Westmoreland boys basketball notebook: Franklin Regional adds size to its lineup

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Thursday, January 14, 2021 | 4:48 PM


Franklin Regional has been known to produce good guards under alum and former standout Steve Scorpion. Commanding guards with a handle on the offense who can score and defend.

But this year’s team appears to have some size to complement his backcourt.

“It’s good to have post guys in this section (Section 5),” Scorpion said. “We know we’re going to need it against a lot of teams.”

The Panthers have length with five players on the roster listed at 6-foot-4 or taller: sophomore Max Leven 6-8; junior Liam Kruck 6-5; and senior Kadyn Hannah, junior Caden Smith and freshman Cam Rowell at 6-4.

The size was evident in the season and section opener, a 68-38 win over Latrobe. Hannah poured in 19 points against the smaller Wildcats.

Leven and Kruck did not play in that game.

“We’re hoping to get our bigs involved in what we want to do,” Scorpion said. “You look at a kid like Kadyn. He has worked so hard.”

Hannah, who called the season opener a “team win” and said he has total trust in his teammates, said Scorpion can get any player hyped to play, guard, forward or center.

“It starts with coach,” he said. “He’s an energy guy; the energy is always there. He had us ready (against Latrobe). They tried to make us run with them and got stomped. Any win is a big win.”

Franklin Regional allowed 19 points in the first quarter and trailed by one against the Wildcats but surrendered just 19 points the rest of the game.

P-T keeps winning

Penn-Trafford has been a surprise early in the season with the Warriors starting with three quality wins.

The third came Tuesday, an impressive 63-61 victory over visiting Fox Chapel in overtime. Four Warriors scored in double figures, led by Josh Kapcin with 20 points.

Is P-T for real and deserving of a top-five ranking? It appears so.

Maybe the Warriors’ season-opening upset of No. 3 North Allegheny had less to do with the quirkiness of the start-and-stop nature of the pandemic — it was the night before a three-week shutdown of sports — and more to do with a talented group playing well under first-year coach Doug Kelly.

Behind the mask

Three Section 3-5A teams, Franklin Regional, Latrobe and Kiski Area, have taken section opponent Penn Hills off their schedules over conflicting mask requirements.

Penn Hills requires its players to wear masks and expects its opponents to do the same, home or away.

But the aforementioned three teams’ districts do not make masks mandatory during competition.

All three teams have replaced Penn Hills, leaving the Indians six less section games.

“It’s not safe,” Scorpion said of wearing masks in games. “We’ll play whoever but we’re not wearing masks because it’s not safe to wear them.”

LV debut

Ligonier Valley’s WPIAL debut in boys basketball has been stunted by, surprise, covid-19 delays.

The Rams held their first practice Monday and won’t play their first game until next Friday at home against South Allegheny.

Bouncing back

After getting blown out by 30 points at Franklin Regional, Latrobe bounced back with a 76-60 win Tuesday against visiting McKeesport, the Wildcats’ first victory in Class 5A.

Senior Frankie Newill erupted for 25 points and sophomore Landon Butler added 19 for Latrobe, which can be unstoppable when it gets running at home.

Hempfield, which faded late against Fox Chapel in the opener, took care of Class 6A No. 4 Central Catholic, 65-53, scoring 46 points in the second half. Senior Michael Hosni scored 26 for the Spartans, who travel to play unbeaten Penn-Trafford (3-0) Friday night.

What to expect?

Southmoreland (0-2) plays at Mt. Pleasant (1-2) Friday night. Good luck picking a winner.

Based on the teams’ five games, nobody knows what to expect from the matchup.

Consider: Southmoreland opened with a 63-49 loss to West Mifflin but struggled Tuesday and dropped a 58-14 decision to Elizabeth Forward.

Mt. Pleasant, which had better showings after a rough start, lost its first game to McKeesport, 58-17. The Vikings lost by two to Charleroi (59-57) before defeating Yough, 63-58.

1,000 club

Yough senior Gamal Marballie became the first local player this season to top the 1,000-point mark for his career when he scored 18 in a 63-58 loss to Mt. Pleasant on Tuesday.

He is the sixth boys player in school history to top 1,000, joining Ben McCauley (2,283), Ben Hoffer (1,291), Ryan Nesbit (1,092), Mike Gonda (1,036) and Randy Nesbit (1,007).

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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