Quaker Valley boys will bring plenty back after 2nd straight section title

Sunday, March 19, 2023 | 11:01 AM

Quaker Valley’s boys basketball team has a chance to make a little history in 2023-24.

QV has won 10 section championships in school history, but the Quakers have never won three in a row.

Next year’s team will have the opportunity to do just that.

“We really do not look at those things,” coach Mike Mastroianni said. “Our section is so competitive. We played a number of quality teams this season.

Montour and South Allegheny will return almost their entire group of starters and both Avonworth and West Mifflin will return all-section players, so it is way too early to even discuss.”

Quaker Valley’s current section status reads as follows: The Quakers have won two consecutive titles, three in the past four seasons and four in the last six.

QV was the WPIAL champion and PIAA runner-up in Class 4A in 2021-22. The Quakers finished first in Section 2 with a 14-0 record and ended up 27-1 overall.

Behind a strong senior class consisting of guard/forward Amou Thiero (Kentucky), forward Markus Frank (Shippensburg) and guards Jack Gardinier (Susquehanna) and Wil Dunda, the Quakers were 24-0 against WPIAL opponents that year and 7-1 in the postseason.

Dunda played soccer this past fall for Geneva College, where he was named PAC Newcomer of the Year and second team All-PAC as a freshman midfielder. Geneva’s coach is Gary Dunda, Will’s dad.

Quaker Valley tied with South Allegheny atop the section with an 8-2 record this season then lost a WPIAL first-round playoff game to Belle Vernon. A 10-point loss to Montour in their final regular-season game cost the Quakers sole possession of first place.

“Obviously, it didn’t end the way we wanted,” QV junior guard Joey Coyle said, “but we will be back with more experience next year. I have high expectations for next year and I think we can win the section again if we stay disciplined.”

The 6-foot Coyle, who averaged a team-leading 17.8 ppg this season, will be one of three returning starters on next year’s team along with 6-3 sophomore forward Dom Cox-Giles and 5-10 junior guard Charlie Griffin.

Also looking to make an impact next year will be 2022-23 top reserves Dana Kromah, a 6-4 sophomore forward, Zach Washington, a freshman guard, and Rocco Luchette, a sophomore guard.

“We return six letterwinners next year, all of whom gained valuable experience,” Mastroianni said. “I look for all of our returning players to work in the offseason and continue to grow. Our game experience will be valuable to our team success next year.”

Coyle and Griffith were the only juniors on this year’s roster, while Cox-Giles and Kromah were joined by four other sophomores.

“Both Dom and Dana were sophomore post players this season,” Mastroianni said, “and although it is very early to determine roles (for next year), they both are excellent rebounders and the hope is for them to continue to grow their games and expand their roles.”

Washington was one of four freshmen on the 2022-23 squad.

The senior class was represented by guards Troy Kozar and Noah Jordan and forwards Daniel Bartels and Jackson Kerley.

Kozar averaged 10.6 points and 3.5 assists per game and shot a team-high 77% from the foul line. Jordan averaged 9.1 ppg and led the squad in 3-point field goal percentage at 42%.

“I thought we performed great as a team,” Jordan said. “We didn’t have much combined experience, so we had to get better together, which led to us being a good unit and helped us win tough games.

“It didn’t end the way we wanted, but winning the section was a big accomplishment for the team.”

The 6-3 Jordan was a two-year letterman in basketball and also is on the boys track and field team. He has a 4.17 GPA and is a member of the National Honor Society.

He also is president of the Black Student Union and plans to attend a four-year college, where he will study business and continue his basketball career.

Jordan thoroughly enjoyed his time as a backcourt player for the Quakers.

“I was lucky to be a part of four great teams,” he said.

Quaker Valley won five of six games prior to the playoffs this year and ended the season with a 14-7 record.

South Allegheny (20-7) and QV were followed by Montour (9-14, 5-5), West Mifflin (10-13, 4-6), Avonworth (8-14, 4-6) and East Allegheny (3-15, 1-9) in the final section standings.

Five of the teams in the section advanced to the WPIAL playoffs.


More Basketball

Leechburg boys basketball coach Damian Davies resigns
Penn Hills notebook: Drew Schifino plans basketball camp
Freeport grad takes over boys basketball program
Former OLSH basketball star Jake DiMichele commits to Duquesne
Penn Hills notebook: Daemar Kelly earns all-state honors