Recchia hits another winner as East boys best West at Cager Classic

Saturday, March 23, 2019 | 11:33 PM

Mars senior Andrew Recchia is getting accustomed to winning shots.

Earlier this month, Recchia fired in a 3-pointer to lift the Planets to their second consecutive WPIAL Class 5A basketball title.

On Saturday night at Highlands, Recchia took a pass from teammate Brandon Caruso and hit the winning shot with 28 seconds left to give the East a 107-105 victory over the West in the 23rd Cager Classic all-star game.

Reechia finished with 16 points and three assists.

A layup by Freeport’s Jalen Brown with 50 seconds to go tied the score at 105.

Brown scored all 16 of his points in the second half, so it was only fitting he got the call after West coach Terence Parham of Deer Lakes called two timeouts in the final half-minute.

But Brown’s 3-point try for the win near the right sideline missed the mark with 3 seconds to go.

East coach Paul Sapotichne coached previous all-star games such as the original Roundball Classic at the old Civic Arena, but he said he had as much fun at the Cager Classic as any other showcase game he’s been affiliated with.

“I’ve always enjoyed it, and I really enjoyed this,” the veteran coach said. “I got to know these guys a little bit through practice and the skills competition Friday. They’re all really nice guys.”

With six classifications, Sapotichne doesn’t get to see many of the Alle-Kiski Valley players, especially the ones in the higher classes.

“Many of these guys I didn’t know,” Sapotichne said. “Some of them were by reputation and what I read in the newspaper. But when you’re coaching, you really don’t get to see many players outside your section.”

One of those was East MVP Carson DeWitt, who plays for West Shamokin, a member of District 6.

“I played for Top Level (AAU), so I kind of knew most of the guys out here,” DeWitt. “I reunited with some old teammates.”

DeWitt had 17 points — 13 in the second half — and gathered six rebounds.

“It felt pretty good out there,” DeWitt said. “Went in, got some rebounds and went to the hole aggressively.”

Julian Sanks of Knoch was the West MVP with 19 points and seven rebounds.

He began the game and the second half each time with 3-pointers.

“I’ve played here before. They (Highlands) are in my section,” Sanks said. “This was fun, and I was with a great group of guys.”

“I was a spectator here before,” Parham said. “To be asked to be a part of it was a great honor. It’s a first-class event. I liked coaching guys tonight that used to give me headaches.”

Valley’s Nyjewel Carter, who won the 3-point competition Friday, picked up where he left off with five 3-pointers for the East among his 19 points.

Jalen Price of Armstrong led the East with 11 rebounds, 10 in the first half.

Seth Cohen of Highlands led the West with nine rebounds.

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