams (third, 126) and Trent Patrick (fourth, 220).

Meyers and Patrick competed in the 220-pound weight class for the second consecutive tournament. Both are expected to be at 220 this weekend at the Westmoreland County Coaches’ Association tournament.

Patrick is on a weight-control plan so he can wrestle at 195 points for the individual tournaments at the end of the season.

Ligonier Valley had five placewinners. They were James Brown (seventh, 113), Josh Harbert (fifth, 106), Kyrie Miller (fifth, 160), Payton Matson (seventh, 152) and Ryan Harbert (second, 138).

The Rams finished 14th with 88.5 points.

Host Southmoreland finished with 86 points and four placewinners: Andrew Johnson (eighth, 132), Anthony Govern (sixth, 182), Josh Thomas (eighth, 160) and Nick Yeskey (fifth, 145).

Steve DeAugustino tournament

Brentsville, Va. edged out Pine-Richland for the team title, 223-211, at West Mifflin.

Pine-Richland’s winners were Anthony Ferraro (106), Robert Palmieri (120), Nate Lukez (145) and Cole Spencer (152).

West Mifflin finished third and had two champions: Tony Salopek (138) and Howard Congdon (195).

Yough also competed and had two placewinners – Shane Momyer (fourth, 106) and Glenn Christner (fifth, 170).


Derry girls basketball stays above .500, seeks playoffs

in Sports

Source: Trib Live

It was a nail-biter in the truest sense of the term.

Derry’s Kamryn Kelly sank a free throw with 0.1 seconds remaining to clinch a tense 47-46 win against Bishop Canevin in the second round of the Mt. Pleasant holiday tournament.

“It was very nerve-racking at first,” said Kelly, a four-sport standout at Derry. “I was dribbling down the court, and a (Bishop Canevin) girl fouled me.

“One of our goals is to make our shooting percentage a little better. We push ourselves at practice and give 100 percent all the time. I think we’re better than what we’ve shown so far.”

A 5-foot-8 senior forward, Kelly finished with a team-high 13 points and 11 rebounds and was complemented by 5-9 sophomore guard Tiana Moracco and 5-6 senior guard Danielle Mullen, who chipped in 12 and 10 points.

The Trojans lost to Belle Vernon, 57-45, in the first round of the tournament and open the new year with a 5-4 record.

Hannah Wedow with 15 points and Kelly with 13 led Derry in the scoring column against BV.

With four returning starters from last season, Derry is aiming to make some serious noise in Section 3-3A this season, hopefully followed by a strong showing in the WPIAL playoffs.

“Our goals are to have a winning season, qualify for the WPIAL playoffs and challenge for a section title,” coach Gene Brisbane said. “My expectations (prior to the start of the season) were that we are going to work hard to put a very competitive team on the court and build a solid team chemistry that would yield positive results.

“So far, our team has come to practice each day with a positive attitude willing to put forth the necessary effort to steadily improve. We still have a lot of work to do. We are not satisfied. We haven’t won anything yet, but we are headed in the right direction.”

There are five seniors, four sophomores, three freshmen and no juniors in the program.

Kelly, Mullen, Moracco and Wedow, a 5-7 senior guard/forward, are the returning starters.

Kelly is a four-year letterwinner in volleyball and recently signed with Shenandoah University in Winchester, Va., to continue her softball career.

She sports a 4.0 GPA and is vice president of the Interact Club and a member of the National Business Honor Society.

Brisbane has mixed all five seniors — the two others are 5-7 forward Sarah Aukerman and 5-8 guard/forward Olexei Nuttall — into the starting lineup. Moracco and sophomore guard Emma Huber have provided solid support.

Brisbane, a retired teacher, is in his first season as the Trojans’ floor boss. He is the fourth coach in as many years for the girls team.

He formerly coached the girls team at Hempfield, where he attained 327 wins, five section championships and three trips to the WPIAL semifinals over 20 years. He resigned from Hempfield in 2010.

Brisbane later was women’s basketball coach at Westmoreland County Community College, logging 50 wins and three conference titles in three seasons.

This is his 24th year coaching girls basketball.

