Trib HSSN Boys Basketball Team of the Week for Jan. 29, 2024

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Monday, January 29, 2024 | 10:34 PM


Trib HSSN boys basketball team of the week: South Allegheny Gladiators

Coach: Anthony DiCenzo (12th season)

Record: 3-3 in Section 4-4A, 12-5 overall

Last year: South Allegheny finished as co-section champions in Section 4-4A with a record of 8-2, tied with Quaker Valley. The Gladiators were the No. 8 seed in the 4A postseason and opened with a 59-57 victory over Beaver. SA then lost to eventual district and state champion Lincoln Park in the quarterfinals, 50-40.

#Earned: It’s been a season of ups and downs for the Gladiators, including a 7-0 start followed by a stretch of five losses in eight games. But they showed championship mettle this past week, beating the No. 2 and No. 4 ranked teams in 4A coming into the week. In a nonsection game Tuesday, South Allegheny traveled to Fayette County to take on previously undefeated Uniontown. Leading by three points heading into the final quarter, the Gladiators outscored the Red Raiders in the fourth 15-8 to pick up the upset victory, 54-44. Back into section play two nights later, South Allegheny started strong, jumping out to a 22-13 first-quarter lead over visiting Avonworth and holding onto the knock off the section leading Antelopes, 59-55.

Scoring stars: South Allegheny has relied on a balanced attack on offense that was on display last week. Against Uniontown, senior Michael Michalski led SA with 18 points while senior Jeston Beatty scored 13 points and junior Josh Jackowski added 10 points. In the Avonworth matchup, sophomore Drew Cook led all scorers with 25 points while Beatty added 12 points for the Gladiators.

Remember when: The recently completed Antonio and Bryce Epps era at South Allegheny put the program on the map. For three straight years, the Gladiators went deep into the WPIAL Class 3A playoffs. In 2020, SA lost to North Catholic in the semifinals. A year later, they reached the school’s first WPIAL championship game, losing to Cinderella Ellwood City, 53-50. The following season in 2022, South Allegheny reached the WPIAL semifinals, losing to Avonworth, and then advanced to the PIAA semifinals before falling to Aliquippa. Decades earlier, old Glassport High School reached the WPIAL finals, losing in the title game in 1936 and 1943.

2024 Trib HSSN Boys Basketball Teams of the Week:

Week 3 – Central Catholic Vikings

Week 2 – Gateway Gators

Week 1 – Greensburg Central Catholic Centurions

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