Westmoreland high school notebook: Latrobe’s Rafferty commits to IUP

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Saturday, August 7, 2021 | 7:00 PM


Basketball player Anna Rafferty was receiving NCAA Division I and II college attention well before last season, but the 6-foot-2 center reaffirmed her next-level potential by helping Latrobe reach the WPIAL semifinals for the first time 1998.

More schools showed interest from there as the reigning Trib Westmoreland player of the year played another AAU season with the Western PA Bruins.

Rafferty, who still has her senior season to go, decided one school stood out from the rest. She announced last week a verbal commitment to IUP, a perennially strong Division II program in the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference.

“They have a great program and an even better coach,” Rafferty said of IUP and coach Tom McConnell. “The team has done very well in the past few years, and coach McConnell is a USA girls basketball coach for the 16U team. It’s impressive, and I’m excited to be a part of it.”

Rafferty said her plan was to commit before her senior year. She also had offers from Division I Kennesaw State, coached by former Pitt coach Agnus Berenato, and Shippensburg, another PSAC school.

“This felt like the right time,” Rafferty said.

One of the top true post players in the WPIAL, Rafferty averaged 13 points and 10 rebounds as Latrobe went 14-3 and won its first section title since 2006-07. The Wildcats lost to Chartiers Valley in the Class 5A final four.

Rafferty’s game was simple yet effective last year. She posted up, turned and looked for the square on the back board. Or she cleaned up missed shots with putbacks.

Most teams had no answer for her offense. IUP also recently landed Southmoreland rising senior Gracie Spadaro, a 6-foot forward who also will look to stock the Crimson Hawks’ frontcourt.

Zajicek commits

Norwin rising senior Brianna Zajicek also committed to a Division II basketball program.

The 5-10 guard/forward went with Alderson Broaddus over West Virginia Wesleyan — the two offers she received in recent weeks.

Zajieck averaged 11.9 points and 2.6 rebounds last season for the Knights and will be a key player this winter.

Brew Crew

Incoming senior Corinn Brewer of Greensburg Central Catholic competed at the USA Track and Field Junior Olympics at the University of North Florida, in Jacksonville.

A heptathlete, Brewer competed in seven events, including the 800-meter run, 400 hurdles, pole vault, long and high jumps and steeplechase, and finished seventh overall.

She was second in the 800, high jump and steeplechase.

Brewer is gearing up for her final prep season and hopes to win her first gold medal. Last year, she took second in the 800, third in the 1,600 and second in the pole vault at the WPIAL finals.

She posted top-10 finishes in each event at the PIAA Championships.

Brewer, who also competes in gymnastics, will run cross country again this fall.

Her two brothers also are active in track and field. Sophomore James Brewer and eighth-grader Grant Brewer also competed at junior nationals.

Corinn Brewer has multiple Division I opportunities, including at Notre Dame, Virginia Tech and several Ivy League schools.

Silver lining

The Ohio Outlaws Team DeMarini out of Ligonier reached the Triple Crown 18U national softball championship and came in second place.

The team is loaded with WPIAL talent. Team members included Kelsi Terzolino (Hempfield), Maddie Griffin (Ligonier Valley), Jaycee Haidze (Highlands), Madison Pikula (South Allegheny), Amber Morgan (Trinity), Sydney Mitchell (Hempfield), Hanna Mass (Deer Lakes), McKenna Negley (Butler) and Taylor Eckels (Canon-McMillan).

Local netters

Seven area players competed for the A-10 Volleyball Club at the Boys Junior Volleyball National Tournament in Kansas City. The players, coached by Jake Stone, are Troy Horvath and Jackson Genicola of Norwin and Owen Kelley, Chaz Ewer, Sean Gordon, Drew Gordon, and Josh Reilly of Hempfield.

Recruiting

Norwin senior baseball player Elijah Dunn changed course and decided to join IUP. He committed to Hartford in January, but Hartford is dropping from Division I to Division III, which prompted his move. Dunn is a 6-2, 175-pound outfielder.

• Division III Gettysburg is recruiting Belle Vernon football player Jack Bryer (6-1, 215), a fullback and linebacker.

• Belle Vernon senior soccer player Chloe Morgan will play at Westminster.

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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