Jeannette's Gregory, Penn-Trafford's Stanford named Tribune-Review players of the year
By Dave Mackall and Paul Schofield
Published: Sunday, April 7, 2013, 12:01 a.m.
Penn-Trafford's Corey Stanford and Jeannette's Ciara Gregory have been named the Tribune-Review's basketball players of the year.
Boys player of the year
6-4, Senior, Guard/Forward
For Corey Stanford, high school basketball is a bittersweet memory.
His final year still fresh in his mind, the Penn-Trafford High School star wonders where his path will lead after the Warriors' season collapsed in the second half and fell short of a WPIAL Class AAAA playoff berth.
The versatile, 6-foot-4, 215-pound Stanford, who attended Kiski School and played for its nationally renowned basketball program as a sophomore in 2010-11, is capable of playing shooting guard or point guard.
But over time, he was required to play every position in high school. He averaged 17.3 points per game as a senior but said not to overlook his passing skills.
“That is an element I've always understood. It's a big part of my game,” said Stanford, who was voted as the Tribune-Review's boys basketball player of the year for 2012-13.
While other high school teams were playing in the postseason, Stanford was looking elsewhere, immersing himself in a madness of another sort.
“The NCAA Tournament this year is pretty typical to me, but it's hitting a little closer to home because I'm heading to that level now,” he said.
Stanford said he couldn't bring himself to watch any WPIAL and PIAA playoff games, opting instead for the college scene.
“I've watched pretty much all of those games,” he said. “I just can't wait to play college basketball.”
Which people have had the greatest influence in your life?
There are a lot of people, such as past coaches. But my dad has had the biggest impact, giving me advice as a caring and loving person. When I'd fall, he'd be there to pick me up. My dad would travel. My mom would some, too. But you know moms, they can't do it like a dad can.
Can you describe the satisfaction you have gotten from your basketball career so far?
I had a good freshman year (at Penn-Trafford), and whenever I left to go to Kiski Prep, I had some momentum. I had a good year there and played against the best of the best in the country. When I came back, I wanted to dominate and take what I learned from there. My senior year didn't get the results I'd hope for us, but I felt like I matured on and off the court as a player and a teammate.
Have you thought about the adjustments you'll make in college?
I've got to get better on defense for the next level. I need to get bigger, faster and stronger. And I need to get a more consistent jumper and become a knock-down shooter coming off the screen. You have to a have a killer mentality to take over games and still be a team player. I passed the ball a lot in high school and still was able to score, but I've got to learn that when I'm open to shoot the ball and have that mentality that I can score at any time.
Earlier in your career, you had been receiving some attention from Division I schools. Is that still the case?
Some of that has dropped off. Not making the (WPIAL) playoffs this year hurt. Those college coaches like to get that second look at you, and I didn't really have an opportunity. You know when you're good enough, but you wonder what would be in store for you if we would have had that good season. It's been a challenge career-wise, where I have to decide if basketball would come before school or school before basketball. I have some options for sure. Prep school is an option, too.
Who are your all-time favorite basketball players?
Oh my, that's a tough one. I definitely like LeBron (James), and then I'd say Allen Iverson and Magic Johnson.
What are some of the other things, besides basketball, that interest you?
I like to go bowling and I like to go golfing. Sports sometimes takes your mind off the things of life. I'm a better bowler than a golfer. I almost bowled a 300 once, but I can't use a driver very well when I golf.
Boys Terrific 10
6-3, So., Guard
Harrell is a two-time Terrific 10 selection. He scored 360 points and averaged 16.4 points per game in helping Hempfield to a Section 1-AAAA title. Harrell excels in rebounding and defending.
6-7, So., Center
Pilato averaged 10 points and eight rebounds per game in helping Hempfield to a Section 1-AAAA title. He missed the last few regular-season games and a WPIAL playoff game with a back injury but has been cleared to resume workouts.
6-6, Sr., Forward
Soforic averaged 15 points per game and helped Latrobe reach the WPIAL Class AAAA playoffs. He scored 30 in a victory against Penn-Trafford. He will attend Temple University.
6-5, Sr., Forward
Stewart was a Terrific 10 player in 2012. He scored 351 points and averaged 15.3 points per game, helping Norwin reach the WPIAL Class AAAA playoffs. He will play basketball at Wheeling Jesuit.
6-1, So., Guard
Perz was a deadly 3-point shooter who scored 353 points and averaged 15.3 points per game. He transferred back to Norwin from Greensburg Central Catholic. He scored 25 points in a win against Connellsville.
6-1, So., Guard
Batts is a solid point guard who averaged six assists per game while scoring 358 points and averaging 14.9 points per game in helping Jeannette reach the WPIAL Class AA quarterfinals and qualify for the PIAA tournament.
6-4, Sr., Forward
Brown led Jeannette with 441 points and an 18.4 points-per-game average. He is a forward with guard skills. Brown is undecided about his future.
Greensburg Central Catholic
6-2, Jr., Forward
Graytok excelled against taller players. He scored 539 points and averaged 20.7 points per game in leading GCC to a Section 3-AA title. GCC reached the WPIAL quarterfinals and the PIAA second round.
