Cheswick Christian boys basketball team motivated to make mark

Wednesday, November 24, 2021 | 2:13 PM

At the elementary and middle school levels, the current group of Cheswick Christian basketball players experienced success, which has given them some confidence coming into the season.

Now they hope they can translate those winning ways to the high school level.

“They’re eager to break back through at the high school level, because it’s been a few years since we’ve had a super successful high school team,” longtime Cheswick Christian Coach Todd Rosio said. “They walk around the building and see the trophies and the pictures on the wall. They remember those games. There’s a history there, and they’d like to make a little history themselves.”

The Chargers went 3-11 last year in a covid-shortened season.

They haven’t been in the mix for a Southwest Christian Athletic Conference championship since the 2017 team that featured 6-foot-10 Ben Pollock, but the hope is that can change this winter.

The Chargers return three starters led by senior forward Zephaniah “Zooky” Malloy. Junior Jude Vargo and sophomore Grant Rochind are also back.

Three players who did not play last season but have been in the Chargers program in the past also return in the Phillips brothers, Nick and Ayden, and Sean Louis. Nick is a senior, Ayden is a junior and Louis is a sophomore.

The core players are a group that Rosio feels can push the pace.

“With those three returning, we’ve got a lot faster and a lot more athletic,” he said. “We’ll have a much different style of play. Last year we were a slow-tempo, half-court team, and this year, we’ll be much more of an up-tempo, full-court style of team.”

Cheswick Christian will play home games at Trinity Christian. The Chargers have played home games at Penn State New Kensington in the past, but Rosio said due to covid policies, the college is not renting out facilities to outside groups. They open SWCAC play against Plants and Pillars on Dec. 4 and are participating in the Aquinas Academy tip-off tournament Dec. 10-11.

Several teams in the SWCAC took last season off, but the league has returned to its normal form for 2021-22. Cheswick Christian is in a division with Cornerstone Prep, Harvest Baptist, Grace Christian and Western Pennsylvania School for the Deaf. Portersville Christian, Plants and Pillars, First Baptist, Jefferson County Christian (Ohio), East Liverpool (Ohio) are in the other division.

“Last year, our half of the league was only three teams and this year we’re up to five, which is more normal for us,” Rosio said. “The entire league is back to around 10 teams, which is good. How good everybody will be is sort of unpredictable, but I think we have a chance to be one of the better teams in the league.”

Cheswick Christian boys at a glance

Coach: Todd Rosio

Last year’s record: 3-11

Returning starters: Zephaniah “Zooky” Malloy (Sr., F), Jude Vargo (Jr., G), Grant Rochind (So., F)

Top newcomers: Nick Phillips (Sr., G), Ayden Phillips (Jr., G), Sean Louis (So., G/F)

Jerin Steele is a freelance writer


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