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Mars captures Trib HSSN Cup for Class 5A | TribLIVE.com
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Mars captures Trib HSSN Cup for Class 5A

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Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review
Mars seniors celebrate with the trophy after beating Franklin Regional in the WPIAL Class 5A boys basketball final March 2, 2018, at Petersen Events Center.
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William Whalen | Tribune-Review
The Mars boys lacrosse team celebrates after defeating Hampton to win the WPIAL Class AA title May 26, 2018, at Robert Morris.

The winner of the Trib HSSN Sports Cup in Class 5A was really out-of-this-world good during the 2017-18 school year.

Mars’ steady effort across the board led by boys’ and girls’ basketball gold this winter helped the school earn the TribLive High School Sports Network Class 5A Sports Cup.

The Trib HSSN Cup is a yearlong competition to determine the top WPIAL sports program in each classification. It awards points for section/conference wins, district/state playoff wins and district/state championships and runners-up.

Schools can earn 1 point for section/conference wins, 2 points for any postseason victory, 10 points for a WPIAL championship, 5 points for district runner-up, 20 points for a PIAA championship and 15 points for state runner-up.

“We’ve won this thing before,” excited athletic director Scott Heinauer said, “under both MSA and the Trib. This was an unbelievable year.”

Mars was solid across the board with most of its athletic teams, including two WPIAL championships and one state title earned this past school year.

The Fightin’ Planets captured WPIAL gold in boys lacrosse for a third straight year and boys basketball, while bringing home district silver as WPIAL runner-up in girls soccer and baseball.

Despite not making the WPIAL championship game, the Mars girls basketball team qualified for the state playoffs and ripped off five straight wins for a PIAA championship, making for a golden year on the hardwood for the blue and gold.

Over the last decade and a half, Mars has grown from being a small Class 2A school to now competing in Class 5A. Heinauer, who also is the school’s long-time football coach, believes a small-school mentality when it comes to athletics is a key to his school’s success year in and year out.

“One of the biggest factors is we share athletes. It probably starts with me in that I tell all of our football kids they should go out for other sports when the season ends,” he said. “We want kids to play many sports and have a great high school career. All of our coaches are on the same page in that we feel competition is very important.”

Mars was one of only two schools in the chase for the 5A cup that finished with more than 200 points. The Fightin’ Planets finished 39 points ahead of runner-up Fox Chapel.

“We’re honored and we take this seriously,” Heinauer said. “We’re excited and our kids talk about this all the time. This reward is great because it shows a lot about your school and their sports programs.”

Here are the Top 10 finishers in Class 5A for the Trib HSSN Sports Cup:

1. Mars — 249 points

2. Fox Chapel — 210

3. Moon — 181

4. West Allegheny — 179

5. Franklin Regional — 160

6. Hampton — 158

7. Thomas Jefferson — 154

8. Montour — 147

9. Gateway — 122

10. Latrobe — 114

Don Rebel is a TribLIVE High School Sports Network broadcaster and staff writer. Reach him at [email protected].

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