Chartiers Valley boys basketball overcomes inexperience

Friday, January 12, 2018 | 11:45 PM

The Chartiers Valley boys basketball team had a lot of growing up to do this season.

The Colts entered with no seniors and only one player returning with significant playing time at the varsity level. Despite the inexperience, Chartiers Valley built a 6-4 record to start the season and continues to battle in a tough Section 2-5A with a 3-1 mark.

“There are days I am really happy, and there are days I am disappointed,” coach Tim McConnell said. “But if you told me we would be where we are at with our Florida trip and section schedule, I would have taken it.”

The early schedule forced the young Colts to grow up quick. The team opened the season at the Upper St. Clair Tournament against Bishop Canevin and the host team before a road trip to Baldwin.

The team also traveled to the KSA Pre-Holiday Tournament in Orlando, Fla. Chartiers Valley went 1-2 playing teams from California, Florida and Texas.

“I would like to think it made us better,” McConnell said. “(Upper) St. Clair and Baldwin are playoff contenders in their section, and Florida was a really good experience. I think it set the standard we need everyone to play with.”

Leading the team has been Joe Pipilo. The junior got a couple of starts and was the top 3-point shooter for Chartiers Valley last season. Pipilo is averaging 21.9 points and 4.6 rebounds, both highs for the team.

“We are asking him to be Superman,” McConnell said. “We need him to rebound, score and defend. Teams have started to try and take him away, so other guys have stepped up.”

Sean Banas is one of those players. The sophomore is averaging 11.2 points and shooting 38 percent from beyond the arc. Banas is expected to miss a couple of games after suffering an injury from a fall in the Colts' 46-38 win over Knoch on Jan. 9.

Junior Tyler Shaw has become a major contributor for the Colts, averaging 9.9 points. He scored a season-high 19 points against Knoch last week.

“Connor (Barrett) is a guy who can rebound and defend,” McConnell said. “Jared (Goldstorm) is in the starting lineup and is hitting big shots. Griffin (Beattie) isn't a big scorer but does a lot of the things that don't show up in the paper.

“We have also asked our freshmen to grow up fast. The nice thing is we will have everyone back next season.”

But the Colts are focused on making progress this season. Chartiers Valley is battling for position in a challenging section. McConnell will need his team to continue to mature if it hopes to contend for a WPIAL playoff berth.

“Moon and Mars are No. 1 and No. 2 in (Class) 5A,” McConnell said. “West Allegheny has turned it around, and Hampton is getting some guys back from injuries. We have a tough section.

“We need to survive and will hopefully make a run in the playoffs.”

Nathan Smith is a freelance writer.


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