Trib HSSN Boys Basketball Team of the Week for Jan. 30, 2023
Monday, January 30, 2023 | 6:51 PM
The Hampton boys basketball team has found a groove. The Talbots are a well-oiled machine that after two more wins last week, sits atop their section thanks to a nine-game winning streak.
However, that machine will not be running at full strength come playoff time.
The Talbots’ leading scorer, junior Peter Kramer, is averaging over 20 points per game after transferring to Hampton from Shady Side Academy, where he helped the Bulldogs win the 2022 WPIAL Class 3A championship.
PIAA rules state that any student-athlete who transfers as a sophomore, junior or senior will be ineligible for postseason play for one year in all sports they had competed in prior to the transfer.
“It’s something that is starting to become more in our mindset,” Hampton coach Joe Lafko said. “Thirty-three years as a varsity head basketball coach, this is the first time I’ve experienced this kind of situation. So I’m learning through it as well.
“Certainly the reality is we’re going to play another game on Tuesday against Indiana, but then we also have to prepare for the postseason that is going to change some of our chemistry. We’re working through that as a group. The present is a gift and we are going to keep playing in the present.”
Recently, the present has produced a lot of victories for the Talbots.
Last week started Tuesday with a nonsection challenge against one of the top Class 6A teams in a trip to Butler.
“This was a very competitive schedule for us. I think it’s going to prepare us for the playoffs. Class 4A is loaded with talent and excellent teams,” Lafko said. “It was a good win up at Butler. They are an excellent team with good guard play. It was a good road win for us in another competitive game.”
Hampton jumped out to a 41-29 lead at halftime and held on for the win, 83-70.
Kramer had 30 points for the Talbots while juniors Robert Coll scored 16, Liam Mignongna had 11 and senior Brennan Murray added 10 points.
The second half of Section 1-4A play began Friday as Hampton hosted second-place Highlands.
After an even first quarter, the Talbots managed only five points in the second quarter and trailed at the half, 23-17.
Reportedly, Lasko was not happy with his team’s first-half efforts and let the players know in the locker room.
“It’s interesting how the kids interpreted the halftime talk,” Lafko said with a chuckle. “I’ve had others that were a little more forceful. I just reminded the team of some of the uncharacteristic things we were doing in the first half.”
Message received as Hampton went on a 17-1 run in the third quarter to take control on its way to another win, 51-46.
Kramer once again led the Talbots with 13 points while senior Eric Weeks scored 12 and Coll had 10 points.
Hampton is now in great position to win a section title outright. It has four games left over the next two weeks and a two-game lead over Highlands.
Then, the great unknown for the Talbots in what will be a loaded Class 4A playoff field.
“Night in and night out, you know you are going to get a really competitive game, and I think that’s what’s going to happen in the postseason,” Lafko said. “You have to be playing well and you have to have good fortune.”
Trib HSSN Boys Basketball Team of the Week
Week 3 – Mohawk Warriors
Week 2 – Central Catholic Vikings
Week 1 – Thomas Jefferson Jaguars
More Basketball• High school roundup for Dec. 4, 2023: Behind 31 points from Megan Marston, Plum wins again
• What to watch for in WPIAL sports on Dec. 5, 2023: Lincoln Park gets early start on section play
• Imani Christian basketball moving to 6A in 2024, football also playing up
• Westmoreland County senior spotlight: Jeannette’s Isaiah Mallich
• A-K Valley Senior Spotlight: Cheswick Christian’s Grant Rochkind