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Gregor grabs 2 basketball titles

March 21, 2018 Digital Media Exclusive

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St. Gregory eighth-grader Matthew Gregor recently won the Pa. Hoop Shootfree throw shooting contest for boys age 14.

ZELIENOPLE — He's only 14, but Matthew Gregor is already on top of his own basketball world.

The point guard for St. Gregory's varsity, Gregor led the Wolves to a 16-0 record this season and the program's first Pittsburgh Diocesan Championship.

He then claimed the Knights of Columbus state Hoop Shoot championship for free throw accuracy, winning at the local, district, regional and state levels.

“Matt never had a chance to do the Hoop Shoot before this year,” his father and St. Gregory coach Rob Gregor said. “We always had practice or were involved in a game somewhere whenever the local competition was held.

“This was the one year it worked out where he could do it and he wins the whole thing.”

Gregor sank 14 of 15 free throws to win the local competition. He went to Irwin for the district and sank 23 of 25. In the regional at Natriona Heights, he sank 23 of 25 shots again.

During the boys age 14 state competition, Gregor hit 21 of 25 shots to win the title.

“At each level, I was the first one to shoot every time,” Gregor said. “I think that helped me. I was able to have a good round right away and that put pressure on the other kids.”

Gregor sank 88 percent from the free throw line for St. Gregory during the season.

In the Diocesan playoffs, Gregor nearly outscored the opposition by himself. The Wolves won their playoff games by scores of 65-23, 46-20, 41-33 and 53-37. Gregor scored 112 points — 28 per game — in the tournament while St. Gregory's opposition scored 113.

Gregor averaged 24 points per game during the season.

“These kids really enjoyed playing together,” Coach Gregor said. “They've been friends since third grade. Winning that (Diocesan) title was a fitting way to end their time as a team together.”

St. Gregory's team consisted of seven eighth-graders and two seventh-graders. Ben Tomer, a guard, averaged 10 points per game.

Guard Michael Duer and forwards Robby Kress and Ethan Kastelic rounded out the starting five. The other two eighth-graders on the squad are Aiden Ward and Justin Greaser.

The seventh-graders are Jarrett Kopera and Tommy Zentner.

“Those kids played well together because they knew each other so well,” Coach Gregor said. “They knew what plays to run, how to find the open man. This team passed the ball extremely well.”

“We all grew up together. Those guys are my best friends,” Matthew said.

He also said he was more nervous at the Hoop Shoot competition than in the Diocesan tournament.

“During the free throws shooting tournament, I was the only one on the floor and I knew everyone was watching me,” he said. “During an actual game, I'm one of 10 guys on the court at the same time.

“I never felt any pressure there at all.”

Besides basketball, Gregor has played soccer, volleyball and run cross country at St. Gregory. He said basketball has always been his No. 1 sport.

He will be attending Cardinal Wuerl North Catholic High School next year.

“I've always loved basketball and I look forward to joining that program,” Gregor said.

His older sister, Emily, was a member of the CWNC girls basketball state championship team of two years ago. Now Gregor has a state (hoop shoot) championship of his own.

“She can't hold that over my head anymore,” he said, laughing.

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John Enrietto

John Enrietto

I graduated with a Journalism degree from Ohio University in 1979. I started at the Eagle on August 24, 1997. My awards include 2nd place in feature writing from Ohio Associated Press (while working for the Steubenville Herald-Star), media award from Lernerville Speedway and 3rd place in a Pennsylvania AP contest for story feature.