“My philosophy is that playing a team sport affords student-athletes the opportunity to work together for a common goal,” Brisbane said. “Also, I believe it is important to be fair, honest and to be able to have an atmosphere of trust and respect between the athletes and coaches.

“I believe it is an honor to be a coach and that you are preparing your student-athletes for the many challenges they will encounter in their future endeavors.”

Derry, which missed the playoffs by one game last season, is a member of Section 3-3A again, along with Carlynton, Deer Lakes, East Allegheny, Shady Side Academy, South Allegheny, Steel Valley and Valley.

Carlynton won its first three section games to stand in first place, followed by a trio of 2-1 squads — Deer Lakes, Shady Side Academy and Derry.

“Our goal always is to try to win the section and make the playoffs,” Kelly said. “I think we can beat anyone in our section if we execute.”


Going, going, gone: Bill Mazeroski’s sports memorabilia a big hit at New Year’s Day auction

in Local News/Sports

Source: Trib Live

“Long ago, it must be,

I have a photograph

Preserve your memories,

They’re all that’s left you.”

— Simon & Garfunkel, “Bookends” (1968)

Hundreds of photographs, trophies, baseball bats, cases of baseballs, gloves, signed cards and jerseys from Bill Mazeroski’s 17-year Hall of Fame career as a Pittsburgh Pirate were sold on New Year’s Day.

The fast-moving auction drew close to 300 people to a North Huntingdon automobile dealership.

Among the items were pictures and artists’ renderings of Mazeroski running around the bases at old Forbes Field in Pittsburgh’s Oakland neighborhood on Oct. 13, 1960, being rushed by fans as he etched his name into the game’s long history by becoming the first player to hit a Game 7 walk-off home run to win the World Series. His hit in the bottom of the ninth inning over the ivy-covered left field wall beat the vaunted New York Yankees in a World Series feat that has yet to be duplicated.

More than 120 people from 12 states took cards to bid on Mazeroski’s memorabilia and household furnishings. The 83-year-old former Hempfield resident did not make the trip from his Philadelphia-area home. The items offered at the auction were what remained after Mazeroski’s family — children, grandchildren, nieces and nephews — chose what they wanted to keep, said auctioneer Mark Ferry of Unity.

A piece of that historic World Series Game 7 was a 16mm film, still in the original case with mailing stickers from Massachusetts, that was sent to Mazeroski from the Pirates. John Paserba of Cranberry bought it for $1,100.

“I was expecting it to go for at least double that,” Paserba said, adding that allowed him to buy other items, like Roberto Clemente bats.

The challenge for Paserba is to find an old 16mm projector or get the film converted to a DVD. Paserba said he was not certain of the condition of the film and did not know whether it could survive being run through a projector.

“It’s such a big part of Pittsburgh history. I want to keep it alive … maybe donate it to the Heinz History Center,” Paserba said.

Patiently waiting for Mazeroski memorabilia, particularly the bats and “anything else that fits his price range,” was Bernard Smith, said his son, David, both of Mt. Lebanon. The elder Smith, 77, watched the seventh game of the 1960 World Series on television at his family’s home in Duquesne and has a whole collection of memorabilia, his son said.

One of the more expensive pieces auctioned, a bronze Rawlings Gold Glove Award, went to Barry Johnson of Jeannette for $2,700 in spirited bidding. The plaque on the award said it was presented to Mazeroski by the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Photographs and signed baseballs from Pirates Hall-of-Famer Roberto Clemente, the Most Valuable Player of the 1971 World Series victory over the Baltimore Orioles, were among the more popular items.

One of the prospective buyers watching Ferry work through the collection was Ray Haluska of Latrobe, eyeing boxes of photographs and signed Pittsburgh Penguins jerseys and photos.

“I’m looking for stuff that catches my eye. A patient buyer can walk away with something really nice,” said Haluska, who was displaying his own patience as piece after piece went up for sale.

Collectors, he said, have to be leery of buying signed baseballs.

“You can really only believe in what you get in person,” Haluska said of the autographed memorabilia.

Mazeroski’s massive memorabilia collection spanned all sports. He had photos of golfing legend Arnold Palmer; numerous Pittsburgh Steelers, including several players from their Super Bowl seasons; the Penguins’ Sidney Crosby hoisting the Stanley Cup; and a rare poster of the 1964 heavyweight championship boxing match between then-Cassius Clay and Sonny Liston, won by Clay before he changed his name to Muhammad Ali.

