| Sports

Larger text Larger text Smaller text Smaller text | Order Photo Reprints

Trib Cup: After winning section title, Central Valley boys turn focus to WPIAL glory

TribLIVE Sports Videos

Email Newsletters

Sign up for one of our email newsletters.

Class AAAA

1. North Allegheny202 points

2. Upper St. Clair144

3. Franklin Regional101

4t. Bethel Park96

4t. Peters Township96

6. Seneca Valley94

7. Penn-Trafford90

8. Obama/University Prep87

9. Fox Chapel86

10. Mt. Lebanon81Class AAA

1. Central Valley154 points

2. South Fayette142

3. West Allegheny105

4. Mars80

5. South Park77

6. Indiana72

7. Quaker Valley71

8. Central Catholic70

9. Hopewell68

10. Thomas Jefferson67Class AA

1. Greensburg C.C.137 points

2. Shady Side Academy102

3t. Avonworth77

3t. Burrell77

5. Seton-La Salle76

6. Bishop Canevin74

7. Neshannock72

8. Carlynton54

9t. Chartiers-Houston52

9t. Laurel52Class A

1. Sewickley Academy123 points

2. North Catholic78

3. OLSH71

4. Vincentian Academy62

5. Serra Catholic56

6. Aliquippa47

7. Frazier42

8. Jefferson-Morgan40

9. Monessen38

10. Riverview36

Top high school sports
By Alex Oltmanns
Thursday, Feb. 20, 2014, 11:03 p.m.

In just its fourth year of existence, the Central Valley boys basketball team claimed its first outright Section 2-AAA title this winter.

At 19-3 overall and 12-0 in section play, the Warriors were happy to make school history, but understand that their ultimate goal lies in the postseason.

“We definitely didn't celebrate it,” Central Valley coach Brandon Ambrose said. “We did it, we enjoyed it and then we moved on because the kids realize they have other things they're interested in accomplishing.”

Now, with the No. 2 seed in the Class AAA playoffs, the Warriors are set to face No. 10 Montour in the quarterfinals Friday at West Allegheny after defeating West Mifflin, 62-42, in the first round.

The Warriors are highlighted as the Trib Total Media/WPXI High School Sports Award feature team this week after boasting their best record in the school's four-year history while also currently standing in first place in the school standings.

With five seniors and as many returning starters from last season's team, Central Valley is a balanced squad that does not feature one go-to scorer, but instead relies on steady contributions from each player on the court.

That type of balance was on display in the Warriors' opening-round game against West Mifflin, where junior guard John George led the team with 13 points, senior forward Tony Gates added 11 and senior guard Mike Sims chipped in with 10.

Those three players, along with senior guard Jake St. George and senior center Matt Kline, are all capable of scoring double-figures.

“It's a crapshoot to see who's going to be our leading scorer every night; you just don't know,” Ambrose said. “That's just a tribute to the balance and depth we have, also the unselfishness. You don't have guys too often forcing shots.”

This year's senior players, who were freshmen when Central Valley was formed as a merger of Center and Monaca high schools, has never advanced past the WPIAL quarterfinals but has set its sights higher this season.

“With this group, their goals are so lofty that I don't want to say there's more pressure but there certainly is a lot of focus,” Ambrose said. “They know where they want to go and they know how they're going to get there.”

After earning the tag of co-section champions last season, the Warriors fell to Kittanning in the first round of the playoffs, a memory they will carry with them as they tip off at 8 p.m. against Montour.

“I think they learned a lot from it,” Ambrose said. “Not only about how to prepare for the playoff game, but also just the intensity of a playoff game, the pressure of a playoff game. It's a lot different than playing a regular season game and I think that's translated into this year, hopefully.”

Alex Oltmanns is a freelance writer.

Subscribe today! Click here for our subscription offers.



Show commenting policy

Most-Read Basketball

  1. New scenery for 1st-year Riverview boys basketball coach Sapotichne
  2. Plum boys basketball seeks section 3-peat
  3. Riverview girls aim to build on memorable season
  4. Leechburg girls set out to build on breakout season
  5. Coach focused on building South Allegheny girls program
  6. Hempfield boys take aim at 5th straight section title
  7. Backcourt trio to fuel Highlands boys basketball team’s offense
  8. New Highlands girls basketball coach ready to run
  9. Mt. Pleasant girls basketball to rely on experience
  10. Mt. Pleasant to rely on experienced, balanced group
  11. Elizabeth Forward boys basketball preparing to fill big shoes