Scholastic Notebook – 02/24/2012

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Friday, February 24, 2012 | 2:30 PM


This next statement seems awfully strange: Either Beaver or Trinity will be in the WPIAL Class AAA boys basketball Semifinals.
As strange as that sounds, it is true. Beaver and Trinity play in a Quarterfinals game Friday night, and one of them will move on to next Tuesday’s Semifinals.

History says how Beaver and Trinity playing in a Semifinals game is unheard of. Trinity has never been to a Semifinals game before, and the Hillers won a grand total of six playoff games in school history. Two of those were this year. The others came last year, one in 2010 and two in 1984.

Beaver, meanwhile, has made it to the Semifinals only once in school history. That was in 1987. The Bobcats have only six playoff wins in school history – two this year, two in 1987, one in 1982 and one in 1977.

Both Trinity and Beaver had to win preliminary-round games this season just to get to the first round. Then both got upset wins to get into the Quarterfinals. Beaver came back from a 20-point deficit to defeat No. 5 seed South Fayette while Trinity knocked off No. 4 seed Keystone Oaks.

The success of Trinity and Beaver shows the kind of coaching job that Joe Dunn (Trinity) and Andy Podbielski (Beaver) are doing this season.

Five Alive

For the first time in the history of the WPIAL playoffs, five teams from one section are in the quarterfinals. Five teams from Class AAAA Section 3 will play in the elite eight tomorrow – Shaler, North Allegheny, Pittsburgh Central Catholic, Seneca Valley and Butler.

“I think one of the reasons our section is successful in the playoffs is because every section game pretty much duplicates a playoff atmosphere,” said Seneca Valley coach Victory Giannotta. “You can do whatever you want in practice and try to duplicate game situations, but it’s still not the same as facing it in a game. We’re playing Mt. Lebanon [in the first round of the playoffs] and it’s pretty much just like a section game. The playoffs are no different than a section experience for pretty much every game in our section.”

Monessen-Brentwood Case

The WPIAL had a hearing this week to listen to claims that Brentwood fans/players used racial slurs toward Monessen in a game earlier this season.

After hearing testimony from both sides and officials from both schools, the WPIAL issued no penalties to Brentwood. However, the WPIAL said it did recognize that there is a perception that a racial problem did exist the night of the game. So, the WPIAL directed both schools to come up with a plan to promote sportsmanship and a better relationship between players, students and fans of both schools.
North Hills athletic director Dan Cardone, a member of the WPIAL Board of Control, will work with both schools in crafting the plan.

Pittsburgh City League Basketball Championship Games:

While the WPIAL is in the midst of the quarterfinals this weekend, the City League basketball championships for boys and girls will be contested Saturday at Peabody.

In the boys game at noon, Allderdice goes for its third consecutive title against Obama.

In the girls game at 1:30, Allderdice plays Westinghouse. This is the 18th year in a row Westinghouse is in the title game.

Hempfield Hires Bowen

He’s baaaack.

After a two-year hiatus of coaching high school football, Rich Bowen will be back in the WPIAL this season.

Hempfield hired Bowen as its new coach Monday night. Bowen spent the past two seasons as an assistant coach at Waynesburg University. But before that, he was a head coach in the WPIAL for 19 seasons. He had two coaching stints at Serra, and also coached Yough and Elizabeth Forward.

At Hempfield, Bowen replaces Greg Meisner, who resigned after last season. Meisner will still be athletic director.
Bowen has a history of turning around programs. He did it twice at Serra and won a WPIAL title in 2007. He took Elizabeth Forward to the Class AAA semifinals in 1999. He didn’t win much for his first few years at Yough,

Before going to Waynesburg, Bowen was a head coach in the WPIAL for 19 seasons. He had two stints at Serra and turned around the Eagles both times, winning a WPIAL title in 2007.

At Elizabeth Forward, he took the Warriors to the Class AAA semifinals in 1999. He then went to Yough for a few years and the Cougars struggled at first before he guided them to a 7-3 record in 2004.

Now he takes over a Hempfield program that has won only 25 games the past 12 seasons.

“Obviously I wanted to try the college level,” Bowen said. “I enjoyed two years at Waynesburg. It was a great experience and I learned so much while I was there. I got to work with a great head coach [Rick Shepas] and a great staff. I feel like I broadened my horizons and I hopefully I’m a better coach now in high school than I was before I went to Waynesburg.”

Bowen said he might have some of his former assistants at Serra. He said he has always wanted to coach at Class AAAA.
“I’m going to try and get a great staff,” Bowen said. “I think it might be the right time for Hempfield. I think things are in place where it can get done. I think it can be a consistently winning program. That’s what I talked to the kids about. I don’t want to talk about rebuilding. I want us to win now. Maybe it doesn’t happen right away but that’s the way we’re approaching it. I don’t want to talk about a three- or five-year plan.”

Springdale Hires Leasure

In other football coaching news this week, Springdale hired Dave Leasure as coach. He replaces Chuck Wagner, who retired after coaching 50 years at the high school level.

Leasure was the defensive coordinator at Apollo-Ridge. He is a graduate of Shannock Valley who played at Gannon University. He does have some head coaching experience – at Penns Manor from 2002-04. He also has been an assistant coach at a handful of schools.

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