In addition to the sports memorabilia, furnishings from Mazeroski’s Hempfield home were for sale — silverware, plates, furniture, tables, lamps, televisions and tools. Among the miscellaneous items were cases of empty Iron City beer cans, bottles, fishing gear and golf clubs.

One of few women to pick up a yellow bidding card was Susan Hamilton Darroch of North Huntingdon, who, with husband T.J. Darroch, owns the dealership where the auction occurred. Admitting she was not a baseball fan, she was waiting — and waiting — for Ferry to sell some of the candleholders.

Mazeroski’s home and 19-acre property that he purchased in 1958 will be sold at auction later, Ferry said. Proceeds from the auction were not disclosed.


Westmoreland campus clippings: Multiple basketball players set for homecomings

in Sports

Source: Trib Live

Look for homecomings to be a popular theme for some local college basketball players as the calendar turns to 2020.

A number of area alums will return to the region with their teams as conference play heats up.

Cal (Pa.) senior Monica Burns (Hempfield) will probably draw a crowd of defenders — and family and friends — when she and the Vulcans (9-2) play at Seton Hill (9-1) on Sunday.

An all-conference transfer from Wheeling Jesuit, where she played two seasons and set the all-time college record for consecutive free throws made (118), Burns has been one of the top players in the PSAC since joining the Vulcans after a year off.

She is scoring 14.8 points and grabbing 3.6 rebounds per game, and leads the team with 26 3-pointers.

On Jan. 18, former Latrobe standout Jake Biss will join his Shippensburg teammates for a road trip to Seton Hill. The junior point guard is averaging 15.9 points and 3.7 rebounds in a team-best 35 minutes a game for the Raiders (8-3).

Freshman Geoff Helm (Greensburg Central Catholic) is a reserve guard for Shippensburg, which is coached by Latrobe alum Chris Fite.

At the Division I level, local fans will remember former Southmoreland standout Brandon Stone, now a freshman forward at La Salle. The 6-foot-11 Stone, who finished his prep career at The Christ School in Arden, N.C., has played in 11 games, with two starts, for the Explorers (9-3). He had 12 points and six rebounds against Iona and scored 17 points in 18 minutes in a win over Wright State.

Two players already made stops to the area and brought out crowds of family and friends: Lehigh freshman guard Reed Fenton and Mansfield freshman guard Bella Skatell.

Fenton had 13 points and a dunk in Lehigh’s 77-69 loss at St. Francis (Pa.).

Skatell played 19 minutes and had a steal in Mansfield’s 71-60 loss at Seton Hill.

Another intriguing matchup to watch will happen about four-and-a-half hours east in Bethlehem when Holy Cross visits Lehigh on Feb. 12.

The game will pit former Latrobe teammates in Holy Cross junior guard Austin Butler and Fenton.

Men’s basketball

Saint Vincent: Junior forward Shemar Bennett scored a career-high 27 points, grabbed eight rebounds and blocked three shots on the way to MVP honors as the host Bearcats defeated Catholic University of America, 81-73, to win the Catholic Basketball Invitational Championship and end 2019 on a high note. Senior guard Josh Duda added 18 points, junior Walter Bonds had 11 points and six assists and junior Cletus Helton chipped in 11 points for SVC (7-5).

Bennett and Stephen made the all-tournament team.

Stephen had 26 points and nine rebounds, Bennett had 11 points and 11 rebounds and Helton added 15 points in the tournament opener for the Bearcats, a 78-71 win over Immaculata University.

Women’s basketball

IUP: Recent graduate Carolyn Appleby (Greensburg Central Catholic) was named to the IUP Athletics All-Decade Team for the 2010s. An All-American last year as a senior, Appleby helped guide the Crimson Hawks to back-to-back 30-win seasons and two NCAA Division II final four trips in a row.

She is second in program history with 1,723 points.


Bucknell: Sophomore Zach Hartman (Belle Vernon) reached the semifinals in the 165-pound bracket at the Ken Kraft Midlands Championships in Hoffman Estates, Ill. It was his second straight trip to the semis of the prestigious event. He lost to Danny Braunagel of Illinois, 10-4, to fall into the fifth-place match.

