Trib HSSN boys basketball team of the week for Feb. 25, 2024

Sunday, February 25, 2024 | 8:46 PM

Trib HSSN boys basketball team of the week: Baldwin Highlanders

Coach: Jeff Ackermann (fourth season)

Record: 7-3 in Section 2-6A, 17-6 overall

#Earned: Little did anybody know at the time, but when Baldwin defeated New Castle in the first round of the 2003 WPIAL Class 4A payoffs, it would be the program’s last postseason victory for 21 years. That drought ended Friday when the Highlanders were victorious in their 2024 postseason opener at home. The purple and white defeated North Allegheny, 55-45, in a Class 6A quarterfinal. The Highlanders trailed the Tigers after the first quarter and evened the score by halftime, but a big third quarter was the difference as Baldwin outscored North Allegheny, 17-11. The victory propelled the Highlanders into the semifinals Tuesday to face top-seeded Mt. Lebanon, a team Baldwin lost to by 23 and five points in the regular season.

Scoring stars: One year after his older brother James scored 41 points in a heartbreaking playoff loss to eventual champion Central Catholic in overtime, Nate Wesling led the Highlanders on Friday. The junior scored a team-high 19 points, hitting 8 of 14 shots from the field. Junior Matt Schenk and sophomore Max Marzina each added eight points.

Last year: Baldwin finished tied for third place in Section 2-6A with Norwin, three games behind runner-up Mt. Lebanon and four games back of section champion Upper St. Clair. The Highlanders gave a scare to eventual champion Central Catholic in the 6A quarterfinals, but lost 80-75 in overtime. James Wesling had a monster game despite the loss for Baldwin, scoring 41 points.

Remember when: While Baldwin is celebrating the first boys basketball playoff win in 21 years, the Highlanders are one victory on Tuesday away from breaking another lengthy drought. It has been nearly four decades since they played in a WPIAL championship game. It was 39 years ago when Baldwin reached the second ever WPIAL Quad-A title game. However, the Highlanders came up short, falling to Latrobe in the 1985 finals, 67-59. To reach this year’s championship game, Baldwin must beat Mt. Lebanon for the first time since February of 2022. The Blue Devils have defeated the Highlanders in their last four meetings.

2024 Trib HSSN Boys Basketball Teams of the Week

Week 7 – Woodland Hills Wolverines

Week 6 – Beaver Bobcats

Week 5 – Mt. Lebanon Blue Devils

Week 4 – South Allegheny Gladiators

Week 3 – Central Catholic Vikings

Week 2 – Gateway Gators

Week 1 – Greensburg Central Catholic Centurions


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