Thursday, March 20, 2014

A quick glance at WPIAL boys basketball realignment

Wash High's Nate Swart and DeQuay Isbell will benefit from
Ron Faust's return to Wash High
The WPIAL’s realignment in boys basketball does not offer any drastic changes, but some teams moving up and down classifications will affect the makeup of certain sections. Here is a look at some of the intriguing moves that took place.

Class AAAA

Two teams traded places in Section 4-AAAA and Section 5-AAA. Chartiers Valley, which reached the Class AAA WPIAL title game and will return Matty McConnell, moved to Quad-A in a section that features Canon-McMillan and Peters Township. The move makes Section 4 the most interesting in the classification with the Big Macs, Indians and Upper St. Clair returning key players in 2014. While the coaches in the section probably groaned when the move was announced, it will make for some great games this winter.

Class AAA

Trinity switched places with Chartiers Valley and with a very young roster, the Hillers are a great match for Section 5, which includes South Fayette, Montour and West Allegheny.

Waynesburg head coach Drew Schifino will surely invite his team’s move to Class AA in 2014 after just six win this season. They have moved to Section 4-AA with nature rivals such as Beth-Center, Charleroi and Brownsville.

Class AA

Section 3-AA, which was the most competitive in the classification, remained the same besides the addition of Carlynton. With Ron Faust taking over at Wash High and Seton-La Salle losing its big three (Dale Clancy, Levi Masua and Malik White, look for the Prexies to compete for the section title. I love the Faust hire because the longtime Wash High head coach focuses on defense – something the Prexies struggled with at times in 2013.

Section 4-AA lost California to Class A and gained Carmichaels, which has a strong group of underclassmen waiting for its turn and coach Don Williams is expected to return in 2014.

Another big move in Class AA, which does not involve a school in the O-R’s coverage area, is WPIAL Class A champion Lincoln Park finally moving up. Despite losing Elijah Minnie and Ryan Skovranko, Pitt recruit Maverick Rowan returns. Will the move make much of a difference after Lincoln Park rolled through Class A in 2013? I don’t think so. I’d like to see the WPIAL reevaluate where charter schools stand when it comes to enrollment figures.

Even LP head coach Mark Javens understands the large separation between his team and the rest of the WPIAL. He joked after its WPIAL championship victory over Monessen that it was going to grab dinner and return to the Palumbo Center to play the winner of the Class AAA title game for its trophy as well.

I’m not sure what formula should be used to place charter schools, but the Leopards could have won the Quad-A championship this season, which does not bode well the argument of private vs. public schools.

Class A

Besides California’s move to Section 3-A, where they will face Jefferson-Morgan (another Class AA team in 2013) and Monessen, West Greene was finally placed where it belonged – in Class A. Look for California and Jeff-Morgan to battle for the section title. Rece Henneman is returning for the Rockets and the rest of their lineup badly needed 2013 to get their feet wet, but don’t count out Monessen.

Even though the Greyhounds lose Clintell Gillaspie, Justice Rawlins, Javon Brown and Tyler Yuille; expectations won’t change for head coach Joe Salvino. Look for Justice Rice, Jaden Altomore and Lavelle Rush to take a big step forward in 2014.

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