Scholastic Notebook – 01/30/2015

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Friday, January 30, 2015 | 3:28 PM


With a little more than a week left in the regular season, Aliquippa and Sewickley Academy are the only two undefeated teams in WPIAL boys basketball at 18-0.

For both, it is a return to glory this season.

Aliquippa has a rich basketball tradition, but the Quips hit a rough patch from 2010-13, compiling a record below .500 for three consecutive seasons under coach Bobby Williams. Things started to return to normal last year under first-year coach Nick Lackovich when the Quips finished 20-7.

Now, things are terrific at Aliquippa and this could be a team for the ages at the Beaver County school. It’s not known when the last time was Aliquippa finished the regular season with a perfect record. It has been at least four decades.

What has helped return Aliquippa to prominence has been defense, a staple of many Quips’ teams in the past. The Quips are allowing only 42 points a game. From 2010-13, Aliquippa allowed 63, 55 and 58 points a game.

This year’s team also is strong offensively. The Quips average 77 points a game.

Sewickley Academy’s story is similar. The Panthers won WPIAL titles in 2004, 2009 and 2010. But from 2010 through 2013, they were only 9-12, 11-13 and 8-13. Like, Aliquippa, Sewickley Academy started to turn things around last year when it went 13-8.

Now, Sewickley Academy is undefeated. Win Palmer has been the coach through the ups and downs and has this year’s team outscoring opponents, 71-47.

It is very possible that both Aliquippa and Sewickley Academy will enter the playoffs undefeated, although Aliquippa still has games left against two formidable teams (Our Lady of the Sacred Heart and Quaker Valley).

Only 13 WPIAL boys teams since 1964 have won a WPIAL title with an undefeated record. Only four teams have done it over the past 20 years. New Castle did it three years in a row (2012-14) while Blackhawk did it in 2000.

Coaching Milestones

As far as reaching coaching milestones goes, tonight could be the “Mac and Mas Show” in the WPIAL.

Chartiers Valley boys coach Tim McConnell and Quaker Valley  boys coach Mike Mastroianni are both going for big wins Friday night. McConnell needs only one to reach 500 for his career. He is in his 22nd season and will reach 500 quicker than any coach in WPIAL history.

Mastroianni, meanwhile, is going for his 400th career win. Mastroianni is in his 23rd season coaching Quaker Valley, Keystone Oaks and Bethel Park.

Brother-Sister Act

For Bethel Park basketball, it’s the “Joe and Justina Show.”

It’s not often that a school has a brother and sister lead their respective teams in scoring during the same season. But that’s the case this year at Bethel Park.

Joe is a 5-10 senior guard who leads the boys with a 17.1 average. Justina is a 5-11 sophomore who leads Bethel Park’s girls at 14 ppg.

Three for 2,000

2,000 has been a popular number in WPIAL girls basketball.

Three different girls have gone over 2,000 career points this season. The most recent was Vincentian’s Brenna Wise, who joined the 2,000 club Wednesday. Blackhawk’s Chassidy Omogrosso and McGuffey’s Sammie Weiss also scored their 2,000th point earlier this season.

A total of 38 girls in WPIAL history have scored 2,000 points.

Wade Suspended One Game

Clairton football coach Wayne Wade has been suspended from coaching the first game of the 2015 season.

The suspension was handed down by the Clairton school administration as part of some penalties slapped on the team and coach for their behavior in the PIAA Class A championship game in December against Bishop Guilfoyle.

Actually, the PIAA board of directors met Wednesday to review the penalties Clairton decided to take against its own team. With 22 seconds left in the game, a fight broke out between some Clairton and Bishop Guilfoyle players and a few Clairton players came rushing onto the field. One Clairton player threw his helmet at Bishop Guilfoyle players.

The PIAA wanted Clairton to enforce penalties against its own team. The PIAA would then review the penalties and the organization had the option to accept the actions or add more. The PIAA voted to accept Clairton’s penalties.

Besides Wade being suspended for one game, he will also have to attend a coaching and mentoring class. Wade, his staff and players will have to take a sportsmanship course on the NFHS web site. The team is on probation for the 2015 season, which basically means any wrong moves and they could be hit with more severe penalties.

The PIAA also publicly censured Clairton’s coaches and players. The PIAA would not reveal what penalties Clairton took against any players, but the PIAA said the school did take action against a few players.

Before the PIAA meeting Wednesday, Clairton had attended a sportsmanship workshop, led by former Steeler Charlie Batch, at the WPIAL offices. Clairton’s players also had made a video apology to Bishop Guilfoyle on Youtube.com.

Six Classes?

A proposal for six classifications in football is being examined by the PIAA. The organization directed the strategic planning committee to look at the proposal at a meeting in March.

Football Recruiting

There was big news on the WPIAL football recruiting front this past Monday.

Ben DiNucci, Pine-Richland’s record-breaking quarterback, made a verbal commitment to Pitt just six days after the Panthers offered him a scholarship.

While Pitt grabbed DiNucci, it lost Kittanning tight end Nick Bowers. He originally committed to Pitt last January, but backed out of his commitment and Monday decided to attend Penn State.

Moon’s New Coach

Moon has a new football coach from outside the area, but he is familiar with WPIAL football.

Brendan Hathaway was named Moon’s coach Monday night. He stepped foot on the Moon campus Monday evening when he met with the players. Hathaway is a former player at Shaler High School.

Hathaway comes to Moon after five seasons at Slippery Rock High School and two at Coudersport. He turned around Slippery Rock’s program. After going 17-6 in two seasons at Coudersport, he was 0-10 in the first season at Slippery Rock. But his teams were 7-4, 6-2, 10-1 and 11-1 the next four seasons.

Hathaway was known for an option offense. He also is a former Marine.

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