Westmoreland H.S. notebook: Local players shine at Roundball Classic games

Saturday, May 28, 2022 | 5:26 PM

Westmoreland County was well-represented at last weekend’s Roundball Classic senior all-star games, an event that wraps a bow around another high school basketball season in Western Pa.

Maybe “most valuable” would be a better way to frame their overall showing at Geneva College.

Ligonier Valley’s Matthew Marinchak was named his team’s MVP after he scored 18 points for Class 3A in a 112-103 loss to Class 2A.

Marinchak is a Pitt-Greensburg commit.

Sean Gordon of Hempfield, meanwhile, was the 6A team MVP in a 76-70 win over Class 5A. He had nine points in the victory.

Belle Vernon’s Devin Whitlock was a co-MVP for Class 4A in a 130-89 win over District 10, and two local girls also brought home MVP honors: Anna Rafferty (Latrobe) collected 15 points for Class 5A (Gold) in a 76-53 loss to Class 6A, and Southmoreland’s Gracie Spadaro had 12 points in the Class 4A team’s 64-61 victory over 3A.

Rafferty and Spadaro are IUP commits.

Caden Smith of Franklin Regional had a strong all-around showing for Class 5A with 14 rebounds and nine assists.

No states

For the first time since the 2014 season, no baseball teams from Westmoreland County will play in the PIAA playoffs.

No local team reached the WPIAL semifinals in any classification.

There was no season in 2020 because of the pandemic.

P-T game time

Penn-Trafford will take on Armstrong in its first WPIAL softball championship appearance.

The Class 5A game between the Warriors (18-2) and River Hawks (19-4) is set for 4:30 p.m. Thursday at Cal (Pa.)’s Lilley Field.

A lot for a Little

Penn-Trafford softball’s Denny Little will coach in his first WPIAL championship Thursday at Cal. His team’s 3-2 win over Chartiers Valley last Tuesday made for quite a week for Little, who also serves as a part-time hitting coach at Seton Hill.

Seton Hill, of course, advanced to play in the NCAA Division II World Series in Denver.

“I haven’t been around Seton Hill enough this season to claim them as my team,” Little said. “But it is really cool to see them go, having worked with a lot of those girls.

“One of the coolest things this year was seeing Brooke (Cleland) hit that three-run homer against Bloomsburg, only to have Emma (Little) hit a grand slam the next inning. To see (coach) Jess (Strong) and the girls have so much success is just outstanding.”

Cleland is a freshman at Seton Hill and a Penn-Trafford graduate. Emma Little is Denny’s daughter and another former Warrior.

Cleland’s father, Mike, also is reveling in the postseason fun. After Tuesday’s WPIAL semifinal, he was off to pack for his trip to Denver.

Coaching opening

Southmoreland is seeking candidates to fill its girls head volleyball position.

Heather Meyer resigned after two seasons and two WPIAL playoff appearances.


Duquesne extended football offers for a trio of Penn-Trafford players in juniors Daniel Tarabrella (WR/LB), Joe Enick (C/DL) and Conlan Greene (TE/DE).

Enick picked up a number of offers in recent days, from Bucknell, Maine, Lehigh, Monmouth and Eastern Michigan. He has an official visit planned to Central Michigan in early June.

Norwin sophomore football player Jackson Pons announced an offer from Toledo. He said the school likes him as a safety.

• A pair of Norwin girls soccer players made college commitments. Natalie Barkley will play at Seton Hill, while Molly Hudson is headed to Saint Vincent.

• Southmoreland three-sport standout Isaac Trout will play football at Waynesburg.

Trout (5-foot-9, 160 pounds) played wide receiver and defensive back for the Scotties.

He also was a key guard on the basketball team and is a long- and triple-jumper in track and field.

• Southmoreland senior Elle Pawlikowsky will continue her tennis career at Pitt-Greensburg.

MVI Summer League returns

Registration is open for the Mon Valley Independent Summer Basketball League. High school boys and girls are eligible to participate.

The league begins play June 13 with the girls division’s opening night, followed by the boys division openers June 14. All games are played at Marx’s Court Time Sports Center in Elizabeth Township.

Registration and important dates can be found at www.mvisbl.com.

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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