Monday, January 6, 2014

Prexies making noise in Section 4-AA, Mikes' roll continues

Frigid winter weather has delayed several pivotal section matchups in high school basketball this week and with just over a month remaining in the regular season, many teams are looking to inch their way up the standings to secure a berth in the WPIAL Playoffs.

Washington High School’s Section 4-AA game against Seton LaSalle, which was scheduled for Tuesday at 7:30 p.m., had both teams battling for the top spots in an extremely competitive section.  The Prexies (4-0, 9-2) are coming off a 68-44 victory over Fort Cherry on Friday that shot them to the top of the standings. The Prexies followed the emotional victory with a non-section matchup against Quaker Valley at the Chuckie Mahoney Tournament on Saturday. 

Wash High fell to Quaker Valley, 60-40, one day after having inconsistent offensive spurts against a banged up Fort Cherry squad.  Wash High and Seton LaSalle will face off for first place on Thursday at 7:30 p.m. 

In a year that many saw as a transitional season for the Prexies’ boys’ basketball team, Wash High has established themselves as one of the top teams in Class AA.

During last year’s playoff run, Wash High relied on Josh Wise’s offensive output, but this season, the Prexies are succeeding on offense by a committee of talent.  While sophomore guard Nate Swart leads Wash High with 16.2 points per game, three other players are averaging double figures – DeQuay Isbell (12.8), Dupree Jenkins (11.6) and Quorteze Levy (11.1).

The offensive numbers are impressive, but it is the Prexies’ relentless effort on defense that has them on one of the program’s best starts in recent memory.  Isbell and Levy are tenacious forces in the lane for Wash High, while Jenkins has the ability to play against the opposing team’s best guard.  Jenkins’s combination of speed and athleticism make for a tough matchup when opposing teams face the Prexies.

·         Canon-McMillan (2-1, 6-4) has overcome as much adversity as any program in the area has seen.  The Big Macs’ have played with heavy hearts since junior Luke Blanock was diagnosed with Ewing’s Sarcoma.  Along with Blanock, Canon-McMillan has lost players to both injury and academic issues.  The result has left head coach Rick Bell with a seven-man rotation in an extremely difficult Section 4-AAAA.

The Big Macs have responded by winning four of their past five games and have lost close games to Beaver Falls and Chartiers Valley in the past two weeks.  The spark for Canon-McMillan has come from Alex Hammers and Sam Bohn.  Hammers is averaging 17.4 points per game, while Bohn has chipped in 16.3 for the Big Macs.

·         Carmichaels (1-0, 9-0) remains the lone undefeated team in Washington or Greene County and the reason is not limited to Brandon Lawless.

While Lawless is averaging an impressive 36.7 points per game, the Mikes are getting help from a veteran roster that is playoff-tested.  Three other players have averaged double figures for Carmichaels, all of which are seniors.  Cory Fuller has averaged 12 points, Ty Aeschbacher 10.9 and Justin Newman has added 10 points per game for the Mikes.

More help has arrived.  Senior point guard Ty Cole, a two-year starter for head coach Don Williams, has returned after missing the start of the season because of mononucleosis.  Cole returned this past weekend and dropped a combined 38 points in wins over Avella and West Greene.

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