Westmoreland notebook: Roundball Classic loaded with local talent
Organizers call them “the best in the West.”
The top senior basketball players in Western Pennsylvania will once again gather for the annual Roundball Classic on April 20-21 at Geneva College in Beaver Falls.
There will be three games Friday night with a girls game at 6 p.m. and boys games at 7:30 and 9.
The games have players from the WPIAL and City League. The second boys game also has a team from District 10 (Erie area).
There are four games Saturday: girls Class 4A/District 10 vs. Class 3A/2A/A at 2 p.m.; girls Class 5A vs. 6A at 4; boys Class 3A/A vs. 4A at 6; and boys Class 5A vs. 6A at 8.
Westmoreland boys players selected to compete include: Franklin Regional’s Nate Leopold, Hunter Stonecheck and Aidan Sadoski; Marvel McGowan of Greensburg Salem; Sean Kelly of Penn-Trafford; Josh Ratesic of Norwin; Marcus Dudzenski of Latrobe; Joe Sabolek of Belle Vernon; and Robert Kennedy and Tre Cunningham of Jeannette.
Leopold and Stonecheck, who helped lead the Panthers to the WPIAL Class 5A championship game, will team up with players from section and playoff opponents in Highlands and Mars. They will play for the 5A team against 6A in Saturday night’s finale, often the most anticipated or “featured” game.
McGowan, who led Westmoreland County players from the WPIAL in scoring (23.7 ppg), also is on the 5A team. Kelly and Ratesic will suit up for 6A.
Local girls picked for the Roundball include Mackenzie Aunkst of Penn-Trafford, Magen Polcyznski of Norwin, Laura Graytok of Latrobe, Allison Podkul of Hempfield, Kelsey Green of Belle Vernon, Olivia Stawovy of Greensburg Central Catholic and Isi Palamone of Franklin Regional.
Aunkst, a West Virginia soccer recruit, is recovering from ACL surgery and will not play.
Graytok, who finished with more than 1,500 career points, averaged 23 points her senior season, and Podkul scored 17 a game. Graytok is an American recruit.
Team practices, which are open to the public, will be April 18 at Geneva.
A recognition dinner for players will be April 19 at DoubleTree Hotel in Cranberry.
A number of WPIAL players are in Colorado Springs this weekend competing in the USA Basketball U-18 National Championship.
The tournaments are played at the United States Olympic Training Center. Teams consist of four players — think of them as mini-AAU teams — but play 3-on-3 games.
There are 12 boys teams and 11 girls teams that opened pool play Saturday. Quarterfinals, semis and championships will be Sunday.
Latrobe’s high-scoring duo of Reed Fenton and Bryce Butler will team up for Western PA Elite. They also played in the event last year.
Team Cubs Hoops has Geoff Helm of Greensburg Central Catholic and Belle Vernon’s Cam Nusser.
On the girls side, Team Bruins features Maggie Moore of Southmoreland.
The half-court games are decided when a team gets to 21 points — or the highest-scoring team wins after 10 minutes of play. Teams get a point for each basket inside the 3-point line but shots behind the arc are worth two points.
This is the seventh year for the boys competition and sixth for the girls.
Where are they now?
A few area athletes, all returning seniors and impact players, are noticeably absent from their spring sports teams.
Braden Brose, a three-sport athlete at Hempfield, is not playing baseball this season. He is on the track and field team. Brose is a Delaware football commit.
At Latrobe, catcher Morgan Schweizer decided to concentrate on playing hockey full-time.
And Chris Wallace, a dependable and strong-armed pitcher at Norwin, is on the team but is not pitching after having Tommy John surgery last June. He is a James Madison recruit.
Norwin football player Gianni Rizzo, a junior receiver and linebacker, received an offer from Bucknell.
It came just days after his offer from Fordham.
e_SBlt Southmoreland soccer player Alison Huffman will continue her soccer career at Penn State Behrend.
e_SBlt Lexi Klatt, a junior softball player at Southmoreland, verbally committed to Alderson Broaddus. A shortstop and pitcher who was recruited as a catcher, Klatt plays travel ball for the Steel City Cyclones 18U team.
• Belle Vernon basketball player Griffin LaCarte committed to Juniata.
Bill Beckner Jr. is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at email@example.com or via Twitter @BillBeckner.