McGowan’s scoring touch sparks Greensburg Salem to fast start

Tuesday, December 12, 2017 | 9:24 PM

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Greensburg Salem didn't have to turn to comic books to find a super hero.

It has its own Marvel character.

Senior guard Marvel McGowan has become the go-to scorer for Golden Lions boys basketball and has blossomed into one of the top scorers — albeit a somewhat downplayed one — in the WPIAL.

He dropped in 19 points Tuesday night in a 76-32 nonsection home win over Mt. Pleasant that propelled the Golden Lions to their first 4-0 start since 2007-08.

McGowan went for 37, 34 and 28 points in his first three starts.

College recruiting has been slow-developing for the 6-foot-1 McGowan, who has more than 700 career points. But that could be changing. More schools are beginning to ask about McGowan, who averaged 19.5 points last year with a sweet left-handed stroke.

McGowan takes it all in stride. And does so with down-to-earth honesty.

"I am not a tall, athletic guard," McGowan said. "I am not that fast. I'm not that 6-8 guy all the schools want. But I worked on my skills and know my skill level. That allows me to create my own shot."

Geneva, Saint Vincent, West Virginia Wesleyan, and Penn State Behrend and Altoona have expressed interest in McGowan. But no offers. Yet.

McGowan admitted Seton Hill would be an ideal opportunity because he wants to play closer to home.

"My dream is to play Division II basketball," McGowan said.

Again, that honesty.

"Some D-2 schools have talked to me ... they said we're looking for a 6-5 guy or above," he said. "I feel like I am capable of playing at the college level. I just want to go out and show them that."

McGowan took notice of his points for improvement and followed through.

"This offseason he took it upon himself to get physically bigger, stronger and faster," Greensburg Salem coach Craig Mankins said. "He is going to surprise a lot of people this year. Somebody is going to get lucky enough to get Marvel on a college team. He hasn't reached his full potential. As much as he's improved, he still has another level. He has upside yet to come."

The Golden Lions, though, have shown that McGowan is not a one-man show.

Four sophomores have been playing alongside him, including Dante Parsons, Jalen Page, Ryan Thomas and Jeff Mankins.

Parsons had a game-high 24 points Tuesday and Mankins scored 10.

Junior Jack Oberdorf and senior Rylan (Bumoskey) Crise also have been key players.

"He is making those great shooters better," Mankins said. "If he gets doubled when he drives, he kicks it to them. And if they glue on to him, he can shoot it or drive. It's nice to have some guys who can put it in the hole, and our guys' basketball IQ's have improved drastically."

With McGowan drawing extra defenders, teammates have blended into the action.

"The pieces we have fit together with my playing style," McGowan said. "I am able to create my own shot and kick it out. We have some of the best shooters in our conference. I can help create shots for them."

Greensburg Salem came into Tuesday's game averaging 80.7 points. There has been an upturn in positivity within the program, and an accompanying vibe that signifies brighter times.

The Golden Lions were 7-15 last season, 5-17 the year before and have not had a winning year since 2011-12. Their last playoff win came in 2008-09 when Chris Klimchock, Jake Matthews and Co. reached the PIAA Class AAA title game at Penn State.

"We have had some down years," Mankins said. "I have a group of basketball players now who have played over 50 games this summer. They play AAU. It's going to be fun for the next four or five years. Nobody is putting more time and effort in than Marvel McGowan."

Winless Mt. Pleasant (0-4), which starts two freshmen, got 15 points from senior Ryan Quinn, a transfer from Greensburg Central Catholic.

Bill Beckner Jr. is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at or via Twitter @BillBeckner.

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

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