Westmoreland high school basketball notebook: Greensburg Salem boys moving up to Class 6A

Thursday, December 12, 2019 | 6:12 PM

When the PIAA last week released a list of schools that plan to play up in classification for the 2020-21 and 2012-22 school years, one team stood out.

Greensburg Salem was one of the 10 WPIAL schools among the “voluntary upgrades” for the next two-year cycle.

The Golden Lions are opting to move from Class 5A to 6A in boys basketball.

The curious decision was based primarily on geography, with the team’s fan base in mind.

“I look at it as if it’s still quad-A, triple-A — the way (the WPIAL) used to be (with four classes),” Greensburg Salem boys basketball coach Mark Zahorchak said. “Back then, we were in quad-A and played Hempfield, Penn-Trafford and Norwin. That’s how it should be.”

Assuming the WPIAL puts Westmoreland teams together in the same section next year, Greensburg Salem’s decision will seem logical, according to Zahorchak.

He pointed to his team’s game against Hempfield last weekend at the Hempfield Spartan Tip-off Tournament.

“It was packed,” he said.

As it stands now, Greensburg Salem plays in Section 1-5A with Penn Hills, Gateway, McKeesport, Albert Gallatin, Laurel Highlands and Woodland Hills.

The Golden Lions feel like outliers.

“Schools should be playing their rivals,” Zahorchak said. “We would have bigger crowds, and it would cut down on travel time. It’s a lot easier to go to Penn-Trafford than it is Albert Gallatin. I mean, it’s cool to play teams like Penn Hills, but two section games against Hempfield or Norwin would be much better.”

Father vs. sons

When Mt. Pleasant played Norwin on the second day of the Tom Traynor Tournament at Mt. Pleasant, there was a family reunion on the court.

Mt. Pleasant coach Allan Bilinsky went against his two sons, junior Ty and freshman Adam.

The siblings combined for 23 points as Norwin won 59-47. Adam had 12 points and Ty scored 11. Ty made the all-tournament team.

“It was kind of fun to play against him for once,” Ty Bilinsky said of his father. “He was my coach for my whole childhood.”

Silk aims for 1,000

Senior Kyle Silk only has been at Ligonier Valley a short time but was on the verge of celebrating a milestone at his new school.

Silk went into Thursday’s home opener against Northern Cambria two points away from 1,000 for his career, most of which was played at United.

Latrobe scores early

Latrobe was expected to lose some offensive punch when it lost 20-a-game scorers Reed Fenton and Bryce Butler, but the Wildcats (1-2) continued to put up points early. They lost to Trinity in the season opener at the Canon-McMillan Tournament then defeated Perry, 89-65.

“We are glad that we were able to generate some points on the opening weekend,” Latrobe coach Brad Wetzel said.

Michael Noonan had 27 and 26 points in those games to lead the Wildcats. Ryan Sickenberger scored 20 against Trinity, and Frankie Newell had 23 in the Perry win.

Latrobe has scored and given up 223 points.

Section openers

Section play opens for some teams Friday night.

Franklin Regional (2-2) plays at Hampton (1-2) in Section 3-5A, Greensburg Salem (1-2) hosts Albert Gallatin (1-2) in Section 1-5A and Greensburg Central Catholic (2-1) plays at St. Joseph (1-2) in Section 3-A.

Nonsection games of note Friday include Waynesburg (2-1) at Mt. Pleasant (2-1) and Yough (3-1) at Southmoreland (0-3).

WCCA shootout

The second Westmoreland County Coaches Association Showcase will be Saturday at Hempfield.

There will be four games at the Spartan Field House: Monessen vs. Mt. Pleasant at noon; Derry vs. Southmoreland (1:45 p.m.); Jeannette vs. Burrell (3:30); and Belle Vernon vs. Greensburg Central Catholic (5:15).

Three games will be played at Hempfield’s old gym: Hempfield vs. Kiski Area (noon), Norwin vs. Valley (1:45) and Latrobe vs. Greensburg Salem (3:30).

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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