Baldwin boys making strides toward breakout season

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Sunday, December 3, 2023 | 11:01 AM


Baldwin boys basketball wrapped up the 2022-23 season above .500 with a 12-11 record.

The Highlanders lost a tough 80-75 decision to eventual WPIAL champion Central Catholic in the first round of the Class 6A playoffs.

Coach Jeff Ackerman and his players are expecting better results in 2023-24.

“I think this year we have a very solid and deep team,” Ackerman said. “Our goals are to win our section championship and compete for a WPIAL championship. We have made strides every year at Baldwin and we are awaiting our breakout year.

“We were very close last year, but we just didn’t get it done. Hopefully this year we can continue our growth and take that championship step.”

Co-captains this year are Nate Richards, a 5-foot-11 senior guard and juniors Nate Wesling, a 6-0 guard, and Matt Schenk, a 6-4 forward.

Richards is a fourth-year starter who tossed in 11.7 points per game and recorded 4.3 assists per game as a junior. Wesling averaged 12.9 ppg last season while Schenk averaged 6.5 ppg.

Richards is a bit of a historian at Baldwin.

“Our goal as a team is to win a section championship for the first time since 1986,” he said, “and make a run in the WPIAL and PIAA playoffs.”

Another starter at the guard position for the Highlanders is 6-foot sophomore Max Marzina. Others helping out in the backcourt include Caden Cherico, a 6-1 junior, and Jaden Duttine, a 5-9 junior.

Gabe Barakat, a 6-1 junior forward, E.J. Golvash, a 5-11 freshman guard, and Adam Degenhardt, a 5-10 senior guard, are expected to fill reserve roles.

“Gabe Barakat is very athletic,” Ackerman said. “And E.J. Golvash is a very athletic guard. We have some other guys also contributing this year as well.”

Two other integral players are Jackson Sgattoni and Shane Bigley, both junior guards.

“Our section is very tough and we have some of the best coaches in the whole WPIAL in our section,” Ackerman said. “That is what makes things fun, competing against some of the best around.”

Section 2-6A opponents for the Highlanders are Canon-McMillan, Hempfield, Mt. Lebanon, Norwin and Upper St. Clair. Baldwin finished tied for third place in the section last season.

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