Burrells’ Callahan shines at Cager Classic skills competition

Friday, April 1, 2022 | 10:06 PM

Donovan Callahan of Burrell missed several games during the season with a broken nose.

But he didn’t miss much of anything Friday night as the Bucs senior cleaned up in the skills competition, the prelude to the 25th Cager Classic at Highlands High School.

Callahan won the 3-point shooting contest, the individual hot shot and was in the finals of the co-ed hot shot.

“I was having some fun. I was smiling. I knew I had a number to get, but I missed the dunk,” Callahan said.

The senior guard defeated Rylan Zale of St. Joseph in the 3-point final. They finished tied 7-7 in the semifinal round.

Callahan won in the boys individual hot shot in a battle with Deer Lakes standout Armend Karpuzi, 52-51.

In the girls 3-point shootout, Kaitlyn Pelais of Mars was an 11-6 winner over St. Joseph’s Trinity Lockwood-Morris.

Lockwood-Morris, however, came back in the individual hot shot to defeat Armstrong’s Aubrey Burns, 42-24.

“I’ve done this before in camps as a competition,” she said of the hot shot challenge. “But as a senior, this is the first time I was competing like this.”

In the co-ed hot shot, Lockwood-Morris teamed with Highlands guard Carter Leri and won it over Callahan and Butler’s Makenna Maier, 60-37.

After winning just one game two years ago, Callahan and his Burrell teammates thrived on the big stage, winning a WPIAL playoff game for the first time since 2013 and making the PIAA playoffs for the first time in nine seasons.

“Unfortunately, we didn’t play our best in the state playoffs against Fairview, but we had a good time, Callahan said. “We worked every day since Day One. We went from 1-21 to the state playoffs,” Callahan said.

Lockwood-Morris was a part of the Alle-Kiski Valley’s biggest upset in years, a 54-51 playoff defeat over three-time defending WPIAL champion Rochester.

“It was insane. I think team chemistry was our biggest thing,” she said. “Defense was also a big thing. Our energy coming out for the second half, even when we were down by 17, I don’t think we or any of our fans gave up on us.”

Callahan will attend The Kiski School in the fall before heading to college, and Lockwood-Morris will head to Pitt-Bradford to continue her career academically and athletically.

Saturday night will be the main event, with the East girls facing the West girls at 5:45 p.m. In the nightcap, the East Boys and West boys will play at 7:45.

The all-star games will be replayed at 7 p.m. on Wednesday on Comcast Channel 190.

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