Cheswick Christian boys program making giant leaps forward

Wednesday, November 15, 2023 | 6:08 PM

When the Cheswick Christian boys basketball team followed a 3-11 record in the 2020-21 covid-shortened season with a 7-11 mark and a playoff berth in 2021-22, it was a big step forward.

Last season was more like a giant leap.

Cheswick Christian went 18-10 and appeared in the Southwest Christian Athletic Conference finals.

Now, expectations are high for the Chargers going into a season for which they return three all-conference players: senior forwards Grant Rochkind and Sean Louis and sophomore guard Joseph Rosio.

“Grant and Joseph did a really good job handling the basketball and keeping us under control on offense (last year),” said Todd Rosio, longtime Chargers coach. “Sean was a very-well rounded player and still is. … He does whatever needs to be done. I know nobody is bringing back three all-conference players.”

Cheswick Christian lost three seniors to graduation, all of whom had big roles, but the Chargers return other players who saw significant time.

Brady Rochkind, Grant’s younger brother who is a sophomore, was top five in several statistical categories a year ago and “played starter minutes off the bench,” Rosio said. Cheswick Christian also returns seniors Brian Kazmer and Asa Boston. Those players will add length and high IQ to the rotation, Rosio said.

The Chargers also are expecting big things from a few newcomers: senior guard Jacob Green, senior guard Beck Johnston and junior forward Keith Booth.

“Everybody loses some people. It just happens,” Rosio said. “Bringing back what we are in experience is a big plus. This group has had success in junior high coming up and had it last year. (Having that) is huge. When you have people who have experience that play like brothers … you get to a point where things just sort of flow, and their games fit together.”

Rosio expects the team to bring a lot of shooting prowess and smarts to the court.

“There’s a high basketball IQ among this group,” he said. “They want to win. There’s not a lot of ego. They’re buying into team success and are happy for each other when they do well.

Joining the coaching staff this season is Ben Pollock, a former Cheswick Christian standout who played basketball in college. Pollock appeared in 31 games and made 29 starts from 2020-22 at Chatham, averaging 11.9 points and 9.2 rebounds per game. He also registered 68 blocks.

“It’s been nice to see the turnaround … where guys have gone from playing here to coming back to coach here. Some guys don’t necessarily love to have a 6-10 guy helping at practice, though,” said Rosio, jokingly.

Cheswick Christian lost to Harvest Baptist in the SWCAC final last season. The Chargers are aiming for more this season, which starts the weekend of Dec. 1 at the Aquinas Academy Tip-Off Tournament.

Cheswick Christian boys at a glance

Last year’s record: 18-10

Returning starters: Grant Rochkind (Sr., F), Sean Louis (Sr., F), Joseph Rosio (So., G)

Top newcomers: Jacob Green (Sr., G), Beck Johnston (Sr., G), Keith Booth (Jr., F)


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