Big hoops finish lies ahead
This weekend marks close to the halfway point of the high school basketball season.
If the first half is any indication, we’re in for quite a stretch run around here.
Here are a few observations about the season so far:
Seneca Valley and Summit Academy are rarely compared for any reason, but their respective boys basketball seasons have been interesting so far. They are on the opposite end of the spectrum in terms of close games.
The Knights compete in Class 1A and are off to a 6-2 start overall. They’ve won a pair of games by one point, another by three points and still another by the margin of five points.
The Raiders compete in Class 6A, in arguably the toughest section in all of the WPIAL, and cannot catch a break. Their 4-7 record entering play this weekend includes five losses by four points or fewer, including a couple of bizarre buzzer-beaters.
If there is a team lurking in the bushes, ready to jump up and take a WPIAL playoff berth away from someone, it’s probably Seneca Valley.
Butler’s boys are off to a 10-2 start and have already won a pair of section games on the road. They played another road game at Central Catholic Friday night. Road wins in any section that includes North Allegheny, Pine-Richland, Central Catholic, New Castle and Seneca Valley are invaluable.
And how about Knoch? Starting freshmen and sophomores, the Knights got off to a slow start. But they won their first two section games and have a number of promising first-year players like Derek Lang, Teegan Finucan and Jackson Bauman who are going to be around for a while.
Watch for the development of that team over the next couple of years.
Knoch’s girls are in the same section as North Catholic this season. Those games should be interesting.
The staying power of Mars boys and girls basketball is being proven once again this season. Both teams graduated plenty of talent a year ago and both are in the hunt for section titles right now. On back-to-back nights this past week, the Mars teams secured clutch one-point wins against quality opponents.
Butler’s girls should stay in the hunt for a Class 4A playoff berth. They have a senior-sophomore combination of Justine Forbes and Amelia McMichael that’s worth watching.
Karns City’s boys have a versatile, talented team and won eight of their first 10 games. The Gremlins will make some noise in the District 9 playoffs, as will the Moniteau girls.
Union’s boys have a pair of big men who can shoot from outside. The Golden Knights will provide matchup problems for any team they face in the District 9 1A playoffs.
Other storylines will develop as the season plays out. It’s just fun to see so many area teams playing entertaining brands of basketball.
John Enrietto is sports editor of the Butler Eagle