Friday, December 11, 2015 | 9:38 AM
There is a Wildcat strike in WPIAL boys basketball this season.
Big things are expected of the Latrobe Wildcats and coach Brad Wetzel’s crew has been impressive in the first week of the season. Latrobe is 3-0, including Tuesday’s victory against Pine-Richland, which was the No. 2-ranked Class AAAA team in the MSA Sports preseason Class AAAA rankings.
This could be one of Latrobe’s best teams in a while, at least the best since the 2009 team that went 19-4. Latrobe is the odds-on favorite to win Section 1. If Latrobe wins the section, it would be only their fourth crown in the past 30 years. The others were in 1987, 1990 and 2009.
Latrobe is a team that likes to play fast and has the ability to score big. So far, the Wildcats are averaging 88.3 points a game. The team is fueled by the Big Three of guards Austin Butler, Sean Graytok and Jake Biss. Butler is a 6-foot-4 junior who has been superb so far, averaging 31 points a game. He scored 40 against Trinity.
Biss is a junior and Graytok a senior.
Latrobe begins Section 1 play tonight with an interesting game against Penn-Trafford. The Warriors have shown signs of life under new coach Jim Rocco, who came over after years at Penn Hills. Penn-Trafford has some excellent guards and is 3-0 this season. The game is one of the best on the first night of section play.
Maris Scores Big
Maris once was the talk of Major League Baseball with home runs.
This Maris is a big home-run hitter this season with points on the basketball court.
Maris Seto is a junior on the Brownsville girls basketball team and she is off to a torrid start. In four games, she is averaging 34.5 points. She had 51 in a game earlier this week.
Another Big Scorer
Cali Konek is only a 5-foot-4 freshman guard for the Imani Christian girls team. But she has had a gigantic impact in her first two games.
Konek has scored 35 and 36 points in the two contests. She has scored 71 of Imani Christian’s 97 points. Imani is a Class A team in WPIAL girls basketball.
Jake from Bethel Park
The MSA Sports staff is six months away from picking an athlete of the year for the WPIAL. You can bet Jake Dixon of Bethel Park will be in the running.
Dixon’s No. 1 sport is volleyball. He has already signed with Lewis University, the NCAA national runner-up last season. But Dixon excels in everything. In football, he was a first-team all-conference tight end in the Southeastern Conference. Now in basketball, he has been excellent for Bethel Park in leading the Black Hawks to a 3-0 start.
Dixon is a 6-foot-6 senior.
Greyhounds on a Fast Pace
The Monessen boys were MSA’s preseason No. 1 team in Class A. Coach Joe Salvino always has his team play a tough non-section schedule, including games against teams in Class AAAA. As far as points are concerned, Monessen has had a most interesting start to the season.
The Greyhounds can score. They are averaging 86.3 points game. That includes two overtime games. But so far, teams are scoring plenty of points against Monessen. The Greyhounds are giving 88 points a game.
It should be noted that all of Monessen’s games have been against Class AAAA teams. The Greyhounds defeated Chartiers Valley, 96-94, and also Norwin, 83-75. Monessen lost to Upper St. Clair, 77-69, and Franklin Regional, 106-97.
Pioneering a Turnaround
The West Greene girls were winless (0-20) last season. So far this year, the Pioneers haven’t tasted defeat. West Greene is off to a 3-0 start.
Cougars Losses Mounting
It looks like it could be another long season for the Yough girls basketball team. The Cougars are 0-5 this season, which stretches their losing streak to 36, longest in the WPIAL. The last Yough win came in the 2013-14 season.
The Springdale girls also have a long losing streak. The Dynamos are 0-4 this season and have lost 29 in a row.
Davison at Nationals
North Allegheny distance runner Madeleine Davison will try for a national championship Saturday.
Davison will run in the 37th annual Foot Locker Cross Country Championships in San Diego, Cal. Davison qualified for the event by winning the Northeast Regional Nov. 28.
Davison is one of the top distance runners in the state, but she did not compete on North Allegheny’s cross country team this fall, choosing instead to train for other meets. She also has been a track standout for North Allegheny.
PIAA Football Previews
Only two WPIAL football teams have made it to the PIAA semifinals. Since the PIAA playoffs started in 1988, this is the first time that only two WPIAL teams are in the semifinals.
Pittsburgh Central Catholic plays Cumberland Valley in the Class AAAA semifinals tomorrow afternoon in Altoona. Aliquippa meets Martinsburg Central tonight at Hempfield in the Class AA semifinals.
Central Catholic is trying to make it to a PIAA title game for the second time in three years and the sixth time overall. Cumberland Valley has made it to the title game only once (1992).
Cumberland Valley is a team that relies heavily on the running game, and its wing-T offense. The Eagles average more than 200 yards a game rushing.
In the Class AA semifinal, Martinsburg Central has one of the top dual-threat quarterbacks that Aliquippa has seen this season. Noah Benton is a 6-foot-4, 185-pound senior who has completed 127 of 255 for 2,086 yards while also rushing for 958 yards on 147 attempts.
Tags: Aliquippa Boys Football, Bethel Park Boys Basketball, Bethel Park Boys Football, Bethel Park Boys Volleyball, Brownsville Girls Basketball, Imani Christian Girls Basketball, Latrobe Boys Basketball, Monessen Boys Basketball, North Allegheny Girls Cross Country, Pittsburgh Central Catholic Boys Football, Springdale Girls Basketball, West Greene Girls Basketball, Yough Girls Basketball