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Elizabeth Forward girls set to host annual Betsy Invitational

| Tuesday, Dec. 24, 2013, 5:54 p.m.
Elizabeth Forward's Natalie Fekula grabs a rebound over Thomas Jefferson defenders on Thursday, December 19, 2013 at Elizabeth Forward. Ronald Vezzani Jr. | for the Daily News
Elizabeth Forward's Abagail Sporio drives to the hoop against Thomas Jefferson's Haley Zoglmann on Thursday, December 19, 2013 at Elizabeth Forward. Ronald Vezzani Jr. | for the Daily News

In a way, Elizabeth Forward is one-two in WPIAL Class AAA basketball, the Warriors boys ranking No. 1 and the girls No. 2 by Trib Total Media.

Both will be on display this week as part of a group of teams in the Daily News area scheduled to play in holiday tournaments.

The Elizabeth Forward girls will face Class AAAA McKeesport at 8 p.m. Friday in the second of two scheduled varsity games at the 39th Elizabeth Forward Betsy Invitational.

Norwin and Baldwin will meet earlier in a matchup of Class AAAA teams at 4:45 p.m.

“It's a good fill-in until the section schedule picks up again,” Elizabeth Forward coach Sam Kosanovich said. “You slow down a little for the holidays, and that's understandable. But you just can't stop playing for two weeks. You have to stay active. This tournament is a good thing for our varsity and jayvee teams.”

The tournament opens at 3:30 p.m. Friday with a JV game matching Norwin against Baldwin. The Elizabeth Forward and McKeesport JV teams are scheduled to play at 6:30 p.m.

Also on Friday, the top-ranked Class AAA Elizabeth Forward boys meet Class AAAA Connellsville at 6 p.m. at the West Allegheny Tournament.

Class AAA East Allegheny and Class AA Serra Catholic also are playing host to girls tournaments beginning Friday.

At the East Allegheny Tournament, Class A Clairton meets Class AAA Yough at noon and East Allegheny faces City League opponent Brashear at 1:30 p.m.

At the Serra Catholic Tournament, Class AAA Trinity battles Allderdice of the City League at 6 p.m., followed by Class AA teams Steel Valley and No. 2 Serra Catholic at 7:30 p.m.

One other ranked girls team is in action Friday as Class AAA No. 4 West Mifflin faces Class A Imani Christian at 7 p.m. at the California (Pa.) Classic.

Elsewhere, Class AAA Thomas Jefferson plays Class AAAA Connellsville at 2:15 p.m. Friday and Class AAAA Albert Gallatin at 2:15 p.m. Saturday at the Laurel Highlands Tournament, and Class AAAA Woodland Hills meets Class AA Mohawk at 6 p.m. Friday and District 6-AAAA Hollidaysburg at 4 p.m. Saturday at the Riverside LGKC Classic.

“It could get interesting in our tournament because we could end up playing Baldwin on Saturday,” said Kosanovich, a former men's assistant and women's coach at NAIA Division II Point Park, where he coached current Baldwin girls coach Gavin Prosser and Prosser's assistants Zach Ferguson and Kristen Veseleny, a Thomas Jefferson product.

“I coached Kristen for three of the four years she played at Point Park,” Kosanovich said. “You can go after who you want in college but you must try to develop what you have in high school. That's the one big difference in coaching between the two levels.”

Kosanovich won't attend this week's tournament games and also missed Elizabeth Forward's 75-53 victory over Thomas Jefferson on Thursday because of an unspecified illness. Elizabeth Forward assistant Mark Ferguson — the brother of Zach Ferguson — has been leading the team until Kosanovich's anticipated return to the bench Jan. 2.

“I'm all right,” said Kosanovich, 62. “I'm still at our practices. I'm just not doing the games for now.”

Three area boys teams are in tournament action beginning Thursday as Class AAA Yough meets Class AA host Charleroi at 7:30 p.m., and Class A Clairton plays Class AA Jeannette at 2 p.m., and Class AAAA Woodland Hills battles Class AA No. 2 Greensburg Central Catholic at 5:30 p.m. in the Gateway Hoops Classic.

Other Friday tournaments involving area boys teams find Class AA South Allegheny playing Class A Cornell at 5 p.m. at the Carlynton Tournament, Class AAA Steel Valley facing an opponent yet to be determined at 7:30 p.m. at the Charleroi Tournament, McKeesport meeting Latrobe at 6 p.m. in a game involving Class AAAA teams and Class AAA East Allegheny taking on Class AAAA host Penn Hills at 7:30 p.m., and Class AA Serra Catholic playing Class A No. 2 Vincentian Academy at 3 p.m. at the St. Joseph Tournament.

Dave Mackall is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at dmackall@tribweb.com.

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