Trib HSSN Boys Basketball Player of the Week for March 8, 2021

Tuesday, March 9, 2021 | 12:08 AM

Upper St. Clair has been Trib HSSN’s No. 1-ranked boys basketball team in Class 6A from start to finish in the regular season.

That doesn’t mean success in the postseason was going to come easy.

So when the playoff battles began, there was no surprise that the football player on the hardwood, 6-foot-2, 225-pound Luke Banbury, was front and center leading the way.

“He reminds me of Sean Lee,” Upper St. Clair coach Danny Holzer said. “I’m not comparing the two, but he brings that football mentality onto the court. Like Sean, he wants to compete in everything we do.”

In two playoff wins for the Panthers, Banbury has led the team in scoring in wins over Canon-McMillan and Seneca Valley.

“What has stood out in the past two playoff games was his ability to score in multiple ways,” Holzer said.

The senior scored 20 points in the 54-39 win over the Big Macs, and then cranked it up to 30 points in the quarterfinal victory over the Raiders.

“Luke has worked hard to become an inside and outside scorer for us,” Holzer said. “We have a lot of balance on offense and Luke being able to score inside and out, especially lately, has added scoring to our offense.”

There is a lot of experience on this Upper St. Clair team. A Cornell football recruit, Banbury is one of several leaders who have helped USC to 18 wins in 19 games.

“We have five seniors, and all are leaders in their own way,” Holzer said. “Luke leads by example. He is a heck of a competitor. He gets after it in every drill or scrimmage session we have in practice.”

This is the second year in a row Upper St. Clair has reached the final four in 6A. While Holzer admits the four teams left standing are all strong, he has confidence in Banbury and his teammates.

“Our entire team is driven to play the best we possibly can and get to the next step, which now is the WPIAL finals,” Holzer said. “All four teams left in 6A are really good teams, so it will be a battle for sure.”

In between the Panthers and a trip to the WPIAL title game for the first time since winning it all in 2005 is Butler. The same Golden Tornado that beat USC in the WPIAL semifinals and the PIAA second round last season, both times in dramatic fashion.

“Butler is a really good team that has a high level of scoring ability,” Holzer said. “Ultimately we have to play a really good game on both ends of the floor to be successful. We are excited to have another chance to get to the finals.”

2021 Trib HSSN Player of the Week

Week 7 – Michael Dunn, Trinity

Week 6 – Adou Thiero, Quaker Valley

Week 5 – Brayden Reynolds, Chartiers Valley

Week 4 – Damon Astorino, Ambridge

Week 3 – Jackson LaRocka, Burgettstown

Week 2 – Vinnie Cugini, Aquinas Academy

Week 1 – Jackson Juzang, Winchester Thurston

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