Latrobe boys edge Greensburg Central Catholic

Saturday, December 10, 2022 | 5:58 PM

You don’t have to lose to learn.

Latrobe coach Brad Wetzel had that to say after his team won a back-and-forth shootout against Greensburg Central Catholic on Saturday in the Westmoreland County Coaches Association Boys Basketball Showcase.

The young Wildcats continue to learn how to win.

They made pivotal adjustments on the fly, and in tight situations, to escape with a 73-70 victory over Greensburg Central Catholic at Jeannette.

“With about five-and-a-half minutes to go, we were kind of in purgatory as far as what we wanted to do,” Wetzel said. “We had to scratch and claw. Sometimes it takes a little something more. We had to knuckle down.”

Sophomore Max Butler had a career-high 25 points, senior Landon Butler added 18 and sophomore John Wetzel added 16 to pace the Wildcats (3-1), who trailed by 10 in the second quarter.

“I felt like someone needed to step up,” Max Butler said. “I had a couple of bad games, but I felt like I could get going today. This win took some grit.”

Junior Franco Alvarez led all scorers with 26 points, and junior Tyree Turner added 23 for the Centurions (2-2), who led 20-17 after the first quarter and 31-21 late in the first half before the Wildcats rallied to tie it 35-35 at the half.

Max Butler hit back-to-back 3-pointers before junior JaTawn Williams converted a three-point play with 8.6 seconds left in the half.

“Things started to drop for Max,” Brad Wetzel said. “That’s nice to see.”

Latrobe ran off 15 straight points into the third as John Wetzel scored off a steal and Landon Butler made consecutive baskets to put the Wildcats ahead 45-35.

“We had a 25-point turnaround,” Brad Wetzel said. “We dug ourselves quite a hole … We were stagnant on offense early on. We wanted a better start. We got going on defense, and that helped our offense.”

John Wetzel’s falling-backwards 3 gave the Wildcats a 54-42 advantage with 2:13 left in the third.

GCC didn’t go away easily, though.

After falling behind 67-54 on a jumper by sophomore Alex Tatsch, GCC chipped away.

“In the second and third quarters we were careless with the ball,” GCC coach Christian Hyland said. “And we had way too many turnovers. We needed to make our free throws.”

Alvarez finished an and-1, freshman Samir Crosby made a layup and Turner scored on a drive to cut it to 69-68 with 1:07 left.

In that spurt was an emphatic block by Turner on a Landon Butler layup attempt that sparked the Centurions, but they could not regain the lead.

Williams and Max Butler made free throws inside the final minute, and GCC missed 5 of 8 foul shots in the fourth.

Max Butler made it 73-69 with a pair of fouls with 35.6.

“Max shot it well,” Hyland said. “The Butlers are smart kids. They know what good basketball looks like.”

Trailing by 3 in the closing seconds, GCC had several looks from 3 in the closing seconds but could not tie it.

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

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