Fisher’s Files: Evan Berger reaches goal, becomes school’s all-time leading scorer

Sunday, January 21, 2024 | 11:01 AM

Notebook items from around the South Hills:

Thomas Jefferson senior Evan Berger said it was cool to break the all-time leading scoring total in school history in boys or girls basketball.

Berger, a 6-foot-4 guard/forward, passed 1989 TJ graduate Karri Miller Lockhart when he netted his 1,358th point Dec. 12 late in the game in a 72-60 section win at Bethel Park.

“It’s always been a goal of mine to break that record, so I’m happy I finally did break it,” Berger said. “It’s cool and all, but I just got to move past it and look to continue to get better.”

Berger needed 21 points going into the game to tie Miller Lockhart’s 1,357 career point total. With less than a minute remaining, Berger hit a free throw that gave him his record-breaking 1,358th point.

The Jaguars improved to 10-2 overall and 4-0 in Section 1-5A with the hard-fought win at Bethel Park.

Berger finished with a game-high 22 points. He had 10 games in the season’s second half, along with postseason playoff action, to build onto his career scoring total.

“We just need to get better and better each game down the stretch,” he said.

Baldwin wrestlers climb podium

Three Baldwin wrestlers zeroed in on first place in their weight classes at the season-opening North Coast Classic held Dec. 8-9 at Independence High School in Ohio.

Seniors Keith Mincin and Andrew Sharp finished first at 165 and 190 pounds, respectively, while junior Ramil Islamov secured the top spot at 138.

Additional medalists for Baldwin were freshman Jason Alex, third at 120, senior Owen Klodowski, third at 132, freshman Ayden Miller, fifth at 113, senior Durwin Fuller, fifth at 285, and junior Garret Gusten, sixth at 157.

The Highlanders wrapped up the month of December with six individual titlists at the Southmoreland Holiday Classic.

First-place performances were turned in by Alex, Klodowski, Ramil Islamov, senior Mario DelRosario (160), Mincin and senior Lachin Islamov (172).

Klodowski ended December ranked second in Class 3A at 133 pounds in the Trib HSSN WPIAL wrestling rankings. Ramil Islamov was rated fourth-best at 139.

Miller and Fuller finished as runners-up at Southmoremland, as did sophomores Mike Shoeb (107) and Russell Buttler (145), seniors Tyler Carter (172) and Amara Sheriff (189), freshman Mahbobullah Amini (215) and sophomore Andre Diven (285).

Ramil Islamov (18-0, 9 falls) and Sharp (9-0, 7 falls) took undefeated records into the second half of the season. Mincin was 17-2 with 11 falls, while Klodowski was 16-3 with 10 falls.

Baldwin had four champions and placed second behind North Star in the team standings at the Bo Wood Tournament held Jan. 6 at Indiana High School.

Klodowski (127), Ramil Islanov (139), senior Mario DelRosario (152) and Mincin (160) won titles for the Highlanders.

Highlanders make all-section

Baldwin seniors John Kozar and Sharp were named to the Allegheny Six all-conference football team in Class 5A.

The 5-foot-10, 170-pound Kozar, the Fighting Highlanders’ starting quarterback and defensive back, was an at-large selection on defense.

Sharp (5-10, 195) was voted all-conference at running back for the second year in a row.

Kozar and Sharp also attended the Big 56 First Team All-Section banquet.

Baldwin senior Mike Fry attended the banquet as a first-team all-section selection in boys soccer.

TJ duo honored

Two Thomas Jefferson football players stood out among the Class 4A Big Seven all-conference selections for 2023.

Sean Sullivan and Jason Salman, both senior receivers/defensive backs, were selections on both offense and defense.

The 6-foot, 180-pound Sullivan was named first team at both positions; Salman (6-0, 155) was voted first team at defensive back and second team at receiver.

They proved to be one of the most dynamic wide-receiving combinations in the WPIAL with 95 receptions, 1,708 yards and 19 touchdowns between them.

Sullivan caught 50 passes for 973 yards (19.5 avg.) and 13 touchdowns. Salman finished with 45 catches for 735 yards (16.3 avg.) and six scores.

Five other TJ gridders were voted all-conference, including junior offensive tackle Shep Turk (6-5, 270) and senior defensive lineman Michael Hutchison (5-11, 240), both second team honorees.

