Roundball Classic roundup: Jeannette’s Sharp leads high-scoring Class 3A/2A to victory

By: George Guido
Saturday, April 13, 2019 | 4:32 PM


It’s not easy representing Jeannette with dozens of great athletes over the years.

But A.J. Sharp did it and did it well Saturday during the 15th annual Roundball Classic at Geneva’s Matheny Field House., scoring 18 points for the boys Class 3A/2A team in a 121-114 victory over the Class 4A/1A team and garnering MVP honors.

“I love Jeannette. I moved there a couple of years ago. They took me in, and they love me,” Sharp said.

The 5-foot-9 senior hopes to go to law school someday, but Sharp’s team had to litigate its way past a superb performance by Quaker Valley’s Ryan Stowers.

The Quakers guard poured in 30 points to keep the all-star game close.

“I was playing free in the second half trying to have some fun,” Stowers said after receiving an MVP selection. “I was trying to involve my teammates when I could.”

Stowers indicated he might be headed to a prep school.

It was a busy day for Aliquippa’s M.J. Devonshire. The Kentucky football recruit competed in the Midwestern Athletic Conference track meet in the morning before heading to Geneva for the Roundball Classic.

Class 5A 112, Class 6A 108 — The Class 5A all-stars took a lead early and never relinquished it to win the nightcap.

Woodland Hills guard Keandre Bowles took MVP honors with a game-high 26 points to lead the 5A team. He missed a couple of dunks, but he more than made up for it with strong play near the rim.

“It was a beautiful time here with the guys. I tried to dunk everything,” Bowles said with a laugh. “We talked about our seasons, and we worried about this game, too.”

The Class 6A team tried to come back several times following a 10-point halftime deficit but could not get any closer than six points until the waning seconds.

Nick Leopold of Franklin Regional hit three key 3-pointers in the second half to keep the Class 6A team at bay. His final 3-pointer of the night gave the 5A team some breathing room 109-97 with 3 minutes, 35 seconds to go.

Jordan Albright of North Hills had an outstanding game with 22 points for the 6A team, and Kevin Stinelli of Penn-Trafford hit four treys.

Girls

Class 6A/A 94, Class 3A/2A 78 — North Allegheny’s Rachel Martindale capped her return to the hardwood — after returning this season from a torn ACL in the 2018 WPIAL Class 6A championship game — with the MVP award in the first game.

Martindale scored 16 points to lead the Class 6A/A all-stars.

“This has been great,” Martindale said. “It was hard not being on the court. But to be back and be with the girls again and my teammates is a great thing.”

Martindale is an Akron recruit. She originally intended to play softball at Pitt but ultimately chose basketball.

It also has been a momentous season for 3A/2A coach Don Eckerle of Our Lady of the Sacred Heart. His 300th career win was in the WPIAL Class 2A title game.

“It’s been a great year, especially with our memorable OLSH run,” Eckerle said. “A lot of great memories, then here today with a heckuva lot of talent.”

Bishop Canevin’s Shamyjha Price was the 3A/2A MVP with 14 points.

Class 5A 96, Class 4A 86 — Chartiers Valley’s MacKenzie Wagner finished her high school career by scoring 16 points and winning co-MVP for the Class 5A all-stars.

“This is my last high school game, and I was glad to finish it with coach (Tim) McConnell and Gabi Legister,” Wagner said. “It was also nice playing with a lot of the girls I’ve played against. During the season, we looked forward to going to practice with coach McConnell every single day. I loved every minute of it.”

Wagner shared the 5A MVP award with Maura Castellucci of South Fayette, who also had 16 points.

Castellucci scored eight points, and Adia Brisker of Penn Hills had three steals as the 5A team pulled away from the 4A team in the second quarter with a 32-13 advantage.

The 4A MVP was Blackhawk’s Mady Aulbach, who scored a game-high 18.

In a Roundball Classic milestone, a former player was on the coaching staff. Brianna O’ Rourke Kelly, from the 2005 event, assisted McConnell.

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