Westmoreland County basketball notebook: Penn-Trafford heads to Florida, scorers heating up
Wednesday, December 13, 2017 | 6:42 PM
Jim Rocco doesn't want his team to view a trip to Florida this weekend as a vacation.
“It might be 80 degrees and sunny, but this is more of a competitive opportunity for our guys,” said Rocco, coach of the Penn-Trafford boys bas team. “It's not about just playing teams from Westmoreland County all the time.”
Penn-Trafford (1-1) will play three games in the 28th annual Kreul Classic on Friday through Tuesday in Coral Springs, Fla. Games will be played at the Coral Springs City gymnasium and JP Taravella and Coral Springs high schools.
Teams from New York, New Jersey, Georgia, Maryland, Alabama Florida and Washington D.C. will compete in five brackets.
The Warriors open at 7:30 Friday night against Taravella of Coral Springs, Fla. in the No. 86 Challenge Bracket. Other teams in the bracket include Barringer (N.J.), Dublin (Ga.), Flanagan (Fla.), North Broward Prep (Fla.), Piper (Fla.) and Vanguard (Fla.).
Rocco used to take his teams to the Kreul event when he coached at Penn Hills. It's not uncommon for Penn-Trafford to play out-of-state teams in the summer, as well. Rocco makes it a point to give the Warriors a taste of non-WPIAL competition.
“We felt like this was a good opportunity for our guys to see some good competition,” Rocco said. “If we are going to give our community a chance to see us flourish, we need to take advantage of this kind of opportunity.”
It's early in the basketball season, but one trend has swept the county so far: big individual scoring outputs.
It began opening night, when a pair of local schools produced big games. Greensburg Salem's Megan Kallock scored 40, and Marvel McGowan had 37 in wins. Latrobe's Laura Graytok (35) and Reed Fenton (33) followed suit, and Cali Konek had 34 in her Southmoreland debut.
The next day, Konek went for 44, McGowan had 28 and Marrek Paola put up 36 (and 16 rebounds) for Ligonier Valley.
McGowan added 34 in a win Monday, and the scorebook continued to fill up Tuesday as Latrobe held off Gateway in a double-overtime thriller, 92-91, with Bryce Butler scoring 40 and Reed Fenton 36. Also Tuesday, Paola scored 36 and teammate Michael Marinchak, 33, in a win for Ligonier Valley, and Kallock added 29 in a loss to Belle Vernon.
Butler's cousin also had a big game, one state north. Patrick Geitner, a senior guard at Bloomfield (N.Y.), scored 50 the same night.
Latrobe likes opening nights. Last year, Graytok scored 40 and Austin Butler, now at Holy Cross, had a school-record 48.
Franklin Regional senior forward Hunter Stonecheck plans to attend Sunday's Steelers-Patriots game, but he won't be rooting for Ben Roethlisberger and Co. Stonecheck is a diehard Patriots fan.
He said he loves all of the Boston teams. Tom Brady is his favorite football player, and he doesn't care what anyone says about it.
“(The Patriots) are the best team in the world, and they have the best player ever,” Stonecheck said. “I went to the game last year and got booed like heck. I am going again this year, so I am just going to support the New England Patriots.”
Section play is here
WPIAL section play begins for some teams Friday. Boys Section 3-6A has Hempfield (1-2) at Fox Chapel (3-0) and Woodland Hills (3-0) at Latrobe (2-1).
Jeannette's Section 1-AA opener at Summit Academy (0-3) also is its first game of the season.
The Hempfield girls (0-2) start Section 2-6A play at Fox Chapel (2-1).
A pair of area girls teams are trying to snap losing streaks. Monessen has dropped 25 games in a row, and Yough has a 16-game skid.
Bill Beckner Jr. is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Bill by email at email@example.com or via Twitter .
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