A-K Valley High school notebook: Roundball Classic to feature area players, coaches

Tuesday, March 27, 2018 | 7:57 PM

The Alle-Kiski Valley will have representation on the court and the sidelines at the Roundball Classic All-Star basketball games next month at Geneva.

The two-day event April 20 and 21 will feature 210 players across seven games: three on April 20 (a 6 p.m. girls game and boys games at 7:30 and 9), and four games on April 21: Girls Class 4A/District 10 vs. Class 3A/2A/A at 2 p.m.; girls Class 5A vs. 6A at 4; boys Class 3A/A vs. 4A at 6; and boys Class 5A vs. 6A at 8.

Highlands' Renee Cebula will play for the East and St. Joseph's Alex Jones and Chloe Kurpakus for the West in the April 20 girls game. St. Joseph's Sally Ackerman will coach the West.

Highlands' Romello Freeman will play for the West in the 7:30 p.m. boys game April 20, and Leechburg's Christian Hack will play for the Class 2A/City League team in the 9 p.m. game.

Leechburg's Mikayla Lovelace and Apollo-Ridge's Megan Ost will play for the Class 3A/2A/A team in the 2 p.m. girls game April 21; Apollo-Ridge's Kyle Fitzroy will play for the Class 3A/A team and Freeport's Ben Beale and Valley's Dru Stokes will play for the Class 4A team in the 6 p.m. boys game April 21; and Highlands' Shawn Erceg will play for the Class 5A team against Fox Chapel's Carson Cohen and Domanic McGriff and the Class 6A team in the 8 p.m. boys game April 21.

Mello show

The first year of the Cager Classic included a dunk contest among its skill competition, quickly done away with because of safety concerns.

Freeman did his part to bring it back last week.

The Highlands high-flyer put down four dunks in the East's 99-89 victory over the West in the 22nd Cager Classic at Highlands High School, and all of them had some pizzazz.

One of Freeman's dunks came as he ran a three-on-one fast break with Highlands teammates Shawn Erceg and Christian Tanilli. Erceg passed to Tanilli, who put the ball off the backboard for Freeman to grab and slam.

“We don't really work on them at all,” Freeman said. “We just do it like that. Like Nike: Just do it.”

Shortly after he got a steal and, after glancing back to see who was following, put his own pass off the glass for another dunk.

“I was going to do it no matter what,” said Freeman, who also had a windmill dunk. “I (saw) on Instagram people doing it, so I was like, I have to get one myself.”

Freeman earned East MVP honors after scoring 16 points in his last game on his Highlands home court.

“I love it,” Freeman said. “I just like playing with everyone. I kind of know everyone here. Some people I didn't know, (but) it was like they were family right off the bat. They're fun people, good people.

“It's a blessing, truly a blessing (to be MVP), something you can't take for granted. You've got to cherish it. You've got to just keep working harder.”

Beach party

Despite temperatures in the 50s, Deer Lakes and Valley had productive trips to Myrtle Beach, S.C., for the opening weekend of baseball.

Deer Lakes won three of its four games at the Ripken Experience, beating Albert Gallatin, Moniteau and Germantown Academy, and Valley split its four games, beating Friends Select and Columbus Academy (Ohio).

Senior Jake McCaskey tripled three times, drove in six runs and struck out 14 batters over six innings in Deer Lakes' four games. Senior Tyler Smith hit .500 with six RBIs.

Valley closed its weekend strong, rallying from a 7-1 deficit against Columbus Academy to win 13-10. Six freshmen played for the Vikings in the game, with Shane Demharter doubling three times and driving in five runs.

“We accomplished what we wanted to accomplish down there in terms of the young kids getting in and getting some time and the older kids mixing in and meshing with them to make a good showing,” Valley coach Jim Basilone said.

“The older kids brought them along with them, and the young kids stepped up when they needed to.”

Give her (West) Liberty

Deer Lakes senior Katelynn Blair signed with West Liberty for softball.

The 2017 Valley News Dispatch Player of the Year, Blair hit .672 with 17 doubles, nine home runs and 38 RBIs last season as Deer Lakes advanced to the WPIAL Class 3A championship game and the PIAA quarterfinals.

Doug Gulasy is a Tribune-Review staff writer.

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