WPIAL Class A boys basketball breakdown

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Thursday, December 6, 2018 | 4:39 PM


WPIAL Class A

Preseason Player of the Year

Geoff Helm

Greensburg C.C.

6-5, Sr., guard/forward

16.7 ppg last season

Players to watch

Nathan Brudnock

West Greene

6-1, Sr., G/F, 17.9 ppg

Kaden Divito

Cornell

5-10, Jr., G, 14.0 ppg

Alex Griggs

Vincentian Academy

6-0, So., G, 10.0 ppg

Nate Meeks

Union

5-11, Jr., G, 10.0 ppg

Angelo Reeves

Vincentian Academy

6-6, So., F, 10.0 ppg

Preseason Top 5

1. Vincentian Academy (19-8 last season)

Vincentian Academy is set to begin its title defense after winning the WPIAL Class A championship over Section 1 rival Union. The Royals reached the second round of the state tournament before saying good bye to all-state graduate Zach McDonough (24.1 ppg). The Royals do return a pair of sophomore starters in Griggs and Reeves, who had 12 rebounds in the WPIAL final. They also welcome Ethan Embleton, a 6-foot-5 junior who transferred from Montour.

2. Cornell (18-8)

After reaching the WPIAL semifinals last season, Cornell returns three starters who are part of a talented junior class that has plenty of varsity experience. Divito and Zaier Harrison are back at guard, and Isaiah Langston returns at forward.

3. Monessen (13-9)

Dan Bosnic has taken over coaching duties after longtime coach Joe Salvino left to lead the Belle Vernon program. He was welcomed by a talented team led by seniors Elijahwa Payne, DiShon Howell and Vaughn Taylor. The Greyhounds will miss Lyndon Henderson, who transferred to a school in Michigan.

4. Clairton (16-5)

Despite Khori Fusco (20.2 ppg) transferring to Mars, Clairton returns a talented roster from a team that finished second in Section 2 last season. Junior forward Dominic Solomon and senior forward Leonard Robinson are among the returning starters.

5. Eden Christian (17-7)

A PIAA playoff qualifier last season, Eden Christian Academy shared the Section 3 title with Propel Andrew Street and Imani Christian last season but has since joined Section 1. The Warriors return junior Gideon Manges and sophomore Elijah Manges, among others.

Notable

• WPIAL Class A boys basketball has 22 teams in three sections, up from 19 teams last season.

• Bishop Canevin, Greensburg Central Catholic, Jefferson-Morgan and Leechburg dropped down from Class 2A.

• Winchester Thurston moved up to Class 2A.

• Greg Bisignani returns as the head coach at GCC after serving as an assistant to Jim Nesser last year. Bisignani compiled a record of 187-32 with eight section titles over eight seasons. Helm, a Shippensburg recruit, returns to the lineup after averaging 17.5 points.

• Brudnock averaged 18 points and 7.6 rebounds last season and has 829 points through three seasons for West Greene, which returns four starters.

Alignment

Section 1: Cornell, Eden Christian, Nazareth Prep, Quigley Catholic, Rochester, Union, Vincentian Academy, Western Beaver

Section 2: Avella, Bishop Canevin, Geibel, Jefferson-Morgan, Mapletown, Monessen, West Greene

Section 3: Clairton, Greensburg C.C., Imani Christian, Leechburg, Propel Andrew Street, St. Joseph, Trinity Christian

— Bill Hartlep

Bill Hartlep is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Bill at bhartlep@tribweb.com or via Twitter @TribHSInsider.

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