A-K Valley boys basketball notebook: Knoch and Leechburg riding balance

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Thursday, December 26, 2019 | 6:50 PM


Balanced attacks can lead to high-scoring offenses, and this season, that formula is working for several area boys basketball teams.

Knoch (4-1, 1-0) has had at least three players score in double-digits in all five of its games, and in two of those games, four or more players have recorded 10 or more.

Senior guard Scott Fraser is averaging 17.6 points, and sophomore Ryan Lang is at 15.6. In the Knights’ 70-58 victory over Hampton, Lang had 25 points with six 3-pointers.

Leechburg (5-2, 2-1) also has thrived thanks to a balanced scoring attack. In the Blue Devils’ past five games, at least three players have scored 10 or more points.

All five starters reached double digits in two games, and at least four starters have done so in four of their seven games. Junior guard Dylan Cook leads the team with 17 points per game, and senior forward Jake Blumer is averaging nearly 14.

50 or fewer

Fox Chapel is undefeated through seven games.

Six of its seven opponents are averaging more than 55 points, and three average 65 points or more. However, the Foxes have yet to give up more than 50 points.

“It’s huge for us,” sophomore guard Eli Yofan said after holding Latrobe to 47 points. “We emphasize defense every single day in practice, and being able to do it against a team like Latrobe is awesome.”

The Foxes allowed Hampton and Bethel Park to score 48 points at the North Hills Tip-Off Tournament, and three other teams have come within five points. With five minutes remaining in their Section 3-6A opener, Latrobe had 44 points but only scored three more.

Holding court

As teams from around the WPIAL head into Christmas tournaments, four A-K Valley teams lead their section.

Springdale (3-0 Section 1-2A) is the only one alone in first place.

Fox Chapel (7-0, 1-0) is tied with Penn Trafford (6-1, 1-0) and Hempfield (4-4, 1-0) atop Section 3-6A.

Highlands (6-1, 1-0) and Knoch (4-1, 1-0) are tied atop Section 1-4A. They shared the section title last winter.

bELIeves

Earlier this year, St. Joseph’s senior Eli Swierczewski, who plays soccer, basketball and baseball, was diagnosed with Ewing’s Sarcoma for the second time. This type of cancer occurs in bones or in the soft tissue around the bones. It can often begin in the long bones of the pelvis, legs or arms, but it can occur in any bone.

Swierczewski beat the cancer for the first time when he was in seventh grade. A tumor was found in his right arm. Surgery and chemotherapy removed it.

Since he was diagnosed with his second bout in October, the St. Joseph’s community has rallied around Swierczewski. The St. Joseph Athletic Association is spearheading fundraising and is selling short- and long-sleeved T-shirts along with wristbands.

The Springdale boys are supporting the cause by purchasing a set of “bELIeves” shirts to wear during their pregame warm-ups.

Holiday tournaments

A-K Valley teams will be in action throughout the weekend in holiday tournaments. Apollo-Ridge, Deer Lakes, St. Joseph and Freeport are hosting tournaments. A list of boys games involving local teams Friday and Saturday.

Apollo Trust Company Christmas Tournament

Leechburg vs. Riverview, 4:30 p.m.

Saltsburg vs. Apollo-Ridge, 7:30 p.m.

CJ Betters RBA Holiday Tournament

Highlands vs. Montour, 4 p.m.

Deer Lakes Tournament

Propel Andrew Street vs. Deer Lakes, 7:30 p.m.

Shady Side Academy Tournament

Plum vs. Penn Charter, 4:30 p.m.

Fox Chapel vs. Shady Side Academy, 6 p.m.

West Shamokin Tournament

Burrell vs. West Shamokin, 7:30

St. Joseph Tournament

Springdale vs. St. Joseph, 6:30 p.m.

Freeport Tournament

Kiski Area vs. Knoch, 5 p.m.

Mercyhurst Prep vs. Freeport, 6:30 p.m.

Jeannette Tournament

Valley vs. Jeannette, 7:30 p.m.

Saturday

Apollo Trust Company Christmas Tournament

Leechburg, Riverview, Saltsburg, Apollo-Ridge

Consolation, 4:30 p.m.

Championship, 7:45 p.m.

CJ Betters RBA Holiday Tournament - CCBC

Highlands vs. Lincoln Park, 8:30 p.m.

Deer Lakes Tournament

OLSH vs. Deer Lakes, 7:30 p.m.

Shady Side Academy Tournament

Plum, Penn Charter, SSA, Fox Chapel

Consolation 1:30 p.m., Championship 3 p.m.

St. Joseph Tournament

Aquinas Academy, Winchester Thurston, Springdale, St. Joseph

Consolation 4:45 p.m., Championship, 8:15 p.m.

West Shamokin Tournament

Clarion-Limestone, Karns City, Burrell, West Shamokin

Consolation 4:30 p.m., Championship 7:30 p.m.

Freeport Tournament

Knoch vs. Mercyhurst Prep, 5 p.m.

Freeport vs. Kiski Area, 6:30 p.m.

Greg Macafee is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Greg by email at gmacafee@tribweb.com or via Twitter .

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