ShareThis Page
Class AAA boys basketball preview: Change in classification creates natural rivalries for Beaver Falls |

Class AAA boys basketball preview: Change in classification creates natural rivalries for Beaver Falls

| Saturday, November 29, 2014 9:09 p.m.
Christopher Horner | Trib Total Media
Beaver Falls senior guard Zach Duffy works out during practice Thursday, Nov. 27, 2014, in Beaver Falls. Duffy transferred from Blackhawk.
Christopher Horner | Trib Total Media
Beaver Falls sophomore Josh Creach throws down a dunk during practice Thursday, Nov. 27, 2014, in Beaver Falls.
Christopher Horner | Trib Total Media
Beaver Falls sophomore Donovan Jeter works out during practice Thursday, Nov. 27, 2014, in Beaver Falls.
Christopher Horner | Trib Total Media
Beaver Falls guard Javon Turner eyes up a shot during practice Thursday, Nov. 27, 2014, in Beaver Falls.

Don’t misunderstand Beaver Falls’ motivation to move.

“We don’t think we’re too good for Double-A,” said coach Doug Biega, who voluntarily took his team to Class AAA this season. “We just think it was a change the program needed.”

With a track record that includes two WPIAL titles in the past three years, and with a young, talented lineup in place, Beaver Falls is positioned well for a switch to the larger classification.

Still, Biega expects the decision to be polarizing.

“There are people who want the little guy to do well in the bigger setting,” he said. “But there’s also going to be a lot of people who want us to fail, thinking it was a move of arrogance, which couldn’t be further from the truth.”

The main motivation was shorter travel times and better rivalries, Biega said. Either way, it’s Class AAA that must deal with them now. With Class AAAA finalists New Castle and Hampton also joining this year, Class AAA has some new playoff contenders.

“Our expectations are always to win the WPIAL and state championship,” Biega said. “We want to be the last team standing no matter what classification we’re in. … You don’t make this move if you think your cupboard is bare.”

Beaver Falls has three starters back from last season’s lineup that went 20-8 and reached the WPIAL semifinals. Two of the three are only sophomores: Donovan Jeter (6-foot-5) and Josh Creach (6-6) start in the frontcourt. The guards are senior Javon Turner, freshman Torian Leak and senior Zach Duffy, a transfer from Blackhawk.

“Very rarely are you extremely young with experience,” Biega said, “but we are.”

Beaver Falls left a Class AA section heavy with Lawrence County teams for a schedule filled mostly with Beaver County schools. With Ambridge, Beaver, Blackhawk, Central Valley, Ellwood City, Hopewell and New Castle on the team’s section schedule, Biega expects more community excitement for his program.

“The irony of (recent seasons) was we would fill everyone’s gym except ours,” Biega said. “Our fans weren’t interested in who we were playing, quite honestly.

“If it wasn’t Aliquippa or New Brighton, they weren’t interested in the game.”

Beaver Falls joins the most accomplished section in Class AAA. With the Tigers included, the group has won six WPIAL titles in the past three seasons. New Castle owns three straight. Central Valley won last season.

“I really think we’ll have a lot of big crowds this year,” Biega said. “There’s just so much local interest and rivalries and history. I couldn’t be more excited.”

Chris Harlan is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at or via Twitter @CHarlan_Trib.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.