Trib HSSN boys basketball player of the week: Week ending March 14

Sunday, March 15, 2020 | 7:24 PM

For two generations and over three decades, the Price has been right for area basketball success.

Twenty-seven years ago, Kevin Price led Duquesne to a third straight WPIAL title, a second straight PIAA basketball championship and, as a quarterback, guided the Dukes to district and state gold.

Kevin’s daughter Shamyjha just completed her freshman season at UMass Lowell after leading Bishop Canevin to three WPIAL championships from 2016-18.

Now it is Kevin’s son KeVaughn’s turn to shine.

Price, a sophomore, helped Bishop Canevin win the Section 2-A title, reach the WPIAL semifinals and will play in the PIAA quarterfinals if playoffs resume.

“KeVaughn has the full game offensively,” Bishop Canevin coach Gino Palmosina said. “I think what goes really underappreciated about his game is his defense. He guards the best team’s defender night in and night out. He leads our team in steals and blocks.”

In the Crusaders’ second-round state playoff game, Price scored a game-high 25 points in a 40-39 triumph over District 9 runner-up Cameron County.

“He hit a couple outside shots early, a 3 and two pull-up jumpers that really opened the lane for him,” Palmosina said. “He is a fantastic finisher, especially with contact once he gets in the lane.”

It was in the lane where Price worked his magic late. Trailing by one, Price took the inbounds pass, drove to the hoop and banked in a layup with 4.3 seconds left for the winning basket.

“We drew up a play that we practice all the time,” Palmosina said. “The play is designed to create a one-on-one scenario and let a kid go make a play, and KeVaughn made a play.”

Palmosina said confidence and consistency are the biggest differences between Price’s freshman season and this campaign.

“I think his confidence is just much better than it was last year. Last year, you would see him go on stretches where you would say, ‘Wow, that kid can really play.’ This year, it’s every night. He has a different mindset. He has that killer mindset every time we step on the floor this year.”

Another aspect of Price’s game that has improved is his leadership. He has shown the ability to take control on and off the court.

“He is becoming a lot more vocal,” Palmosina said. “Not only in the games, but at practice, too, which I think is the most important thing. He is holding some guys accountable. You don’t see that out of too many sophomores.”

With the status of the rest of the PIAA playoffs in limbo, Palmosina said Bishop Canevin school officials decided there are no school events permitted for two weeks. No practices, no lifting, no meetings, no gatherings.

However, if the green light is given for the PIAA postseason to continue at some point, the Crusaders will begin to prepare for District 5 champion Berlin-Brothersvalley, a Mountaineers team that eliminated WPIAL champion Vincentian Academy in the second round and beat Bishop Canevin, 63-47, to open the season Dec. 6.

“We were not ready for them,” Palmosina said. “They are super disciplined with a lot of great athletes. They don’t make too many mistakes, and they make you play at a pace they want to play. They are extremely well coached, and we will have hands full. But we believe that we are a totally different team now from what we were back in December.”

Honorable mention:

Mattix Clement, Butler

After Butler leaned on Purdue recruit Ethan Morton and last week’s HSSN Player of the Week, Drew Carney, in the first round, it was Clement’s turn to shine in Round 2. The coach’s son, a junior, stepped up and scored a game-high 26 points in yet another big fourth-quarter comeback for the WPIAL champion as Butler beat Upper St. Clair for a second time in two weeks.

Noah Vaughn, Beaver Falls

Teams that lost in the WPIAL quarterfinals met with a berth in the PIAA quarterfinals up for grabs, and it was showtime for one senior from Beaver Falls. Vaughn found his hot spot on the left wing behind the arc and hit shot after shot after shot as he ended up with seven 3-pointers and 32 points in leading the Tigers past Carlynton by 15 points.

Jake DiMichele, Our Lady of the Sacred Heart

After dominating the district playoffs on its way to a second straight WPIAL championship, Our Lady of the Sacred Heart is flexing its muscles through two rounds of the state playoffs. After beating Youngsville by 48 points in the state opener, OLSH crushed District 6 runner-up Portage by 28 points thanks to a game-high 31 points by sophomore DiMichele.

Previous Trib HSSN Players of the Week:

Week 12 – Drew Carney, Butler

Week 11 – Jake DiMichele, Our Lady of the Sacred Heart

Week 10 – Ethan Morton, Butler

Week 9 – Colin McQuiston, Shenango

Week 8 – Riley Comforti, Southmoreland

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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