WPIAL boys basketball player of the week — Week ending Dec. 21

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Monday, December 23, 2019 | 7:37 PM


Nobody is off to a better start in WPIAL boys basketball this season than 6-foot Steel Valley guard Camden Polak.

The senior has scored 260 points in his team’s eight game thus far, a mind-numbing average of 32.5 points per game.

Steel Valley went 2-1 this past week with a loss against South Allegheny ending a five-game winning streak.

“We needed him to pick up his performance after the tip-off tournament,” Steel Valley coach Dale Chapman said.

The Ironmen dropped two games in the Keystone Oaks tournament, but got rolling behind the hot hand of Polak.

Steel Valley began last week with a nonsection victory over Jeannette in which Polak scored 40 points. Chapman thought Polak’s vision stood out in the 60-47 win.

“He saw the double team coming, split it and then found teammates or scored,” Chapman said.

The next night in a tough section road game, Polak scored 38 in a tight 60-58 win over Shady Side Academy.

“We were losing late in the third,” Chapman said. “We were able to find him after some turnovers and he got some clean looks.”

The win streak ended Thursday in a wild 91-79 loss at home to undefeated South Allegheny.

“We had to fight back the whole game,” Chapman said. “He got injured twice and still finished the game.”

Despite being banged up in the Gladiators game, Polak finished with 42 points.

Polak not only leads the district in scoring, he also leads Steel Valley in rebounding.

Are the other Ironmen players too reliant on Polak’s skills offensively?

“No, I don’t think so,” Chapman said. “He is our leader and his teammates find him when he is open.”

Polak has the ability to score anywhere on the floor.

“His jumper has deep range,” Chapman said.

Chapman also said his star guard’s hard work in the offseason is paying off early this season.

“He was in the weight room over the summer, which has helped him getting to the rim and rebounding better,” Chapman said.

Steel Valley heads into the holiday break with a 5-3 overall record, 2-1 in Section 3-3A.

“We are getting better as a team. We need to improve on that,” Chapman said.

Honorable mention:

Deamontae Diggs, McKeesport

After a 2-2 start, McKeesport got back on the right track with back-to-back wins in Section 1-5A last week. Diggs,a senior, led the way in both games, scoring 27 points in the Tigers’ 75-62 win over Greensburg Salem, followed by a 76-57 triumph over Albert Gallatin in which Diggs dropped 25 points as McKeesport moved to within a half-game of first-place Penn Hills.

Demitri Fritch, Springdale

Junior guard Demitri Fritch is making a name for himself and helping to push the detonator as boom go the Dynamos to the top of the Section 1 standings. Fritch had a triple-double with a career-high 42 points on Tuesday as Springdale edged Sto-Rox, 86-85. He then scored 38 points in the Dynamos’ 77-67 victory over defending section champion Winchester Thurston.

Jake DiMichele and Dante Spadafora, Our Lady of the Sacred Heart

On any given night, OLSH guards Jake DiMichele and Dante Spadafora take turns with one being Batman and the other Robin. Oh, who am I kidding? They are both superheroes playing at the top of their game right now. On Tuesday at South Side, DiMichele scored 35 and Spadafora had 32 points in the Chargers’ 79-63 win. Then in a home game against Burgettstown, Spadafora had 36 and DiMichele 32 in a 36-point victory.

Previous Trib HSSN Players of the Week:

Week 1 - Jake Hoffman, Mt. Lebanon

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