Westmoreland boys basketball notebook: Football players add toughness to Penn-Trafford

Saturday, January 1, 2022 | 5:00 PM

Penn-Trafford added some championship toughness to its boys basketball rotation.

Football players Tommy Kalkstein and Conlan Greene are back from football season after helping the Warriors win WPIAL and PIAA championships.

A pair of juniors, Kalkstein brings athleticism and ball-handling to an already deep backcourt, and Greene helps fill a void left by the season-ending injury to senior 6-foot-6 forward Ben Myers.

“They are both tough kids and high-quality teammates,” Warriors coach Doug Kelly said. “They give us some strength.”

Both have been logging quality minutes, including in the Penn-Trafford Holiday Tournament when the Warriors (4-4) went 2-0 with wins over McKeesport (70-67) and Franklin Regional (62-54).

Greene, who did not play basketball last year, moved into the starting lineup.

At 6-4 and 240 pounds, Greene is an enforcer at forward who can rebound, set picks and defend. He had a number of key baskets against McKeesport.

The 6-1 Kalkstein is like a possession receiver who helps the Warriors move the ball and create quality shots.

Don’t call it a comeback

Down 26-13 to South Park, Mt. Pleasant clawed back methodically to earn a Section 3-4A win.

The Vikings (2-5) chipped away and then outscored the Eagles, 19-5, in the fourth quarter to post a 46-43 victory.

The topper was a gem from sophomore Dante Giallonardo, who made a basket, drew a foul and connected on an and-1 free throw with three seconds left to win it.

Three’s company

Hempfield has had plenty of good 3-point shooting teams under coach Bill Swan, but the current Spartans might be making a case to be one of the best.

Through six games, Hempfield made 56 of 148 3-pointers. Senior Sean Gordon had 20 and junior Harrison Sowers 19.

“It’s been awhile since we shot this many 3s,” Swan said.

Gordon made seven 3s and scored 34 points in a recent 81-77 loss to Butler. Sowers made five 3s in the same game.

Hempfield (3-5) had 14 3s in an 83-77 overtime loss to Belle Vernon.

Reed returns

Franklin Regional first-year coach Jesse Reed missed two games after testing positive for covid-19.

He was quarantined for 10 days and did not coach the Panthers in a 51-49 loss to Woodland Hills in Section 3-5A and a 63-36 loss to Upper St. Clair in the Penn-Trafford Holiday Tournament.

Reed said he had one day of heavy symptoms, including a sore throat, then felt much better.

He returned Wednesday when the Panthers (1-7) fell to Penn-Trafford, 62-54. Reed wore a mask during the game.

He said he is not sure where he contracted the virus.

He has two doses of the vaccine but said he will have to wait three months before he gets a third.

Golden Lions break streak

Greensburg Salem broke a 19-game losing streak with a 52-42 victory over Riverview at the Greensburg Salem Tournament. The Golden Lions (1-6) had not won since the final game of the 2019-20 season, a 50-49 win at Indiana.

The team finished 0-13 last year after starting late because of covid-19 shutdowns.

Salvino keeps winning

Belle Vernon coach Joe Salvino could be on his way to 700 wins, a feat only two other coaches have done in WPIAL boys basketball history.

Salvino, 70, recently won his 685th game before the Leopards (8-0) added two more victories to move his career mark — which includes 34 seasons at Monessen — to 687-281.

He is 47-25 at Belle Vernon in four seasons.

Only Don Graham of North Catholic (801) and Ken Misiak of Geibel (730) have more than 700 wins in the WPIAL. Ed McCluskey, who coached at several schools including Farrell, where he is an icon, is third on the WPIAL list, according to pahoops.org, with 698 wins.

Graham was 801-436 at North Catholic from 1948-99, while Misiak was 730-366 at Geibel.

Section games

With holiday tournaments in the books, teams will turn to section play as the calendar flips to 2022.

Some local games to watch Tuesday include Penn-Trafford at Central Catholic and Norwin at Hempfield in Section 3-6A; Kiski Area at Gateway and Penn Hills at Franklin Regional in 3-5A; Knoch at Derry in 1-4A; and Mt. Pleasant at Elizabeth Forward and Yough at South Park in 4-3A.

Greensburg Central Catholic was supposed to open 3-2A play at home, but Winchester Thurston asked to postpone the game over covid issues.

That means GCC won’t play at home again until Jan. 11 when Jeannette comes to Carbon.

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

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