George Guido: A-K Valley well represented in hoops rankings

Tuesday, January 14, 2020 | 7:22 PM

It’s rare the Alle-Kiski Valley has two schools ranked No. 1 in basketball, but that’s been the case for two consecutive weeks.

Fox Chapel is at the top in Class 6A boys, and Knoch has replaced Highlands at the No. 1 spot in Class 4A by virtue of its 74-69 victory over the Golden Rams last week.

The Foxes, 12-0 going into Tuesday’s game at Connellsville, have difficult section road games over the second half of the season against Latrobe, Norwin and Penn-Trafford.

But the good news is injured players Arnold Vento and Sam Brown are due back soon. Vento is the team’s second-leading scorer at 15 points per game, and Brown is expected to provide strength in the frontcourt.

Knoch, 10-1 entering Tuesday night’s game at Freeport, has to visit Highlands in a Feb. 4 rematch.

Coach-pupil matchup

One of the more interesting games coming this weekend is Burrell visiting Knoch in a nonsection game Saturday afternoon at 1:30.

First-year Burrell coach Mike Fantuzzo will face Knights coach Ron McNabb.

Fantuzzo not only played for McNabb at Burrell in 2004 when the Bucs went undefeated in section play, but he was also at McNabb’s side as a Knoch assistant for the past six seasons.

Fantuzzo had a hand in the development of a number of Knoch players who are part of the No. 1 Class 4A team.

Things are tough at Burrell this season as several starters from last year didn’t come out for the team, but it’s allowing Fantuzzo to put his stamp on the program from the start.

No one expects the Bucs to be down for long.

Kupec reaches half-century mark

Congratulations to Allegheny Township resident Larry Kupec, who will mark 50 years of officiating high school sports this week in a game at The Kiski School.

Kupec, 78, also has officiated football, baseball and softball over his career.

Cowher to the hall

Anyone who caught the surprise announcement of coach Bill Cowher’s impending NFL Hall of Fame induction can appreciate live TV for providing such noteworthy events.

Usually, I don’t watch the NFL pregame shows, though they serve as a sure cure for insomnia. But Saturday’s fourth time in my life that I watched a pregamer became memorable when Hall of Fame President David Baker walked on set with his imposing 6-foot-9, 405-pound frame to give Cowher the word on his induction.

Cowher, a Carlynton graduate, will become the 15th person from a WPIAL, City League or old Pittsburgh Catholic League School to be inducted into the pro hall at Canton.

His daughter, Meagan, who appeared on set with her stepmother, played basketball at Fox Chapel and was the Cager Classic girls West MVP in 2004 at Highlands.

After that game, Cowher made it his business to go up to the classic organizers and thank them for their efforts as he was leaving the gym. It was a class move.

Anytime a Western Pennsylvania football figure enters the Pro Football Hall of Fame, it’s lamentable that the original choice for the hall’s site was Latrobe.

But in the late 1950s, Latrobe civic leaders sat on the idea, and the NFL made the move to award Canton the hall in 1961.

Wouldn’t it have been nice just to make the jaunt to Latrobe to watch the induction of Steelers and other WPIAL football figures over the years?

More Basketball

If PIAA shuts down, AAU teams, other private programs could flourish
Central Catholic basketball transfer Langston Moses eligible for regular season, WPIAL says
With allegations behind him, Nick Lackovich returns as Aliquippa boys basketball coach
2 WPIAL rising sophomores add basketball offers from Minnesota
2 WPIAL sophomores announce basketball offers from Marshall

click me