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High School Basketball

TribHSSN boys basketball team of the week: Shenango

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The Trib HSSN Boys Basketball Team of the Week, Shenango, is in fourth place in Section 3-2A. Not every Team of the Week has to be in first place or even a ranked team in their classification.

Shenango entered the week under .500 in in the section and 5-10 overall. But three wins, including an eye-brow raiser have the Wildcats in control of their postseason destiny.

Shenango returned only one starter from a year ago and has three sophomores seeing significant playing time. But veteran coach Bob McQuiston, in his 13th year as the Wildcats’ coach coach, likes the way his team has jelled recently.

“We knew at the beginning of the season we were going to go through a learning curve,” he said. “In the offseason, we were missing guys because of injury as well as guys playing fall sports. So it has taken us a while to build that chemistry, but it is coming together at the right time.”

McQuiston also feels his Wildcats are playing better now because of the team balance.

“Ryan Perretti’s shooting has been outstanding. Gavin Pagley has a motor that doesn’t stop. Reis Watkins has been a force to reckon with in the post, and we have guys like Case Butchelle, Josh and Ryan Lenhart that have been giving us scoring, rebounding and defense,” he said. “When you get four guys scoring double digits on a regular basis it makes for a pretty good team.”

Shenengo’s leading scorer and one of the top juniors in the district is McQuiston’s son, Colin, who is averaging 20 points.

“I have a great relationship with my son,” McQuiston said about his point guard. “Obviously, there is some tension every now and then, but from a young age, he has understood that expectations for him are going to be higher because he is the coach’s son. He cannot make the same mistakes other players are making, and sometimes he is going to get blamed for things that are not his fault.

“He knows that it is not always fair, but, at the same time, he is willing to accept it because he knows it is what is best for the team. Colin is the type of kid that will do whatever it takes to win. He is a very team-oriented player.”

Shenango began last week with a 63-38 rout of Mohawk and concluded it Saturday with a 25-point home victory over Ellwood City.

But the Wildcats’ biggest win of the season came Friday when they stunned second place and No. 2-ranked Sewickley Academy on the road 81-77.

“The win over Sewickley was huge for us,” McQuiston said. “As a coaching staff, we try to be up front and honest with the team. All along we have been telling them, ‘When it clicks, good things are going to happen.’ It is finally starting to click. Going into the Sewickley game, our goal was to play hard and be competitive. We stress to the kids that we are not going to just show up and play. We are going to show up give it everything we have and let the chips fall where they may.”

The Wildcats begin the final two weeks of the regular season a game-and-a-half behind second-place Sewickley Academy and a game behind third-place South Side Beaver.

“I think are section is the one of the toughest sections in the WPIAL,” McQuiston said. “It is a grind game-in and game-out. Right now, we have three teams in OLSH, Sewickley and South Side that are ranked in the top five in the WPIAL. On top of that Laurel, Burgettstown and Mohawk are right there. Sometimes, our overall record is perhaps not where it should be, but at the end of the day, we want to play teams that are going to make us better.”

Shenango will enjoy a few days off before a showdown Friday at South Side Beaver.

Don Rebel is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Don at [email protected] or via Twitter @TheDonRebel.