Chartiers Valley boys basketball piles up wins but searches for perfect game

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Thursday, January 30, 2020 | 9:45 PM


Nobody is perfect. That hasn’t stopped the Chartiers Valley boys basketball team’s pursuit of that elusive ideal.

A perfect record would have been nice, but, at this point, all second-year coach Brandon Sensor is looking for is a perfect game. He wants to see a night when the Colts are crisp in all facets.

That hasn’t happened yet, though junior guard Brayden Reynolds said he believes the team isn’t far off.

“I feel like we’re getting really close to getting that really good, great game,” he said. “We have little 4-minute or 6-minute lapses where we lose focus. If we can focus for a whole game, we can get there. It’s going to come. I can tell.”

The optimal time for it to come would be the WPIAL Class 5A final. That remains far down the road, but the Colts have shown they are a legitimate contender.

Through its Jan. 28 win over West Mifflin — its eighth in a row — Char Valley was leading Section 2-5A at 10-1. At the conclusion of the previous week, it moved atop the Trib HSSN Class 5A rankings.

The pursuit of perfection starts with Sensor. He took CV to the WPIAL semifinals in his first season, but now, he said, he has a better idea of his players’ strengths and deficiencies and how to strategize around them.

A big point of emphasis has been patience on offense: passing up a good shot for a great shot and eliminating bad ones.

“We say a bad shot is a turnover,” Sensor said.

Reynolds (19.0 points) and senior Jared Goldstrom (15.0) lead the offense. But since coming back from their holiday trip to Florida, the Colts have started to get more complementary scoring from players such as Marcello Legister and Sean Banas.

They also provide points in the paint to take pressure off Reynolds and Goldstrom outside, and Legister also has shown the ability to step out and make 3-pointers.

“The first half of the year, it was kind of Brayden and Jared scoring all the points,” Sensor said. “Now we’re more balanced. The guys have bought in and are sharing the ball.”

Sensor values defense as much — if not more — than offense, and the Colts have progressed there as well. CV didn’t yield more than 49 points in any of the four games between Jan. 21 and 28.

“I think for sure our strong suit has been guarding one-on-one,” Reynolds said.

And the Colts have the X-factor all successful teams seem to share: players willing to do the gritty jobs.

Louie Kearney often is called upon to lock down the opponent’s top perimeter player and has taken 11 charges. Banas (6-foot-2) uses his physicality to frustrate opposing post players. The biggest revelation, Sensor said, might be senior Griffin Beattie, a Mercyhurst football commit who provides hustle plays off the bench.

“He’s, obviously, a tremendous athlete,” Sensor said. “With basketball, I always thought he was kind of out of control. But this year, he came in and … he’s getting rebounds. He’s getting energy plays. He’s getting loose balls, getting steals. For some reason, he’s always in the right spot.”

While this perfect mix of offense, defense and dirty work has yet to achieve a pristine game, that isn’t necessarily a concern. The important thing, Sensor said, is to continue inching toward that goal.

“Were playing a good half or a good quarter, but we still haven’t played four quarters of smart basketball and making good decisions,” he said. “That’s going to put us at another level. We’re getting closer.”

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