Shane Bartha, Apollo-Ridge’s all-time leading scorer, to join A-K Valley Sports Hall of Fame

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Saturday, March 2, 2024 | 12:01 PM


Shane Bartha’s playing days at Apollo-Ridge featured plenty of memorable basketball victories, most notably the Vikings’ 54-51 win over Brentwood in the 1991 WPIAL Class AA girls final.

But it’s the lone loss of Bartha’s senior season that still weighs on her mind. The Vikings dropped a tough 51-49 decision to Girard in their state playoff opener, just two days after clinching the WPIAL crown.

“I still think about that game daily. Oh, it still makes me mad,” said Bartha, recalling the PIAA contest played at what was then Armstrong Central High School in Kittanning. “My sister (Jennifer) tells me: ‘that was 30 years ago, forget about it.’ I say: ‘no, we should have won that game.’”

Bartha said her utter disdain for losing fueled an intense playing style. It helped to drive her to a decorated Apollo-Ridge career that will be recognized with Bartha’s induction into the Alle-Kiski Sports Hall of Fame on May 4 at the Pittsburgh Shriners Center in Harmar.

“She’s very deserving. I’m very proud of her accomplishments,” said her father, Ray Bartha, who coached Shane and Jennifer, as well as Shane’s daughters Brinley and Kylar Toland, during a legendary career at Apollo-Ridge.

Shane Bartha still is the Vikings’ career scoring leader with 1,500 points. She set six other school records, including 15 steals in a game. Bartha earned Valley News Dispatch Player of the Year honors for the 1990-91 season.

“She was a fierce competitor,” Ray said. “She wasn’t just a scorer. She was a passer and floor general. There were times when she would come over and suggest something to me during a game. Most of the time we would roll with it because she was the one out on the floor.”

Bartha led the Vikings with 24 points against Brentwood in the 1991 final at Pitt’s Fitzgerald Field House. But she was among three starters who fouled out while A-R was clinging to the lead in the final minutes.

“It was nerve wracking watching from the bench,” she said.

Apollo-Ridge, which finished 28-1 that season, is the last A-K Valley school to capture a WPIAL girls basketball crown. Bartha averaged 21.1 points per game, but she didn’t reflect on key baskets, assists or steals when asked about that championship run.

“My greatest memory of my high school playing days was how it was a group thing,” she said. “Everyone put in so much time and dedication — all of the players, coaches and the fans. Some of the fans who watched me play still were coming to the games when my daughters played. It’s neat to see it over the years.”

Bartha, who is a nurse, still enjoys glancing up at the WPIAL championship banner in the Apollo-Ridge gymnasium.

“Our photo is still up there and one of my daughter’s teammates said: ‘that girl in the photo looks like you.’ Brinley said: ‘it should — because it’s my mom.’”

Bartha tried her hand at coaching while her daughters were playing youth basketball.

“I missed a game because of my nursing shift and it ended up being the only game that we won. That told me something about my coaching,” she with a laugh.

While her coaching career might have been a brief one, Shane will follow her father’s footsteps into the A-K Hall. A 2008 inductee, Ray amassed 579 victories while coaching the Vikings for 37 seasons. The Barthas will become the third father-daughter duo honored, following Bucky and Christine Troilo (1986, 2011) and Joe and Carol Nee (1993, 2002).

“It really is kind of neat,” Shane said. “My father and I put in so much time together, beginning when I was little.”

Here are the other 2024 inductees:

• Brice Flenory, Valley High School and Pittsburgh pro basketball

• Scott Higgins, Riverview and Westminster College football

• Fred Paganelli, Har-Brack and Point Park baseball and Highlands coach

• Mark Perry, Springdale soccer and WPIAL coach

• Melissa Baustert Schaeffer, Kiski Area and Carnegie Mellon cross country, track and Freeport coach

• Anthony Recchia, Kiski Area multi-sports and Pitt football

• Ellen Toy (posthumous), Kiski Area and Pitt volleyball, Kiski Area and Leechburg coach

• 1946 New Kensington High School football team

• 1979 Valley boys basketball team

If you’re going

What: 53rd A-K Valley Sports Hall of Fame induction

When: 7 p.m. May 4

Where: Pittsburgh Shriners Center, Harmar

Tickets: $40

Contact: Larry Lutz, 724-882-3695; Fred Soilis, 412-736-1809; Bill Heasley, 724-882-3079

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