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Minus grads Scott, Harris, Gateway chasing 3rd straight title

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who 2 watch

preseason player of the year

GENO THORPE

Shaler

6-3, Sr., guard

21.4 ppg

players to watch

Shawn Anderson

New Castle

6-3, Sr., G, 18.8 ppg

Ryan Luther

Hampton

6-6, Jr., F, 16.4 ppg

Gabe Pritz

Peters Township

6-4, Sr., G, 19.7 ppg

Corey Stanford

Penn-Trafford

6-4, Sr., F, 17.5 ppg

Matt Stewart

Norwin

6-5, Sr., G, 16.9 ppg

preseason
top 10

1. New Castle (27-1)

The Class AAA champions a season ago, Red Hurricanes join Quad-A in realignment.

2. Hampton (25-5)

Runners-up to New Castle, Talbots follow ’Canes into powerful Section 3-AAAA.

3. Gateway (21-7)

Gators lose two D1 recruits and return only two starters, but still field deep rotation.

4. Bethel Park (15-8)

Trendy pick to win Section 4, Black Hawks have 6-foot-11 Wyatt Hagerty in the middle.

5. North Allegheny (16-7)

Four of the top nine players return for the Tigers; however, Section 3 will be brutal battle.

6. Shaler (25-4)

Return home of Penn State recruit Geno Thorpe provides Titans with 20-point scorer.

7. Seneca Valley (15-11)

With 6-5 guard Easton Bazzoli and two 6-7 big men, Raiders’ height should be asset.

8. Central Catholic (16-12)

Vikings must replace scoring of graduate Lincoln Davis, who led them to title game.

9. Penn-Trafford (17-6)

Four starters return for team that shared Section 1 crown with Hempfield last season.

10. Peters Twp. (12-12)

With three starters back, Indians could rival section mainstays.

section favorites

section 1

PENN-TRAFFORD

This section title was shared last season between Penn-Trafford (12-2) and Hempfield (12-2), with Kiski (11-3) just one game back. It could be just that close once again. Penn-Trafford returns four senior starters and a fifth senior who started as a sophomore. The lineup has descent size, with four players listed at either 6-4 or 6-5. Hempfield returns four starters, including sophomore guard Kason Harrell (15.3 ppg), who was named all-section.

section 2

GATEWAY

The quest for a third WPIAL title will have a much different cast than the first two; senior guard D.J. Boyce and junior forward Tom Kromka (6-5) are the only returning starters from last season’s lineup. But talented youngsters and three roster additions could overcome the loss of two Division I recruits. Their top competition, Central Catholic, joined the section in realignment. It was the Vikings who Gateway defeated in last season’s WPIAL title game.

section 3

NEW CASTLE

The Red Hurricanes lost just one starter (PG Corey Eggleston, 17.5 ppg) from a 27-1 team that won the WPIAL Class AAA title over Hampton last season. They’ll start four seniors and a junior. At least twice they’ll see Hampton again, now that both were placed in this section after realignment moved them to Quad-A. Hampton reached Palumbo Center last season with twin brothers Ryan Luther (6-6) and Collin Luther (6-5).

section 4

BETHEL PARK

The Black Hawks return four of their top 10 players from last season, including a front court pair that stands 6-7 (Kenny Gilmore) and 6-11 (Wyatt Hagerty), a welcomed sight for 6-8 coach Ben O’Connor. Both started games last season as juniors, as did point guard Rohan Young and forward Cody Gilchrist. Hagerty, with a 250-pound frame, has a scholarship offer from James Madison.

Top high school sports
Thursday, Nov. 29, 2012, 10:48 p.m.
 

A couple very familiar faces are gone from Gateway's lineup, which didn't go unnoticed when this year's roster first came together.

“It felt like playing a five-on-five pickup game with random people on the street,” senior D.J. Boyce said with a laugh. “It was definitely a process.”

Gone are Tyler Scott and Barnett Harris, two Division I recruits who helped Gateway win the past two WPIAL Class AAAA championships. Yet, these new-look Gators might contend for a third straight title, a feat accomplished only once in Quad-A.

With a number of rising underclassmen and three roster additions, Gateway has a talented rotation that coach Mitch Adams called one of his deepest.

The team drew talent from a junior varsity team that finished 17-1 a season ago. Some may underestimate these Gators, but “that would be a mistake,” said junior Tom Kromka, a 6-foot-5 forward.

“There's definitely going to be a lot more depth on the team,” he said. “We have a lot of faces that people don't know about.”

The Quad-A landscape also has changed since last winter. Class AAA champion New Castle and Class AAA runner-up Hampton were moved up during realignment and placed into Section 3, home to teams from the north.

New Castle, the only team to win three straight in Class AAAA (1997-99), could be favored to win another. But Gateway won't concede its streak.

“We've got two rings, and I want a third,” Adams said. “I'm starting to like jewelry.”

Boyce and Kromka are the only returning starters. The lineup has only five seniors, and will rely heavily on juniors and sophomores. Among them will be junior Shomari Thomas and sophomore Daylon Harris (6-5). Freshman Aidan Howard (6-5), a transfer from North Hills, also will contribute. Boyce, a three-year starter, has been impressed with them.

“I was real surprised, actually, because a lot of times when young dudes come up they're kind of nervous,” Boyce said. “None of them are nervous. They're all ready to play.”

New to the team are senior Jordan Landfair (6-2) and senior Deon Baker (6-4). Returning seniors Steve Hartnett and Matt Shorr also are part of that rotation.

“It's a different feeling, because I'm used to coming in and seeing Tyler and Barnett,” Boyce said. “I grew up with them, so I was always around them playing basketball. It's different, but I'm very happy I get to run the show now with my team.”

Chris Harlan is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at charlan@tribweb.com.

 

 

 
 


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