Scholastic Notebook – 02/06/2015

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Friday, February 6, 2015 | 1:04 PM


Penn State football coach James Franklin lost out on the top player in the WPIAL class of 2015 when Central Valley’s Jordan Whitehead signed with Pitt.

Other than Whitehead, Penn State had plenty of success in the WPIAL. At least more than the Nittany Lions have had in recent history.

Penn State signed four players from the WPIAL this season. That might not seem like a lot, but it is more than the past four classes combined. In fact, only twice in the past 10 years has Penn State landed four or more players from the WPIAL. In 2010, Penn State signed five WPIAL players and four in 2007. Two of the past four years, Penn State did not sign one WPIAL player.

In the past, Penn State struck out on some WPIAL players or sometimes didn’t recruit more than a few. But this year, the Nittany Lions signed Pittsburgh Central Catholic defensive back Johnny Petrishen, Baldwin offensive tackle Sterling Jenkins, Kittanning tight end Nick Bowers and Altoona defensive end/linebacker Kevin Givens. Jenkins is already enrolled at Penn State.

Franklin was able to “flip” two of the four WPIAL recruits. Both Bowers and Givens had made verbal commitments to Pitt a long time ago. But both Bowers and Givens changed their minds within two weeks of signing day and inked a letter of intent with Penn State.

The five WPIAL players who signed with Penn State from the 2010 class were Canon-McMillan’s Mike Hull, Fox Chapel’s Miles Dieffenbach, North Allegheny’s Tom Ricketts, Sto-Rox’s Paul Jones and Penn-Trafford’s Luke Graham.

The four WPIAL players who signed with Penn State in 2007 were Central Catholic’s Stefen Wisniewksi, Rochester’s Derek Moye, Greensburg Central Catholic’s Nick Sukay and Gateway’s John Ditto.

Pitt signed six players from the WPIAL this year.

Win or Go Home

You could make a point of saying the Seneca Valley at Butler boys game Friday night is the biggest in the WPIAL on the final night of section play.

No section title is on the line, but playoff life is at stake for both. It is the only game in WPIAL basketball that is do or die. The winner makes the WPIAL playoffs and the loser goes home. The game can be heard here on MSA Sports.

Seneca Valley currently is 5-6 in Class AAAA Section 3 play and Butler 4-7. If Butler wins, the two teams will tie for the fourth and final playoff spot in the section. But head-to-head competition is the tiebreaker – and Butler already has defeated Seneca Valley once.

Butler missed the playoffs the past two seasons. Seneca Valley is trying to make the playoffs for the fourth consecutive season.

Party of Five

Section 4 of Class A boys basketball has reservations for five at the WPIAL playoff party. Trinity Christian is the only team in the section staying home.

Jeannette, Clairton, Winchester Thurston, Imani Christian and Serra all have qualified for the playoffs. This is the only section in the entire WPIAL where only one team did not make the postseason.

Jeannette finished first and Clairton second. Winchester Thurston, Imani Christian and Serra all tied for third and all made it under the tiebreaker system.

Who Said playoffs?

Pittsburgh Central Catholic and Oakland Catholic are sort of brother and sister schools. Central Catholic is an all-boys school in the Oakland section of Pittsburgh, and Oakland Catholic is an all-girls school only a few blocks away. It seems strange without either team in the basketball playoffs – again.

This is two years in a row that neither the Central Catholic boys or the Oakland Catholic girls made the postseason. Central Catholic is 7-12 while Oakland Catholic is 2-19.

This is the first time Central Catholic has missed the postseason for two consecutive seasons since 1993-94. Meanwhile, Oakland Catholic had its worst season since the school opened in 1989. The Eagles had made the playoffs 24 consecutive seasons from 1990 through 2013.

Beating Each Other

If only the Albert Gallatin and Kiski Area girls could play each other more often, they might have more than one win each.

Both Albert Gallatin and Kiski Area are 1-18. Their victories came against each other.

Omogrosso Movin’ On Up

Blackhawk senior Chassidy Omogrosso is close to reaching the top 10 for all-time scoring in WPIAL girls basketball.

Omogrosso, a senior and a Duquesne University recruit, now has 2,374 career points, which places her 11th on the WPIAL all-time list. Tenth place is occupied by Loui Hall, a 2003 Albert Gallatin graduate who scored 2,440 points.

Omogrosso leads the WPIAL in scoring this season at 26.3 points a game.

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