Alle-Kiski Valley HS notebook: Highlands sophomore guard comes home

| Friday, Aug. 15, 2014, 9:33 p.m.

If Mitch Dezort is going to become the next Micah Mason like he hopes, it would seem much more appropriate that he does so in a Highlands uniform.

Dezort, a rising sophomore basketball player, has transferred back to Highlands after spending a year at Central Catholic.

Highlands' backcourt should get an immediate lift.

The 6-foot-2, 185-pound guard is a streaky shooter and meticulous passer, often driving the lane with physicality and creating offense for teammates.

Fears of disappearing like a grade-schooler in a busy high school hallway and eagerness to reconnect with a more comfortable environment prompted his transfer. Dezort realized he was, and always will be, a public-school kid.

The Mason comparisons are inevitable because Dezort, who plays for the A-K Valley-based AAU program, Top Level, won back-to-back AAU national 3-point shooting titles in the 15-U division. Dezort also works with Mason's father, John, and, like Mason, has a court in his backyard and a shooting machine.

And he attended the same grade school, Blessed Sacrament. Mason is now a standout shooting guard at Duquesne and led the nation in 3-point shooting percentage as a sophomore.

“When I was in seventh and eighth grade, I remember watching Micah Mason play,” Dezort said. “I knew he was getting the whole high school experience. He was playing for his hometown. I wasn't able to do that at Central Catholic.”

Dezort played on the junior varsity team at Central last year but was not comfortable with his surroundings or playing forecast. Teammates Kenny Robinson and Paris Ford also left Central.

“Central is so far away from my house, and it was tough on my parents to get me there,” Dezort said. “I know all the guys there already.”

Dezort has been attending open gyms at Highlands and said he enjoys working with Golden Rams coach Tyler Stoczynski.

Dezort has family in Penn Hills and Oakmont. His father, Mike, is a part-time personal trainer and works closely with his son — another Mason comparison.

Mitch played youth football for the Highland Hornets but gave up the sport to focus on hoops.

McMahon at Fox Chapel

Fox Chapel has a new assistant and, like Foxes head coach Eric Ravotti, he is a former NFL player. Mike McMahon, a former star quarterback at North Allegheny, is lending his expertise to senior quarterback Billy Urso and the Foxes' passing game. And bringing some West Coast offense nuance.

“He has not missed a practice and has been all over the place and coaching like crazy,” Fox Chapel senior tight end/linebacker David Brown said. “He has really changed our offense and has brought so many different things to it. He is not afraid to step up and show everyone how things are done. He will come in and throw balls how he wants them to be thrown and run routes the way he wants them to be run. He has so much knowledge it's actually scary.”

McMahon played five years in the NFL with three teams: the Detroit Lions, Minnesota Vikings and Philadelphia Eagles. He also played in the CFL and UFL.

Head games

Deer Lakes players have taken their fondness for Twitter onto the football field. Players have their Twitter names taped to the back of their helmets on athletic tape during training camp.

“We just kind of wanted to have some fun this year with camp,” junior wide receiver Hunter Burns said. “We have our names on the front and our Twitter handles on the back. We asked coach before camp if we could do it, and he was fine with it.”

Scrimmage time

Football teams can scrimmage after the first week of training camp, and there are several notable exhibition matchups Saturday morning.

Kiski Area travels to Knoch, Deer Lakes goes to Riverview in a matchup of two new coaches (Steve Sciullo at Deer Lakes and Jason Cappa at Riverview), double-A newcomer Apollo-Ridge faces former Eastern Conference opponent North Catholic, and Jeannette is at Valley.

All local scrimmages begin at 10 a.m.

Bill Beckner Jr. is the local sports editor of the Valley News Dispatch. Reach him at or via Twitter @BillBeckner.

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