Teams benefit from competition at annual WCCA Shootout
By: HSSN Staff
Friday, July 6, 2018 | 6:15 PM
No one walked away from Hempfield Area High School with a team trophy Friday after the annual Westmoreland County Coaches' Association Shootout.
But coaches and players said the experience of playing in July hopefully will show them what work needs to be done before the winter season.
Hempfield, Connellsville and Greensburg Central Catholic posted perfect 3-0 records in the round-robin shootout.
Twelve teams, including 11 from the Westmoreland County, participated and played three games during the day-long event.
Invitations were sent to all 18 county schools, but Franklin Regional, Greensburg Salem, Ligonier Valley, Monessen, Norwin, Penn-Trafford and Yough decided not to participate.
Hempfield coach Bill Swan, who ran the event, said he didn't know why some declined the invitation. He said Greensburg Salem, Ligonier Valley, Monessen and Yough recently hired or are in the process of hiring coaches.
“I assume they had other stuff going on,” Swan said. “That's OK. It was beneficial for us and the teams that did play.
“We got to play against Valley and Jeannette, two aggressive teams that play good basketball. I thought we handled things well.”
Hempfield junior Marcus McCarthy said he felt the team improved and played well throughout the day.
“We had good teamwork,” McCarthy said. “We moved the ball well. I thought we hustled, which is important.”
Swan also felt the team competed well.
“We just played Valley last week and won at the buzzer, and I think we won by three or four today,” Swan said. “We also played Jeannette, and it's fun playing against them. I look forward to those battles.
“We had 12 guys dressed, and the competition was good. A lot of the guys played good.”
Latrobe, which played without standout Reed Fenton, who is on vacation, won its first two games easily and then fell in a tight one against Valley.
The Wildcats were led by Bryce Butler, who was getting tips from his brother, Austin, after the final game.
“We didn't have everyone, but I felt we played well together,” Bryce Butler said. “We played some physical games, and we got tougher. We just need to learn from our mistakes.”
Austin Butler, Jeannette alumnus Julian Batts and Hempfield grad Kason Harrell attended the shootout to watch the young players.
Jeannette coach Adrian Batts was a spectator, allowing his assistant coach to handle the team.
Even though Jeannette went 0-3, Coach Batts saw a lot of positives from the games.
“This event is very good for the county,” Batts said. “We got to play against Latrobe, Connellsville and Hempfield.
“They're bigger and more physical, and those types of battles will help us against the Serras and the Sewickley Academys.”
Batts must replace two key players: Tre Cunningham and Robert Kennedy.
“I won't be to see these guys until after football, so it was good to have them play to see what we need to work on,” Batts said.
Belle Vernon, Burrell, Derry, Kiski Area, Mt. Pleasant and Southmoreland also participated.