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A-K Valley basketball notebook: Area hoops becomes talk of town

| Friday, Jan. 24, 2014, 12:01 a.m.
Erica Dietz | Valley News Dispatch
Kiski Area's Michael Simmons tries to score past Penn-Trafford's Tim Vecchio on Thursday, Jan. 9, 2014.
Erica Dietz | Valley News Dispatch
Kiski Area's Lincoln Clayton attempts a lay-up against Penn Trafford's Tim Vecchio during the basketball game at Kiski Area High School on Thursday, January 9, 2014.
Erica Dietz | Valley News Dispatch
Kiski Area's head coach Joe Tutchstone checks the scoreboard during the basketball game at Kiski Area High School on Thursday, January 9, 2014.

Alle-Kiski basketball has generated WPIAL-wide attention of late, thanks to some odd on-court occurrences.

First, there was the slow-down game between the Kiski Area and Penn-Trafford boys Jan. 9 where Kiski Area failed to score in the second half but managed a 30-29 win — in overtime, no less.

Kiski Area made Penn-Trafford rise to the bait, countering a triangle-and-2 defense with a deliberate hold-the-ball method. Kiski Area players joked they could have laid on the court to pass the time.

“My dad's bitty ball team scored more points than us tonight,” Kiski Area guard Mike Simmons tweeted.

Then came the wild finish between the Plum and Fox Chapel boys Jan. 10 where Fox Chapel was whistled for a foul and two subsequent technical fouls, all in the final .09 seconds. Plum made 5 of 6 free throws from there and edged the Foxes, 60-57.

And Monday's Ford City shutout of the Leechburg girls had casual fans from all over entering those schools into Google. The rare 56-0 result spawned debates on sportsmanship while possibly becoming the standard-bearer for the disparity that looms each year in the girls game.

Twitter was chirping with conversation about all three odd-lot events, and message boards weren't short on material either. Sports radio also filled air time with local stations clamoring about the situations.

“It's been crazy. In this day of 24/7 news we were wondering if ESPN was going to call,” Leechburg girls coach Joel Ceraso said.

A Knights' Tale

Kiski Area grad Adam Petrosky has Summit Academy in first place in Section 1-AA, giving his story an almost fairy-tale feel to it. Maybe even with a Hollywood ending if things go as planned.

Petrosky would know.

He used to work for a production company in California making commercials — “Got Milk?,” Levi Strauss and Nike among them.

He also helped make documentaries tied to Hallmark Hall of Fame.

“I worked alongside the producer,” said Petrosky, a 1986 Kiski Area grad. “It wasn't all glamorous like people might think. It's like building a house. There are a dozen and a half different functions.”

Petrosky returned to the area in 2000 and later became an assistant to Damian Davies at Leechburg. He said current Blue Devils assistant Dave Murray told him about the opening at Summit.

He was an assistant there for three years before taking over as head coach this season.

“It's a great opportunity because you get to work with kids at critical parts of their lives,” Petrosky said. “You can do the same type of thing in a basketball context.”

Summit is 11-3 overall and 6-0 in the section. It leads Apollo-Ridge by 1 12 games in the standings.

Petrosky said his team has had a knack for big finishes, more thriller than action or drama.

“We play the type of game that tends to wear a team down,” Petrosky said. “We have had a lot of big fourth quarters all year long. It makes for stressful games, but it's fun.”


The Plum boys (13-2, 7-2) will look to regain a share of first place in Section 2-AAAA with a win at rival Gateway (12-5, 8-1) on Friday night.

Gateway handed Plum its first loss, 56-53, on Dec. 20. The Gators come off a 98-point game against Woodland Hills.

Plum, which is allowing just 44.1 points per game, has won eight of its last nine.

In the first meeting with Gateway, Plum trailed by six heading into the fourth but couldn't come all the way back. Delvon Randall scored 24 for the Gators.

Plum got 18 from James Edwards and 14 from Nick Stotler. Forward Austin Dedert was held to eight.

Stealing the show

Riverview sophomore guard Sadie Buchser had an impressive double-double against East Allegheny and in the process found her way into the record books. She scored 23 points and tied a school record with 11 steals in a 59-39 win. The mark is now held by four players. Mary Andrejko, Lorraine Favo and Emily Alcorn are the others.


Senior guard Matt D'Amico needs four points to break Fox Chapel's scoring record of 1,321 points set by 1989 graduate Dave Ostrosky. Fox Chapel plays at Woodland Hills on Friday night. ... After holding Kittanning to 25 points, the Knoch boys lowered their WPIAL-best defensive average to 37.6 points. Knoch has allowed 96 points in its last three games. It allowed 77 to Quad-A Hampton in a loss that seems out of place in the schedule.

Bill Beckner Jr. is the local sports editor of the Valley News Dispatch. Reach him at

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