Scholastic Notebook – 01/22/2016

Friday, January 22, 2016 | 12:51 PM

There seems to be some question as to how good the top teams really are in WPIAL Class AA Section 4 basketball. Brownsville is 13-4, Charleroi 12-3 and Waynesburg 7-7.

History makes you wonder about the strength of the teams. Among the three, there are a total of three WPIAL titles and only one in the past 50-plus years. Brownsville won a championship in 2001 while Charleroi won titles in 1940 and 1958. On top of that, no one from the section has done much in the playoffs in recent history.

But while many may question the strength of the teams in the section, there is no question that Section 4 is where the scorers reside.

It is most certainly noteworthy that two of the top three and three of the top 10 scorers in the entire WPIAL play in Section 4. It is point-counterpoint-counterpoint for Waynesburg’s Darton McIntire, Brownsville’s Noah Brown and Charleroi’s Sam Miceli.

In the most recent WPIAL statistics, McIntire is the second-leading scorer in the WPIAL at 25.1 points a game. Brown is third at 24.8 and Miceli 10th at 23.3.

Of the three, McIntire is the biggest surprise this season, but only because he is new to WPIAL basketball. McIntire moved to Waynesburg’s district from Morgantown, W.Va. He made his presence felt early, when he set a school record in the fourth game of the season with 47 against Brownsville in an overtime game.

McIntire stands 6 feet and his average is more impressive when you consider he is a sophomore.

Brown is a 6-3 senior forward who averaged 23 a game last year. Miceli is a 6-1 junior guard.

Pioneering a Turnaround

There is no bigger turnaround in WPIAL boys or girls basketball this season than the West Green girls. The Pioneers are 14-3  and 8-2 in WPIAL Class A Section 3. They have already clinched a WPIAL playoff spot.

A year ago, West Greene didn’t win a game.

Yes, the Pioneers were 0-22 last season and were outscored by an average of 46-19. This season, they are averaging 63 points a game. That is quite the turnaround.

Amani the Scorer

Whether it’s putting a ball into the back on the net, or through the net, East Allegheny’s Amani Johnson has a keen talent for both.

Johnson has a penchant for scoring – in soccer and basketball. During the WPIAL soccer season, she was 13th in goals scored with 25. Now in basketball, she is the seventh-leading scorer in the WPIAL at 21.9 points a game.

Now if you want to be more impressed, consider Johnson is only a sophomore. And consider that she is an excellent volleyball player and also the shortstop on the softball team.

Nee Operations

Highlands was expected to have a better-than-average basketball team this year, but you wonder where the Rams would be had Jamison Nee not transferred to Highlands from Vincentian in the spring? Nee lives in the Highlands school district and is averaging 18.5 points a game. He has helped Highlands to a 14-3 record and the Rams are tied with Mars for first place in Class AAA Section 1.

And while Vincentian is doing well, you wonder how much better the Royals would be if Nee had stayed for his senior season? The Royals are 10-4 and averaging 81 points a game.

Eagles Aren’t Soaring

What has happened to the Oakland Catholic girls basketball team? Once among the premiere programs in the WPIAL, Oakland Catholic has fallen on hard times. The Eagles are 4-12 and will miss the WPIAL playoffs for the second consecutive year. This comes after going 2-20 last season. Only four years ago, Oakland Catholic played in the WPIAL title game against Mt. Lebanon.

The program started in 1989-90 (with Suzie McConnell as coach) and the Eagles made the playoffs every year – until last season. Oakland Catholic also won 15 section championships and six WPIAL titles. They lost in the title game six other times.

So, Oakland Catholic has as many WPIAL championships as wins the past two seasons.

Peters Hires Plack

T.J. Plack will get another chance at being a head football coach in the WPIAL.

Plack was hired this week as Peters Township’s new coach. Plack was once South Fayette’s coach for five seasons before Joe Rossi took over.

Plack has been an assistant at Peters Township, but also has been an assistant at Bethel Park and Ringgold. He is a teacher at Peters Township.

Up for Mr. Football

Nine players from the WPIAL are among the finalists for the Mr. PA Football Award.

Two Mr. PA Football Awards are given out – one to a player from Class AA/A and one from AAA/AAAA.

The WPIAL players who are finalists for the AA/A award are Clairton’s Aaron Mathews and Lamont Wade, South Fayette’s Hunter Hayes and Alquippa’s Kaezon Pugh and Jassir Jordan.

Three Pittsburgh Central Catholic players are finalists for the AAAA/AAA award. They are Rashad Wheeler, Ronnie Jones and Damar Hamlin. The fourth finalist from the WPIAL is Miles Sanders of Woodland Hills.

The winners of Mr. PA Football will be announced at a banquet Feb. 13 at the Holiday Inn Harrisburg-Hershey in Grantville, Pa. Pitt coach Pat Narduzzi will be the main speaker at the banquet.

No One Allowed

Just by chance anyone thinking of going to the Rochester at Cornell basketball game Friday, forget it. No fans are allowed.

The two teams will play in an empty Cornell gym today (Friday) at 4 p.m. Schools took this action after a benches-clearing brawl stopped the last game between the two in December.

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