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Latrobe's Butler, Norwin's Gabauer named Westmoreland Tribune-Review Basketball Players of the Year

Bill Beckner Jr.
| Saturday, April 1, 2017, 9:30 p.m.
Norwin’s Abi Gabauer and Latrobe's Austin Butler at Latrobe Senior High School in Latrobe, Pa. on Thursday March 30, 2017.
Christian Tyler Randolph | Tribune-Review
Norwin’s Abi Gabauer and Latrobe's Austin Butler at Latrobe Senior High School in Latrobe, Pa. on Thursday March 30, 2017.
Norwin’s Abi Gabauer and Latrobe's Austin Butler at Latrobe Senior High School in Latrobe, Pa. on Thursday March 30, 2017.
Christian Tyler Randolph | Tribune-Review
Norwin’s Abi Gabauer and Latrobe's Austin Butler at Latrobe Senior High School in Latrobe, Pa. on Thursday March 30, 2017.
Latrobe's Austin Butler scores on a jump shot in the 83-82 win over Latrobe loss to Pine-Richland first round of the PIAA Boys Class 6A playoff game on Saturday, March 11, 2017.
Sidney Davis | Tribune-Review
Latrobe's Austin Butler scores on a jump shot in the 83-82 win over Latrobe loss to Pine-Richland first round of the PIAA Boys Class 6A playoff game on Saturday, March 11, 2017.
Latrobe’s Austin Butler (4) dunks the ball over Butler’s Collor Ollio (24) in the third quarter during the in WPIAL Class 6A quarterfinals on Saturday at Penn Hills.
Christian Tyler Randolph | Tribune-Review
Latrobe’s Austin Butler (4) dunks the ball over Butler’s Collor Ollio (24) in the third quarter during the in WPIAL Class 6A quarterfinals on Saturday at Penn Hills.
Latrobe's Austin Butler drives to the basket to score during the first half against Fox Chapel Tuesday, Feb. 7, 2017, in Fox Chapel.
Christopher Horner | Tribune-Review
Latrobe's Austin Butler drives to the basket to score during the first half against Fox Chapel Tuesday, Feb. 7, 2017, in Fox Chapel.
Norwin's Abi Gabauer drives towards the hoop Tuesday, Jan. 17, 2017, in North Huntingdon.
Dan Speicher | Tribune-Review
Norwin's Abi Gabauer drives towards the hoop Tuesday, Jan. 17, 2017, in North Huntingdon.
Norwin's Abi Gabauer (31) looks to pass under pressure from Penn-Trafford's Mackenzie Aunkst (2) during the second period on Friday, Jan. 20, 2017, at Norwin. Norwin leads 25-20 at halftime.
Ken Reabe Jr. | For The Tribune-Review
Norwin's Abi Gabauer (31) looks to pass under pressure from Penn-Trafford's Mackenzie Aunkst (2) during the second period on Friday, Jan. 20, 2017, at Norwin. Norwin leads 25-20 at halftime.
Norwin's Abigail Gabauer and Butler's Jenna Kunst battle for a rebound during the first round of the WPIAL Class 6A playoffs Tuesday, Feb. 21, 2017, at Fox Chapel High School.
Louis B. Ruediger | Tribune-Review
Norwin's Abigail Gabauer and Butler's Jenna Kunst battle for a rebound during the first round of the WPIAL Class 6A playoffs Tuesday, Feb. 21, 2017, at Fox Chapel High School.
Meadville's Lashon Lindsey defends on Franklin Regional's Simon Behr during 5-a boys PIAA second round action Thursday, March 16, 2017 at at Farrell High School.
Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review
Meadville's Lashon Lindsey defends on Franklin Regional's Simon Behr during 5-a boys PIAA second round action Thursday, March 16, 2017 at at Farrell High School.
Latrobe's Jake Biss shoots over Fox Chapel's Elias Panos during their WPIAL Boy's Basketball contest at Latrobe High School on Friday Jan, 13, 2017 in Latrobe