Honorable mention plaudits went to seniors Kam Eggerton (6-0, 200), Brody Evans (6-4, 185) and Elias Lippincott (6-2, 245).

Evans started at quarterback in 2023, hitting on 91 of 181 passes for 1,394 yards and 14 touchdowns.

Eggerton was a tight end/linebacker while Lippincott manned the running back and defensive end positions.

Brentwood players make 1st team

Eight players on the Brentwood football team were named all-conference, led by first-team selections Forrest Betz, a 6-foot, 165-pound junior wide receiver, and Daymire Spencer, a 6-foot, 200-pound junior defensive lineman.

Second-team honors were awarded to senior Blake Davis (OL), senior Daelinn Drew (WR) and sophomore Cedric Davis (QB). Senior Ethan Simmons (S) and juniors Max Rock (OL) and Owen Beck (LB) landed honorable mention status.

TJ volleyball’s future

Thomas Jefferson has won 26 section championship in girls volleyball, which includes 11 of the past 12 and 20 in the new millenium.

Despite having 10 seniors on the 2023 squad, it appears the Jaguars have the talent to make another strong section run in 2024.

In 2023, there were 36 players in the dynasty built by coach Ron Kelly, including seven juniors, eight sophomores and 11 freshmen.

Next year’s senior class will be led by the likes of setter Myla Evans, outside hitters Ally Chalovich, Olivia Virgin, Mia Costa and Rachel Laing, plus defensive specialists Olivia Stock and Reese Lawry.

Also, three possible up-and-coming sophomore middle hitters include Chase Turk, who stands 5-11, Isabelle Ondo, at 5-10, and Hannah Stewart, at 5-9.

Beaver teams take titles

It was an all-Beaver-Brentwood championship round at the Brentwood High Athletic Boosters’ tip-off tournament, as the Bobcats captured both the boys and girls titles over host Brentwood.

In the first round, the Brentwood boys defeated Carrick in the Battle of Brownsville (Road), and the Brentwood girls beat Steel Valley to advance to the finals.

Brentwood’s all-tournament team selections were Betz and, on the girls side, Mia March, a 5-10 senior forward, and Paige Boehm, a 5-11 junior forward.

Starting 5s

The starting five for the Baldwin boys basketball team consists of Nathan Richards, a 5-11 senior guard, Caden Chereko, a 6-1 junior guard, Nathan Wesling, a 5-11 junior guard, Max Marzina, a 6-foot sophomore guard, and Matt Schenk, a 6-4 junior forward.

Junior guards Jaden Duttine and Jackson Sgattoni and freshman guard Evan Golvash are among the team’s leading reserves.

The starting five for Baldwin’s girls hoops team consists of senior guard Katy Lucarelli, freshman guard Lynsey Bernotas, sophomore guard Laci Bernotas, junior guard Mary Vargo and freshman G/F Kelsey Meyer.

Key reserves include junior forward Libby Michalski, sophomore guard Isabella Niles and junior center Janelle Norman.

Baldwin grad recognized

Former Baldwin basketball standout James Wesling was recognized Jan. 2 between the Mt. Lebanon-Baldwin girls and boys games for being a 1,000-point career scorer in high school.

Wesling, a 6-1 guard, is a freshman industrial engineering major on the Penn State Behrend men’s basketball team this season. He was a four-year letterman and two-year first team all-section selection at Baldwin.

Todd Sherwin, another 1,000-point scorer and Baldwin Athletic Hall of Fame member, was on hand to honor Wesling.

Starters back for Baldwin

Nine of the 13 players listed on the 2023 Baldwin girls volleyball roster are seniors.

Five — MB Brynn Seaman, OH Brooke Seaman, OH Jesslyn Linden, S Ella Reiche and DS Allison Huschak — were part of the starting rotation. The team’s reserves included seniors Olivia Varon (DS), Alexa Hobson (RS/MB), Kaitlyn O’Neill (RS) and Emmy Zandier (DS).

Rounding out the squad were junior MB Kaylee Smolko, sophomore libero Ashley Skowronski, plus reserves Mia Wyse, a sophomore defensive specialist, and Avery Barrett, a junior setter.

OT thriller

Overtime games are exciting at any level.

On Dec. 11, the Baldwin and Fox Chapel boys basketball teams went four overtimes before finally deciding the final outcome. The Highlanders won the OT thriller, 67-56. The game was tied 38-38 at the end of four quarters.

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