Senior 197-pounder Drew Phipps (Norwin) went 2-2 in the tournament.

Iowa: Junior Spencer Lee (Franklin Regional), a two-time NCAA champion, reached the 125-pound semifinals at the Ken Kraft Midlands Championships in Hoffman Estates, Ill., but pulled out of the event with a medical forfeit. The move was a coach’s decision.

Lee was the No. 1 seed in the tournament. Details were not available on his condition.


IUP: Senior linebacker Nick Amendola (Norwin) was named to the Don Hansen Football Gazette Division II All-Super Region I second team. He had 74 tackles, 8.5 for loss, to go with five sacks and four interceptions.

Mercyhurst: Sophomore tight end Jason Armstrong (Latrobe) was named to the Don Hansen Football Gazette Division II All-Super Region I third team. In addition to his role as a key blocker, Armstrong had 21 receptions for 233 yards and six touchdowns.

West Liberty: Senior safety Logan Deri (Norwin) was named to the Don Hansen Football Gazette Division II All-Super Region I third team. A four-year starter, Deri led his team in tackles (79) and is the sixth player in program history to record 300 or more tackles.

The Hansen team is composed of the best players from the MEC, PSAC, G-MAC and NE-10 conferences.


Top 10 Westmoreland County sports moments of 2019

in Sports

Source: Trib Live

As the sun sets on another year in local sports, it’s time to look back on the best stories of 2019 in Westmoreland County.

There were championships, comebacks, program rebirths and coveted recruits. The final year in the second decade of the 2000s featured repeat winners and playoff newcomers and success that reached beyond the high school level.

They say hindsight is 2020, but here are the top 10 local sports stories of 2019.

10. Golfer Palmer Jackson has year to remember.

Now a breakthrough freshman at Notre Dame, Jackson had a tremendous summer before blending in seamlessly to college golf.

Jackson won the AJGA Memorial at Ohio State, qualified for the U.S. Junior, won the CR Miller Match Play tournament for a third time and reached the quarterfinals of the U.S. Amateur.

And what a debut season he had at Notre Dame. Jackson led the Fighting Irish in scoring average during the fall season at 70.07. He won the Quail Hollow Collegiate with a 16-under-par total of 200 and carded a second-round 66.

9. Mt. Pleasant’s Dom Giallonardo beats cancer for a second time and returns to baseball.

The senior defeated Ewing’s sarcoma for a second time to rejoin the Vikings, despite one of his legs being shorter than the other. His resolve inspired family members, teammates, friends, coaches and teachers.

8. Chris Eddins wins second straight NCAA D2 wrestling title.

The Pitt-Johnstown standout out of Greensburg Salem won his second straight NCAA Division II title as a junior at 149 pounds. He finished the season 23-0 and is ranked No. 1 in his weight class this year as the senior aims for a three-peat.

7. Penn-Trafford, state softball champs.

After a loss in the WPIAL semifinals, heavy-hitting Penn-Trafford softball regrouped to win its first PIAA title — the first state title for the school in any sport. The Warriors defeated Lampeter-Strasburg, 5-3, to become the fifth team from Westmoreland County to win a PIAA softball title, joining Hempfield, Mt. Pleasant, Yough and Valley.

6. Greensburg Central Catholic girls golf wins fifth straight WPIAL title.

The Centurions cruised to another championship at Cedarbrook Golf Course, winning by 51 strokes.Sophomore twin sisters Ella and Meghan Zambruno carded rounds of 77 and 78 to lead the way.

GCC went on to win its second consecutive PIAA title at Heritage Hills Resort in York. It shot 248 to slip past District 10 champion Hickory by four shots. Meghan Zambruno shot 77 to lead GCC.

5. Ligonier Valley joins the WPIAL.

After five decades competing in District 6, the district decided it needed a change of scenery — and enhanced competition — and made the move to join the WPIAL in all sports in 2020-21 school year. Ligonier Valley was a WPIAL member from 1927-69.

