Norwin's Gabauer leads Class 6A squad to win at Roundball Classic
The strength of girls high school basketball in the WPIAL was evident Saturday afternoon as 11 Division I signees were on the floor for the 14th annual Roundball Classic's Class 5A/4A vs. Class 6A all-star game.
Included was two-time state player of the year Sam Breen from Cardinal Wuerl North Catholic and Class 6A player of the year Amanda Kalin of Pine-Richland.
Norwin's Abigail Gabauer brought home MVP honors for the Class 6A squad with a 15-point performance. She hit the only six foul shots of the game for the team's 96-66 victory.
“This was so exciting. I had such a fun time,” Gabauer said. “These are girls I've been playing with since I was so young. It was so cool for us to come together as a team”
Gabauer will be playing next year for West Virginia Weslyan, where she will study pharmaceutical sciences.
Breen scored 18 points Saturday and collected Class 5A/4A MVP honors. She scored 2,488 points during her career with the Trojans, 10th best in WPIAL history.
Breen heads to Dayton in the fall.
Chartiers-Houston coach Laura Montecalvo became the first person to play in and coach in the Roundball Classic, appearing in the 2005 game for Washington and coaching this year's Class 3A/2A/1A/City team to a 69-64 win over District 6/10.
Montecalvo's squad fell behind 29-16 early in the second period.
The team finally worked its way back to take a 52-51 lead on a basket by Carlynton's Ashleigh Wilson with 7 minutes, 48 seconds to go.
Jeannette's Olivia Sirnic gave her team the lead for good at 65-62 with a 3-pointer at the 3:40 mark.
Chartiers-Houston's Ja'la Walker was named MVP for the winners with 10 points and two crucial steals in the final 47 seconds.
“This was fun, I liked the team I was out there with,” said Walker, who remains undecided on a college.
Farrell's Matyra Evans was named MVP of the District 6/10 team, leading with nine points.
Josh Creach of Beaver Falls turned in one of best performances in the Classic's history, pouring in 31, though his Class 4A team lost to Class 3A, 139-100.
The Tigers' 6-foot-8 forward is headed to Hutchinson (Kan.) Junior College in the fall.
Saturday's all-star encounter was the last game in Beaver County for the Tigers standout.
“I've been working hard,” Creach said. “I've been in the gym working on my shots, doing my ballhandling and getting the rebounds.”
Hutchinson is perennial national contender.
“I'm trying to better my future, better myself,” the Class 4A MVP said. “I want to graduate college and be in the pros.”
The Class 3A team scored 88 points in 30-minute second half. MVP Matt Popeck from Washington scored 22 points, finishing ahead of Little Prexies teammate Jacob Swartz, who had 20.
For one last time, Lincoln Park's Evan Brown and Nelly Cummings combined on an alley-oop play to help secure the victory.
It's been a whirlwind month for Hampton's Antonio Ionadi.
He was the MVP is the Cager Classic at Highlands, attended the Hampton prom Friday and collected another MVP award at the Roundball Classic.
Ionadi scored 29 points to lead the Class 5A team in a 129-126 loss to Class 6A.
“It's been crazy,” Ionadi said. “It's been fun , but I think I'm going to take a rest.”
Austin Butler of Latrobe scored 18 to earn Class 6A MVP honors.
Valley News Dispatch Boys Player of the Year Mitch DeZort of Highlands had 23 for Class 5A, and Nick Smith of North Hills had 17 for the Class 6A squad.
George Guido is a freelance writer.