A-K Valley basketball notebook: Hutcherson decides to step away at Armstrong

Thursday, March 1, 2018 | 8:19 PM

Greg Hutcherson founded his Top Level All-Stars AAU program with the slogan “Hard work pays off.” As he began to see the work with his latest company begin to bear fruit, he knew he had to give up something else.

Hutcherson, the former three-sport Kiski Area star, resigned earlier this week as Armstrong's boys basketball coach after three seasons with the River Hawks and four before that at Ford City.

“If I could have coached for the next 50 years, I would,” Hutcherson said. “And I'm not going to say I'm not going to get back into coaching. But just right now, in my life, it's the best decision for me and my family.”

Hutcherson, who co-founded Top Level Training eight years ago, started another company, Keystone Cleaning Services, in September. Work there began taking up an increasing amount of time — “Basically, I'm locked in the office all day long,” he said — leading him to begin contemplating his future with Armstrong about halfway through the season.

On top of that, his oldest son is in eighth grade at Kiski Area and hopes to play basketball with the Cavaliers, and he has an 8-year-old son who's a highly ranked youth wrestler.

“I've been coaching kids for so many years, I just wanted to get back to my own family and focus on them and give my sons the opportunity to get my attention with their sports, and my wife and other kids,” Hutcherson said. “It was a mix of family and business, and I just feel it was a good time to walk away right now.”

A football, basketball and track and field star at Kiski Area who played football at Bowling Green and Indiana State, Hutcherson took over at Ford City in 2011 and coached the Sabers until the 2015 merger with Kittanning to form Armstrong. In seven seasons with Ford City and Armstrong, Hutcherson went 59-98 with four WPIAL playoff appearances. The River Hawks fell to McKeesport in the Class 5A first round last week.

“Armstrong is such a class-act program as far as administration,” Hutcherson said. “In seven years, I never had an issue with an athletic director, a principal, or anything. Those guys just let me run my program and supported me in every way possible. I couldn't have asked for a better administration.

Round four?

Highlands might not have seen the last of Franklin Regional after a 48-40 loss to the Panthers in the WPIAL Class 5A semifinals on Tuesday.

A Mars victory over Franklin Regional in the Class 5A championship game Friday night would trigger a fourth meeting between Highlands and Franklin Regional in the first round of the PIAA playoffs March 9.

If FR beats Mars, Highlands would play the District 8 or District 10 champion.

State update

Six Alle-Kiski Valley teams will play in the PIAA tournament next week — the Fox Chapel, Highlands, Leechburg, Springdale and Valley boys and the Leechburg girls. The opponents will be determined partially by WPIAL championship game results, with one notable exception: Fox Chapel will play Section 3-6A rival Penn Hills in the PIAA first round March 10, no matter what happens in the Indians' WPIAL championship game Saturday against Pine-Richland.

Valley would face the District 9 champion if Quaker Valley beats New Castle for the WPIAL Class 4A title. A New Castle win would slot Valley against the District 10 champion.

The Leechburg and Springdale boys face the same two potential opponents, District 10 championship game combatants Cambridge Springs and West Middlesex. If Sewickley Academy beats OLSH for the WPIAL title, Springdale would play the District 10 champion and Leechburg the runner-up; if OLSH beats Sewickley, Leechburg would play the District 10 champion and Springdale the runner-up.

After Vincentian's win over Chartiers-Houston in the WPIAL Class 2A title game, Leechburg's girls will play the District 10 champion.

Impress conference

A trio of players from the Cheswick Christian girls basketball team received recognition for their roles in the Chargers' strong season by getting a spot on the Southwest Christian Athletic Conference's all-conference teams.

Allyson Drake, Daisy Hamilton and Bethany Kosor took three of the five slots on the Greater Pittsburgh division team. Cheswick Christian finished as division runner-up to Trinity Christian.

Additionally, the Chargers' Isaiah Malloy received a spot on the Greater Pittsburgh division's boys all-conference team.

Doug Gulasy is a Tribune-Review staff writer.

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