Westmoreland County boys basketball notebook: New defense suits Centurions

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Thursday, January 2, 2020 | 4:35 PM


Greensburg Central Catholic soundly defeated Class 3A No. 3 Washington, 50-34, on the second day of the Greensburg Salem Holiday Classic.

Coaches were praising the team’s defensive efforts, particularly how the Centurions performed in a 1-2-2 zone press.

First-year coach Christian Hyland was asked when the new defense was introduced to his players.

“We put it in this morning,” Hyland said. “When we played Greensburg Salem, we struggled to stop their penetration. I guess it’s beginner’s luck. We just played our best game of the season.”

Look for the defense to show up again for GCC (5-3, 2-0), which visits Leechburg (7-2, 2-1) on Friday in a Section 3-A game.

“It could be something that could really work well for us,” Hyland said.

Hyland, 24, said he hasn’t been surprised by too many things in his first season as a head coach. But there is one thing.

“I have noticed there are a lot of teams playing zone,” he said. “I didn’t expect to see that so much.”

Whether that concept is a product of a lack of good shooters or the best use of personnel, GCC plans to do what it does best.

“I have stressed that there are two things we have to do well,” Hyland said. “We have to take care of the ball against pressure and make our free throws.”

In two games at the Greensburg Salem tournament, GCC made 35 of 42 free throws.

Triple-double

Greensburg Salem senior forward Shamar McCoy put on an impressive performance last weekend on the opening day of the Greensburg Salem tournament.

The Golden Lions downed Greensburg Central Catholic, 72-55, as the 6-foot-6 McCoy posted a triple-double with 26 points, 13 rebounds and 11 blocks.

The athletic McCoy capped the night with a two-handed dunk.

“That was one of the best performances I have seen in this gym in a long time,” Greensburg Salem coach Mark Zahorchak said. “Shamar showed what he is capable of doing.”

Reunion game

The Greensburg Salem-GCC game marked the return of junior guard Christian McGowan to his old school. McGowan transferred to GCC in the offseason.

The matchup also brought together brothers Dante and Dylan Parsons, a senior at Greensburg Salem and sophomore at GCC, respectively.

Section play resumes

Section play will begin to ramp up around the WPIAL beginning Friday night.

Some local games to watch include Fox Chapel (9-0, 1-0) at Hempfield (5-5, 1-0), Penn-Trafford (7-2, 1-0) at Latrobe (2-6, 0-1), and Norwin (8-1, 0-1) at Connellsville (4-4, 0-1) in Section 3-6A; Greensburg Salem (2-7, 0-3) at Penn Hills (5-2, 2-0) in Section 1-5A; Derry (3-6, 1-0) at Mt. Pleasant (4-5, 0-1), and Knoch (6-1, 1-0) at Yough (4-6, 0-1) in Section 1-4A; and Belle Vernon (7-3, 1-0) at Uniontown (6-1, 1-0) in Section 3-4A.

Layup lines

Belle Vernon is third in WPIAL Class 4A in scoring with 70.6 points a game. … Norwin is one of eight teams in the WPIAL allowing fewer than 50 points per game (47.3). … Penn-Trafford and Norwin will have something in common when they meet (twice) this season. They Both have one senior: Zach Rocco for Penn-Trafford and Nate Petrarco for Norwin.

Bill Beckner Jr. is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Bill by email at bbeckner@tribweb.com or via Twitter .

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