Trib HSSN boys basketball team of the week — Week ending Jan. 11, 2020

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Monday, January 13, 2020 | 7:41 PM


What a difference a week makes.

Last week began with Blackhawk tied with Central Valley for third place in Section 2-4A, trailing both Ambridge and Quaker Valley in the chase for first place.

After key section wins over the Bridgers and Quakers, the Cougars are about to hit the midway point of section play tied for first place.

“I think this team is capable of anything,” Blackhawk coach Brooks Roorback said. “They are a group that when they decide together to do something, they can accomplish it. They are such a fun group to be around and they have great chemistry off of the court. They are outstanding in the classroom and have awesome personalities.”

On Tuesday, Blackhawk snapped a three-game losing skid with a 51-45 home victory over Ambridge. Senior Marco Borello led the Cougars with 13 points while junior Ryan McClymonds added 12 points.

On Friday, Blackhawk went to Quaker Valley and won on a buzzer-beater by senior Ryan Heckathorn, who also led the team with 16 points while fellow senior James Darno scored 15 points in the 53-51 stunner.

“I thought our key to victory was our defense,” Roorback said. “We thought we did a great job defending two offenses with a lot of weapons.

“Ambridge has so much size down low and Quaker Valley with three very quick guards, it was two totally different gameplans and our players executed very well.”

The victory over the Quakers was impressive. Quaker Valley was ranked No. 1 in the latest 4A Trib boys basketball rankings, had been ranked in the top five in the state by HSSN and rarely loses at home.

“Quaker Valley is such a tough place to play,” Roorback said. “It was a packed house and their student section was all over us from pregame warm ups. Then you look across at such an outstanding coach in Mike Mastrioanni. Our team is senior oriented and I give a ton of credit to our boys for continuing to believe in each other.”

The team is not only balanced on the scoresheet, but in all aspects of the game, with every player filling a key role, Roorback said.

“James Darno has been Mr. Consistent for us,” he said. “He’s done the dirty work and takes pride in rebounding and defending. Obviously Ryan Heckathorn is our go-to guy and he’s starting to heat up. Marco Borello is a true point guard that is a scrappy defender. Tyler Fedisin gives us that spark we need on offense.

“We are always looking to our bench to fill in any gaps and when they have done that, we have been really good.”

Blackhawk hits the midway point of section play Tuesday when it hosts Beaver.

Only two games separate the top five teams in Section 2 coming into this week. So as quickly as teams can rise like the Cougars did last week, teams can also hit a skid and drop down the ladder quickly.

“Section 2 has to be one of the most exciting sections in the WPIAL,” Roorback said. “You have to be ready every single night or you will get beat. We have to continue to improve every day and we still have a long way to go in some areas. There are a lot of talented teams and great coaching, so it should be an exciting second half of January.”

Previous Trib HSSN Teams of the Week:

Week 3 – Brentwood Spartans

Week 2 – Bishop Canevin Crusaders

Week 1 – South Allegheny Gladiators

Don Rebel hosts the Rebel Yell podcasts for HSSN.

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