Trib HSSN 2022-23 WPIAL Class 2A boys basketball preseason breakdown

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Thursday, December 1, 2022 | 6:01 AM


Jake DiMichele is at First Love Christian Academy. OLSH is playing in Class 3A.

It might sound harsh, but the rest of the WPIAL Class 2A field is no long playing for second place, which must be a refreshing change of pace after the reign of terror the Chargers visited on the classification the last few years.

While the OLSH roadblock has been removed, plenty of newcomers – from Aliquippa and Bishop Canevin to Leechburg and Eden Christian – will be joining a deep group of holdovers in the race to the Petersen Events Center in March.

Preseason Player of the Year

Donovan “DJ” Walker, Aliquippa

6-0, sr., guard

14.0 points per game last season

Players to watch

Damon Astorino, Eden Christian

6-1, sr., guard

Shea Champine, Bishop Canevin

6-0, sr., guard

Brody McQuiston, Shenango

6-4, jr., guard/forward

Owen Norman, Fort Cherry

5-9, sr., guard

Tyree Turner, Greensburg Central Catholic

5-11, jr., guard

Preseason Top 5

1. Aliquippa (19-9 last season)

After the realignment saga the Aliquippa football team has gone through the last few years, here’s a new one for the basketball team: The Quips are actually dropping down in class this season, moving into 2A after making the WPIAL semifinals in Class 3A last year. With their top three players back – Donovan “DJ” Walker, Cameron Lindsey and Brandon Banks – Aliquippa looks like the team to beat.

2. Fort Cherry (24-4)

It’s fair to suggest that if it hadn’t been for the OLSH juggernaut last season, Fort Cherry would come into this year as defending WPIAL champs. Although the Rangers lost a key performer in Dylan Rogers to graduation, top scorer Owen Norman (17.8 pg last season) returns.

3. Bishop Canevin (25-4)

There are question marks surrounding the defending WPIAL Class A champs. Some oustanding players graduated (Jaden Gales, Kevaughn Price and Kai Spears, to name three all-section honorees), and they’re bumping up to Class 2A. But Shea Champine is a top guard with experience and the effect of the arrival of accomplished coach Tim McConnell can’t be overstated.

4. Greensburg Central Catholic (19-5)

The Centurions were another victim of the OLSH steamroller last season, so they should be happy to see the Chargers up in Class 3A. With dynamic junior Tyree Turner leading the way, GCC looks to be no worse than co-favorites in Section 3.

5. Leechburg (18-4)

The Blue Devils just barely crossed over the line into Class 2A in realignment, but they bring back all five starters, including Pitt football recruit Braylan Lovelace, who averaged 18.5 ppg last season. They can handle the step up in competition.

Notable

• The big realignment news was OLSH moving up, but it was far from the only headline. Aliquippa, Laurel and Beth-Center move in from Class 3A and Bishop Canevin, Eden Christian, Nazareth Prep, Propel Montour and Leechburg move in from Class A.

• In addition to OLSH, Sto-Rox moved up to 3A and Carlynton, Summit Academy, Monessen, Jefferson-Morgan and California moved down to Class A. Carlynton was a 2A WPIAL semifinalist last season.

• The wild card in Class 2A could be Eden Christian. The Warriors move up from Class A with standouts Damon Astorino and Malachi Manges leading a deep and talented starting lineup. They could battle Bishop Canevin in Section 2.

• While Aliquippa is the favorite in Section 1, it will be anything but a breeze. A star-studded group of playoff contenders includes Northgate with Josh Williams (18.1 ppg last season), Shenango wih Brody McQuiston (16.0) and South Side with Brody Almashy (15.4).

Bentworth is a sleeper in Section 4. Landon Urcho, who averaged 23.5 points per game last season, could make the Bearcats a thorn in the side of favorite Fort Cherry.

Alignment

Section 1: Aliquippa, Laurel, Northgate, Sewickley Academy, Shenango, South Side

Section 2: Bishop Canevin, Eden Christian, Nazareth Prep, Propel Braddock Hills, Propel Montour, Winchester Thurston

Section 3: Clairton, Greensburg C.C., Jeannette, Leechburg, Riverview, Serra Catholic, Springdale

Section 4: Bentworth, Beth-Center, Burgettstown, Carmichaels, Chartiers-Houston, Fort Cherry, Frazier

Jonathan Bombulie is the TribLive assistant sports editor. A Greensburg native, he was a hockey reporter for two decades, covering the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins for 17 seasons before joining the Trib in 2015 and covering the Penguins for four seasons, including Stanley Cup championships in 2016-17. He can be reached at jbombulie@triblive.com.

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