Barry Reeger | For The Tribune-Review
Latrobe's Jake Biss shoots over Fox Chapel's Elias Panos during their WPIAL Boy's Basketball contest at Latrobe High School on Friday Jan, 13, 2017 in Latrobe
Norwin's Anthony DelleFemine makes a pass around Penn-Trafford's Brayden Puskar on Tuesday, Dec. 20, 2016 at Penn-Trafford.
Steph Chambers | Tribune-Review
Norwin's Anthony DelleFemine makes a pass around Penn-Trafford's Brayden Puskar on Tuesday, Dec. 20, 2016 at Penn-Trafford.
Greensburg Central Catholic's Ben Hertzog hoists a three-pointer as OLSH's Dominic Davis defends during the WPIAL Boys Class 2A semifinal game at Fox Chapel High School on Tuesday, Feb. 28, 2017.
Sidney Davis | Tribune-Review
Greensburg Central Catholic's Ben Hertzog hoists a three-pointer as OLSH's Dominic Davis defends during the WPIAL Boys Class 2A semifinal game at Fox Chapel High School on Tuesday, Feb. 28, 2017.
Greensburg Central Catholic's Neal McDermott (11) drives to the basket and scores during the second quarter against Shady Side Academy on Monday, Feb. 13, 2017, in Carbon.
Ken Reabe Jr. | For The Tribune-Review
Greensburg Central Catholic's Neal McDermott (11) drives to the basket and scores during the second quarter against Shady Side Academy on Monday, Feb. 13, 2017, in Carbon.
Norwin’s Abi Gabauer and Latrobe's Austin Butler at Latrobe Senior High School in Latrobe, Pa. on Thursday March 30, 2017.
Christian Tyler Randolph | Tribune-Review
Norwin’s Abi Gabauer and Latrobe's Austin Butler at Latrobe Senior High School in Latrobe, Pa. on Thursday March 30, 2017.
Greensburg Salem guard Marvel McGowan (00) has his shot blocked by Mount Pleasant's Keith Kalp (15) during the fourth period on Thursday, Dec. 29, 2016, at Greensburg Salem High School. Greensburg Salem won 51-44.
Ken Reabe Jr. | For The Tribune-Review
Greensburg Salem guard Marvel McGowan (00) has his shot blocked by Mount Pleasant's Keith Kalp (15) during the fourth period on Thursday, Dec. 29, 2016, at Greensburg Salem High School. Greensburg Salem won 51-44.
Jeannette's Mike Pompei (3) drives around Bishop McCort's Matt Petrosky (42) to score during the third quarter in the first round of the PIAA Class 2A playoffs on Saturday, March 11, 2017, at Richland High School in Johnstown. Bishop McCort won 65-51.
Ken Reabe Jr. | For The Tribune-Review
Jeannette's Mike Pompei (3) drives around Bishop McCort's Matt Petrosky (42) to score during the third quarter in the first round of the PIAA Class 2A playoffs on Saturday, March 11, 2017, at Richland High School in Johnstown. Bishop McCort won 65-51.
Southmoreland's Brandon Stone (23) brings the ball forecourt following a steal during the second quarter against Shady Side Academy on Thursday, Feb. 23, 2017, at Gateway High School. Shady Side Academy leads 23-22 at halftime.
Ken Reabe Jr. | For The Tribune-Review
Southmoreland's Brandon Stone (23) brings the ball forecourt following a steal during the second quarter against Shady Side Academy on Thursday, Feb. 23, 2017, at Gateway High School. Shady Side Academy leads 23-22 at halftime.
Penn-Trafford's Mackenzie Aunkst (2) looks for room around Norwin's Jayla Wehner (22) during the fourth period on Friday, Jan. 20, 2017, at Norwin. Norwin won 37-34.
Ken Reabe Jr. | For The Tribune-Review
Penn-Trafford's Mackenzie Aunkst (2) looks for room around Norwin's Jayla Wehner (22) during the fourth period on Friday, Jan. 20, 2017, at Norwin. Norwin won 37-34.
