By Mike White | Monday, March 1, 2010, 11 p.m.
Seeing what's what in high school sports
Mt. Lebanon's Paul Lang has been a key contributor to the Blue Devils' basketball success. A 6-foot-5 junior forward, he's the second-leading scorer on the team behind Evan Pierce.
While Lang has been vital to the Blue Devils' success, his future might be in another sport.
Lang, pictured to the left, also is a talented football player. He's a tight end-defensive end and some Division I schools are showing interest in him. He doesn't have any scholarship offers yet, but Division I schools are looking at the 220-pound Lang.
"Some schools like me as a tight end, but some schools still aren't sure," Lang said. "Right now, I'm keeping all my options open. Obivously, I'm getting looked at more for football, but I love basketball. We'll see what happens."
I love Lang's athletic ability and I think he's the most versatile player on Mt. Lebanon's basketball team. He has the body to put on much more muscle and weight. With his instincts and athletic ability on the basketball court, it's easy to see why he might be a Division I football player.
Chartiers Valley has a new addition to its team. Sophomore Wayne Capers played about a quarter in the Colts' quarterfinal game against Trinity. It was his first action of the season. Capers was expected to be a key contributor to the team this season but suffered a broken foot in football season. He was one of the top sophomore football players in the WPIAL before the injury, which required season-ending surgery. He had not played basketball since the surgery.
Chartiers Valley coach Tim McConnell doesn't use his bench much. But he certainly will use Capers.
Holzer and history
Upper St. Clair basketball coach Danny Holzer teaches social studies and American history. Heck, his players might start thinking they're in one of his classes.
Upper St. Clair struggled late in the season and had to win its final regular-season game against Peters Township just to make the playoffs as the No. 4 seed from Class AAAA Section 4. Now, Upper St. Clair is in the final four of the WPIAL playoffs. After winning its first-round game against Hempfield, Holzer said, "This is a really special win because our team went through a two- or three-week period in section play where we were really struggling and lost a lot of close games. But I told them we were going to be like England and Winston Churchill. We shall never surrender."
Today, he was talking about how far his team has come in the past few weeks when he again went to history class.
"We were pretty low, but ever since we played Bethel Park, we were like Teddy Roosevelt," Holzer said. "We were like the Rough Riders charging up the hill and we haven't stopped since."
Upper St. Clair plays Mt. Lebanon tomorrow night. Holzer can only hope he doesn't feel like George Custer after the game.
Remember him? Novak perfect at Pitt-Johnstown
Remember Nick Novak, the former Franklin Regional standout guard who led the WPIAL in scoring last season? He's now a freshman guard at Pitt-Johnstown and recently had a perfect game. Novak made 13 of 13 shots, 3 of 3 free throws in a 94-70 victory against Shepherd (W.Va.) Saturday.
Today, Novak, pictured to the left, was named to the All Freshmen Team of the West Virginia Intercollegiate Athletic Conference.
Pitt-Johnstown's Pat Grubbs, a sophomore from Serra, made second-team all-conference.
Strange coching situation at Strawberry Mansion
You have to read about this one. Strawberry Mansion is a top team from Philadelphia and played Jeannette in the state Class AA championship when Terrelle Pryor was a senior. Well, according to a story in the Philadelphia Daily News, the "sort of" head coach at Strawberry Mansion is gone because he didn't show enough appreciation for shooting shirts that the school principal bought. I'm not making this up. Veteran high school sports writer Ted Silary has the story. Read for yourself by clicking here.
Speaking of Ted Silary, if you ever want to know anything about Philadelphia area high school sports - currently or in the past - go to www.tedsilary.com.
Top California pitcher commits suicide
A sad, sad story out of Southern California. A standout high school softball pitcher committed suicie.
Nadia Brianne Matthews had already made a verbal commitment to the University of Arizona after showing much promise as a freshman. She was 14-4 as a freshman with an ERA below 0.98.
I don't mean to harp on such bad news, but thought I'd share the story just to show you that no matter how much success in sports, a teenager can still have severe problems. To read the story from the Orange County Register, click here.