Westmoreland County boys basketball notebook: Injuries could impact Seton Hill showcase

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Thursday, January 26, 2023 | 11:01 AM


Seton Hill will host seven high school games Saturday and Sunday, four of which will be boys matchups.

Injuries, though, could dampen at least two of the matchups.

Franklin Regional (9-6) plays Belle Vernon (7-7) at 6 p.m. Saturday in the opener. Franklin Regional has been without its top two scorers, Cam Rowell and Cooper Rankin (15 ppg each), both of whom are dealing with injuries.

They missed last Friday’s game at Shaler and are questionable for Friday’s game at home against Penn-Trafford.

Franklin Regional coach Jesse Reed said he planned to “slowly work them back in this week if we can.”

Quinton Martin will be back with Belle Vernon after missing last Friday’s game because of a 7-on-7 football event in Miami.

Norwin (9-6), meantime, is set to play Latrobe (6-10) at 6 on Sunday night. Knights’ standout Adam Bilinsky has missed five games with an ankle injury, and his return is unclear.

Without Bilinsky on Friday, though, Norwin gave Class 4A No. 4 Laurel Highlands, with standouts Rodney Gallagher and Keondre Deshields, a game in a 46-38 loss.

There is one other matchup Saturday with Geibel (10-6) taking on Greensburg Central Catholic (11-5) at 7:30.

Sunday’s schedule includes three girls games: Greensburg Salem (11-4) vs. Franklin Regional (5-10) at 1:30 p.m., Indiana (12-5) vs. Trinity (9-5) at 3 and McKeesport (13-3) vs. Greensburg Central Catholic (15-2) at 4:30, and another boys game, Greensburg Salem (4-12) vs. Jeannette (9-5), at 7:30.

One-day tickets are $10 for adults, $8 for seniors 65 and older and $5 for students and children.

Busy weekend

Belle Vernon will have quite a weekend.

While NBA players need “load management” for back-to-back games, the Leopards are playing three days in a row.

They will host Southmoreland Friday night, play Franklin Regional on Saturday night at Seton Hill, then take on North Hills Sunday night at the Pittsburgh Basketball Club Hall of Fame Classic at Montour.

Greyhounds keep rolling

Monessen remains one of the hottest teams in the WPIAL.

The Greyhounds (15-1) ran their winning streak to 15 with a 45-43 win over Brownsville on Monday. The thing about the streak is that Monessen is not blowing everybody out. The latest win was their sixth by three points or less.

They edged Burrell, 55-53; Carmichaels, 61-60; Yough, 48-47; South Park, 63-61; and Jefferson-Morgan, 61-58.

Monessen is looking to secure its WPIAL-record 42nd straight playoff appearance.

No sleep till …

Derry coach Tom Esposito knew he would have a short bench this season, and his regular six-man rotation confirms it.

The Trojans rarely sub in close games, and they like to run: They average 63 points, fourth-most among Westmoreland County teams.

Senior Gabe Carbonara and juniors Brady Angus and Nate Papuga rarely rest for the Trojans (7-7, 3-4), who remain in the chase for a playoff spot in Section 3-3A.

Senior Ethan Frye and John Wasnick are the other starters who see plenty of floor time.

If not for foul trouble, there are nights when those players play full games.

“They’ll play 32 minutes a night,” Esposito said. “They don’t take breaks or need time off. We’re going to win with what we have.

“I like our team. A loss (Tuesday to Deer Lakes) isn’t going to change us. We’re going to keep climbing.”

Tough section

Section 3-2A has been one of the most competitive in the WPIAL, and it continues to tighten as the regular season moves to its end.

At the beginning of the week, every team had at least two wins — the only boys or girls section where that was the case.

Greensburg Central Catholic was leading at 7-1, followed by Serra Catholic (5-3), Jeannette (4-3), Clairton (4-4), Leechburg (2-4), Springdale (2-5) and Riverview (2-6).

GCC’s loss is to Riverview. Serra lost to GCC and Jeannette, which has a loss to Leechburg, which beat Springdale.

The top four teams in each section make the playoffs.

Triple-double

There have been multiple double-doubles this season among Westmoreland County teams, but a triple-double from last week stands out.

Greensburg Central Catholic’s Tyree Turner had 32 points, 11 assists and 10 rebounds in a 79-65 victory over Riverview.

Perhaps an even more impressive number for Turner that game: He has zero turnovers.

Scoring watch

Who is going to finish as the top scorer in Westmoreland County?

It’s a three-player race with just more than two weeks left in the regular season.

Belle Vernon’s Zion Moore was leading at 25.9 points per game, followed by Ty Keffer of Southmoreland at 24.1 and Terek Crosby of Yough at 22.9.

Overall, nine county players were averaging 20 or more. Others were Lorenzo Gardner of Monessen, Macky Bennis of Burrell, Turner, Bilinsky, Papuga and Carbonaro.

1,000 club

Belle Vernon will honor its 1,000-point scorers from the past at an upcoming home game.

On Feb. 10 when the Leopards host Elizabeth Forward, the district will recognize eight players at halftime.

The players are Devin Whitlock, Ron Haten, Kaitlyn Slagus, Jessica Slagus, Tom Emelo, Josh Pohlot, Vinnie Graham and Tom Parks.

Big quarters

Southmoreland is a streaky scoring team, so it’s not a surprise its players are too. Noah Felentzer proved that Monday with a big second quarter against Ligonier Valley. He had 16 of his game-high 25 in the frame as the Scotties won 76-55.

Earlier this season, teammate Keffer had a 24-point quarter. Keffer recently went over 1,000 points for his career.

Yough’s Crosby also had a big quarter Tuesday, scoring 19 of his game-high 30 points in the first eight-minute stanza as the Cougars topped Greensburg Salem, 60-40.

Landon Butler had nine of his 19 in the fourth for Latrobe in a 50-47 win over Quaker Valley.

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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