4. Southmoreland football finally makes it back to WPIAL playoffs.

After 40 years, the Scotties found their way back to relevance. While a hot start was overshadowed some by a rough finish — Southmoreland won five in a row and lost six straight —the team enjoyed a return to the WPIAL postseason for the first time since 1979. A groundswell of community support followed the Scotties all season.

3. Franklin Regional boys soccer wins back-to-back WPIAL titles — led by sophomore phenom Anthony DiFalco.

Defensive dominance again set the tone for a nationally ranked Panthers team. DiFalco and a talented cast topped rival West Allegheny in the WPIAL final before reaching the PIAA semifinals. The Panthers posted 17 shutouts in 23 games and finished 21-1-1.

DiFalco was named the WPIAL Class 3A Player of the Year, and Rand Hudson was selected as the coach of the year in the classification. DiFalco also received All-American recognition.

2. Iowa’s Spencer Lee wins a national wrestling title in Pittsburgh.

Competing in his backyard, Lee captured back-to-back NCAA Division I titles with a victory in the finals of the 125-pound bracket before 18,950 at PPG Paints Arena. The Franklin Regional graduate, now a junior, recently qualified for the 2020 U.S. Olympic Trials April 4-5 at Penn State.

1. Hempfield softball wins fifth straight WPIAL title.

A confident Spartans team made it a five-peat with a convincing, 15-0 win over North Allegheny in the WPIAL final. North Allegheny had defeated them twice during the regular season but was no match in the third meeting as Hempfield won in a mercy-ruled final shortened to four innings.

The Spartans tied Sto-Rox for the most WPIAL softball titles won in a row.

Honorable mention

• What a year it was for Division I linemen. College recruiters at the FBS and FCS levels came from all over to check out local linemen. When it was all said and done, seven linemen from the county landed with Division I programs: Fintan Brose (Delaware) and Cole Graham (St. Francis, Pa.) of Hempfield; Ligonier Valley’s Michael Petrof (Navy), Christian Jablonski (Lehigh) and Wylie Spiker (St. Francis, Pa.); Belle Vernon’s Hayden Baron (Robert Morris); and Yough graduate Scott Houseman (Albany), who played at Lackawanna junior college.

• Running backs Nathan Roby (Hempfield), Kyrie Miller (Ligonier Valley) and Justin Huss (Derry) ran wild in a late-season rushing surge.

• Mt. Pleasant’s Dayton Pitzer and Carter Dibert of Franklin Regional won PIAA wrestling titles.

• Greensburg Central Catholic won its first WPIAL championship soccer since 2009, led by standout senior Nate Ward. An Indiana recruit, Ward played in the High School All-American Game in Florida and scored a goal for the East team.

• The Yough girls reached WPIAL soccer finals for the first time behind record-breaking goal-scorer Justine Appolonia.

• Jeannette finally obtained artificial turf at McKee Stadium.

• Veteran girls basketball coach Gene Brisbane returned to coaching at age 67, taking over at Derry.

• City League champion Buddy Valinsky left Allderdice to coach Norwin boys basketball.

• The Belle Vernon football team returned to the WPIAL finals for the first time since 2009.

• Penn-Trafford field hockey won its fourth straight WPIAL title.

• Monessen two-sport star Devin Whitlock transferred to Belle Vernon.

• The Pitt-Greensburg women’s soccer made a historic run, winning the AMCC title and advancing to the NCAA Division III Tournament.

• Former Norwin basketball star Alayna Gribble, the Knight’s all-time leading scorer, gave up basketball at Pitt due to concussions.• Locals Robert Kennedy, Kareem Hall and Scott Houseman helped lead the Lackawanna football team to the JUCO national title game.

• Latrobe graduate Hannah Green, an elite-level runner, took second in the 800-meter run at the U.S. Track and Field Championships and qualified for the IAAF World Athletics Championships in Doha, Qatar.

• Former Hempfield star basketball player Kason Harrell turned professional and joined a team in Dublin, Ireland.

•Freshman Chelsea Bisi (Derry) tore it up offensively for Penn State softball. She made the All-Big Ten Freshman Team after leading the Nittany Lions with 37 RBIs. She hit 13 home runs.

• Jeannette grad Lamont “Showboat” Robinson was nominated for the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame for a third time for his role in comedy basketball.

•Penn-Trafford football played a game at national power Massillon, Ohio.


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