Greensburg Central Catholic
6-0, Sr., Guard
Herman was a slashing guard who scored 509 points and averaged 19.6 points per game, helping GCC to a Section 3-AA title. Herman was an outstanding football player, but he's undecided about his future.
Girls player of the year
5-7, Senior, Point guard
Ciara Gregory, the WPIAL's leading scorer, has been named the Tribune-Review's girls basketball player of the year for a third consecutive time.
Gregory, a 5-foot-7 point guard at Jeannette who averaged 30.4 points per game as a senior, is headed to Charlotte on a scholarship. She recently was named to the Pennsylvania Sportswriters Class AA all-state first team.
“It's an honor to be on the team with all the best girls in the state,” Gregory said. “It's means a lot. It just shows that hard work pays off.”
Gregory acknowledged there's much more work to do. She's making a huge step from the high school ranks to college, she said.
Jeannette posted a 17-8 record in Gregory's senior year, losing to Seton-La Salle in the WPIAL semifinals and to General McLane in a PIAA first-round game. The Jayhawks won the WPIAL Section 3-AA title with an 11-1 mark.
What was the reaction from people when they learned that you were headed to Charlotte, a member of the Atlantic 10 (Charlotte will join Conference USA in 2013.).
A lot of people asked me if it was Division I.
They didn't really know anything about them?
Actually, I didn't know a lot about them until they recruited me.
Are you following the NCAA Women's Tournament with much regularity?
I've always followed it in the past. This year moreso. Charlotte should have been in it this year (Charlotte was upset by Temple in a first-round Atlantic 10 Tournament game and went on to reach the NIT Sweet 16.).
Are you superstitious? Did you have a pregame ritual?
I eat Chic-Fil-A before every game, and I have to say goodbye to my dog, Deuce, before I leave the house. I listen to music but not a certain song.
What will you remember most about your high school career?
Sure, you want to advance, but we had a good year and it's been a good career. It's an honor to play with and against some of the best players in high school and AAU. I wouldn't have had any success without any of my teammates and coaches.
You've been a prolific scorer at the high school level. Do you see it being different for you in the college game?
College is going to be a big transition for me. I have to get a lot stronger. The coaches at Charlotte already have sent me films on strength and conditioning. I'm a little nervous, but it's doesn't really intimidate me.
If you didn't play basketball, what sport would you play?
I used to play softball and soccer. I was pretty good in soccer. This year, I actually went to a softball practice. I tried out, but I just lost my interest for it.
Who are your all-time favorite basketball players?
I like Sammy Prahalis. She graduated from Ohio State. She's my favorite point guard. I like Diana Taurasi. I like LeBron (James). But my favorite overall player is Derek Rose. He's just so explosive. He can do it all. I learn from watching the men's game. I used to watch films of Derek Rose, but there hasn't been any lately (because the Chicago Bulls star has been injured all year).
What is it going to be like as you leave high school and start your college career?
I'm just trying to enjoy the rest of high school because I know I'll never have that experience again. I'm going to go to Charlotte on July 1, and I'm going to concentrate on academics right away. Basketball doesn't last forever. I'm going to study hard and focus on academics as much as basketball.
Girls Terrific 10
5-4, Sr., Guard
Oberdorf is a two-time Terrific 10 player who scored 378 points and averaged 17.2 points per game. She helped Greensburg Salem to a second-place finish in Section 3-AAA and will play softball in college at Marist.
5-10, Sr., Forward
Grimm is a three-time Terrific 10 player who helped Ligonier Valley reach the District 6 Class AAA finals and a PIAA tournament. A four-sport athlete (soccer, football and softball), Grimm will play softball at Kent State.
5-8, Sr., Guard
Livingston helped Blairsville to its first District 6 Class AA title and a 24-2 record. She scored 517 points, averaged 19.9 points per game and scored a season-high 38 against Penns Manor. She is being recruited by Indiana (Pa.) and Pitt-Johnstown.
Greensburg Central Catholic
5-5, So., Guard
Appleby scored 382 points and averaged 14.7 points per game in helping Greensburg Central Catholic reach the WPIAL Class AA semifinals and PIAA second round. She also is an outstanding softball player.
6-1, Sr., Forward
Slagus scored 451 points and averaged 19.6 points per game in helping Belle Vernon reach the WPIAL Class AAA quarterfinals. … She was a Terrific 10 player as a junior. She will attend Seton Hill where she'll play basketball and participate in track.
5-11, So., Forward
Palarino scored 327 points and averaged 12.6 points per game. She was a strong inside player but is capable of playing guard. She already is receiving Division I interest.
5-5, Sr., Guard
Cortazzo scored 310 points and averaged 12.9 points per game in helping Penn-Trafford reach the quarterfinals in both the PIAA and WPIAL Class AAAA playoffs. She is a two-time Terrific 10 all-star. She has been accepted at Washington & Jefferson.
5-6, Jr. Guard
Burns scored 402 points for an average of 18.3 points per game in helping Hempfield to a Section 1-AAAA title. She is getting college looks but has yet to receive an offer.
5-6, Sr., Guard
Kimmich made 45 3-pointers and finished with 337 points (14.0 ppg) in helping Franklin Regional reach the WPIAL playoffs. She also was a member of the 2012 Terrific 10 squad. She will attend St. Vincent College.
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