Hempfield's Michelle Burns (10) dribbles the ball forecourt during the fourth quarter against Latrobe on Monday, Jan. 30, 2017, at Latrobe. Latrobe won 55-51.
Ken Reabe Jr. | For The Tribune-Review
Hempfield's Michelle Burns (10) dribbles the ball forecourt during the fourth quarter against Latrobe on Monday, Jan. 30, 2017, at Latrobe. Latrobe won 55-51.
Latrobe's Laura Graytok (24) takes a shot and is fouled by Hempfield's Ali Belgiovane (1) during the second quarter on Monday, Jan. 30, 2017, at Latrobe. Hempfield leads at halftime 29-26.
Ken Reabe Jr. | For The Tribune-Review
Latrobe's Laura Graytok (24) takes a shot and is fouled by Hempfield's Ali Belgiovane (1) during the second quarter on Monday, Jan. 30, 2017, at Latrobe. Hempfield leads at halftime 29-26.
Greensburg Salem's Megan Kallock brings the ball downcourt against Hampton during the WPIAL Girls Class 5A playoff game at Fox Chapel High School on Friday, Feb. 17, 2017. Greensburg lost the game, 75-34.
Sidney Davis | Tribune-Review
Greensburg Salem's Megan Kallock brings the ball downcourt against Hampton during the WPIAL Girls Class 5A playoff game at Fox Chapel High School on Friday, Feb. 17, 2017. Greensburg lost the game, 75-34.
Norwin's Danielle McMaster (12) grabs a defensive rebound during the fourth period against Penn-Trafford on Friday, Jan. 20, 2017, at Norwin. Norwin won 37-34.
Ken Reabe Jr. | For The Tribune-Review
Norwin's Danielle McMaster (12) grabs a defensive rebound during the fourth period against Penn-Trafford on Friday, Jan. 20, 2017, at Norwin. Norwin won 37-34.
Ligonier Valley's Olivia Miller participates in a practice session on Thursday, Dec. 01, 2016 in Ligonier.
Barry Reeger | For The Tribune-Review
Ligonier Valley's Olivia Miller participates in a practice session on Thursday, Dec. 01, 2016 in Ligonier.
Greensburg Central Catholic's Haley Moore (14) drives into the lane around Brentwood's Natalie Murrio (32) during the fourth quarter of a WPIAL Class 2A playoff game on Thursday, Feb. 23, 2017, at Gateway High School. Greensburg Central Catholic won 61-47.
Ken Reabe Jr. | For The Tribune-Review
Greensburg Central Catholic's Haley Moore (14) drives into the lane around Brentwood's Natalie Murrio (32) during the fourth quarter of a WPIAL Class 2A playoff game on Thursday, Feb. 23, 2017, at Gateway High School. Greensburg Central Catholic won 61-47.
Southmoreland's Olivia Porter dribbles past Mt.Pleasant's Kerri Bungard during their girl's basketball game at Southmoreland High School on Thursday Feb. 9, 2017.
Barry Reeger | For The Tribune-Review
Southmoreland's Olivia Porter dribbles past Mt.Pleasant's Kerri Bungard during their girl's basketball game at Southmoreland High School on Thursday Feb. 9, 2017.
Greensburg Central Catholic's Brittany Stawovy (11) looks for room around Penn Hills' Nadya Coleman (2) during the second quarter on Saturday, Feb. 11, 2017, at Penn Hills High School. Penn Hills won 55-39.
Ken Reabe Jr. | For The Tribune-Review
Greensburg Central Catholic's Brittany Stawovy (11) looks for room around Penn Hills' Nadya Coleman (2) during the second quarter on Saturday, Feb. 11, 2017, at Penn Hills High School. Penn Hills won 55-39.
Franklin Regional forward Simon Behr (32) puts up a shot over Moon's Jarrod Simmons (22) off an offensive rebound during the first period in the first round of the PIAA Class 5A playoffs on Friday, March 10, 2017, at Plum High School. Moon leads 23-20 at halftime.
