Sunday, December 9, 2012

Plenty to take out of the EQT

The Washington High School boys basketball team won the EQT Energy Classic title Sunday night with a 46-43 victory over Canon-McMillan, thanks in large part to a last-second 3-pointer from senior guard Josh Wise.

But there was something more to this tournament for the Prexies, something that may be a little more lasting. Like many teams, Wash High used this season-opening event to learn a little bit more about itself ... and learn it did.

The Prexies know that Wise is truly an elite player at this level, probably one of the best in the WPIAL. Billy Edwards is a pretty darn good one, too. Jordan Drew and Rikwon Moore are two of the better rebounding forwards you'll see in Class AA.

Scary when you think about what this team -- which beat the past two champions of this event in Canon-Mac and Pikeville (Ky.) -- will be able to do in Section 4-AA, with teams like Seton-La Salle, Brentwood and Chartiers-Houston.

"It was a big win for our guys," Wash High coach Mark Gaither said. "Our guys have grown a lot the last three days, and we’re excited about getting into section play."

We also learned that Canon-Mac can be a really good defensive team. Sam Bohn did a great job against Josh Wise tonight. The Big Macs held their opponents to an average of 32.3 points. Here's Wise talking about the fact that he scored two points in the first half.

"They had a great game plan," Wise said. "They took me out of my game, but my teammates kept telling me, ‘Shooter’s shoot. You can't stop a scorer from scoring; you can only slow him down.' They sure did tonight, but I came alive at the end."

Despite being held to just two points and no field goals against the Prexies, senior guard D.J. Johnson will be a valuable asset off the bench for Canon-McMillan, proven nicely by his 30 points in the first two games.

I think the Canon-Mac girls showed well here, too. I wrote about the contributions from multiple sources for Monday's paper, perhaps the biggest  being sophomore forward Danielle Parker, who had 29 points in two games ... but was inexplicably left off the all-tournament team for her division. Don't get that.

The Big Macs don't have any seniors or much size, but Parker, at 5-11, gives them a great inside presence. She can also shoot the three, making two in a first-round win over Saltsburg.

Canon-Mac's girls are missing three players right now: Abby Gillespie (rib), McKenzie Monaghan (wrist) and Maleia Ruane (knee). The first two will be back soon, Ruane perhaps a little longer. After this weekend's performance, imagine what's there if the Big Macs are healthy and not dressing nine players.

Burgettstown should have a nice forward combo with Ryan Glover and Josh Mack. Mack is huge at 6-4, 300 and dominated the paint in the two games I watched Burgettstown play. Glover had 22 points against Waynesburg, only one against Canon-Mac and double digits again today.

Though it lost a heartbreaker, 62-60, on a last-second tip-in, Trinity appeared as advertised, maybe a tough better. Jared Deep and Corey Hunsberger were impressive, and we all know what Christian Koroly can do. With the move up to Class AAAA, would've almost been nice to see the Hillers play Canon-Mac, just to see how they stack up.

I guess, then, that we'll have to wait until this week, when section play starts. Can't wait folks, though tomorrow's day off will sure be nice. Have a good Monday.

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