Trib HSSN Boys Basketball Player of the Week: Lincoln Park’s Isaiah Smith
By: Don Rebel
Sunday, March 24, 2019 | 10:32 PM
School: Lincoln Park
What do you get when you add a highly decorated player to a perennial basketball powerhouse?
WPIAL and PIAA gold is a nice start.
After helping Sewickley Academy win back-to-back WPIAL titles and a PIAA championship in his first two years of high school, Smith transfered to Lincoln Park, and the results were successful.
“He adjusted immediately to our fast style of play,” Lincoln Park coach Mike Bariski said when asked how much time Smith needed to fit in to an already strong nucleus of players.
Smith has not had to be the main man in Midland, with senior Keeno Holmes leading the Leopards on many nights.
On Tuesday in the PIAA semifinals, it was Andre Wilder leading Lincoln Park as he scored 28 points as Lincoln Park scored a 65-58 victory over District 10 champion Sharon.
“I think we were able to get out to that lead against Sharon because of our pressure and the ability to speed them up and get up and down the court,” Bariski said. “I think we wore them out a little bit in the first half.”
In that game, Smith scored 20 points.
“When he got to the open spot,” Bariski said of Smith. “He was able to make all those 3s because we played inside-out and used our dribble-drive to kick out, and he just hit the open shots and hit shots when we needed them.”
The win put Lincoln Park in the state championship game for the fifth time since 2011.
In the title game, Smith led the way with 21 points.
“Again, he got his spots where he was open and was able to knock down the big 3s,” Bariski said. “He’s a money player and a kid that’s not affected by the moment.”
Lincoln Park jumped out to an 11-point lead heading into the fourth quarter, but had to hang on to win its second state championship.
“Each and every guy believed that we could accomplish this as long as we stuck together and played together,” Bariski said. “That’s a big reason why we had five guys averaging in double figures.”
Bariski said Smith improved his ball handling and shooting this season, and he was a big part of a golden season for Lincoln Park.
“The season was unbelievable,” Bariski said. “We played a really tough schedule played some great teams and got better and better as the year went on. And we played our best basketball when it counted.”
Connor Ryan, Moon
Senior guard Connor Ryan scored 17 points in the state semifinals as the Tigers got sweet revenge with a 73-55 win over Mars, which defeated Moon in the WPIAL Class 5A title game. Four days later, Ryan was unstoppable from the field and the free-throw line as he dropped 28 points and Moon stunned Archbishop Wood, 74-64.
Angelo Reeves, Vincentian Academy
Sophomore Angelo Reeves is part of the young guns from Vincentian Academy who came up just short in the WPIAL and PIAA playoffs. With no seniors seeing significant playing time, the Royals reached the WPIAL finals and lost to Nazareth Prep. In the state semis, Reeves scored 16 points as Vincentian ousted Monessen, 57-43. In the PIAA Class A title game, Reeves was 10 of 13 from the field and scored 22 points in an 83-61 loss to Sankofa Freedom Academy.
Don Rebel hosts the Rebel Yell podcasts for HSSN.