Chartiers Valley big man Casson blocking opponents' hope of victory
The natural blocking ability of Chartiers Valley center Spencer Casson is the best coach Tim McConnell has seen for the Colts.
It may also be the best he has witnessed at the varsity level.
“I don't think I have seen a player in high school that can go up and block a shot like he does and keep it in play,” McConnell said. “He has such great timing for his blocks, and he keeps the ball in play and we go the other way with it. It's just so beneficial to our defense having him back there.
“He just has a knack for it. It's something you can't teach that he has within himself.”
The senior's eight blocks per game, along with his 12-rebound average, are a contributing factor on why the Colts are holding opponents to 50.1 points per game — seventh-best in Class AAA.
Casson's 2012-13 average has more than doubled his 3.1 blocks per game last year.
“I have been working on it since I was little,” Casson said. “I just make sure my timing is down when they go up for a shot. My arm length has really helped.”
Casson's 6-foot-6 frame and massive wing span has improved his blocking and rebounding production.
The senior has averaged 11.8 rebounds, up from 7.3 last season. Casson's long reach has provided a spark for the Colts' full-court assault.
“The way he rebounds really helps our offense,” McConnell said. “He gets the rebound, and we can go the other way and keep our speed up. It has been going really well lately for us, because he has been cleaning the boards.”
While he has been a natural fit at rebounding and blocking since joining the team as a sophomore, his scoring has been more of a gradual progression.
Casson finished the 2011-12 season averaging 8.1 points but has increased his scoring to 11.8 points — a needed increase for the team's success, according to McConnell.
“Every time they pass me the ball, I look to score first,” Casson said. “Then I look to pass out.
“It has been hard, because I am not as selfish of a player as (McConnell) would like me to be. But I'm working on it.”
McConnell has noticed the increased effort on offense. Casson's extended production has helped fill the void left after junior point guard Jerrad Tuite injured a knee early in the season and was sidelined for the year.
“(Casson) was more worried about passing the ball then scoring,” McConnell said. “I told him we need him to shoot the ball. If he is a scoring threat, that will open the outside for us.”
Casson is still weighing his options on where he will continue his playing career in college but said he has looked at California (Pa.), La Roche and Berea, a Division II program in Kentucky.
Before he looks ahead to the next level, Casson is preparing to help Chartiers Valley finish the season strong.
The Colts tore through the first half of the Section 5-AAA schedule, going 8-0. Casson said the team is focused on continuing the success as it looks to accomplish its three goals: win the section and WPIAL crowns and make its way through the PIAA playoffs.
“We need to go into each game with our heads in the game and ready to play,” Casson said.
The Colts return to action tomorrow, Friday, as they travel to Knoch for a nonsection showdown.
The Knights enter with a 9-6 overall record and 4-4 Section 1-AAA mark — putting them in fourth place and a likely playoff team.
The tipoff is set for 7:30 p.m.
Nathan Smith is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-388-5813 or at email@example.com.