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Westmoreland notebook: Summer boys basketball shootout set for tip-off

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Dan Speicher | Tribune-Review
Jeannette's Seth Howard scores on a drive during the WCCA Shootout game against Valley on Friday, July 7, 2017, at Hempfield.
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Chaz Palla
Norwin's Jayvon Thrift gets past Bethel Park's Tiger Burkes Friday, Sept. 15, 2017 at Black Hawk Stadium.

After a mostly seamless trial run last year, Westmoreland County Coaches Association will bring back its summer boys basketball shootout.

A dozen area schools will be represented Friday at Hempfield.

Each team gets three games in a round-robin format, but no champion will be recognized.

“It’s a really nice event to promote our sport and bring the players and coaches from our county together to enjoy a nice day of competition,” Hempfield coach Bill Swan said.

WCCA put on a successful cycle of events — wrestling, football, swimming and track and field included — and wanted to add basketball to the rotation.

Latrobe finished 3-0 last year, including a 62-59 overtime win over Valley in the event’s final game. The Wildcats, who feature standouts Reed Fenton and Bryce Butler, return.

New coaches will be the theme at this year’s event. Five participating teams will have them: Belle Vernon (Joe Salvino), Mt. Pleasant (Allan Bilinsky), Derry (Tom Esposito), Greensburg Central Catholic (TBD) and Kiski Area (Will Saunders).

Friday’s schedule is as follows:

9 a.m.: Derry vs. Southmoreland; Mt. Pleasant vs. Greensburg C.C.; Kiski Area vs. Burrell

10 a.m.: Connellsville vs. Belle Vernon; Hempfield vs. Valley; Latrobe vs. Jeannette

11 a.m.: Greensburg C.C. vs. Derry; Belle Vernon vs. Southmoreland; Mt. Pleasant vs. Burrell

Noon: Hempfield vs. Jeannette; Connellsville vs. Valley; Latrobe vs. Kiski Area

1 p.m.: Greensburg C.C. vs. Belle Vernon; Burrell vs. Derry; Mt. Pleasant vs. Southmoreland

2 p.m.: Latrobe vs. Valley; Hempfield vs. Kiski Area; Connellsville vs. Jeannette

All-state softball

Fresh off four consecutive WPIAL titles and a PIAA three-peat, Hempfield headlined the all-state softball teams.

Five Spartans made the Class 6A list, compiled by Pennsylvania High School Softball Coaches Association. They are senior pitcher Maddie Ushock, freshman catcher Emma Hoffner, senior first baseman Megan Monzo, junior outfielder Laura Fox and sophomore designated hitter Ashley Orischak.

Three Westmoreland players were selected to the Class 4A team: Mt. Pleasant junior pitcher Carolyn Alincic and freshman outfielder Haylie Brunson and Belle Vernon senior pitcher Bailey Parshall.

And a trio from Monessen made the Class A team: senior pitcher Dana Vatakis, junior outfielder Mattie Telegraphis and senior second baseman Destiny Habeck.

Recruiting

The big-name football prospects in the area continue to rake in the scholarship offers on the eve of their senior seasons.

Norwin safety Jayvon Thrift added Youngstown State and Ohio to his growing list, which also includes offers from Pitt, West Virginia, Syracuse and Indiana.

His teammate, receiver/linebacker Gianni Rizzo, grabbed an offer from Army to bring his total of Division I offers to 15.

• Latrobe senior-to-be Reed Fenton was offered by New Jersey Institute of Technology, his third Division I offer joining Navy and Drake.

• Greensburg Central Catholic basketball player Bella Skatell, an incoming senior guard, has an offer from Mansfield, a Division II school located about 50 miles north of Williamsport. Skatell also is a WPIAL championship-winning goalkeeper in soccer.

• Recent Yough grad Nina Maroney will continue her softball career at Geneva. The outfielder hit .431 this season and led the team in base hits, primarily from the leadoff spot.

• Belle Vernon football player Kirk Popelas was offered by St. Francis (Pa.). He is a 6-foot-3, 280-pound, two-way lineman.

Bill Beckner Jr. is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at [email protected] or via Twitter @BillBeckner.

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