High school notebook: Hempfield basketball coach Marino resigns
After helping the Hempfield boys basketball team to its first playoff win since 2003, coach Mark Marino has resigned, citing the desire to “pursue some other opportunities.”
Marino, 35, declined to say what those opportunities were, other than that money — a lack of teaching job — was a factor.
“At this point, the problem is I was a full-time basketball coach this year with no other job,” Marino said. “That's very difficult to do. There are a couple other opportunities I've been approached with already that I've been mulling over. But at this point, nothing definite.”
Though he's no longer the team's coach, Marino said he plans to finish leading the team's summer workouts.
Marino guided Hempfield to a 21-3 record this past winter, with the Spartans averaging 63.4 points per game. They won 13 consecutive games from Dec. 13 through Jan. 24.
Hempfield was led offensively by three-time Tribune-Review Terrific 10 selection Kason Harrell, a 6-foot-3 junior guard who averaged 23.2 points per game and has 1,274 for his career.
Classmate Tony Pilato, a 6-7 center, also was a Terrific 10 pick. Pilato committed last week to play football at Pitt.
Before coming to Hempfield to succeed Jim Nesser, Marino was an assistant coach at NCAA Division III Lycoming for five years.
Marino said his favorite memory of Hempfield will not have anything to do with basketball.
Instead, it was the graduation parties he was invited to and the college recommendation letters he was asked to write.
“I really appreciate the opportunity I was given here at Hempfield,” Marino said. “I feel like Spartan basketball keeps getting better, but I feel like it would be best for me to pursue some other opportunities in my life.”
Hoffman to Penn
Mt. Lebanon rising senior Matt Hoffman made a verbal commitment last week to play football in 2015 at Penn.
Hoffman, who is 6-foot-2, 245 pounds, has been a two-way starter along the offensive and defensive lines at Mt. Lebanon for the past two seasons.
Last fall, Hoffman was voted an all-conference offensive lineman by the coaches in the Quad Central.
Hoffman, who has a 4.6 grade-point average on a weighted scale — 3.8 on a non-weighted scale — chose the Quakers over another Ivy League school in Cornell.
“It's been my top school for a while,” Hoffman said. “That was the school that I visited most. From the moment I stepped onto campus, it was really special. I had a good feeling about it as well as the coaching staff that was there.
“I just wanted to go to a school that would give me the opportunity to be successful after football.”
Several area athletes were selected to the all-state softball team, selected by a group of coaches and media members from around the state. The group was led by South Side Beaver's Connor McGaffic, a Pitt recruit who was tabbed the Class A Player of the Year.
Other first-team selections include Canon-McMillan's Olivia Lorusso (third base), Linda Rush (shortstop), Abby McCartney (outfield) and Giorgiana Zeremenko (catcher), Plum's Jordan Seneca (shortstop) and Shaler's Brianna Dobson (designated player) in Class AAAA; Trinity's Olivia Gray (third base) and Delaney Elling (catcher), Mt. Pleasant's Paige Hertzog (third base), Greensburg Salem's Claire Oberdorf (shortstop) and West Mifflin's Paige Flore (pitcher) in Class AAA; Waynesburg's Hannah Gibbons (third base) and Deer Lakes' Tiffany Edwards (pitcher) in Class AA; and Neshannock's Marissa DeMatteo (second base) in Class A.
National top 10
The Upper St. Clair boys soccer team, which won the PIAA Class AAA title and was a WPIAL runner-up last season, is ranked 10th in the nation in a preseason poll by topdrawersoccer.com.