Westmoreland County basketball notebook: Latrobe’s Butler follows brothers into college ball

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Wednesday, March 8, 2023 | 11:01 AM


Landon Butler became the fourth member of his family to commit to a college for basketball.

The Latrobe senior announced he will play at Montevallo, a Division II school in Alabama.

Montevallo plays in the Gulf South Conference.

Butler led Latrobe in scoring this season at 18 points per game. He finished his high school career with 1,185 points.

His oldest brother, Austin, left Latrobe and played four years at Holy Cross before a fifth year at Charlotte.

Austin is the Wildcats’ all-time leading scorer with 1,905 points.

Bryce Butler, another 1,000-point scorer at Latrobe, is a star junior at nationally ranked Division II power West Liberty, which is set to open play in the NCAA Division II Tournament.

Their father, Eric, played at Robert Morris and Eastern Kentucky.

Landon Butler, a 6-foot-4 guard, also entertained offers from West Liberty and Walsh. Fairmont State (W.Va.), Nova Southeastern (Fla.) and East Stroudsburg also liked his game.

Warm up the bus

Six Westmoreland County teams are headed for the PIAA playoffs this weekend, and they all will be making sizable trips.

The average round-trip mileage for county teams is 273.3. The average time on the bus both ways is 5.2 hours.

The Monessen girls and Greensburg Central Catholic boys both play at Otto-Eldred, a school that is less than 20 minutes from the New York state line.

Strangely enough, the teams will travel nearly four hours to play a doubleheader Saturday. Monessen (17-6) plays Otto-Eldred (23-2) at 3 p.m. in Class A first round, while GCC (18-6) plays the host Terrors (23-2) at 4:30.

The Norwin girls (21-4) play at Central Dauphin (20-5) in Harrisburg at 6 p.m. Friday, a three-plus-hour trek across the state for a 6A opener.

In girls’ 5A, Penn-Trafford (17-9) plays at Greencastle-Antrim (23-2) at 4 p.m. Saturday. The Warriors’ opponent is nearly three hours away in Greencastle, about 12 miles south of Chambersburg.

The Yough boys and Greensburg Central Catholic girls have the shortest drives for their first-round games.

Yough (17-9) will play Penn Cambria (21-5) at Mt. Aloysius College in Cresson at 5 p.m. Saturday in Class 3A, while GCC (21-5) goes to Windber (20-6) for a 7 p.m. tip Friday.

Both trips are just more than an hour.

Yough’s game originally was going to be played at Penn Cambria’s gym.

Run it back

Area coaches seem to like the WPIAL bringing back “play-back” games for the basketball playoffs.

Each class had a consolation bracket, or third-place game, to determine PIAA playoff qualifiers and seeds.

But a closer look shows the format used previously — follow-the-winner — would have yielded similar results.

In Class 6A girls, Norwin won the third-place game against Upper St. Clair. As it played out, North Allegheny beat Upper St. Clair in the championship, so Norwin, which lost to North Allegheny in the semifinals, also would have been third the old way.

The Penn-Trafford girls played back and beat Hampton for seventh place. With South Fayette winning the 5A title, Penn-Trafford would have ended up fifth in the previous system.

In girls 2A, the consolation bracket favored Greensburg Central Catholic, which earned the No. 5 seed for the state tournament. If it was last year, the Centurions would have been seventh.

The Monessen girls secured fifth in Class A. Before, the Greyhounds would have been eliminated from PIAA contention with the top five advancing.

On the boys side, Yough took the seventh spot in 3A. The Cougars would have been No. 8 — and out — in the past.

And in boys 2A, Greensburg Central Catholic won the third-place game for the No. 3 seed. The Centurions would have been the same seed because they would have followed champion Aliquippa.

Rocco wins title

North Catholic junior guard Alayna Rocco became a WPIAL champion Saturday when the Trojanettes bounced Blackhawk, 51-35, in the 4A final at Petersen Events Center.

Rocco, who lives in Trafford, scored a game-high 16 points and grabbed six rebounds in the win, the team’s fifth district title in seven years.

The Harvard commit was the Trib HSSN’s co-MVP of the game with teammate Ava Walker.

Rocco’s father, Jim, was looking for his third WPIAL title, but the North Catholic boys coach and the Trojans fell to Lincoln Park, 78-68, in the 4A championship Friday at Petersen Events Center.

Jim Rocco won a pair of titles in 2000 and 2003 when he coached Penn Hills.

More county champs

A pair of North Huntingdon residents are WPIAL basketball champions.

Juniors Payton Wehner and Cole Sullivan helped lead Central Catholic to the Class 6A championship Saturday night at Pitt’s Petersen Events Center. The Vikings pulled past New Castle, 61-52, for the title.

Sullivan, a major-college football prospect and 6-foot-5 forward, scored 16 points and grabbed 10 rebounds.

Wehner, the quarterback at Central in the fall, helped the Vikings make plays down the stretch in the backcourt.

He threw a baseball pass to Sullivan, his tight end, for an exclamation point slam dunk in the victory.

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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