Lincoln Park accepts villain role in WPIAL basketball
TribLIVE Sports Videos
Lincoln Park has been cast as a villain in WPIAL basketball, a starring role the Leopards are willing to perform.
Even if they accept the label with disdain.
“We are the villain,” said Mike Bariski, athletic director and assistant coach. “We wear black uniforms for a reason, because everybody thinks we're the bad guy.”
The performing arts charter school in Beaver County, a public school that draws students and tax money from districts throughout Western Pennsylvania, has been criticized for the number of talented basketball players who enroll there.
The Leopards have quickly taken control of Class A, winning the WPIAL title last season in their third consecutive trip to Palumbo Center. Their roster comes from West Mifflin, Monessen, Bethel Park, Blackhawk and elsewhere, leading to recruiting allegations and their bad-for-the-game label.
Bariski dismisses the accusations.
“I don't know how many times we have been accused of recruiting, and every single time we have been found innocent,” Bariski said. “Our school recruits itself. People hate that. Money is coming out of their district and into our district. We're new and thriving, and some schools are having a hard time staying open. I empathize with that, I do. But that's not our problem.”
Instead, Lincoln Park will try to reach the state championship game for the third consecutive season. And with 6-foot-7 junior Ryan Skovranko among its three returning starters, that's a real possibility. Skovranko, a West Mifflin resident, averaged 14.6 ppg last season, when the Leopards were 26-5 and beat Cornell, 74-57, in the WPIAL championship. Other returning starters from that Palumbo Center victory are sophomore Antonio Kellam (6-1) and senior Jaylyn Cottrill (6-6).
Temple recruit Devontae Watson has graduated, meaning more will be needed from Skovranko, the Leopards' tallest starter. Watson, a 6-10 center, was the team's leading scorer and rebounder.
Elijah Minnie, a junior from Monessen, was expected to be Watson's replacement. The 6-9 Minnie was ruled ineligible by the WPIAL, a decision that was later upheld by the PIAA. But Bariski said Lincoln Park has petitioned the WPIAL for a second hearing to provide new evidence. The paperwork was filed Wednesday with the league, said Bariski, who expected a response by early next week.
Filling the other two starting spots are junior Nate Loedding (5-10) and talented freshman Maverick Rowan (6-5), son of former Beaver Falls star Ron Rowan.
“There's a target on our backs against everybody we play,” Bariski said. “Even when we're playing in the summer league, everybody says: ‘That's Lincoln Park.' ”
Chris Harlan is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Pitt: Football coach hire comes 1st, athletic director 2nd
- Steelers notebook: Polamalu, Taylor unlikely to play, Harrison ‘ready’
- Undersized Beachum quietly excels at 1 of game’s pivotal positions
- Man involved with crash with officer dies in Pittsburgh hospital
- Penguins’ defensive depth proves valuable
- Michigan State defensive coordinator a Pitt coaching candidate
- Pirates sign Corey Hart to 1-year deal
- Police gather in Ligonier for Perryopolis officer’s funeral
- Despite intimidation, women still passionate about video games
- Port Authority fires two bus drivers involved in rollover crash
- N.Y. Fashion Week out of Lincoln Center