Westmoreland high school notebook: Stone hopes return home for charity game is a slam dunk
Thursday, March 29, 2018 | 4:03 PM
Sought-after basketball standout Brandon Stone will return to the Pittsburgh area this weekend, and he has his eye on the slam dunk contest at the inaugural ITPS #CancerSucks Charity Classic Saturday at Chatham.
Stone, a senior 6-foot-11 swing-forward from Christ School (N.C.) who used to play at Southmoreland, plans to enter the dunk competition and give the crowd a show.
"Between the legs, windmills, whatever," said Stone, who has 14 Division I scholarship offers and has narrowed his choices to Penn State, South Carolina and Duquesne.
Stone has been watching dunk contests since he became fascinated with the game — "I got to go with Vince Carter as my favorite," he said — and now he gets to rattle the rim for himself.
[embed width="350" height="450"] https://twitter.com/b_stone23/status/979041023455358978 [/embed]
Stone also is playing in one of two senior showcase games Saturday. He will be on the same team with Mars' Robby Carmody (Notre Dame), Bryce Laskey of Laurel Highlands (St. Francis, Pa.) and Antonio Rizzuto of Northeastern, N.Y. (Albany).
The ITPS event schedule has a prep game at 2:30 p.m., followed by a Pennsylvania vs. West Virginia game at 4:30, then the dunk and 3-point contests, and a second senior Pennsylvania-West Virginia game at 7:30.
Tickets, sold only at the door, will be $10 for an individual game or $30 for the day. Doors open at 11:30 a.m.
Proceeds benefit cancer research.
Stone said he is considering attending an academy, either IMG or SPIRE, for a year before beginning his college career. He still can "reclassify" and basically repeat his senior season.
There initially were underclassmen games on the schedule Saturday but organizers canceled them as not to blur the line between what is and isn't allowed under PIAA and NCAA rules.
Belle Vernon senior softball pitcher Bailey Parshall opened the season with a dominating performance Monday, one reminiscent of pre-43-foot-circle days when batters simply couldn't catch up to heat-throwing hurlers and defenses barely got to use their gloves.
Parshall, a Penn State recruit, struck out 20 batters in a 2-1 victory over Steel Valley.
It was a record-breaking performance for Parshall. She broke her own school record of 17 strikeouts in a seven-inning game, and also bettered the overall mark of 19 strikeouts set by Ashley Nichols in a 2007 game that lasted 12 innings.
Parshall still believes she can tweak her pitching arsenal. She is the type of competitor who is focused on that one batter she didn't set down on strikes.
"My screwball was my most effective pitch ... but going into the rest of the season I feel like I need to mix it up more and throw more change-ups to have a better variety of pitches," Parshall told the Mon Valley Independent.
Parshall is the reining Class 4A state player of the year. She went 20-2 with a 0.52 ERA and a WPIAL-leading 246 strikeouts for the WPIAL-champion Leopards.
Gaffney in Hershey
Veteran local basketball official Mike Gaffney worked the PIAA Class 4A boys championship game Monday in Hershey between Imhotep Charter and Sharon.
Gaffney, who said he is just the sixth referee from the Westmoreland County chapter to officiate a boys state basketball final, cherished his first opportunity to call a PIAA hoops final.
Whistles and violations weren't magnified in a runaway win by Imhotep, 71-35.
"It was an unbelievable experience," said Gaffney, 49, who is a native of Quantico, Va., but is a longtime resident of Hempfield Township. "It's hard to get there because there are so many good officials. You put in years of hard work and hope one day you get the call."
Penn-Trafford boys volleyball is No. 2, while Hempfield is close behind at No. 6, Latrobe is No. 8 and Norwin No. 9 in the latest Western Pennsylvania Volleyball Coaches Association poll.
Derry, meantime, has the No. 3 spot in Class AA.
North Allegheny is No. 1 in Class AAA and Ambridge has the top spot in AA.
A sidecar to the coaches' poll this season is a player of the week award. Hempfield senior Logan Horwatt, a setter, opposite-side hitter for the Spartans, was honored this week.
Bill Beckner Jr. is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter @BillBeckner.
Bill Beckner Jr. is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Bill by email at email@example.com or via Twitter .
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