Trib HSSN boys basketball player of the week: Week ending Feb. 8, 2020

Monday, February 10, 2020 | 6:49 PM

In a school year in which the football team played its first WPIAL playoff game in 40 years and the girls basketball team took a perfect record into the final night of the season, the Southmoreland boys basketball team has a message: Don’t forget about us.

The Scotties finished on a high note with three straight wins last week to earn a tie for third place in Section 4-3A with McGuffey.

The team’s strong finish was thanks to the big play of senior Riley Comforti. The 6-foot-3 guard has been tough to stop, as witnessed by his 82 points last week.

“Riley’s strengths are his athleticism and his ability to do everything well,” Southmoreland coach Frank Muccino said. “He’s a matchup nightmare being 6-3. If you put a guard on him, he will post you up, and if put a big man on him, he takes you to perimeter and then he drives you to basket.”

The bookend wins for the Scotties last week were double-digit victories at Brownsville and home to Frazier. Comforti scored 22 points against the Falcons and 28 against the Commodores.

“(Comforti’s) aggressiveness has been the difference between early in the season and in the games this past week,” Muccino said. “He was attacking with great effort. He wasn’t waiting for good things to happen. He was making them happen.”

The signature win of the season to date for Southmoreland took place Wednesday when the Scotties traveled to Washington and knocked off the co-section champion Little Prexies, 62-58.

“The victory over Washington was probably one of the top wins since I’ve been here the last 11 years,” Muccino said. “One, being they are on top of our section and second, being on their home floor, which is an extremely difficult place to play.

“It gave us the opportunity to tie McGuffey for third in the section and improve our seeding for upcoming playoffs. It also gave us confidence we can play with the upper group of teams in 3A.”

Comforti scored 32 points in the upset of the Little Prexies.

Muccino believes the biggest improvement to Comforti’s game is his perimeter shooting.

“He put a lot of work into it and it’s paid off,” he said.

As recently as Jan. 10, the Scotties were 1-3 in the section and 2-10 overall.

Since then, Muccino’s team has been on a serious roll, winning nine of its last 10 games in the regular season.

“After a rough start to season, we feel we are playing our best at right time of year and we are optimistic with the playoffs coming up, we can carry that play over to the playoffs,” Muccino said.

Honorable mention

Colin Cote, Peters Township

A year after making the postseason and nearly pulling off an upset of Pine-Richland in the quarterfinals, Peters Township is back into the postseason thanks to senior big man Colin Cote. The 6-6 guard scored 25 points in a section finale victory over Canon-McMillan, then he scored 22 points in a win over playoff-bound Connellsville.

Colin McQuiston, Shenango

It was a good week to be a Colin and playing in the WPIAL (see above). This Colin is senior point guard Colin McQuiston, who started his week by scoring 24 points in a rout of Burgettstown that clinched at least a share of second place for Shenango. The Wildcats finished tied for second with Laurel after a 72-70 loss to the Spartans in which McQuiston scored half of his team’s points with a 35-point effort.

Vinny Cugini, Aquinas Academy

Here is one final salute to one of the great stories of this boys basketball season, the freshman campaign of Vinny Cugini of Aquinas Academy. Cugini scored 25 points in a section victory over Propel Montour, then he scored 36 of the Crusaders’ 57 points in a loss to Imani Christian that dropped Aquinas to 6-15.

Previous Trib HSSN Players of the Week:

Week 7 – Rodney Gallagher, Laurel Highlands

Week 6 – Dylan Cook, Leechburg

Week 5 – Vinny Cugini, Aquinas Academy

Week 4 – Frank Stumpo, Keystone Oaks

Week 3 - Adou Thiero, Quaker Valley

Week 2 – Camden Polak, Steel Valley

Week 1 - Jake Hoffman, Mt. Lebanon

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