Trib HSSN Boys Basketball Player of the Week for Jan. 23, 2023

Monday, January 23, 2023 | 7:12 PM

When he’s not torturing opponents on the hardwood, North Hills junior Royce Parham said he likes to get together with his buddies, hang out and shoot the breeze.

If he’s as good at shooting the breeze as is his shooting a basketball, then his pals are in for some good roundtable discussions.

The 6-foot-9 forward made a splash as a freshman, was a big part of a dominant season as a sophomore and has been even better as a junior, highlighted by his 86-point performance in two wins this past week.

“I just feel like every single year, I’m getting better and better,” Parham said. “I’m adding more stuff to my bag and improving my shot, handling, finishing, all that stuff.”

Parham averaged 21 points per game as a sophomore and is now averaging 26 points per game through the Indians’ first 15 games.

“His overall skill level at his size is unique, especially at 16 years old,” North Hills coach Buzz Gabos said. “The most overlooked part of his game is his shot blocking. He has incredible timing.”

On Tuesday, North Hills concluded the first half of Section 4-5A play with a tough road victory at Chartiers Valley, 78-74.

“It felt good to win that game after being away and us having a terrible game,” Parham said. “We had so many turnovers, we couldn’t hold on to the ball. So it was so good to come out and win that game and be 5-0 in the section.”

Parham scored 39 points in the victory over the Colts.

On Friday, the Indians returned home to face old rival Pine-Richland in a nonsection contest.

Parham dominated, scoring 47 points in the 12th win of the season for North Hills, 97-85.

“He had 18 and 19 rebounds in those two games,” Gabos said. “We needed all of those points to win.”

While only a junior, Parham is not only the leader on the statsheet for the Indians, but he also has taken on more of a leadership role this season.

“He realizes he needs to take over games in certain situations and also help with pressure,” Gabos said.

If North Hills qualifies for the WPIAL playoffs, it will be one of the teams to beat in Class 5A.

A year ago, the Indians were the team to beat after a 22-0 regular season. They won two playoff contests by a combined 21 points to reach the district Class 6A championship game.

However, North Hills was stunned by Fox Chapel in the WPIAL finals, then had its season end in the PIAA quarterfinals with a 27-point loss to Archbishop Wood.

“I remember losing to Fox Chapel at the Petersen Events Center. It was a rough loss. It was sad” Parham said. “Then losing to Archbishop Wood was rough because it was our seniors’ last game. After the loss in the state playoff game, it was sad and it was just quiet.”

Parham and the rest of the Indians hope to turn those tears of sorrow into tears of joy this winter.

North Hills has a two-game lead in the section over both Mars and Moon with five section game remaining.

“We have a lot of areas we continue to work on,” Gabos said. “We are fortunate to have won a number of close games. We need to clean things up on both ends if we want to make a run.”

Parham is optimistic about February and March success after what he has seen from the Indians in December and January.

“I feel it’s going really good this season,” he said. “Our team has had so many injuries this year, which is rough for us, but we just played through it and we won games throughout.”

Trib HSSN Players of the Week

Week 2 – Jaydis Kennedy, Geibel Catholic

Week 1 – Joe Roth, Ellwood City


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