Seton LaSalle boys bolstered by all-senior starting lineup

Tuesday, February 11, 2020 | 1:37 PM

Veteran coach Mark Walsh is a staunch Seton LaSalle advocate, and is fully committed to the boys basketball program.

As the saying goes, Walsh “bleeds green and gold.”

His Rebels qualified for the WPIAL playoffs as the second-place team in Section 2-3A.

In fact, the Rebels have advanced to the postseason nine times in Walsh’s nine-year tenure. During that span, Seton has won five section titles and one WPIAL crown, and has finished as a WPIAL runner-up twice and PIAA runner-up once.

The Rebels steamrolled past McNeilly Road-rival Keystone Oaks, 83-43, on Feb. 7 to wrap up section play at 10-2.

“We are really excited where we are right now,” Walsh said. “We have been improving week by week. I’m very proud of our team, and I’m really excited about where our program is. Our junior varsity had a great year and the ninth- grade team is strong. There are a lot of young kids thinking about coming to Seton LaSalle next year.

“Our girls’ program having a super season has made it all the more enjoyable, also.”

The 15-6 Rebels are a senior-laden group. The starting lineup consists of five seniors: 5-foot-11 guard Michael Bigley, 6-1 F/C Daniel Boehme, 6-0 G/F Terrell Truss-Moore, 6-0 guard Jake Verner and 6-1 guard Dylan Preston.

The quick, highly energetic Bigley leads the team in scoring with a 17 ppg average, followed by Boehme at 12 ppg and Verner at 11 ppg. Truss-Moore (8.9) and Preston (7.9) add another 17 points each game.

Bigley poured in 27 points against Keystone Oaks, as 10 Seton LaSalle players reached the scoring column. Preston and Verner added 14 apiece.

“I love my team,” Bigley said. “I wouldn’t want to play next to anyone else; they’re my family. We’ve had some ups and downs along way this season, but we’ve really pulled it together with the playoffs coming up. I’m really proud of the team for coming together like that.”

Bigley, the Rebels’ “Little Big Man,” is a third-year starter and fourth-year letterman. He also is a three-year letterman as an outfielder on Seton LaSalle’s baseball squad, which won the WPIAL Class 2A crown last spring.

“Our goal prior to the start of this season was to win a WPIAL championship,” said Bigley, who owns a 4.2 GPA. “Our expectations are still the same.”

Bigley capped his team’s regular season schedule Feb. 10 by leading Seton to a rousing 77-61 nonsection win at home against Serra Catholic, a WPIAL Class 2A playoff qualifier.

The highlight of the night came at the 6:27 mark of the second quarter when Bigley eclipsed the 1,000-point mark in career scoring. The contest was stopped briefly to recognize his milestone, as Bigley was joined for a brief for photo op with his parents, Edward and Melissa.

“I couldn’t have scored 1,000 without my teammates. They’re my family and have my back every time we step on the court,” Bigley said. “I also couldn’t have done it without the Seton coaching staff; they’ve pushed and supported me through thick and thin.

“Lastly, I couldn’t have done it without my family, especially my dad and grandfather, Pud.”

Bigley netted 22 points against the Eagles and was complemented by Verner’s 15, Truss-Moore’s 14 and Preston’s eight.

The Seton LaSalle hoopsters, who jumped out to a 16-0 advantage against Serra Catholic, average 69.8 points and allow 59.4 points per game. The Rebels attained 70 or more points 14 times, going over the 80-point mark four times, including a 94-61 section win Jan. 21 at Freedom.

“We are an up-tempo team that likes to get after it on defense and push the ball,” Walsh said. “We are looking forward to the playoffs. We know there are a number of strong teams in triple-A, so we have to be at our best to compete with them.

“Our expectations each year are to compete for the section, WPIAL and state championships.”

Walsh’s nine-year coaching resume at Seton LaSalle indeed is impressive. Eight of his nine teams have racked up winning records; six have made PIAA playoff appearances.

Walsh’s career mark at Seton stands at 169-62.

The Rebels’ all-senior starting unit has been bolstered this winter by a solid supporting cast.

Top reserves include 5-11 senior guard/forward Cole Walsh, 6-2 sophomore forward Alex Jones, 6-1 sophomore forward Emmett Harris, 5-11 junior guard Reno Butelli, 5-10 junior guard Anthony Newman, 6-10 junior center Jacob Scarff and 6-1 senior center Felix Zamborsky.

North Catholic, Seton LaSalle, Carlynton and Avonworth will represent Section 2 in the upcoming WPIAL Class 3A tournament.

The top five teams in Class 3A in the Trib HSSN/WPIAL boys basketball rankings through Feb. 8 were Lincoln Park, North Catholic, South Allegheny, Seton LaSalle and Aliquippa.


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