Mike White | Sunday, January 24, 2009
3:55 Chartiers Valley ran its record 17-0 with another impressive victory, pushing past Aliquippa, 89-65, in the third game of the Pittsburgh High School Basketball Classic at Robert Morris' Sewall Center. One girls' game and three more boys' games are still to be played.
It was another typical Chartiers Valley win, full of 3-pointers, pressure defense and five players in double figures. Junior guard T.J. McConnell led with 23 points, Eli Maravich and Teagan Lindsey each had 18, Matt Noszka 15 and Wayne Capers 10. It is the ninth time this season that Chartiers Valley has had at least five players in double figures. The Colts have had six in double figures three times. Chartiers Valley is a Class AAA team and Aliquippa Class AA.
Chartiers Valley is enjoyable to watch. The Colts succeed without a starter taller than 6-2 and they have averaged 93.5 points over the past six games.
"We won't see a team that good in Double-A," said Aliquippa coach Marvin Emerson. "We won't see a team in Double-A that shoots that well."
Chartiers Valley made 11 3-pointers, which is right on its season average. But what is overlooked about this Chartiers Valley team is its defense. The Colts play a full-court, trapping style that forces many turnovers. They had 17 steals against Aliquippa. McConnell led with seven. He averages eight a game.
"I know people don't believe the steals statistic, but there have been a few games where he had 11 and 13 steals," said Tim McConnell, Chartiers Valley's coach and T.J.'s father.
After the game, Robert Morris assistant coach Andrew Toole introduced himself to McConnell outside the Chartiers Valley locker room and told McConnell what a pleasure his team is to watch.
3:19 - Chartiers Valley is going to be good for a while. T.J. McConnell is a junior. Freshman Wayne Capers, son of former Steeler Dwayne Capers, has two 3-pointers and eight points today. And he doesn't even start. Matt Noszka is a starter and a sophomore.
3:15 - This one's over. Char Valley has opened up a 75-54 lead. It's showtime for the Colts now. They'll certainly get their average of 84 points.
3:07 - Chartiers Valley leads, 61-45, after three quarters. T.J. McConnell now has five steals. Amazing how many times Char Valley has gotten layups off simply slipping screens. This isn't one of Aliquippa's better teams. It's not that the Quips are horrible, but they lack shooters. The Quips don't have a 3-pointer in the game.
3:00 - Chartiers Valley coach Tim McConnell took his son, T.J., out of the game earlier and I think he yelled at him "you stink."
2:47 - Pittsburgh Basketball Club director John Giammarco and former Montour and Cornell coach Ed Wovchko presented the Pittsburgh Basketball Club summer league MVP to Beaver Falls' Todd Thomas, a Pitt football recruit.
2:43 - Chartiers Valley is having an "off" day shooting. The Colts have only four 3-pointers at halftime and lead, 43-32. This is a team that averages 11 3-pointers a game. They have made "only" 4 of 13 in the first half.
2:25 - Chartiers Valley is up to its old tricks. The Colts lead after the first quarter, 26-21. They average 84 points a game and have averaged over 90 the past five games.
2:10 - Chartiers Valley coach Tim McConnell says his son, T.J., averages eight steals a game. I might believe him. T.J. has two in the first three minutes.
1:50 - Sewickley Academy defeated Bishop Canevin, 68-50, in the second game. Tom Droney scored 18 points for Sewickley Academy. Nick Blodis added 17 and Peter Schramm 17. Grant Warford led Bishop Canevin with 16 and Jake Presken 14.
1:55 - Dave Gambridge, one of the officials for the Aliquippa-Chartiers Valley game, just handed me a small book called "Common Sense Officiating." It is 113 pages. He wrote it.
1:30 p.m. - Not a bad crowd so far at Robert Morris' Sewall Center, at least for 11 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. games. This is my first chance this season to see Sewickley Academy's Tom Droney. He's the junior guard who has narrowed his college choices to Pitt, Notre Dame and Davidson. He faced a box-and-one much of the first half and showed some poise, not forcing shots and letting the game come to him. He's been willing to set up his teammates and has a number of assists so far.
Sewickley Academy led at halftime, 31-26, and has opened up a 45-31 advantage late in the third quarter.
* By the way, the final three games will be televised live by PCN cable television.They're worth checking out. You have Upper St. Clair vs. McKeesport at 5 p.m., Gateway vs. Central Catholic at 6:30, and Beaver Falls vs. North Allegheny at 8. Check out Central Catholic guard Lucas Mickens. He's been getting a little bit of Divisioin I interest. Air Force has been in to see him.
1:15 p.m. In the first game this morning, Lincoln Park defeated Montour, 65-51. Lincoln Park's Justin Hosack, who became eligible to play only nine days ago, scored a game-high 28 points for Lincoln Park. Dave McCauley added 25. Alan Heter scored 17 for Montour.
* Transfers are having an impact on the first two games. Hosack was originally ruled ineligibleby the WPIAL and PIAA. Both organizations said he transferred from Hopewell to Lincoln Park after last season for athletic reasons. Hosack took his case to court and a Beaver County court judge overturned the ruling Jan. 16.
In the Sewickley Academy game, Peter Schramm is having a little impact on the inside. A 6-7 junior, Schramm transferred from Knoch to Sewickley early in the school year and was ruled ineligible by the WPIAL. But the PIAA overturned the ruling.