Ken Reabe Jr. | For The Tribune-Review
Franklin Regional forward Simon Behr (32) puts up a shot over Moon's Jarrod Simmons (22) off an offensive rebound during the first period in the first round of the PIAA Class 5A playoffs on Friday, March 10, 2017, at Plum High School. Moon leads 23-20 at halftime.
Latrobe’s Jake Biss (0) puts up a shot against Butler in the fourth quarter during the in WPIAL Class 6A quarterfinals on Saturday at Penn Hills.
Christian Tyler Randolph | Tribune-Review
Latrobe’s Jake Biss (0) puts up a shot against Butler in the fourth quarter during the in WPIAL Class 6A quarterfinals on Saturday at Penn Hills.
Southmoreland's Tommy Pisula (21) goes the length of the court to score late in the first quarter against Avonworth on Saturday, Feb. 18, 2017, in Peters Township. Southmoreland won 64-55 in overtime.
Ken Reabe Jr. | For The Tribune-Review
Southmoreland's Tommy Pisula (21) goes the length of the court to score late in the first quarter against Avonworth on Saturday, Feb. 18, 2017, in Peters Township. Southmoreland won 64-55 in overtime.
Norwin's Anthony DelleFemine (22) hits a 3-point shot during the first period against Penn-Trafford on Friday, Jan. 20, 2017, at Norwin. Norwin leads 29-26 at halftime.
Ken Reabe Jr. | For The Tribune-Review
Norwin's Anthony DelleFemine (22) hits a 3-point shot during the first period against Penn-Trafford on Friday, Jan. 20, 2017, at Norwin. Norwin leads 29-26 at halftime.
Latrobe’s Laura Graytok (24) drives to the basket against the Hempfield Spartans in the second quarter Friday, Jan. 6, 2017, at Hempfield Area Senior High School in Hempfield.
Christian Tyler Randolph | Tribune-Review
Latrobe’s Laura Graytok (24) drives to the basket against the Hempfield Spartans in the second quarter Friday, Jan. 6, 2017, at Hempfield Area Senior High School in Hempfield.
Norwin's Danielle McMaster battles Penn Hills' DNadya Coleman for a rebound during their game Tuesday, Jan. 24, 2017, at Penn Hills.
Christopher Horner | Tribune-Review
Norwin's Danielle McMaster battles Penn Hills' DNadya Coleman for a rebound during their game Tuesday, Jan. 24, 2017, at Penn Hills.
Greensburg Central Catholic's Ben Hertzog (14) drives to the hoop and is fouled by Neshannock's Jared Staph (4) during the second quarter of a WPIAL Class 2A playoff game on Friday, Feb. 24, 2017, at Fox Chapel High School. Greensburg Central Catholic leads 24-21 at halftime.
Ken Reabe Jr. | For The Tribune-Review
Greensburg Central Catholic's Ben Hertzog (14) drives to the hoop and is fouled by Neshannock's Jared Staph (4) during the second quarter of a WPIAL Class 2A playoff game on Friday, Feb. 24, 2017, at Fox Chapel High School. Greensburg Central Catholic leads 24-21 at halftime.
Greensburg Central Catholic's Neal McDermott (11) scores in the opening minute of the first quarter against Coudersport in the second round of the PIAA Class 2A playoffs on Thursday, March 16, 2017, at Clearfield Area High School. Greensburg Central Catholic won 72-63, eliminating Coudersport from the playoffs with their first loss of the season.
Ken Reabe Jr. | For The Tribune-Review
