Tall, talented roster has Greensburg Central Catholic boys talking title

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Thursday, November 25, 2021 | 11:01 AM


Good luck getting rebounds against Greensburg Central Catholic this season.

The Centurions will be one of the tallest boys basketball teams in WPIAL Class 2A with the return of 6-foot-3 swingmen Brevan Williams and Ryan Appleby, both seniors and returning starters from a WPIAL runner-up team that finished 16-4 and won a section title.

“We haven’t had this much size here in a while,” GCC coach Christian Hyland said. “That hasn’t been one of our strengths in the past.”

Add 6-4 Norwin transfer Franco Alvarez, a sophomore forward, and 6-3 sophomore Anthony Semelka to the mix and the front line will cast long shadows over opponents.

Williams will be the centerpiece. He averaged 20.3 points and 9.4 rebounds a game last season, often finishing on fast breaks or putting back missed shots.

GCC had not been to the WPIAL finals since 2014.

“It’s going to be hard to top the year he had,” Hyland said. “We had a great year as a team, but there is always room for improvement.”

Williams thinks GCC’s experience can carry it deep into the postseason again.

He said he could play more on the wing, though, with the height advantage the Centurions should have over most teams.

“I expect us to get back to where we were last year, but we want to win it,” said Williams, who has 726 career points. “I want to rebound more and be more of a leader.”

Appleby will be a key rebounder and defender, while senior Dylan Parsons returns as a 3-point threat and additional playmaker.

The size doesn’t mean the Centurions will lack talent in the backcourt. Sophomore Tyree Turner returns after seeing substantial time off the bench as a freshman. He will likely run the point.

Another senior who should contribute is Garrett Sherwin.

Hyland thinks the paint from his new system has dried as he begins his third season leading his alma mater.

“We have some guys who have been around the block and know how things work,” he said.

GCC plans to play fast, as usual, with rebounds jump-starting the break.

“We want to get it and go,” Williams said.

Other players looking for minutes are junior Ja’Ron Williams and freshmen Liam Gallagher, Brendan Riley and Sean Walker.

GCC has seven freshmen on the roster. The school does not have a freshman team.

“Our goal is to get back (to the finals) and win one,” Hyland said. “We’re excited to see what we can do.”

GCC opens the season at the 17th annual Hempfield Tip-Off Tournament with games against Penn-Trafford (Dec. 10) and Greensburg Salem (Dec. 11).

An elevated nonsection schedule will include games against Norwin, Latrobe, Sewickley Academy, Ligonier Valley, Bishop Canevin and Bishop Guilfoyle.

Greensburg Central Catholic boys at a glance

Coach: Christian Hyland

Returning starters: Ryan Appleby (Sr., F), Dylan Parsons (Sr., G), Brevan Williams (Sr., G/F)

Top newcomers: Franco Alvarez (So., F), Anthony Semelka (So., F), Garrett Sherwin (Sr., G), Tyree Turner (So., G), Ja’Ron Williams (Jr., G)

Bill Beckner Jr. is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Bill by email at bbeckner@triblive.com or via Twitter .

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