Westmoreland County high school notebook: Memorial basketball tournament returns to Jeannette

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Saturday, May 20, 2023 | 11:01 AM


The third annual Tre Cunningham Memorial Basketball Tournament will return to Jeannette on June 22-24.

But this year’s event, presented by the Jeannette Educational Foundation, will feature much more than the usual boys high school varsity games.

Organizers plan to add 3-point and slam dunk contests. The slam dunk contest is contingent on participants (i.e. enough dunkers). Each team can enter two players for each contest.

“It should be fun,” key organizer Tim Carney said. “I’m hoping it will bring more spectators out to stay for the championship.”

The team champion receive the Tre Cunningham Championship Chain, and the MVP receives a $1,000 scholarship.

Carney said Jeannette, Greensburg Central Catholic and Norwin have signed up. The event hopes to get eight to 12 teams, as in past years.

Seeding games will be Thursday and Friday with a playoff tournament Saturday.

Cunningham, a terrific three-sport athlete, was killed in a motorcycle accident in July 2020.

Cost for each team in the tournament is $150. For more information, call 724-989-6793.

Beitel to coach East-West

Coaches, organizers and program directors take part in the selection process for football all-star games such as the Big 33 and East-West games.

They pick the standout senior players.

But many don’t realize the same type of people also vote on the men who will coach in those games.

That makes Roger Beitel’s selection to next year’s East-West small school game that much more meaningful.

Beitel will be the head coach for the West team against the East next spring when the game is played in Harrisburg. A big-school game will follow.

The event is set for May 19, 2024, at a site to be announced.

The Pennsylvania State Football Coaches Association holds a state-level meeting to accept nominations for coaches and select the head coaches and staffs from there.

Beitel was informed last month that he will lead the West.

“I got the call on a Friday night when both of my sons were home on spring break, so to being able to share the message with them and my wife was really special,” Beitel said. “I am extremely honored to be selected, especially coming from my peers at the state level. The number of high quality coaches across the state that I was selected from is very humbling.”

Beitel (148-63) has been the Rams’ coach for 19 seasons and has made the playoffs 15 times.

Recruiting

Latrobe sophomore football player Alex Tatsch added a second Division I scholarship offer. Marshall joined Connecticut as schools interested in the linebacker.

Greensburg Central Catholic freshman basketball player Erica Gribble added a third Division I offer, this one from Villanova. The standout guard also has offers from St. Joseph’s and Buffalo.

Belle Vernon junior quarterback/defensive end Braden Laux received another Division I offer, from Marshall.

• Several Norwin athletes signed to play at the next level. Kate Botti will play basketball at Bethany, Tim McCabe is headed to Chatham for volleyball and Collin Gunzberger will play basketball at Penn State Behrend.

Greensburg Salem wrestler Christian McChesney signed with Washington & Jefferson.

• Billy Sugden, a senior at Ligonier Valley, will continue his football career at Waynesburg.

• Three Westmoreland County athletes are headed to Saint Vincent to further their athletic careers: Yough wrestler Ashton Briggs, Nate Loughner of Penn-Trafford (hockey) and Sean Cain of Mt. Pleasant (wrestling, track and field).

Latrobe’s Rocco Marino and Nik Manolakos will play hockey at Saint Vincent.

Yough’s Bobby Etze and Milan Aujay and Greensburg Salem’s Ethan Wilson will play baseball at Westmoreland County Community College.

• Aubrie Loughner of Greensburg Salem will compete in rodeo at Clarendon (Texas).

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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