Greensburg Central Catholic's Neal McDermott (11) scores in the opening minute of the first quarter against Coudersport in the second round of the PIAA Class 2A playoffs on Thursday, March 16, 2017, at Clearfield Area High School. Greensburg Central Catholic won 72-63, eliminating Coudersport from the playoffs with their first loss of the season.
Greensburg's No. 00, Marvel McGowan, attempts a foul shot in the second half of the game at Kiski Area High School. Friday, Jan. 6, 2016
Greensburg's No. 00, Marvel McGowan, attempts a foul shot in the second half of the game at Kiski Area High School. Friday, Jan. 6, 2016
Southmoreland's Tommy Pisula (21) drives to the basket and scores during the third quarter against Avonworth on Saturday, Feb. 18, 2017, in Peters Township. Southmoreland won 64-55 in overtime.
Ken Reabe Jr. | For The Tribune-Review
Southmoreland's Tommy Pisula (21) drives to the basket and scores during the third quarter against Avonworth on Saturday, Feb. 18, 2017, in Peters Township. Southmoreland won 64-55 in overtime.
Jeannette's Mike Pompei (3) drives to the basket on Greensburg Central Catholic's Neal McDermott (11) during the second quarter on Friday, Feb. 10, 2017, at Jeannette High School. Greensburg Central Catholic leads 35-15 at halftime.
Ken Reabe Jr. | For The Tribune-Review
Jeannette's Mike Pompei (3) drives to the basket on Greensburg Central Catholic's Neal McDermott (11) during the second quarter on Friday, Feb. 10, 2017, at Jeannette High School. Greensburg Central Catholic leads 35-15 at halftime.
Southmoreland's Brandon Stone (23) drives for a shot ovwer Avonworth's Matthew Crilley (20) during the fourth quarter on Saturday, Feb. 18, 2017, in Peters Township. Southmoreland won 64-55 in overtime.
Ken Reabe Jr. | For The Tribune-Review
Southmoreland's Brandon Stone (23) drives for a shot ovwer Avonworth's Matthew Crilley (20) during the fourth quarter on Saturday, Feb. 18, 2017, in Peters Township. Southmoreland won 64-55 in overtime.
Greensburg Central Catholic's Brittany Stawovy (11) takes a jump shot as times expires in the first quarter against Brentwood on Thursday, Feb. 23, 2017, at Gateway High School. Greensburg Central Catholic leads 35-19 at halftime.
Ken Reabe Jr. | For The Tribune-Review
Greensburg Central Catholic's Brittany Stawovy (11) takes a jump shot as times expires in the first quarter against Brentwood on Thursday, Feb. 23, 2017, at Gateway High School. Greensburg Central Catholic leads 35-19 at halftime.
Greensburg Central Catholic’s Haley Moore (14) cuts to the basket against Penn-Trafford in the fourth quarter on Saturday at Seton Hill.
Christian Tyler Randolph | Tribune-Review
Greensburg Central Catholic’s Haley Moore (14) cuts to the basket against Penn-Trafford in the fourth quarter on Saturday at Seton Hill.
Norwin’s Abi Gabauer and Latrobe's Austin Butler at Latrobe Senior High School in Latrobe, Pa. on Thursday March 30, 2017.
Christian Tyler Randolph | Tribune-Review
Norwin’s Abi Gabauer and Latrobe's Austin Butler at Latrobe Senior High School in Latrobe, Pa. on Thursday March 30, 2017.
Hempfield’s Michelle Burns (10) passes the ball off to a teammate against the Latrobe Wildcats in the third quarter Friday, Jan. 6, 2017, at Hempfield Area Senior High School in Hempfield.
Christian Tyler Randolph | Tribune-Review
Hempfield’s Michelle Burns (10) passes the ball off to a teammate against the Latrobe Wildcats in the third quarter Friday, Jan. 6, 2017, at Hempfield Area Senior High School in Hempfield.

