| home | about us | search | links | contact

Scholastic Notebook
By Rich Emert
Valley News Dispatch

Since there is no clear-cut favorite in the WPIAL in Class AAAA boys basketball, Schenley from the Pittsburgh City League appears to be the best Quad-A team in western Pennsylvania.

The Spartans are 11-0 following Tuesday's 86-61 victory over Brashear. What's even more impressive is Schenley hasn't lost to a WPIAL team in two seasons.

"That concerns me a little bit because I'm superstitious," Schenley coach Fred Skrocki said. "I don't want us to get into the state (PIAA) playoffs and then drop a game to a WPIAL team."

Schenley has not had many problems with opponents. It won the titles at the Albert Gallatin Tip-off Tournament and the Butler Holiday Tournament. That's because the Spartans are deep and talented.

Chaz McCrommon is Schenley's leader. A 6-foot-3 senior swingman, he is averaging 15 points per game. He is joined in the starting lineup by senior point guard Kesete Thompkins, 5-8. The second guard is Charles Jackson, a 6-0 junior; Shawn Hawkins, 6-3, is a forward and Nate Gerwig, 6-7, is in the middle. Jack Higgins, 6-3, is a backup at guard as is Jason Benson, 6-0. Rashed Aulton, 6-4, is a backup on the inside.

Jackson, Higgins, Gerwig, Hawkins and Aulton are all juniors, so the future looks bright for Schenley.

"We played a lot of younger guys two years ago," Skrocki said. "I can remember going to a tournament in Akron, Ohio, and getting ours butts spanked. We played a team from Ohio that didn't have anybody over 6-1, but they pounded us by like 40 points.

"But those guys have grown up now, and they're playing well for us right now. We've got pretty good balance on offense, which is also a plus."

Skrocki said his Spartans are at their best when they are running. That worries him since he knows there will come a time when Schenley gets involved in a half-court game.

"We've got to get better at that," he said. "We get nervous when we get in a half-court game. It's like our guys think they're not going to get their points."

Skrocki isn't looking past anybody in the City League, but Schenley had a big game coming up Jan. 14 at home against defending City League champion Peabody. Peabody is 11-1 overall and 6-0 in the City League.

Split squad: Woodland Hills split its squad for the holidays. The school's varsity went to the Hooters Classic in St. Petersburg, Fla. The junior varsity players participated in the Butler Tournament.

There is no problem in doing that, except all of the tournament games count against Woodland Hills' record. That has created a problem.

Under PIAA rules, teams are allowed 24-regular season games. Because Woodland Hills plays three games in Florida and two games in the Butler Tournament it would be over the limit if it didn't drop two games.

Woodland Hills was scheduled to play Penn-Trafford Feb. 14. That game has been canceled. The Wolverines will still need to cancel another game.

Staying home: Two of the WPIAL's better basketball players have decided to attend colleges close to home.

Yuri Demetris, a 6-4 guard at Shaler, gave Pitt a verbal commitment just before Christmas. A four-year starter, Demetris has played both guard spots for the Titans. He is averaging close to 30 points per game.

Jon Pawlak, a 6-8 forward at Highlands, has given Duquesne University coach Darelle Porter a verbal commitment. Pawlak will probably play small forward for the Dukes. He is averaging close to 25 points per game for the Golden Rams.

Dueling champions: It's not often that two defending PIAA champions meet during the regular season, but Blackhawk and Sharon Kennedy Christian squared off in the championship game of the Blackhawk-Heritage Ford Christmas Classic.

Blackhawk is the defending Class AAA champion, Kennedy Christian the defending Class A champion. Blackhawk won the game 67-57 to remain undefeated on the season.

The victory upped Blackhawk's winning streak to 20 games dating back to last season. Kennedy Christian had its 23-game winning streak snapped.

Keeping quiet: Valley coach Tom Myers recorded his 300th career victory when his Vikings defeated Yough Dec. 21. Myers, never one to toot his own horn, didn't bother telling anyone.

School officials thought Tuesday night's home game against Belle Vernon would be No. 300 for Myers. But he informed them before the Section 4-AAA contest the plateau had been reached before Christmas.

"It was no big thing," Myers said. "I didn't even tell my assistants it was 300 after the game."

Retiring: Rochester High football coach Dan Matsook told his player at the team's banquet he would be returning for the 2000 season.

Matsook guided the Rams to the PIAA Class A title in 1998. He is the principal at Freedom High School and wants to devote more time to that job.

In 14 years at Rochester, Matsook compiled a 111-48-2 record. His teams won four conference titles and three WPIAL championships.

Matsook had considered waiting to tell the players until after Christmas, but decided to make the announcement at the banquet because most of the players were there.

PIAA numbers: The PIAA has released the enrollment breakdowns for classifications for the 2000-01 and 2001-02 seasons. The enrollment figures are:


Baseball: 1-189, Class a; 190-369, Class AA; 370 and up, Class AAA.
Basketball: 1-149, Class A; 150-255, Class AA; 256-418, Class AAA; 419 and up, Class AAAA.
Cross country: 1-324, Class AA; 325 and up, Class AAA.
Football: 1-187, Class A; 188-303, Class AA; 304-456, Class AAA; 457 and up, Class AAAA.
Soccer: 1-231, Class A; 232-409, Class AA; 410 and up, Class AAA.
Swimming: 1-423, Class AA; 424 and up, Class AAA.
Tennis: 1-384, Class AA; 385 and up, Class AAA.
Track: 1-310, Class AA; 311 and up, Class AAA.
Wrestling: 1-334, Class AA; 335 and up, Class AAA.

Basketball: 1-147, Class A; 148-246, Class AA; 247-389, Class AAA; 390 and up, Class AAAA.
Cross country: 1-309, Class AA; 310 and up, Class AAA.
Field hockey: 1-344, Class AAA; 345 and up, Class AAA.
Soccer: 1-319, Class AA; 320 and up, Class AAA.
Swimming: 1-390, Class AA; 391 and up, Class AAA.
Tennis: 1-359, Class AA; 360 and up, Class AAA.
Track: 1-296, Class AA; 297 and up, Class AAA.
Volleyball: 1-174, Class A; 175-355, Class AA; 356 and up, Class AAA.