Class 6A Latrobe too much for Valley
Both coaches agreed games like this matter. For the winner, especially, so does the outcome.
Bryce Butler scored 15 points, and Ryan Sickenberger added 13 to lead unbeaten Latrobe to a 75-46 victory over Valley on Saturday at the Westmoreland County Coaches’ Association Showcase at Hempfield.
Latrobe (5-0), ranked No. 1 in Class 6A of the WPIAL, raced to a 26-7 first-quarter lead and expanded the margin to 48-19 at halftime before coach Brad Wetzel began to empty his bench in the second half.
“It’s nice to be able to have a game where you can get a lot of people playing time,” Wetzel said.
The intensity level was high at the start, but Latrobe was too strong and skilled for Class 3A Valley (1-3) to match.
“The pressure we faced today will make us grow faster,” Valley coach Mark Faulx said.
Wetzel was pleased with his team’s approach, knowing a trip to Allderdice (2-1), arguably the City League’s best team to date, looms Monday.
“It will be a great test for us. We’re super excited to play that game,” Wetzel said. “They are a great basketball team, and we’ll go there and give it heck.”
With both teams substituting freely, Valley matched Latrobe’s second-half scoring output with 27 points. A total of 21 players scored, including 11 for Valley, which was led by Nyjewel Carter’s 11 points.
Michael Noonan and Reed Fenton added 10 points apiece for Latrobe.
Fenton, a Lehigh recruit who entered with a 31-point scoring average through Latrobe’s first four games, notched eight first-quarter points before spending much of the remaining time on the Wildcats’ bench.
Fenton scored 36 on Thursday in a 90-77 victory over Class 5A No. 2 Penn Hills. He got off to a quick start against Valley, which was coming off its first victory, 74-66 over Steel Valley, in their Section 3-3A opener Friday night at home.
“They came in here and were probably taken aback at first,” Wetzel said. “We have a group that plays very well together. I never have to worry about that, no matter the opponent.”
Valley goes on the road Tuesday to play another nonsection game against Class 4A Knoch before returning to Section 3-3A play with a trip to Shady Side Academy on Friday.
Latrobe, meanwhile, after meeting Allderdice, will be home Friday to face Fox Chapel in its Section 3-6A opener.
“We need to play tough teams if we’re going to get better and make a run in our section,” Faulx said. “We came into this game saying whatever happens, happens. I didn’t think we quit, but I know we’ve got to get better in a lot of areas.
“I believe this team has potential, and we talk about it all the time.”
Dave Mackall is a freelance writer.