Latrobe's Austin Butler and Norwin's Abi Gabauer are the Westmoreland Tribune-Review Basketball Players of the Year.

Austin Butler

Latrobe, 6-4, SR., Guard

Some call him "AB." Others know him as "Buzz."

For this purpose, Austin Butler's title remains Westmoreland Tribune-Review Boys Basketball Player of the Year.

The Latrobe senior repeats as the county's top player after leading the WPIAL in scoring at 30 points per game and propelling the Wildcats (19-5) to the WPIAL Class 6A quarterfinals and a return trip to the PIAA playoffs.

Senior Neal McDermott of Greensburg Central Catholic and Southmoreland junior Brandon Stone also were considered for the honor.

Butler scored a school-record 48 points — with 10 3-pointers — in the second game of the season and never left the fast lane. Multiple big-point performances, and wins, make it difficult to define his high-water mark, but his last game sure was memorable.

He nearly carried the Wildcats back from 20 points down in an 83-82 loss to WPIAL champion and state runner-up Pine-Richland in the PIAA first round. It's a game people still are talking about.

"I screamed as I left the court at halftime," said Butler, who had 21 of his 28 points in the second half. "I took it to them. We had to show we weren't just a bunch of little babies from Westmoreland County. I didn't want my last game in that jersey turn into, 'Not again ... he choked.' "

Butler, known for his deep-range shooting, attacked the basket more this season and presented defensive challenges for every team he faced. The 6-foot-4 guard broke the boys' school scoring record and finished his career with 1,905 points.

He also averaged 6.5 rebounds and 2.5 steals.

The Holy Cross recruit will no doubt be remembered as one of the best players — and all-around athletes — to come out of Latrobe.

"He is a tremendous athlete and ambassador for our school," Latrobe coach Brad Wetzel said. "What made him special was the evolution of his game. From a tall, awkward sophomore .... to being a more physical, all-around player as a senior. He didn't have a great shooting year, but he led the team in rebounding and found ways to get us points when we needed them."

Wetzel said Butler has been around the program for more than 14 years. Butler's father, Eric, is Wetzel's longtime assistant coach.

"I remember him being like 5 years old, coming up to us saying he won the halftime halfcourt-shooting contest," Wetzel said. "They let him shoot from the top of the key. He won a lot of free pizzas from around the Tri-State area."

Butler and senior teammate Jake Biss will be remembered as a formidable tandem.

"They complemented each other," Wetzel said. "You had the calm and cool guy (Biss), and the fury and raw emotion (Butler).

Butler, who played quarterback for the Wildcats and is primed to make an impact in track and field this season, took some time to reflect on his senior season and career in a Q&A:

How will Latrobe fans remember you?

I think I left my mark. But I couldn't have done it without the best coach in the WPIAL, coach Wetzel, and great teammates. I felt I did all I could.

How important was it to have your dad, Eric, as an assistant coach, and brother, Bryce, as a teammate?

It was a privilege and something I am very appreciative of. My dad has always been my coach, Getting to pass it to my brother and have him score was something special.

Best advice you've ever heard?

Don't let anyone tell you can't do something. I have heard a lot of things from student sections and on Twitter — "You're overrated," "Latrobe's overrated." I didn't let that bother me. People can say whatever they want, but it won't bother me.

What actor would play you in a movie?

Well, there's an actor with the same name, so I guess it would have to be him.

What is your can't-miss TV show or shows?

It's girly but I'd say "One Tree Hill." It's on Netflix. I'm watching SportsCenter the rest of the time.

Twitter or Facebook?

Twitter.

Gatorade or Powerade?

Gatorade.

Where do the nicknames come from?

"AB" has kind of always been there but has died down of late. "Buzz" started my sophomore year of football.

Boys Terrific 10

Simon Behr

Franklin Regional

6-5, Sr., Forward

Traditional post player (12 ppg, 8 rpg) helped Panthers reach WPIAL, PIAA playoffs. Shot 63 percent from field. Hit game-winning shot to upset Moon, 52-51, in PIAA first round.

