Westmoreland boys basketball notebook: Derry boys return to playoffs

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Thursday, January 30, 2020 | 8:47 PM


It’s been 61 years since Derry made back-to-back WPIAL playoff appearances in boys basketball.

But the Trojans (7-11, 4-4) ended that miserable drought.

They will make a return trip to the postseason after clinching a Class 4A berth with a 50-37 Section 1 win Tuesday over Yough.

Other local teams headed to the Class 4A tournament are Mt. Pleasant (11-8, 5-3) and Belle Vernon (14-5, 6-2).

Mt. Pleasant has not been to the playoffs since the 2015-16 season.

Additional Westmoreland playoff teams include Southmoreland (8-11, 5-4) in 3A, Jeannette (12-7, 8-1) in 2A and Greensburg Central Catholic (14-4, 10-1) and Monessen (7-12, 6-3) in A.

Section 3 crowded

Top-ranked Fox Chapel (18-0, 8-0) stretched its lead to four games in Section 3-6A, but what about the playoff picture in the rest of the section?

Could all six teams make the playoffs? The possibility exists with two games left. They all are mathematically alive.

Penn-Trafford (11-7, 4-4) and Hempfield (9-9, 4-4) are tied for second, and Norwin (11-6, 3-5) and Connellsville (7-11, 3-5) are tied for fourth, and Latrobe (5-14, 2-6) is last.

Hempfield has Connellsville and Latrobe left.

Norwin plays Latrobe and Penn-Trafford, the latter of which (and Connellsville) still has to play Fox Chapel.

Rankings

Jeannette has climbed to No. 2 in the Trib’s WPIAL Class 2A rankings, a spot behind Our Lady of the Sacred Heart.

Greensburg Central Catholic also joined the rankings this week, moving into No. 4 in Class A.

Company with Kobe

Six former Westmoreland stars share a spot on the state’s all-time scoring list with the late, great Kobe Bryant, who was killed in a helicopter crash Sunday near Los Angeles.

Bryant, who played at Lower Merion near Philadelphia, finished with 2,883 points and ranks ninth in the state.

Valley legend Tom Pipkins is just behind Bryant with 2,838, the WPIAL record.

Westmoreland Christian’s Josh Tomson ranks 24th with 2,572 points, Belle Vernon’s Vince Graham is 33rd (2,429), former Jeannette two-sport star Terrelle Pryor is 52nd (2,285), Yough’s Ben McCauley is 55th (2,283) and Southmoreland’s Eric Roslonski ranks 91st (2,192).

Thirty somethings

Several area players have put together big scoring games of late. Mt. Pleasant senior Jake Johnson set a county high for the season with 43 points against Derry, while Belle Vernon sophomore had two, 30-plus-point performances, Greensburg Central Catholic sophomore Brevan Williams netted 34 against Aquinas Academy, the same game when Aquinas freshman Vinnie Cugini had 39.

Monessen’s DeWayne Howell also had a 30-point game. club grows

Add Penn-Trafford senior Zach Rocco to the 1,000-point club. The standout guard, who leads Westmoreland County in scoring (22 ppg), reached the mark on a 3-pointer in Sunday’s 64-43 win over Jeannette in the Shootout at Seton Hill. Rocco, who plans to play at Army, has 1,040 points.

Other local players to reach the scoring milestone this season include Dante Parsons of Greensburg Salem, Riley Comforti of Southmoreland and Jake Johnson of Mt. Pleasant. Ligonier Valley’s Michael Marinchak went over 1,500 career points. He reached 1,000 last season.

Johnson, Comforti, Marinchak and Derry’s Aidan Bushey, another of the area’s top scorers, play on the same AAU team with the Night Train Hoops LLC.

Thirty somethings

Several area players have put together big scoring games of late. Mt. Pleasant senior Jake Johnson set a county high for the season with 43 points against Derry, while Belle Vernon sophomore Devin Whitlock had two, 30-plus-point performances, Greensburg Central Catholic sophomore Brevan Williams netted 34 against Aquinas Academy, the same game when Aquinas freshman Vinnie Cugini had 39.

Monessen’s DeWayne Howell also had a 30-point game.

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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