Trib HSSN 2023-24 WPIAL Class 2A boys basketball preseason breakdown

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Wednesday, November 29, 2023 | 9:29 PM


Aliquippa winning a WPIAL championship is not breaking news anymore, although the Quips’ golden run in Class 2A last season was the school’s first district title in seven years.

What raised some eyebrows was the team that finished with silver, as Northgate enjoyed a breakout season and reached the WPIAL title game as a No. 6 seed before the Flames were doused by the Quips.

Those two teams both hail from Section 1, which appears to be loaded again this season.

Here is a rundown of players to watch, Top 5 teams and other notables in WPIAL 2A boys basketball this season.

Preseason Player of the Year

Cameron Lindsey, Aliquippa

6-3, Sr., guard

15.0 ppg last season

Players to watch

Tyree Turner, Greensburg Central Catholic

6-0, Sr., guard, 21.8 ppg

Josh Williams, Northgate

5-11, Sr., guard, 20.8 ppg

Brody McQuiston, Shenango

6-4, Sr., guard/forward, 18.7 ppg

Isaiah Petty, Serra Catholic

5-10, Sr., guard/forward, 17.3 ppg

Zachary Schrockman, Burgettstown

6-1, Sr., guard, 18.3 ppg

Preseason Top 5

1. Aliquippa (24-7 last season)

Hard to believe the Quips’ Class 2A district championship run last season was their first boys basketball crown since the 2015-2016 season. Following the victory over Northgate in the finals, Aliquippa won four state playoff games before falling to Lancaster Mennonite in the state title game. Senior Cameron Lindsey leads a talented group returning that includes seniors Quentin Goode, Jayace Williams and sophomore Marquis Council.

2. Greensburg Central Catholic (18-7)

The Centurions won their last eight regular season games to win the Section 3-2A title by two games. GCC then won two playoff games before falling to eventual district champion Aliquippa in the semifinals. GCC has one of the top players in the WPIAL back in 6-foot senior guard Tyree Turner, who averaged over 21 points per game. Senior forward Franco Alvarez averaged 18.8 ppg.

3. Northgate (20-8)

Coming off the breakthrough season last winter, the district runner-up Flames must find a way to replace graduated guard Stephen Goetz, who averaged 19.4 points per game. It helps that senior guard Josh Williams is back after averaging 20.8 ppg last year. Seniors Landon Lockett and Austin Mitchell also return for Northgate.

4. Shenango (15-11)

The Wildcats ended up tied for second place with Northgate in the uber-difficult Section 1, three games behind Aliquippa. Shenango lost to the Quips in the WPIAL quarterfinals and did not qualify for the state playoffs after losses to Eden Christian and Serra Catholic in the consolation rounds. Brody McQuiston returns following a strong junior season in which he averaged 18.7 points per game.

5. Fort Cherry (20-3)

Nothing like a little golden confidence from the football success sprinkled on the boys basketball team before the first game is even played, although the Rangers may struggle out of the gates with several key players fighting for a PIAA football crown. Owen Norman (24.2 ppg) is gone, but there is plenty of talent coming back including senior point guard Derek Errett, junior Shane Cornali and super sophomore Matt Sieg.

Notable

• History favors Aliquippa when it comes to repeating a WPIAL championship in Class 2A. Before the Quips won last year, OLSH captured four straight district 2A titles. In fact, in the last decade, only Seton LaSalle in 2014 did not win more than one WPIAL crown in a row. To take it a step further, since 2001, there have been only four standalone title runs in Class 2A: Beaver Falls in 2005, Jeannette in 2008, Monessen in 2011 and the Rebels in ’14.

• Two of the top teams in Class 2A will either delay the start of their season or start out of the gates slow because of the PIAA playoffs that their football teams are participating in. Both the Aliquippa and Fort Cherry football teams are two wins away from state gold. Also, the South Side football season just ended, leaving serval key players such as quarterback/guard Brody Almashy and running back/guard Andrew Corfield to play catch up on the hardcourt.

• A new season brings hope for all teams, including those that have struggled in recent years. Only two WPIAL boys basketball teams went through the entire 2022-2023 season without tasting victory. One was Connellsville in 5A and the other was Propel Montour in 2A. The Legends lost all 10 of their Section 2-2A contests and finished 0-20 overall. Propel Montour has lost 22 straight games going back to the 2021-2022 campaign, with their last win coming on Feb. 8, 2022 against Mapletown, 63-54.

• There are plenty of other players and teams to watch in Class 2A this season. Some include Serra Catholic with senior Isaiah Petty, Burgettstown with senior Zachary Schrockman, Carmichaels with senior Dominic Colarusso. Chartiers-Houston with senior Avery Molek, Frazier with 6-10 senior Brock Alekson and Nazareth Prep with junior Willie Evans.

• Two legendary coaches will be missed from their schools respective benches this season. For the first time in 23 years, the Sewickley Academy boys basketball team will take the floor without Win Palmer, who died in late August. Palmer amassed 674 wins in his coaching career in Virginia and at Sewickley Academy. He led the Panthers to five WPIAL and two PIAA championships in basketball and 12 district titles as the Sewickley Academy boys golf coach. Jim Dudas takes over the Panthers, who return four starters, including junior Nolan Donnelly, who averaged 16 points and 10 rebounds a game last season.

• For the first time in three decades, Tim McConnell will not be on a WPIAL sideline. After one year as Bishop Canevin boys basketball coach, McConnell resigned with a record of 662-153 with nine WPIAL championships and one PIAA state title between stints as coach of the Chartiers Valley boys and girls teams and one season as Crusaders coach. Damien Cornish takes over a team led by returning starter Michael Vaughn.

Alignment

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

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

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

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

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