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Gateway and Plum seniors gearing up for Roundball Classic

Bill Shirley | For The Valley News Dispatch - Plum's Krista Pietropola (right) starts a fast break after a steal against Gateway on Friday, Dec. 20, 2013, at Plum. Trailing the play is Plum's Courtney Zezza.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Bill Shirley  |  For The Valley News Dispatch</em></div>Plum's Krista Pietropola (right) starts a fast break after a steal against Gateway on Friday, Dec. 20, 2013, at Plum. Trailing the play is Plum's Courtney Zezza.
Bill Shirley | For The Valley News Dispatch - Plum's Austin Dedert averaged 15 points for the 2013-14 season.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Bill Shirley  |  For The Valley News Dispatch</em></div>Plum's Austin Dedert averaged 15 points for the 2013-14 season.

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Wednesday, April 9, 2014, 9:00 p.m.
 

Saturday's Roundball Classic already had veteran organizer Allen Deep exciting, considering the amount of talent assembled for both teams and the basketball knowledge of the coaches who will front the squads.

When word came from the Associated Press that 20 players from the eight boys and girls teams had been named to all-state lists, his excitement was ratcheted up even more.

“It's the most enjoyable day of the year. It's so much fun to watch,” said Deep, who expects a sellout crowd for the four games at Geneva College.

Gateway seniors Tommy Kromka and Jada Epps will be on the court, as well as Plum's Austin Dedert and Krista Pietropola.

The four standouts will be a part of the boys and girls Quad-A teams, which, Deep said, have never lost in the previous 10 years of the Roundball Classic.

The Quad-A boys will play a group of stars from Class A and the City League in the final game at 8 p.m., while the Quad-A and Class AAA girls will compete at 4 p.m.

“Both Quad-A teams will face tough tests,” Deep said.

The girls contest between Class A/District 10 and Class AA/City League will start everything at 2 p.m., while the boys game pitting Class AAA/District 10 against Class AA will be at 6 p.m.

Scrimmage showcases featuring the players from the eight teams was slated for Wednesday, and the players, coaches and the recently completed 2013-14 high school basketball season overall will be celebrated at a dinner Thursday evening in Cranberry.

“This year's games promises to be fantastic,” Deep said.

“We may never see this type of depth in talent for years to come.”

The boys AP PIAA all-state selections in the Roundball Classic are New Castle's Ralph Blundo (Quad-A Coach of the Year), Ryan Luther from Hampton (Quad-A Player of the Year), New Castle's Malik Hooker (Quad-A first team) and Anthony Richards (Quad-A second team), D.J. Porter from Obama Academy (Quad-A third team), Seton-LaSalle's Dale Clancy (Class AA first team), Brian Graytok from Greensburg Central Catholic (Class AA second team), Seton-LaSalle's Levi Masua (Class AA second team), Lincoln Park's Mark Javens (Class A Coach of the Year) and Elijah Minnie (Class A first team), Cameron Johnson from OLSH (Class A second team), Nick Miller from Western Beaver (Class A second team) and Dominic Robb from Cardinal Wuerl North Catholic (Class A third team).

All-state picks in the girls Roundball games are Erin Mathias from Fox Chapel (Quad-A Player of the Year),� Sierra Fordham from Allderdice (Quad-A third team), Steve Lodovico from Blackhawk (Class AAA Coach of the Year), Nikki Arbanas from Hickory (Class AAA first team), Seatrra Barrett from Central Valley (Class AAA second team), Hallie Torris from South Park (Class AAA second team), Angelina Starr from Franklin (Class AAA second team), Seton-LaSalle's Spencer Stefko (Class AA Coach of the Year), Naje Gibson (Class AA first team) and Yacine Diop (Class AA second team); Ron Moncrief from Vincentian Academy (Class A Coach of the Year); and Mallorie Heinle from St. Joseph (Class A third team).

Seven of the eight coaches in Saturday's Roundball Classic led their team's to WPIAL championships.

Tommy Kromka hopes to achieve the success that his brother, Mike, had at the Roundball Classic several years ago.

Mike Kromka, a senior at Clarion and a 1,000-point scorer for the men's basketball team, was the Most Valuable Player of one of the games in 2010.

Pietropola will attend Youngstown State and play basketball for the Lady Penguins.

Right before her game, Pietropola will get the chance to watch Arbanas, her future teammate at YSU, play for the Class A/District 10 team.

A total of 10 players on the four girls rosters are Division I committed recruits.

There are more than 10 boys players committed to Division I athletic programs

Michael Love is a staff writer with Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-388-5825, at mlove@tribweb.com or via Twitter @Mlove_Trib.

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