Chartiers Valley hoops finish 8-0 in summer league
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It is a typical offseason for the Chartiers Valley boys basketball team.
The Colts wrapped up regular-season play in the Pittsburgh Basketball Club Summer League with an 8-0 mark, picking up wins against Thomas Jefferson, Seton-La Salle and Baldwin along the way.
The unblemished record qualified the squad for the playoffs, which started this week. Chartiers Valley has had success in the tournament, winning the title from 2009 through 2011.
While the success has coach Tim McConnell pleased, he is more excited with the development of younger players such as Joe Antonucci, Ross Wilkerson and Caleb Zajicek.
“(The league) lets me take a look at my younger guys,” McConnell said. “I am really excited about some of the guys coming up from eighth to ninth grade and ninth to 10th. Those guys are gym rats and have really improved.”
The biggest challenge the Colts face will be finding a way to replace the production of Spencer Casson. The center graduated after a season in which he averaged 11.4 points, 11.3 rebounds and 7.5 blocks.
“We loved having Spencer back there knowing he was going to block shots,” McConnell said. “We are now going to have to play more up-tempo. We will need to pressure people into taking quicker shots and not let anyone get easy baskets.”
Chartiers Valley also will need to replace the production of Michael Boulos. He averaged 17.9 points as senior.
Luckily for the Colts, they return plenty of talent. Matty McConnell is back after a sophomore season in which averaged 15.8 points.
Rising senior Kyle Westover should expect an extended role after averaging 1.7 points and a rebound in limited varsity action. Haedyn Herzer is also back after being thrown into a starting role when guard Jerrad Tuite was injured.
He finished the season averaging 6.7 points.
“The experience he got last year will pay huge dividends,” McConnell said. “He will be a leader from the beginning of the season.”
Tuite also will return after missing his junior season. During a game at the KSA Classic in Orlando, Tuite fractured his kneecap after a collision with another player. In the four games he played as a junior, he averaged 11.3 points and was 55 percent from beyond the arc.
He has been cleared for full contact July 1.
“We also haven't had Eddie (Flohr), who has been in a boot,” McConnell said. “Those are two guys we haven't had in the summer league that we expect will only make us better.”
The PBC summer league playoffs got underway this week, but brackets were unavailable at press time. While he wants to get young guys playing time, McConnell wants his squad to go out on top.
“We are not going into it trying to lose, I can tell you that,” McConnell said. “Everyone wants to win.
“At the same time, it will show guys what it takes to play in a playoff atmosphere.”
Chartiers Valley started its playoff Wednesday when it faced either Central Valley or Seneca Valley.
The winner of that game moved on to the semifinals set for today, Thursday.
The Class AAA/AAAA championship game will be Tuesday at Ambridge.
Nathan Smith is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 412-388-5813.
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