Westmoreland boys basketball notebook: Gardner moves to top spot in Westmoreland record book

Saturday, February 10, 2024 | 5:44 PM

Gardner points are usually reserved for WPIAL football tiebreakers.

On Friday night, Gardner points went into basketball record books.

Monessen senior guard Lorenzo Gardner made history as he scored 64 points to set the Westmoreland County single-game scoring mark, breaking the previous record of 61 by Eric Roslonski of Southmoreland against Brownsville in 1991.

Gardner had 30 points in the first half and 34 in the second. He made 23 two-point field goals and three 3-pointers, along with nine free throws, in Monessen’s 90-59 victory at California.

The performance tied former Highlands star Micah Mason’s mark for the third-most points in a game in WPIAL history.

Mason netted 64 in a 101-83 win over Valley in 2011.

Monessen clinched the outright Section 2-A title on Gardner’s big night.

“My teammates got me involved early in the game, and I could not have done this without my teammates,” Gardner told the Mon Valley Independent. “I wanted to finish the season off strong and get this team ready for the playoffs. Our coaches push us every day to get better and to win as a team.”

Mohawk’s Larry Hardesty has the WPIAL record for points in a game with 71 in 1959.

Nine other players have scored more than 60 points in a game in WPIAL history, including Vinny Graham of Belle Vernon, who had 60 in 1995.

Lyndon Henderson had the previous Monessen school record with 55 in 2018.

“Lorenzo took advantage of every shot he had tonight,” Monessen coach Dan Bosnic told the MVI. “He was aggressive but stayed away from any bad shots. He was great in the paint and going downhill. But I also think his teammates were great tonight, too. Their unselfishness and willingness to sacrifice themselves was special. I think it was a team accomplishment.”

Gardner is the sixth player from the county to score 50 or more in a game.

Monessen’s Lyndon Henderson scored 55 in a game in 2017 against Geibel.

Jim Neurohr of Greensburg Salem had 53 against Latrobe in 1972.

Points of interest

Earlier this season, Clairton’s Iyanna Wade set a WPIAL scoring record with 65 points in a game.

Local fans probably don’t know that Mt. Pleasant boys first-year coach Annie Malkowiak was fourth in the record books before Wade came along.

Maude Searcy of Wilkinsburg had the previous record with 62 in 1990, Kam Gissendanner of Clairton had 60 in 2003 and Kris Sebastian of Monaca had 60 in 1989.

Malkowiak, who played at Ellwood City, scored 59 in a game in 1989.

Gina Naccarato of Monessen has the girls’ Westmoreland single-game record with 57 points in 1994.

Naccarato has the WPIAL record for career points with 3,364 points. She is Monessen’s athletic director.

Playoffs set

The local field of WPIAL playoffs is set.

The playoff pairings will be released Monday afternoon, around 2 p.m., on the WPIAL website. The playoffs begin later this week.

Girls qualifiers are: Norwin (18-3) in 6A; Penn-Trafford (13-8) and Latrobe (11-11) in 5A; Greensburg Salem (15-7) and Belle Vernon (10-12) in 4A; Burrell (16-4) and Mt. Pleasant (14-7) in 3A; Greensburg Central Catholic (16-5) in 2A; and Monessen (16-5) and Jeannette (8-9) in A.

Local boys qualifiers are: Franklin Regional (19-2), Penn-Trafford (11-11) and Kiski Area (14-7) in 5A; Belle Vernon (12-7) and Southmoreland (16-6) in 4A; Yough (17-4), Derry (13-6), Mt. Pleasant (8-11) and Burrell (13-5) in 3A; Greensburg Central Catholic (20-2) and Jeannette (14-6) in 2A; and Monessen (17-4) in A.

Lighting it up

Friday was a high-scoring night across the board for Westmoreland boys teams.

Three teams scored at least 90 points, including Gardner-powered Monessen.

Franklin Regional beat McKeesport in a track meet Section 3-5A finale, 92-85. Lamont Perkins had 40 for the Tigers.

Derry topped Ligonier Valley, 96-60, as senior guard Nate Papuga pumped in a career-high 42. Jeannette beat Riverview, 75-54, and Belle Vernon fell to Elizabeth Forward in overtime, 71-64.

Alvarez gets 1,000

The milestone came and went with little fanfare, but Greensburg Central Catholic senior Franco Alvarez scored his 1,000th career point Friday in a 73-40 win over Springdale.

Did you know?

The Pennsylvania high-school record for most points in a game is held by Pete Cimino of Bristol, who had 114 in a 1960 game against Palisades. Cimino made 44 of 79 shots and 26 of 29 free throws.

He later played Major League Baseball for the Minnesota Twins and California Angels. As a minor-leaguer, he had a 20-strikeout game.

Other notable scoring performances from the Commonwealth include 90 points by Wilt Chamberlain, who played at Overbrook High in 1955.

Danny Fortson had 60 points in 1992 while playing for Altoona, and the late Kobe Bryant (Lower Merion) had 50 in 1996.

Bill Beckner Jr. is a TribLive reporter covering local sports in Westmoreland County. He can be reached at bbeckner@triblive.com.

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