6-foot-8 transfer bolsters Cheswick Christian boys lineup |

6-foot-8 transfer bolsters Cheswick Christian boys lineup

Erica Dietz | Trib Total Media
Cheswick Christian Academy's Ben Pollock defends the ball against Antoine Malloy during basketball practice on Wednesday, Nov. 19, 2014.
Erica Dietz | Trib Total Media
Cheswick Christian Academy's boys basketball coach Todd Rosio instructs his players during a practice Wednesday, Nov. 19, 2014.

Cheswick Christian Academy boys basketball coach Todd Rosio walked into his office in May and found quite an unsolicited surprise.

On a form on his desk was the name of 6-foot-8 Evangel Heights center Ben Pollock, who was looking to transfer and wanted to tour Cheswick Christian.

Pollock eventually chose to enroll at Cheswick and the significance of having a 6-foot-8 center on any team can’t be understated. Just ask Rosio.

“There’s not too many 6-foot-8 kids playing basketball around here anymore,” said Rosio, who also serves as the school’s athletic director. “The one thing we really lacked last year was that we didn’t have anyone really big inside.”

The fact Pollock transferred from a recent rival makes it a bit sweeter.

Last season, Cheswick Christian finished the regular season with a 9-1 record. That one loss came at the hands of Pollock and Evangel Heights. The two teams clashed again in the Southwest Christian Athletic Conference championship game where Cheswick Christian won 56-46 in a game where Pollock accounted for 21 points and 19 rebounds for Evangel Heights.

“That kind of changes the dynamic of your team when you have size like that,” Rosio said. “But, he’d be a good basketball player if he were 6-feet tall.”

With 19 players on the roster, Rosio has one of his largest rosters in recent history. He’s looking for big things out of 5-9 senior Antoine Malloy, who earned all-conference honors as a freshman, sophomore and junior. As a sophomore, Malloy was named conference MVP and championship game MVP. Malloy also is expected to go over 1,000 career points this season.

“He leads by his words and by example on the court,” Rosio said. “He’s noticeable and it doesn’t take long for him to stand out in most games; he knows what he is doing.”

Freshman guard Isaiah Malloy (5-9), Antoine’s younger brother, and 6-2 junior Andy Skledar are primed to become impact players for the Chargers. Rosio described Skledar as the most improved player from last season. He also has the flexibility that Rosio looks for in his players in that he can play both the guard and forward positions. Isaiah Malloy saw considerable playing time last season as an eighth-grader and is expected to contribute even more this season.

Along with Pollock, Cheswick Christian is welcoming another transfer — senior Rob Friel, who arrived from Conneaut High School.

“New transfers need to adjust, and the guys that are here need to accept them,” Rosio said.

Rosio looks at Porterville Christian as Cheswick’s closest rival in the SWCAC.

He feels confident that his team’s focus is to continue the success from last year’s SWCAC championship team.

“It’s going to be a fun year, and as a coach it’s going to be fun to put it all together,” Rosio said.

William Whalen is a freelance writer.

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