WPIAL Class A boys basketball breakdown
By: Bill Hartlep
Thursday, December 6, 2018 | 4:39 PM
WPIAL Class A
Preseason Player of the Year
6-5, Sr., guard/forward
16.7 ppg last season
Players to watch
6-1, Sr., G/F, 17.9 ppg
5-10, Jr., G, 14.0 ppg
6-0, So., G, 10.0 ppg
5-11, Jr., G, 10.0 ppg
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.
• 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.
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 email@example.com or via Twitter @TribHSInsider.