JAKE BISS

Latrobe

6-2, sr., guard

One of WPIAL's top point guards guided high-scoring Wildcats (76.3 ppg) to WPIAL 6A quarters, PIAA first round. Averaged 13 points, 6.5 assists, 5.5 rebounds and 2.5 steals. Shippensburg recruit.

ANTHONY DELLEFEMINE

Norwin

6-2, Sr., guard

High-intensity guard led Knights at 14.3 points per game. Also provided 2.6 assists, 2.5 rebounds and often drew opponents' top defenders.

BEN HERTZOG

Greensburg C.C.

6-2, sr., guard

Integral part of Greensburg Central Catholic's undefeated regular season and postseason run to WPIAL 2A semifinals and PIAA quarters. Averaged 14.4 points, 5 rebounds, 4 assists.

NEAL MCDERMOTT

Greensburg C.C.

6-2, sr., guard

Had breakthrough season for Centurions (25-1) with 19.4 points, 6 rebounds, 3 assists, 2 steals a game. Part of senior group with 72 wins, three section titles, 10 playoff wins.

MARVEL MCGOWAN

Greensburg Salem

6-0, Jr., guard

Averaged 19.5 points and shot 50 percent from field. Also put up 3.6 rebounds, 3 assists, 2.3 steals. Had 34 points against Blairsville, 32 against Franklin Regional.

TOMMY PISULA

Southmoreland

6-2, Sr., guard

Mt. Aloysius recruit returned from knee injury to help Scotties reach WPIAL 3A quarters. Had 1,043 points in three seasons. Averaged 18.3 points, 7.4 rebounds, 3.1 assists.

MIKE POMPEI

Jeannette

6-0, Sr., guard

Streaky go-to scorer helped lead Jayhawks (12-13) to WPIAL, PIAA 2A playoffs. Posted 16.9 points, 3.0 assists, 1.5 steals. Finished with 1,023 career points.

BRANDON STONE

Southmoreland

6-11, Jr., guard/forward

Division I prospect led Scotties to WPIAL quarterfinals for first time since 1987. Averaged 25.3 points and 11.4 rebounds, and blocked 2.5 shots. Has 1,199 career points.

———

Abi Gabauer

Norwin, 5-9, SR., Guard/Forward

Before every game this season, after warmups, Abi Gabauer dashed across the court to greet her father, Tim, for a pregame fist-bump.

"He always sits first row, in the middle," said Gabauer, a senior at Norwin. "It meant so much to us as I continue to build my story."

And what a story it has become for the Westmoreland Tribune-Review Girls Basketball Player of the Year.

Gabauer missed her sophomore season with a torn ACL and saw minimal playing time last season on a team that repeated as WPIAL Quad-A champions. She played on the junior varsity team, but she watched the varsity and paid close attention to detail.

Determined to rise to the occasion and help fill huge graduation vacancies, she put in extra time in the gym, lifting weights, getting up shots and improving her game: Norwin players earn playing time.

And then, this season, "I came out of nowhere," she said.

In one year's time, Gabauer burst onto the scene and forged her own identity. An all-around player and scene-stealer, she helped uphold program tradition as she assumed a leadership role and guided the Knights (17-6) back to the WPIAL playoffs in the new 6A classification.

Laura Graytok of Latrobe, Greensburg Central Catholic's Brittany Stawovy and Olivia Porter of Southmoreland also were considered for player of the year.

Gabauer is the third consecutive Trib player of the year from Norwin. Pitt freshman Alayna Gribble won the award the past two years.

Gabauer led Norwin in scoring (15 ppg), rebounds (7 rpg) and 3-point percentage (35), and often was the best defender on the floor.

She has committed to play at Division II West Virginia Wesleyan.

