By Mike White | Tuesday, Jan. 26, 2010, 11:10 p.m.
I'm just sayin'
Don't you have to be impressed with the coaching jobs done this season by veteran boys' basketball coaches Mark Jula of Center and Kyle DeGregorio of Baldwin?
You'd have to say their teams are two of the suprises in the WPIAL. Baldwin defeated Upper St. Clair tonight for the second time this season (wonder the last time that happened)?. Meanwhile, Center knocked off Beaver.
Neither Center or Baldwin was expected to be particularly strong this season. Center is now 12-3 overall and 7-1 in the section. You haven't heard much in recent years about Jula (pictured to the left), who won a WPIAL title at Butler 19 years ago. But the guy could always coach, and has had some pretty decent teams at Center. The Trojans just never had a long playoff run. Could this be the year? This year's Center team was expected to be pretty good, but this good? By the way, did you know Jula has over 450 career wins. And another by the way: Did you know that Jula and Matt Clement were finalists for the Butler job in the offseason. Things have worked out pretty good for both of them.
At Baldwin, I know DeGregorio has been on the hot seat in recent years, but Baldwin should be glad it kept him. The Highlanders aren't a great team, but look at them: They are tied with defending WPIAL champion Peters Township for second place in Class AAAA Section 5. Baldwin is 11-5 overall and 6-2 in section.
* I wish I had a dollar for every time a fan yells for an over-and-back call when they don't even know the rule. Remember, three things must be over half court before the chance of over-and-back call can be made. Both feet must be over, plus the ball. If it's only two, and the player goes in the back court, it's not over and back. For example, if a player had one foot and the ball over the half-court line, and then went in the back court, it's not over and back.
* Shady Side Academy is 12-2, despite starting two freshman. Geno Thorpe, a freshman guard, could be a good one in a few years.
* I sure hope George Smith, pictured below, decides to talk about why he decided to resign yesterday as McKeesport's coach. People want to know.
* Got this e-mail today from a high school football official about Smith: "I have officiated in the WPIAL for 34 years and let me tell you.......guys like coach Smith at McKeesport are one of a kind. He was a gentleman, a leader, and a winner. I truly enjoyed officiating games when coach Smith was involved.
I had the pleasure of being the line judge for the Gateway-McKeesport game this past seasaon. I worked the evening on the McKeesport sideline and enjoyed every minute of that contest.
We will miss him and I hope that the Tigers find a coach that follows the path of coach Smith."
* Chartiers Valley jumped to a 26-0 lead in the first quarter tonight against West Mifflin and won, 81-48. Is there a team in WPIAL Class AAA that has guards who can deal with Chartiers Valley's pressure defense? I'm beginning to wonder. Maybe we'll have to wait until the playoffs. But next Friday's game with Chartiers Valley at Hampton should be mighty interesting. Might be the best game of the season, even though it's non-section.
* Poor Shaler. The Titans have lost games this year by 2, 5, 3, 3 and 5 points. They are 7-9 overall and 2-6 in section.
* John Lee was a character - and a good coach - when he was at Seton-LaSalle, Bishop Canevin and Baldwin. He's still a character, as a color analyst for basketball and football games on MSA Sports. Tonight, I was at the Sewickley Academy-Vincentian game. So was Lee for MSA. We were next to each other at the scorer's table. I gave him a couple halftime stats on a sheet of paper, including the stat that Vincentian was 0 for 5 from 3-point range. I put "0 percent" next to the 0-5. On the air, Lee said, "Mike White supplies us with the halftime stats and am I glad he pointed out that Vincentian's 0 for 5 shooting from 3-point range comes out to 0 percent. I wouldn't have known that."