Trib HSSN boys basketball team of the week — Week ending Jan. 18, 2020

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Monday, January 20, 2020 | 4:54 PM


A new coach and winning basketball has electrified Alumni Hall this winter.

They may be playing on Chuck Crummie Court, but this is Brian Urso’s team, and they are in the hunt in Section 1-6A.

A 2-0 week that included a big section win has Central Catholic in a jam as one of four teams separated by one game in the battle for second place behind front-running Butler.

“I am really happy with this group at Central,” first-year coach Brian Urso said. “These boys have been working very hard and they keep improving. We, as a program, just want to get into the playoffs because then anything is possible.

“We have definitely experienced an up-and-down season, but I knew it was going to be that way. Biggest thing for us is that we need to just keep getting better every time we are in the gym. We are an inexperienced team; therefore, we just need to keep focusing on the things that we can control like our effort and toughness.”

The week for the Vikings began with a big road victory over perennial power Pine-Richland.

“Our gameplan was to just defend for four quarters,” Urso said. “Pine-Richland is a very good basketball team with a lot of offensive weapons. They average close to 71 points a game, so we had to bring a great defensive mindset to challenge them each possession. Our defensive communication had to be at a high level and we had to make sure to limit their opportunities.”

Central Catholic jumped out to a 19-10 lead after one and never looked back in a 78-69 win. Senior Ben Sarson led the Vikings with 23 points.

“Ben Sarson has been tremendous for us this season,” Urso said. “He is playing at a very high level. He can do a lot of really good things on the floor on either end, and I know he is going to lead our team to more key wins this second half of the section.”

Central Catholic had a good balance on offense behind Sarson as junior Anderson Cynkar scored 17 points and senior Jack Cherkes had 15 while Collin O’Toole added 11 points for the Vikings.

“Forward Anderson Cynkar and guard Collin O’Toole have also been very good for us this season,” Urso said. “Both kids are competitors and they play with a very tough edge. They set the tone for us on defense and do a really nice job making winning plays for us.”

Central Catholic played a pair of games over the weekend at Woodland Hills as part of the Martin Luther King Jr. Showcase. The Vikings beat Westinghouse on Saturday before losing to Mount Zion Christian out of North Carolina.

“The atmosphere out at the showcase was tremendous,” Urso said. “High level games all weekend. We were grateful to attend and came away 1-1. Our mindset this weekend was to be disciplined in each game and bring a lot of effort that will get us ready for the second half of the section.”

The second half of section play starts Tuesday at home against North Hills, the team the Vikings are currently tied with for fourth place in Section 1-6A.

“Overall, this job has been really amazing,” Urso said. “Our student fan support has been awesome all season and Alumni Hall has been electric this year. I am looking forward to our final six games of the regular season. This is the time of year that you work hard for all summer and fall.”

Previous Trib HSSN Teams of the Week:

Week 4 – Blackhawk Cougars

Week 3 – Brentwood Spartans

Week 2 – Bishop Canevin Crusaders

Week 1 – South Allegheny Gladiators

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