Junior sharpshooter Joey Coyle helps keep Quaker Valley boys among WPIAL elite

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Sunday, February 12, 2023 | 11:01 AM


Joey Coyle has helped maintain the winning tradition in the Quaker Valley boys basketball program.

Coyle is a 6-foot-1, 175-pound junior guard and the team’s leading scorer this year, averaging 17.7 points per game. He also leads the Quakers in steals.

“My biggest influences in my basketball career are the guys that played here before me,” Coyle said. “I remember my dad would take me to watch the games and I would want to be just like them when I was older. For example, guys like Amos Luptak and Coletrane Washington.

“My favorite college player was Colin Gillespie. We are similar builds and have similar playing styles. I always try to model my game after his.”

The Quakers’ sharpshooting backcourt player leads the team in 3-pointers. He said one of his strengths is “just finding ways to score.”

And Coyle’s crackerjack shooting touch has not gone unnoticed by the Quaker Valley coaches.

“Our coaching staff is not surprised with Joey’s progress and outstanding season,” said Mike Mastroianni, the Quakers’ veteran coach. “Based on his play in his first two years in our program, he was ready to be a major contributor in all areas his junior year.

“Joey is an outstanding perimeter shooter with great ball skills and is a strong finisher around the basket. And his ability to defend as a sophomore enabled him to letter and contribute last season, and he continues to grow and flourish on that end of the court.”

One of Coyle’s best all-around games of the season came in a 65-36 win Jan. 21 against Canon-McMillan in the PBC Legends Classic at Moon. Coyle finished with 27 points, four 3-pointers, four rebounds, four steals and two assists.

“Going into the season. I had high expectations for myself. I knew I had to contribute a lot for us to win,” Coyle said. “In AAU and middle school hoops, I have always been one of the top scorers on my team. I feel like this year I have taken it to another level.”

Coyle racked up a career-high 30 points against Carlynton and 29 against Sewickley Academy in the season-opening Carlynton tip-off tournament. He and QV teammate Daniel Bartels were named to the all-tournament team.

Quaker Valley captured section and WPIAL titles last season, finishing 27-1 overall and as the PIAA Class 4A runner-up.

Four of the five starters on that championship team graduated. The only returning starter was Bartels, a 6-3 senior forward who is QV’s leading rebounder.

Bartels is flanked in the frontcourt by a pair of 6-4 sophomores, Dana Kromah and Dom Cox-Giles.

“Many people said going into the season that we would (be terrible),” Coyle said. “My teammates and I wanted to prove everyone wrong.”

Quaker Valley started the 2022-23 season by winning six of its first eight games and was 11-5 at the end of January, which included a 6-1 record in Section 4-4A.

“I think we have played very well this season, but we can do even better,” Coyle said. “My expectation is to make a run in the WPIAL playoffs.”

The Quakers edged South Allegheny, 46-43, in a key section matchup Feb. 7 at home, clinching at least a share of the section title. Senior guard Noah Jordan led the way for QV with 17 points and Coyle added 14.

Quaker Valley has won three section championships in the last four seasons and four of the past six.

The victory against the Gladiators was QV’s fifth in a row and seventh in eight games. The Quakers improved to 14-5 overall and 8-1 in the section.

QV averaged 54.6 points per game as a team through 19 games and has been led offensively by Coyle, one of the WPIAL’s leading scorers.

Along with his exemplary scoring, Coyle ranks in the top three on his team in assists, free-throw and field-goal percentage, 3-point percentage and rebounds.

“Joey is an outstanding 3-point shooter,” Mastroianni said, “and as a team we have really improved as the season has gone on and shot the ball well. Joey combines being a high-level shooter with a strong middle game and is a strong midrange shooter as well as an effective scorer off the dribble.”

Coyle, in fact, has been the Quakers’ “Mr. Consistent” in 2022-23.

“Joe has been consistent in his role all season, as well as our other varsity players, which has been a key factor in our team’s success,” Mastroianni said. “Joey leads through his actions and is an outstanding teammate and competitor. He is having an outstanding season and his consistent play in all areas has been a big factor in our play.”

Coyle, who started playing basketball at age 5, Jordan and senior guard Troy Kozar control the backcourt for QV with support from junior Charlie Griffith. Another integral player, sophomore guard Rocco Luchette, suffered a season-ending injury in his team’s section game with Montour in January.

Kozar, who with an 11.3-point average is the team’s second-leading scorer and is No. 1 in assists, hit a game-winning shot with 1.2 seconds remaining to lift QV to a 53-51 section win Feb. 3 at Avonworth.

The Quakers’ starting five consists of Coyle, Jordan, Kozar, Bartels and Kromah. Leading reserves include Cox-Giles, Griffith, freshman guard Zach Washington and senior forward Jackson Kerley.

Quaker Valley has advanced to the WPIAL playoffs 19 consecutive seasons dating to 2004-05. None of the players on this year’s team was even born yet when that impressive streak started.

The Quakers also have finished first or second in section play 15 times in 16 years.

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