After being swept by Brownsville in the regular season, Charleroi finds itself preparing for a preliminary round playoff game against Chartiers-Houston with the No. 14 seed on the line.
The Cougars are flying under the radar in Class AA, led by senior point guard Matt Indorante, a pure outside shooter, and the least talked about big man in the WPIAL.
Sophomore John Arnold, a 6-7 center for the Cougars (13-7), is enjoying a solid start to his varsity high school career.
After spending last year on Charleroi’s JV team, Arnold is a defensive weapon with an offensive game that is still developing. For Charleroi head coach Bill Wiltz, Arnold’s rebounding prowess is something his teams have always lacked.
“He’s unbelievable,” Wiltz said. “We work hard to get shots. When we miss one, he cleans it up. We’ve never had that before where someone can dominate the inside like he can.”
Arnold comes off the bench to protect him from foul trouble; with his large frame, opposing players make a point to test him in the lane, which often results in a foul. The strategy has allowed Wiltz to utilize Arnold at opportune times in basketball games. The sophomore is averaging nine rebounds and six blocks per game at the defensive end.
When Charleroi played Beth-Center on Jan. 23, the Cougars turned to Arnold, who dished in 22 points to defeat the Bulldogs in a key Section 5-AA game.
“I can’t wait for my next few years of basketball,” Arnold said. “That’s when I’m going to get looked at. I have a goal to be the next 1,000-point scorer for boys basketball at Charleroi.”
The Cougars are set to tip-off against Chartiers-Houston at 3 p.m. Saturday when the two teams meet at Chartiers Valley High School. Indorante will look to continue his offensive success and against a big, physical Buccaneers team, Charleroi will need Arnold to wear down their opponent’s thin lineup, which will be without Kodie Hanley.
“It’s someone that other teams are going to have to game plan against,” Wiltz said. “He can really dominate. They are going to have to be concentrating on him and hopefully freeing up our guard play.”
- · The talk at the pairings meeting about the girls basketball bracket in Class AA surrounded Seton-La Salle (18-4), which won Section 4 with an undefeated record. The talk is merited after the Rebels made it to the WPIAL title game last season, but another team is worth championship discussion.
McGuffey (19-3) went unbeaten in Section 5-AA play this season and has won 25-straight section games dating back to Feb. 9, 2012.
- · The only team to win playoff games in both 2012 and 2013 in Washington or Greene County is in-fact hails from Rogersville. West Greene’s girls basketball team has been a steady presence in the Class A playoffs behind the play of Madison and Alyssa Raber. The sisters get their last crack at playoff success when the No, 12 Pioneers (11-10) face Quigley Catholic (16-5) Saturday at Peters Township.