North Catholic’s Alayna Rocco named 2024 TribLive HSSN Girls Basketball Player of the Year

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Monday, April 1, 2024 | 5:25 PM


There was a time when a basketball gym was the last place Alayna Rocco wanted to be. As a coach’s daughter, she went anyway.

“When I was younger, my dad would drag me all the time to go to my brother’s practices,” Rocco said. “I’d be like, ‘Do I really have to go?’ Now look. It’s the complete opposite.”

A senior at North Catholic, Rocco just finished up a spectacular high school basketball career that included four trips to the WPIAL finals and three championship wins. A Harvard recruit, Rocco scored 1,716 points career points and compiled a career record of 84-21 in her four seasons.

This winter, Rocco averaged 19 points, 5.3 rebounds, 2.2 assists and 3.2 steals for a North Catholic team that repeated as WPIAL 4A champions. In the finals, she scored a game-high 26 points to defeat Blackhawk, 40-37, in overtime.

Rocco is the 2023-24 TribLive HSSN Girls Basketball Player of the Year.

She said her true affinity for basketball started in middle school. It was then, Rocco said, she told her father, boys basketball coach Jim Rocco, that she wanted to quit soccer, which was her top sport. Looking back, she said, all of the extra time she spent in the gym with her father and brother molded her into the player she is today.

“I’ve grown up playing with the boys,” she said. “I used to go to the boys club in Shadyside and play in their boys league. I still practice with my dad’s teams in the summers or whenever they’re just playing pickup.”

Her brother, Zach Rocco, was a senior guard for Army this past season. Of the three Roccos — Alayna, Zach and their father Jim — who has the best game?

“Probably me,” she said with a laugh.

Rocco talks with TribLive HSSN’s Don Rebel about her high school career, the factors that drew her to an Ivy League college, how she tried to defend her way into getting a car and more.

Chris Harlan is a TribLive reporter covering sports. He joined the Trib in 2009 after seven years as a reporter at the Beaver County Times. He can be reached at charlan@triblive.com.

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