"Abi was our rock," Norwin coach Brian Brozeski said. "She was a relentless rebounder and a determined defender. Often times she found herself defending taller players in the post, however, she was able to utilize her quickness to eliminate any mismatch post feeds. Offensively, Abi was a threat from anywhere on the court."

Gabauer talked about her love of weight-lifting, reality TV, her dogs and playing two positions in a recent Q&A:

How will you be remembered in the Norwin program?

For my determination, and preparing myself to be a great leader. Never expect anything.

What did it mean to be around for Norwin's championship runs?

I really enjoyed being around those girls over the years. They taught us so much, and I tried to present that to the younger girls.

Were you more of a guard or forward?

I was always the "big" person in our age group. This year I was introduced to shooting guard. I liked it and probably will play it in college.

What is your favorite sport to play, other than basketball?

I always enjoyed volleyball, and I played softball. Wiffle ball with my brother. I love to lift. I am always in the weight room.

Any odd basketball-related rituals?

At practice, I always wear my socks inside-out. And I always wore two pairs of socks in games. I also have always eaten healthy. I'd rather have a bowl of fruit than a bowl of Skittles.

What is your can't-miss TV show or shows?

I love the TLC channel. And I also like Food Network and HGTV.

Any family pets?

We have two dogs: a 253-pound St. Bernard (Winston) and a chocolate lab (Bear).

What actor would play you in a movie?

Jim Carrey. I am goofy. I can be very odd sometimes.

Twitter or Facebook?

Twitter.

What is your favorite flavor of Gatorade?

Glacier Freeze (blue).

Girls Terrific 10

MACKENZIE AUNKST

Penn-Trafford

5-7, Jr., guard

Scrappy defender led Warriors in scoring (9.5 ppg) and FG percentage (47), and set school record for least amount of turnovers by a point guard — 5-to-1 assist-to-turnover ratio.

MICHELLE BURNS

Hempfield

5-5, Sr., Guard

Helped lead Hempfield (14-10) to WPIAL playoffs for 16th straight season, and PIAA playoffs, in first season in Class 6A. Slowed by a foot injury, put up 15.0 points, 5.0 assists.

LAURA GRAYTOK

Latrobe

5-7, Jr., guard

Led Westmoreland County girls in scoring at 21.6 ppg and also averaged 3.5 rebounds, 4.0 assists and 4.0 steals. Division I prospect has 1,037 career points.

MEGAN KALLOCK

Greensburg Salem

5-6, So., guard

Scored 19.7 points per game for the Golden Lions (10-13), who made WPIAL 5A playoffs. Had three games of 30 or more points. Also 3.9 rebounds, 2.6 steals, 2.4 assists.

DANIELLE MCMASTER

Norwin

5-8, Sr., guard/forward

Lone returning starter from two-time WPIAL champs was senior leader who averaged 13 points, 4.0 steals, 2.0 assists for Knights (17-6).

OLIVIA MILLER

Ligonier Valley

5-9, Sr., guard/forward

Do-it-all senior forward averaged 18.7 points, 10.3 rebounds and was one of best players in District 6. Also contributed 2.6 steals and 1.6 blocks for the Rams.

HALEY MOORE

Greensburg C.C.

5-8, Sr., guard

Emerged as scoring threat for Centurions (19-6), who reached WPIAL Class 2A semifinals and PIAA second round. Put up 14.4 points, 8.3 rebounds, 3.1 steals and 2.4 assists a game.

OLIVIA PORTER

Southmoreland

5-8, Sr., guard

Had one of top all-around seasons in county: 20.8 points, 4.2 rebounds, 4.5 steals, 2.2 assists a game. Finished with 1,353 career points, second on school's scoring list.

BRITTANY STAWOVY

Greensburg C.C.

5-7, Sr., guard

Led Centurions to 17th straight playoff trip and another deep run. Averaged 15.2 points, 7.1 rebounds, 5.1 steals, 4.7 assists. Scored 1,121 career points.

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We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.