Franklin Regional notebook: Bowlers claim county titles

Saturday, January 28, 2023 | 11:01 AM

Brandon Smith is the captain of the Franklin Regional boys bowling team.

For at least one day, he was the man at Hillview Lanes in Greensburg.

Smith won the boys individual championship at the Westmoreland County Coaches Association Championships.

Smith rolled a three-game series of 696 with a 246 in his opening game.

His efforts helped the Panthers capture the team title as well. Their total of 2,992 was just better than Greensburg Salem’s 2,958.

“We knew what we were capable of doing,” Smith said, “we just needed to put it all together as a team.”

Andrew Marcej finished ninth for Franklin Regional (607).

The WCCA awarded six scholarships last year — the Nick Pecoraro Memorial Scholarship, Bob Van Atta Memorial Scholarship, Larry Sellitto Memorial Scholarship and three WCCA Scholarships.

Hockey finding rhythm

Any win over a neighboring program is a good win.

The Franklin Regional hockey team won for the third time in four games — following a four-game losing streak — with a 6-1 victory over Penn-Trafford.

Matty Knizner had four goals, and Luke Lavrich and Nick Matus had three assists apiece for the Panthers at Palmer Imaging Arena.

The win improved the Panthers’ record to 7-7 with five regular-season games remaining.

Rowell, Rankin out

Franklin Regional boys basketball had to play without its top two scorers recently as Cam Rowell and Cooper Rankin sat with injuries. They missed the Shaler game Jan. 20 when the Panthers lost, 69-44.

The Panthers had dropped three straight.

Coach Jesse Reed was unsure when they would return.

Plum ties

The Franklin Regional girls basketball team (5-9, 4-3) dropped three of four games to move into a third-place tie in Section 1-5A with Plum (10-6, 4-3).

Franklin Regional was set to play at Plum on Jan. 23. The game marked a reunion of sorts for Plum’s coaches.

Head coach Bernie Pucka is a teacher at Plum, his alma mater, and he used to coach the girls team there.

His assistant, Krista Pietropola, is Plum’s all-time leader scorer. She had not been back to Plum since she graduated seven years ago.

Alesi commits

Franklin Regional’s Anthony Alesi will continue his baseball career at Patrick & Henry Community College in Martinsville, Va.

A corner infielder, Alesi has shown flashes as a power hitter for the Panthers, and over the summer with his travel team, the East Coast Sand Dogs.

Bill Beckner Jr. is a TribLive reporter covering local sports in Westmoreland County. He can be reached at

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