Westmoreland high school boys basketball notebook: GCC disrupted by covid again

Thursday, January 6, 2022 | 6:39 PM

The Greensburg Central Catholic boys basketball team didn’t play a home game in 2020.

Because of covid cancellations and schedule-shuffling, the Centurions had to wait until Jan. 8 last season, after the calendar flipped to 2021, to play on their home floor.

Now the team is letting out a collective sigh: not again.

GCC (5-1) had its first two home games postponed because of different issues. The Sewickley Academy game was postponed due to TikTok threats, while Winchester Thurston canceled because of covid protocols.

That means the Centurions won’t play at home until Tuesday night when they host rival Jeannette.

The Winchester Thurston game would have been the Section 3-2A opener, but now GCC will open at Propel Braddock Hills on Friday night.

“We’re just trying to stay in shape,” GCC coach Christian Hyland said. “We’re doing a lot of skill work. Normally during the season we don’t have multiple stretches of time in between games, and the last few weeks we’ve gone through those stretches twice, so we’ve spent a lot of time working on things we don’t normally get to do.

“We’re also doing a lot of game scenarios that we may see down the road in order to try and stay sharp.”

After Friday, GCC will play three straight games — five of their next seven — at home.

Upset special

Franklin Regional pulled a stunner Tuesday, knocking off unbeaten and No. 2-ranked Penn Hills, 59-55, in a Section 3-5A game.

Not a bad way to snap a five-game losing streak and give new coach Jesse Reed his first section win.

“It was a big-time effort from our guys,” Reed said. “It’s a little easier to play when you’re not down 20 at the half.”

Caden Smith had a season-high 25 points, Cam Rowell added 15 and Fin Hutchison had 11 off the bench for the Panthers.

Franklin Regional had just nine turnovers and overcame getting blocked 11 times to win.

Hempfield fires away

Hempfield continues to be one of the top 3-point threats in Class 6A, with multiple shooters capable of keying scoring runs.

The Spartans (4-5) are averaging 66.4 points with sometimes half of them coming from behind the arc.

“When you hit the first one, you want to keep shooting and make the next one,” streaky senior guard Sean Gordon said.

The Spartans have in-rhythm shooters.

Gordon had four 3s and 29 points in Hempfield’s Section 3-6A-opening win over Norwin. Junior Harrison Sowers connected on five 3s, and senior Joe Fiedor made two from deep.

In the Norwin win, they made 29 of 47 shots, including 11 of 17 3s. They were a sizzling 17 of 24 in the second half.

New cycle

Enrollment numbers from the PIAA for the next two-year cycle were revealed.

There are a few notable moves for local boys basketball teams. The experiment is over at Greensburg Salem, which has voluntarily played up to Class 6A for two years. The Golden Lions, who went 0-13 last year and are 1-8 this year, have 4A numbers and will play in that class moving forward.

Penn-Trafford will go from 6A to 5A, and Derry and Burrell drop from 4A to 3A.

Schools can play up. The deadline to notify the PIAA was Wednesday.

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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