Westmoreland boys basketball notebook: Depth boosts Franklin Regional

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Thursday, January 23, 2020 | 8:31 PM


Franklin Regional has more depth than it did at the start of the season, and the longer bench could be what gets the Panthers into the WPIAL Class 5A playoffs.

The Panthers (8-9, 5-4), who have won four in a row and five of their last six, have been using a nine-man rotation.

They host No. 4 Mars (11-3, 6-2) in a Section 3-5A rivalry game Friday night.

“We’ve had a lot of guys step up,” Panthers coach Steve Scorpion said. “You look at guys like (sophomore) Aidan Carlisle, who is playing with a lot more confidence. (Senior) guard Jake Brush is giving us great minutes, and (senior) Johnny O’Toole has really stepped up his game on both ends of the floor. (Junior) Jake Nader is playing well, too.”

Junior guard Luke Kimmich, the team’s second-leading scorer, was moved from the starting five to sixth man as a “spark” guy, and the Panthers also have received contributions from junior Ben Rosenberg, junior Kayden Hannah, and others. They have blended well with leading scorer Logan Summerhill, a senior guard.

“It’s a luxury to have a bunch of good players,” Scorpion said. “Things just didn’t bounce our way earlier in the season. We lost some tight games. The last two weeks, we’re playing better, harder, and we’re winning close games now.”

Kimmich not only has given the offense a shot in the arm off the bench, but he also has been guarding the opponent’s best player.

Marinchak climbs list

Ligonier Valley senior Michael Marinchak, the flashy, goggles-wearing guard, moved into the No. 2 spot on the Rams’ scoring list.

He scored 20 on Monday night in a 77-69 win over Saltsburg to move past Adam Stinogle for second place. Stinogle, a 2004 graduate who went on to play at Mt. Union, scored 1,515 points. Marinchak had 1,521 heading into Tuesday’s game.

The No. 1 spot belongs to Marrek Paola with 1,912 points. Paola, a 6-foot-9 forward who graduated last year, is a freshman at Seton Hill.

Johnson closer to 1,000

Mt. Pleasant senior guard Jake Johnson was limited to eight points against top-ranked Knoch on Tuesday night, so he needs 14 to reach 1,000 for his career.

Mt. Pleasant plays at Derry on Friday night.

Shootout at Seton Hill

The annual Shootout at Seton Hill showcase, which benefits Hoops for a Cure, will be Sunday at Seton Hill.

The daylong event will feature six games. The schedule is: Serra Catholic vs. Greensburg Central Catholic (girls), 12:30 p.m.; Norwin vs. Hempfield (girls), 2 p.m.; Saltsburg vs. Geibel (boys), 3:30; Derry vs. Greensburg Central Catholic (boys), 5; Valley vs. Penn Hills (boys), 6:30; and Jeannette vs. Penn-Trafford (boys), 8.

Tickets are $7 for adults and $5 for students and children.

Generous menu

Friday’s schedule has plenty to offer area fans. Section 3-6A has three important matchups with Connellsville at Norwin, Latrobe at Penn-Trafford, and Hempfield at No. 1 Fox Chapel.

In Section 1-5A, Greensburg Salem visits Woodland Hills, and Franklin Regional hosts No. 4 Mars in Section 3-5A.

Other top games include Mt. Pleasant at Derry, and Yough at No. 1 Knoch in Section 1-4A; Uniontown at Belle Vernon (Section 3-4A); McGuffey at Southmoreland (Section 4-3A); Bishop Canevin at Monessen (Section 2-A); and Aquinas Academy at Greensburg Central Catholic (Section 3-A).

Bill Beckner Jr. is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Bill by email at bbeckner@tribweb.com or via Twitter .

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