Westmoreland County basketball notebook: Terrelle Pryor buys new Nikes for Jeannette boys
Thursday, February 13, 2020 | 5:03 PM
Jeannette will have new shoes for the WPIAL playoffs, thanks to an old friend who made good on a promise.
A few weeks ago, former Jayhawks star Terrelle Pryor told the team he would buy them shoes if they won the section title.
Jeannette obliged by winning 14 of its final 15 games and secured the Section 2-2A title by two games over Brentwood and Serra Catholic with an 11-1 record.
The Jayhawks (15-7) are playing with confidence heading into the postseason.
Pryor delivered the Nike Paul George IVs on Thursday.
“It’s great, him giving back to the kids,” Jeannette coach Adrian Batts said. “It was his idea to get them (shoes) earlier and then he made a promise to them on winning the section. This was great for him to follow up. The kids are really appreciative.”
Hempfield will get a familiar opponent in the opening round of the WPIAL Class 6A playoffs. The Spartans (12-10) will play Peters Township (13-10) at 8 p.m. Tuesday at Mt. Lebanon.
The teams played about four weeks ago with host Hempfield winning, 57-52. In that game, Hempfield took a 39-34 lead into the fourth, when both teams scored 18.
Christian Zilli had 14 points, Mikey Gaffney added 13, Drew Coletta had 10, and Marcus McCarthy chipped in nine for the Spartans.
Sam Petrarca had 15, while Mike McDonnell and Colin Cote had 12 each for the Indians.
Petrarca is the son of former Kiski Area standout Tony Petrarca, who played in the WPIAL championship game in 1986 — won by Norwin — and later played at Duquesne.
Peters Township defeated Penn-Trafford in the first round last year at Mt. Lebanon, 74-56.
Hempfield has not won a playoff game since 2015.
Greensburg Salem didn’t make the WPIAL Class 5A playoffs, as the Golden Lions finished 5-17 and in last place in Section 1, but senior Dante Parsons put together a stellar final season and quietly ascended the program’s scoring list along the way.
In a seven-game stretch to close out the season, Parsons, who averaged 21.5 points, climbed into the No. 8 spot on an all-time scoring list of impressive names. With 1,254 points, he surpassed Aaron Allen (1,118), Ray Greene (1,209), Marvel McGowan (1,225) and Jake Matthews (1,239).
Parsons has college interest from Division II and III schools, as well as some at the NAIA level. He is not ruling out prep school.
Greensburg Salem not only played in one of the WPIAL’s toughest sections, but it fell short in a number of close games. The Golden Lions sustained overtime losses against Gateway (46-42) and Woodland Hills (51-48), the former a playoff team. They lost 59-58 to McKeesport, another playoff team, and only lost by three (69-66) to Penn Hills, the No. 1 seed in the 5A playoffs.
Also, they trailed Laurel Highlands, yet another playoff team, by 15 points with five minutes remaining before falling, 58-51.
“It’s frustrating,” Greensburg Salem coach Mark Zahorchak said. “But these kids played until the absolute last second of the season.”
Noonan on the radar
Perhaps one of the WPIAL’s most out-of-nowhere stars is Latrobe senior forward Michael Noonan. The 6-foot-6 forward emerged as a go-to scorer for a team that lost the majority of its offensive firepower coming into the season.
He averaged 20.8 points and nearly helped the Wildcats (6-16) reach the WPIAL playoffs for the eighth straight year.
Colleges are interested in Noonan, mainly at the Division III level. Hometown Saint Vincent, Allegheny and Juniata all like him.
There are 40 schools with both boys and girls teams in the WPIAL basketball playoffs. Six are from Westmoreland County: Belle Vernon, Greensburg Central Catholic, Southmoreland, Derry, Monessen and Penn-Trafford.
Bill Beckner Jr. is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Bill by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter .
More Basketball• Mt. Pleasant hires T.J. Kravits as new boys basketball coach
• Trib HSSN girls athlete of the year: Morningstar shines bright for champion North Allegheny
• Valley News Dispatch boys athlete of the year: Highlands’ Crise savored super senior seasons
• Westmoreland County boys athlete of the year: GCC’s Nate Ward showed will to win in 4 sports
• Rebel Yell Podcast: Best of the Century salute to Spencer Lee and Maura Huwalt