Westmoreland high school boys basketball notebook: Latrobe goes young

Thursday, January 13, 2022 | 8:04 PM

Part necessity, part rising talent, Latrobe is playing four freshmen this season.

The Wildcats (3-7, 1-3 Section 3-5A) have a deep bench that includes ninth-grade guards John Wetzel and Max Butler and freshmen forwards Jack Hamaty and Alex Tatsch.

“It’s been over the last two weeks I’d say where we have started to work them in,” Latrobe coach Brad Wetzel said. “We came into the season with two guys who had experience. There were a lot of question marks. We’re starting to figure things out and seeing which group plays the best together. Those younger guys are doing some good things for us, and our older guys are helping them along.”

Latrobe has not played multiple freshmen at the varsity level since standouts Austin Butler and Jake Biss began to make their lasting marks on the program about five years ago.


Ligonier Valley senior guard Matthew Marinchak continues to be one of the most exciting, and clutch, players in the area. Marinchak showed again Tuesday that the Rams are not out of any game until he says so, making a layup with 2 seconds remaining for a 79-77 victory over Steel Valley.

He finished with 32 points — his fifth 30-plus-point game this season. He is averaging 23.8 points and now has 1,253 for his career.

Scotties reunion

It’s been 30 years since Southmoreland won a section title in boys basketball, and the school remembers that banner team fondly.

That is why it will honor the 1992 team before Friday night’s home game against Mt. Pleasant.

Those to be recognized include players Fred Sabota, Jason Allison, Eric Roslonski, Brian Shipley, Quinn Mulroy, Brandon Zerilla, Mark Brownfield and Ed Porter as well as coaches Harry Bowser and Dennis Zieger.

Roslonski was one of the WPIAL’s top scorers in the early 1990s. He finished his high school career with 2,192 points, which ranks fifth all-time among Westmoreland County players from the WPIAL behind Tom Pipkins of Valley (2,838), Vince Graham of Belle Vernon (2,429), Terrelle Pryor of Jeannette (2,285) and Ben McCauley of Yough (2,283).

Roslonski scored 61 points in a game in 1991. He went on to play at Saint Vincent.

These days, Roslonski is a doctor of osteopathic medicine in North Carolina.

Whitlock, Gallagher to meet again

Two of the WPIAL’s most dynamic two-sport athletes will face off again, this time on the basketball court when Belle Vernon and senior Devin Whitlock travel to Laurel Highlands to play the Mustangs and junior Rodney Gallagher.

The game is Wednesday night at Laurel Highlands.

Belle Vernon is the No. 2-ranked team in Class 4A, and Laurel Highlands is No. 1 in 5A.

Whitlock and Gallagher are point guards with all-around talents as scorers, passers and defenders. Both also were game-changing quarterbacks this year.

Despite Division I offers from a number of programs for basketball, Gallagher announced he will concentrate on football after high school.

Williams climbing

Greensburg Central Catholic senior swingman Brevan Williams, the reining Trib Westmoreland player of year and a returning all-state player, could be the Centurions’ next 1,000-point scorer.

Williams had 26 in Tuesday’s 63-43 win over Jeannette, bringing his career total to 888.

Williams has interest from a number of Division III programs including La Roche, Pitt-Greensburg and Washington & Jefferson. He is still deciding if he wants to play college basketball because he wants to major in nursing.

Geoff Helm was the last GCC player to score 1,000. He reached the milestone in 2019.

Pipkins makes Hall

Former Valley star Pipkins is part of the 2021 Pittsburgh Basketball Club Hall of Fame class.

Pipkins, who went on to play at Duquesne and professionally overseas before having his career cut short by injuries, will be joined in the hall by: Alvin Gibson (Beaver Falls), Aaron Thomas (Middlebury, Ind.), Andy Wormsley (Quaker Valley), Adam DiMichele (Sto-Rox), Chago Gotay (Bishop Boyle), Frank “Happy” Dodds (Allderdice), Paul Brozovich (South Allegheny), Dwight Collins (Beaver Falls), Wayne Williams (Schenley), Ed Biedenbach (Edgewood), Mike Keyes (Woodland Hills), Dick Groat (Swissvale), Malik Hightower (Perry), Ron Hightower (Allegheny) and James “Junior” Price (Sto-Rox).

Groat, of course, is the Pittsburgh Pirates great who some forget averaged 25 points a game at Duke and played one year in the NBA for the Fort Wayne Pistons.

He is the grandfather of former Franklin Regional boys basketball coach Steve Scorpion and owns Champion Lakes Golf Course in Bolivar.

The PBC Hall of Fame class will be honored Feb. 5 at Chartiers Country Club.

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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