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Division I-bound duo to lead East girls team at Cager Classic

| Monday, March 23, 2015, 10:36 p.m.
Erica Dietz | For Trib Total Media
Burrell's Sydney Bordonaro (left) drives against Greensburg Central Catholic's Carolyn Appleby during a game Monday, Dec. 22, 2014, at Burrell.
Kyjiah Peterson, Kiski Area, Cager Classic East
Shannon Bernardi, Highlands, Cager Classic West
Christina Davis, Ford City, Cager Classic East
Claire Broman, Apollo-Ridge, Cager Classic East
Natalie Donegan, Hampton, Cager Classic West
Rachel McKaveney, Springdale, Cager Classic West
Courtney Zezza, Plum, Cager Classic East
Jame Reese, Valley, Cager Classic East
Sara Getsy, Mars, Cager Classic West
Erica Hunter, Knoch, Cager Classic West
Lizzy Cornish, West Shamokin, Cager Classic East
Julie Hetu, St. Joseph, Cager Classic West
Macy Smolic, Freeport, Cager Classic West
Maddy Nelligan, Hampton, Cager Classic West
Alyssa Zezza, Plum, Cager Classic East
Vanessa Blazer, Fox Chapel, Cager Classic West
Leah Sero, Riverview, Cager Classic East
Sydney Bordonaro, Burrell, Cager Classic East
Tiffany Montgomery, Kittanning, Cager Classic East
Ali Goetz, Mars, Cager Classic West
Kristen Stanko, Deer Lakes, Cager Classic West

Local basketball fans have been served up Division I basketball talent many times before at the annual Cager Classic all-star games.

Many top-level players have dueled down the stretch and put their talents on display.

But two Division I recruits on the same team? Now that's a real treat.

One of the WPIAL's top point guards will play with one of its better centers Saturday night in the girls Cager Classic as Burrell star Sydney Bordonaro and Plum's Courtney Zezza suit up for the East in the A-K's senior showcase at Highlands.

Girls' player introductions begin at 5:45 p.m.

“I have been going to the Cager since I was 8,” said Bordonaro, who led the A-K Valley in scoring this season at 20.7 points per game. “It's weird to think I'm a senior now and actually playing in it.”

The 5-foot-7 Bordonaro, Burrell's all-time leading scorer with 1,745 points, will play at Pepperdine in Malibu Beach, Calif. The towering 6-4 Zezza, who checks in among Plum's top scorers with 1,068 points, is headed to St. Francis (Pa.).

Bordonaro has been a fan of the Cager for years and has appreciated seeing future college stars play on the same court.

“I was at the game when (Highlands') Micah (Mason) and (Plum's) Nolan (Cressler) went against each other,” Bordonaro said. “It was awesome to see them go at it. And (Fox Chapel's) Erin (Mathias) and (Plum's) Krista (Pietropola) were on opposite teams last year.

“It will be cool to play with (Zezza). I hope to give her the ball and we can complement each other.”

Zezza, who averaged 16.9 points and altered shots by merely displaying her wingspan in the lane, also thinks she can contribute to a one-two punch with Bordonaro.

“We both bring something strong and should work well together,” Zezza said. “I went to the Cager last year, and I thought it was a cool experience how they recognize you. And you get to meet girls you've played against before.”

Former Ford City coach Al Davis will lead the East team Saturday. Don't expect him to waste dry-erase markers drawing up plays.

“We'll just run motion; even during the season that's what we did,” Davis said. “We had a few quick-hitters, but for the most part, we just spread it out. Bordonaro will love that. I have always enjoyed watching her play. I love her intensity. She goes all-out. And it will be nice to coach a 6-4 girl.”

While emulating the all-star performance of her favorite NBA player, Oklahoma City's Russell Westbrook, might be a stretch, Bordonaro is looking to make her mark.

Westbrook had 41 points in the West's 163-158 win over the East on Feb. 15 at Madison Square Garden.

“I think about Russell and what he did,” Bordonaro said with a laugh, “but I just want to have fun and enjoy the experience. I look forward to getting to know players I haven't met before. But it's kind of like my last home game so I want to win, too.”

The girls' Cager record for most points by one player is 29 set by Fox Chapel's Meagan Cowher in 2004.

Another player on the East roster this year is guard Alyssa Zezza, who is Courtney's cousin.

“It should be fun playing our last (high school) game together,” Courtney Zezza said.

Bordonaro and Zezza also were picked to play in the Roundball Classic April 18 at Geneva College. But they won't be teammates that night.

Bordonaro also was selected for the Hoops for a Cure all-star game April 11 at Chartiers Valley.

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

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