Westmoreland H.S. notebook: Belle Vernon resident Eli Teslovich helps Shady Side Academy to WPIAL title

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Saturday, March 5, 2022 | 7:14 PM


Westmoreland County did not produce a WPIAL champion in basketball this season.

Not so fast, says Eli Teslovich.

A sophomore at Shady Side Academy, Teslovich helped lead the Bulldogs — remember, they aren’t the Indians any more — to the program’s second district championship Friday night with a 66-54 victory over Avonworth at Petersen Events Center.

So, where is Westmoreland connection? Teslovich lives in Belle Vernon.

The rising 5-foot-10 guard had 20 points, on 9-of-15 shooting, and added three rebounds and a pair of assists for the Bulldogs, who used a big third-quarter push to secure their first title since 1999.

Teslovich went to school at Belle Vernon until eighth grade, when he enrolled at Shady Side.

He was beaming Friday night.

“I am a Shady Side guy and wouldn’t have it any other way,” Teslovich said. “As for the win, words can’t even describe it. Ever since we lost to Elwood City last year, this has been our goal. We all worked so hard for this, it’s just an amazing feeling, unlike any other. I couldn’t ask for a better team and group of coaches.”

Hockey playoffs

Four area teams will open the Pennsylvania Interscholastic League playoffs this week. Three of them are in the Class 2A bracket.

No. 8 seed Hempfield will play No. 1 Thomas Jefferson at 7 p.m. Monday at Ice Castle Arena.

There will be a local quarterfinal doubleheader Tuesday at Palmer Imaging in Delmont — formerly Center Ice Arena.

No. 2 Franklin Regional hosts No. 7 Butler at 6:30 p.m., followed by No. 4 Penn-Trafford and No. 5 Meadville at 8:30.

In Class A, No. 4 Norwin will host No. 5 Westmont Hilltop at 6:30 p.m. Thursday at Palmer Imaging.

The Class 2A semifinals are March 15 and the Class A semis are March 16.

It’s all relative

Basketball players from a pair of county schools have more in common than their teams going to the PIAA playoffs.

Greensburg Central Catholic senior Brevan Williams and Southmoreland junior Olivia Cernuto are distant cousins.

Williams’ mother and Cernuto’s father are second-cousins.

The talented pair never have played basketball against one another.

“It’s cool that we both made the WPIAL semifinals. We wanted to both get to the Pete,” Williams said.

Spring ahead

Official practice for spring sports begin Monday for baseball, softball, track and field, boys tennis, boys volleyball and boys and girls lacrosse.

All sports except tennis open play March 25. Tennis begins March 14.

Big 33

Cade Yacamelli and Devin Whitlock played against each other this past season. In a few months, they will be teammates.

Yacamelli, the star running back and defensive back from Penn-Trafford, will join Whitlock, the terrific playmaking quarterback and defensive back at Belle Vernon, in the Big 33 Football Classic.

The all-star game will be May 30 at Bishop McDevitt in Harrisburg.

Penn-Trafford’s Jack Jollie also was selected to play for Team Pennsylvania.

Yacamelli, a Wisconsin commit, was picked as an outside linebacker, Jollie as an inside linebacker.

Whitlock, who will be a preferred walk-on at Pitt, is going to the game as an athlete.

Belle Vernon’s Matt Humbert will serve as an assistant coach for Pennsylvania against Team Maryland.

Three more local players were selected to play in the East-West all-star games May 29 in Harrisburg. Penn-Trafford’s Declan Ochendowski (OL) and Belle Vernon’s Cole Weightman (DE) were picked for the big-school game, and Joe Blahovec of Greensburg Central Catholic (DB) was selected for the small-school game.

Ochendowski is a Cornell commit, Weightman is headed for IUP and Blahovec committed to Youngstown State.

Levendosky, Barca commit

Norwin football teammates might end up playing against each other in the Presidents’ Athletic Conference.

Both of them will join Division III programs.

Quarterback/free safety Luke Levendosky announced he will continue his playing career at Saint Vincent, while running back and defensive back Dom Barca declared his intentions to play at Washington & Jefferson.

Levendosky threw for 1,082 yards and eight touchdowns and ran for 505 last season, while Barca rushed for 412 yards and five TDs and caught 18 receptions for 297 yards and three scores.

Recruiting

A playmaker in the Franklin Regional football secondary is headed to a D-II program to play football, only not in the traditional sense.

Maddox Morrison, a senior wide receiver and defensive back, is going to play Sprint football at Alderson Broaddus.

Sprint football is a relatively new concept. It is regular football, played in pads with the same rules. Only all players must weight 178 pounds or less.

It is not recognized as a NCAA sport.

Yough senior football player Kaden Bizzozero will play at Washington & Jefferson. He was an all-conference wide receiver.

Ligonier Valley senior Connor Tunstall will continue his baseball career at Lesley University in Cambridge, Mass. A middle infielder, Tunstall will play in the New England Collegiate Conference.

• Kylie Smith, a senior at Greensburg Salem, will play soccer close to home at Pitt-Greensburg. She was one of the top scoring midfielders in the county last season.

Hempfield senior Ava Grew will play golf at Carlow.

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

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