Marinchak lights out for Ligonier Valley

Thursday, December 23, 2021 | 6:58 PM

Lights out, Matthew. Time to go home.

Matthew Marinchak doesn’t always heed the warning when he is getting up shots at the Ligonier Valley High School gym or the Ligonier YMCA.

The senior guard from Ligonier Valley gets there early, stays late and does it all again the next day as he works on his game.

And that game often is, well, lights out.

“I have to kick him out of the gym after practice,” Rams coach Tim Gustin said. “He always wants to play pick-up games. It doesn’t matter where. It could be pick-up with a bunch of 50-year-olds, he wants to play.”

The 6-foot-3 Marinchak recently became the 25th player at Ligonier Valley and Laurel Valley combined to top 1,000 career points.

The goggles-clad point guard plays with flair and can score in transition with the best in the WPIAL. He can take it off the dribble, shoot 3s, pass in traffic and defend.

When he is airborne, nobody is quite sure where the ball is going. He might drop a pass neatly into a teammate’s hands for an easy two, fire a missile past an unprepared teammate’s cheek, or try a scooping layup while drawing contact.

He was averaging 24 points through five games, netting 36 when the Rams held back Valley, 78-72, in double overtime on the night he reached the milestone.

He had 33 in an 81-57 win over Greensburg Salem in the Westmoreland County Coaches Association Showcase at Hempfield.

Then, he went for 35, with five 3s, in a 79-65 win over East Allegheny.

His older brother, Michael, now a baseball pitcher at Seton Hill, scored 1,816 points.

“Now I want to catch him,” said Matthew Marinchak, who has 1,118 points. “It’s such an honor to be on a list with all those guys.”

The younger Marinchak is drawing Division III college attention from Pitt-Greensburg, Waynesburg and others.

He played football this past season and is considering rekindling his baseball career in the spring. But basketball looks like his ticket to the next level.

“I have been playing since I was in fourth grade,” he said. “My dad was working with the pee-wees program at the YMCA. I started working on my dribbling and really got into it.”

His father, Michael Marinchak III, is a program director at the Ligonier Valley YMCA.

“He can get the keys and get in there whenever he wants to shoot around,” Gustin said. “He is always there.”

Matthew Marinchak is always there, but sometimes he is doing more to help others’ games than his own.

“I coach 4-, 5- and 6-year-olds every Saturday for six to eight weeks,” he said. “It’s fun. I like helping the kids.”

Marinchak will have played half his high school career in District 6 and the other half in the WPIAL (District 7).

Ligonier Valley joined the WPIAL in all sports in 2020.

Adjusting to WPIAL basketball took some time but Marinchak feels the Rams have taken root.

“It’s different, especially defensively,” he said of the WPIAL. “It’s a lot more in your face.”

Bill Beckner Jr. is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Bill by email at or via Twitter .


More Basketball

Trib 10: State champs take top spots in season’s final power rankings
Trib HSSN Boys Basketball State Rankings for March 28, 2023
Trib HSSN Boys Basketball Team of the Week for March 28, 2023
Trib HSSN Girls Basketball State Rankings for March 27, 2023
A-K Valley Senior Spotlight: St. Joseph’s Jimmy Giannetta