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Seton-La Salle boys climb to top of Section 4-AA

| Thursday, Jan. 24, 2013, 10:40 p.m.
Christopher Horner
Seton-La Salle's Levi Masua scores against Brentwood Tuesday, Jan. 22, 2013. Christopher Horner | Tribune-Review
File photo: Christopher Horner | Tribune Review
Seton-La Salle point guard Dale Clancy brings the ball upcourt against Brentwood on Tuesday, Jan. 22, 2013. Christopher Horner | Tribune-Review
Christopher Horner
Seton-La Salle's Eric Marasco brings the ball upcourt against Brentwood on Tuesday, Jan. 22, 2013. Christopher Horner | Tribune-Review

Seton-La Salle coach Mark Walsh has his boys basketball team buying into a philosophy that he brought with him last year in his first year with the squad.

The Rebels have embraced his defensive mentality, and, in turn, stand alone in first place in Section 4-AA.

Seton-La Salle has rattled off five wins in a row heading into Friday night's game at Fort Cherry and has amassed a 14-2 record overall and 8-0 in section play. The Rebels are highlighted in this week's Trib Total Media/WPXI High School Sports Award feature, and the boys basketball team is a prime reason why Seton-La Salle High School is in fourth place in the Class AA rankings.

“Coming back from last year's playoff team we were very excited because we had a lot of youth last year coming back,” Walsh said.

“We had a real good summer and fall. So coming into the season we were very excited with where we are, and I think as you can tell that's carried over right into the regular season.”

Walsh has adapted his coaching style to meet the strengths of his players.

This year's team has flown under the radar because the wins haven't been flashy, but the results speak volumes.

“Our guys are taking a lot of pride in how they play when they don't have the ball or when their man doesn't have the ball,” Walsh said. “When you think about it, nine guys out of 10 don't have the ball, so it's those little things that you do right that may not get you in the newspaper.”

The Rebels, who allow just 45 points per game, are a team that can start any one of eight players — a luxury Walsh said he relishes.

Junior guard Dale Clancy leads the team, averaging 13.4 ppg. Junior forward Levi Masua is second, averaging 11.3 ppg, and junior guard Malik White is scoring 10 ppg.

The only senior in the starting five, Eric Marasco, is the team's shut-down defender who Walsh asks to guard the opponent's top scoring threat.

Junior guard Dom DelGreco rounds out the regular starting rotation and, although his numbers aren't what they were last year, Walsh said he credits DelGreco for becoming a better all-around player.

“With those five guys starting, we're playing so unselfishly,” Walsh said. “They're making sure the right guy gets the ball at the right situation. In the summer, we learned that it's my responsibility to get an open shot, but if I can't get one, that's where I have to get my teammates one.”

The first three players off the bench are sophomore forward Ryan Norkus, averaging 9 ppg, senior guard-forward Luke Brumbaugh and sophomore guard Christian DelGreco.

Having three players who could start for other teams allows Walsh to deploy match-up problems for the opposition.

“We notice that in different games when we make a sub we change the dynamic of the entire team,” Walsh said. “We can put three bigs in and teams have trouble matching up, but then they can also shoot. We're diversified when those three guys come in.”

Four more section games stand between the Rebels and a section title, but with Walsh at the helm, he promises no one is looking too far ahead.

“This is probably the most even-keeled, level-headed group of young people I've ever been around,” Walsh said. “They know how to handle success.

“We only focus on who our next game is because we know that anybody can beat us. That's how these kids are.”

Brian Graham is a freelance writer.

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