Quaker Valley basketball gaining experience at summer leagues
While many high schoolers are spending time away from their studies poolside or working a summer job, members of the Quaker Valley boys basketball team have been sweating it out on the hardwood.
The Quakers have competed in leagues at North Hills High School and Robert Morris, not to mention the Pittsburgh Basketball Club's Summer League, where they compiled a 7-1 regular-season record and reached the title game after defeating Avonworth, 58-50, in the semifinals last week. Results for the championship were unavailable prior to this edition's deadline.
“Our guys have been tremendous,” Quaker Valley coach Mike Mastroianni said. “We have multi-sport guys who have been going to football or baseball or lacrosse but also making the commitment to us.”
While the high school basketball season doesn't get under way for another six months, getting an early start is never a bad thing. The summer play allows coaches to evaluate returning talent and put players in different situations.
“We get to see a lot of guys play,” Mastroianni said. “Sometimes their roles change.”
The biggest challenge facing the Quakers will be finding a way replace the production of graduates Burke Moser and Nelson Westwood. Burke led Quaker Valley with 14.2 points per game while Westwood averaged 7.2. Micah Glenn also graduated after averaging 6.1 ppg in 2012-13.
“The summer is always about developing multiple guys who can handle the ball,” Mastroianni said. “We want to have more guys who can be decision makers.”
He added that several of the team's forwards — including rising senior Jack Stater and juniors Chris Conlan and Tyler Garbee — are able to handle the ball.
The team returns guard Qadir Taylor, who is the team's leading returning scorer with 8.7 ppg. Conlan (8.6), senior guard Jake Trovato (4.4) and senior forward John Bernard (4.2) will all be able to help the Quakers score points.
The team has a senior class of seven athletes that have been part of the squad's runs to the PIAA Class AA tournament the past two seasons.
The extended seasons and practice time should pay dividends this year.
“It is big because not only are they touching the ball in practice, it gives them confidence,” Mastroianni said. “Being the next group up, these guys will need that. The seniors are realizing as a group this is their time.”