Transfers provide boost for several top Westmoreland County teams

Wednesday, February 3, 2021 | 6:33 PM

Bailey Kuhns and Christian McGowan did not experience the WPIAL basketball playoffs last season because of the timing of their transfers to Greensburg Central Catholic.

They were ruled ineligible for the postseason because they changed schools after the start of 10th grade.

Kuhns left Southmoreland about midseason, and McGowan came in from Greensburg Salem before the season.

The pair has moved on from a transition year and is focused on another chance at a playoff push.

“I am very motivated this year,” said McGowan, a 6-foot senior guard who played in 22 games last season but missed the Centurions’ first-round playoff loss to Eden Christian. “I want to go deep in the playoffs. It was awful to have to sit and watch.”

Kuhns and McGowan have become impact players, as have a handful of other local players who are taking root at new programs.

Others include Jeannette senior Keith Rockmore, who also moved in from Greensburg Salem last season, and Norwin sophomore Kaleb Pryor, a Gateway transfer who is starting for the Knights.

Dylan Parsons, a junior guard at GCC, also is a Greensburg Salem transfer, and Mt. Pleasant lost one of its better players when 6-foot-6 junior Christian Brandner left for Connellsville. The Falcons have only played one game this season because of covid-19 issues.

“I am adjusting pretty well,” said Kuhns, a 6-foot junior. “I only played five games last year, but I was able to sit and learn as much as I could. We have big energy in our program. I couldn’t ask to be around a better group of people. I’ve felt so welcomed here.”

Kuhns, who has several Division II offers, averaged 14.5 points, 7.5 rebounds, 3.0 assists and 2.8 steals through the first four games this year.

“She blended right in,” GCC coach Sam Salih said. “She’s one of those worker-bee kids who leads by example. She is a hard worker and doesn’t have an attitude.”

Parsons, the younger brother of former Greensburg Salem standout scorer Dante Parsons, was leading GCC with 43 3-pointers. GCC (8-1), ranked No. 4 in Class 2A, has won seven straight games heading into Friday’s showdown with No. 5 Jeannette.

Rockmore, a 6-foot shooting guard with a smooth lefty stroke, is leading Jeannette in scoring at 15 points per game to go with 5.1 rebounds.

“He’s become a valuable person in our program,” Jeannette coach Adrian Batts said. “He’s a great student and respectful young man. He’s worked so hard on becoming better at his craft. He’s going to be a college player, and I couldn’t be more proud of him. I’m glad he’s a Jayhawk.”

Buddy Valinsky played point guard at Allderdice in the late 1970s and went on to play in the backcourt at Division II Charleston. The Norwin coach appreciates the nuances of the position: the skill, court sense and leadership it takes to play it correctly and effectively. That’s why he took a liking to Pryor.

“He has the ability to get by people,” Valinsky said. “And he can create shots and help us offensively.”

Pryor moved into the starting lineup early on. With Alex Gabauer opting out of basketball to concentrate on baseball, and key injuries and illness to Ty Bilinsky and Josh Williams, Pryor fit in nicely.

“It was tough at first with covid and everything,” Pryor said. “We didn’t get to be together (in the offseason) so that hurt our chemistry some. It took me a while to become a Norwin Knight.”

Pryor is averaging 9.6 points and 3.1 assists for the Knights.

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

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