Trib HSSN Boys Basketball Team of the Week for Jan. 3, 2022

Monday, January 3, 2022 | 7:03 PM

Five years ago, the North Hills boys basketball team reached the WPIAL semifinals, losing to eventual Class 6A champion Pine-Richland. The Indians finished 19-7.

Since then, the Indians have fallen on hard times, missing the playoffs each year except for the open tournament last year. Since 2017-2018, North Hills has gone a combined 22-56.

However, if December is any indication, those recent struggles for North Hills could be a distant memory.

The Indians are flying out of the gates and have won all six games heading into the new year.

“Going into last season, the coaching staff thought we had a chance to be a top-four team in 6A,” North Hills coach Buzz Gabos said. “We never got into any rhythm beginning in late October until early March. We were young, and we needed time on the floor to develop consistency and chemistry. It never happened. We missed so much practice time that we were always making things up on the fly.

“We came back on April 1 and we had to start over on both ends of the floor. Players had to learn how to play with one another. We stressed winning games, communication and accountability. As we started winning games, guys began believing in each other.”

North Hills picked up two more victories last week in the Hampton Holiday Tournament. The Indians defeated Chartiers Valley and host Hampton by a combined 65 points.

On Tuesday, the Indians beat the Colts, 89-56.

“Chartiers Valley’s record is deceiving,” Gabos said. “Along with Bishop Canevin, they have played the most difficult nonconference schedule in the WPIAL. They came out fast against us and made some difficult shots in the first quarter. We pieced together some stops in the second quarter, got out in transition and developed momentum.”

Twenty-four hours later, the Indians cruised to a victory over the Talbots, 82-50.

“Hampton did a nice job of running their offensive sets and controlling tempo for the first 10 minutes,” Gabos said. “The game was similar to the night before because we did a better job of making stops towards the end of the half and got out in transition.”

A big part of the North Hills success lies with its offense. The Indians are No. 2 in the WPIAL in scoring, averaging 81.5 points per game, trailing only Laurel Highlands by 0.3 ppg.

“We have four seniors, one junior, three sophomores and a freshman in the rotation,” Gabos said. “They have all contributed in a positive way. They like one another. The seniors have developed some leadership qualities on and off the floor, which has been a key.

“Royce Parham is averaging over 20 (points) and 10 (rebounds) and garners a lot of attention. Alex Smith is around 20 a game, along with a handful of assists and steals. Matt Seidl has been a complete player on both ends, scoring at a nice clip while doing everything else. Will Blass sets the tone with his overall effort. Devin Burgess is getting healthy and back in rhythm. Logan Johnson has scored it effectively and played well on the defensive end. Our bench guys have provided depth and productivity.”

While pleased with his team’s play, Gabos isn’t trying to get to giddy about where the Indians are at the break.

“Final scores can be deceiving,” he said. “We have been in a number of very good games where the final outcome did not indicate how difficult the game was or how hard we had to play. We have a lot of work to do on both ends. The competition will only get more difficult. Teams are well-coached with plenty of talent. We need to continue to improve each day.”

The challenges will be coming full speed ahead this week for the Indians. North Hills hosts Pine-Richland on Tuesday and visits undefeated North Allegheny on Friday in Section 1-6A action, then it hosts Class 4A power Montour on Saturday.

“We always talk about playing the best and challenging ourselves,” Gabos said. “We will play three of the best teams in the area this week. We are excited and hopefully up to the challenge.”

2022 Trib HSSN Teams of the Week

Week 1 – Cornell Raiders


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