Drop to Class AAA not making things easier for CV hoops
Things won't be getting any easier for the Chartiers Valley boys basketball team this season despite a drop in classification.
The Colts were placed in what may be the most competitive section in the classification — Section 5-AAA. Six of the seven teams made the WPIAL playoffs a year ago.
“People might think that it will be easier but it won't be,” Chartiers Valley coach Tim McConnell said. “Montour, South Fayette, Keystone Oaks and South Park are four very tough teams. The new section will be very competitive.
“It won't be as easy as some people think.”
The Colts make their return to Class AAA after a two-year trek in Class AAAA. The last time Chartiers Valley was in Class AAA, it went 29-2, won a WPIAL title and was the PIAA runner-up while being led by T.J. McConnell, now at Arizona.
To find success this season, the Colts have several returning players they can rely on. One is 6-foot-6 senior Spencer Casson, Chartiers Valley's most experienced player.
The center has been a dominating force on defense and rebounding for Chartiers Valley but will need to raise his offensive production this season.
“We know he can play defense,” McConnell said. “We know he can block shots and rebound. We need him to be more aggressive on offense for us to be successful this year.”
Senior Michael Boulos will be a leader; the guard has seen extended playing time off the bench the previous two seasons and will make the jump into a starting role this year.
“He is a leader verbally and with his actions,” McConnell said. “He is versatile. He can jump. He is so strong.”
Jerrad Tuite will play point guard. Tuite transferred from Baldwin to Chartiers Valley right before the beginning of last season.
With a full year of summer ball and preseason training, the junior is in line for a big year.
“We didn't know what to expect from him last year,” McConnell said. “Now he has a good understanding of what we run and should have a good year.”
Sophomore Matty McConnell is another returning guard who will give the team a strong shooting presence. Junior Dominic Castello will be a good presence off the bench at guard after a big summer-league season.
Junior guards Andreo Coury and Haedyn Herzer and newcomer junior Josh Lapiana will provide depth.
“I think we will be fast this season,” McConnell said. “We will get up and down the floor. We will be a better shooting team from the perimeter.
“It should be a fun team to watch.”
The Colts had no trouble at the Upper St. Clair tipoff tournament last weekend, picking up an 85-43 win over Monessen on Friday. McConnell led the team with 19 points, Boulos added 18 and Casson added 10.
Chartiers Valley notched a 77-58 win over the host team Saturday. Castello led the Colts with 23, Boulos added 16 and McConnell finished with 13.
Tuite and Casson each added 10.
The Colts will spend this week in Florida at the KSA Classic Tournament.
The event features teams from across the country. Chartiers Valley went 3-0 at the tournament last season.
“It helps the team form a brotherhood,” McConnell said. “The opportunity to get away helps the kids really bond.”
The Colts make their return to the courts of the WPIAL on Tuesday, when they host Waynesburg in their Section 5-AAA debut. Tipoff is set for 7:30 p.m.
The battle against the Raiders will take the Colts one step closer to reaching their goals.
“We are honestly in a tough section, and I hope to win it,” McConnell said. “We want to compete for the WPIAL title and get to the state title.
“As long as I am coaching, those will always be the goals.”
Nathan Smith is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 412-388-5813.