North Xtra: 'Bradleys' celebrate fine season

Brad Everett's high school basketball notebook

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The Oscars took place in February and the Emmys aren't until September, so to help fill the long award-show void, we present to you with the Best of the 2013 WPIAL basketball season.

Pass the envelopes, please.

It's time for the Bradleys.

Here is one writer's take on who provided the best performances among North area schools.

Player of the Year -- Ryan Luther, Hampton. People might sometimes mistake Luther for his twin brother, Collin, but there's no mistaking his enormous talent and the exceptional season he had. Luther, a 6-foot-8 junior guard-forward, averaged 21.2 points per game and led the Talbots to the WPIAL championship game for the second year in a row. Luther hit the winning shot at the buzzer to beat Mars early in the season and scored 31 in a WPIAL quarterfinal win against McKeesport. He has offers from Duquesne and Dayton, and several others are interested.

Coach of the Year -- George Yokitis, Vincentian. Yokitis has often labeled his team's style of play "organized chaos." There's a method behind the madness, and Yokitis is the maestro. Vincentian's frantic style of play earned the Royals their second WPIAL Class A title in three seasons. The Royals led the WPIAL in scoring with 83.7 points per game and finished the season with a 26-2 record.

Pick Five -- (Matt D'Amico, Fox Chapel; Ryan Luther, Hampton; Josh Goetz, Mars; Danny Savulchak, North Catholic; Geno Thorpe, Shaler). D'Amico averaged 22.1 points per game and formed half of an excellent tandem of junior guards (Brian Papich being the other) that helped Fox Chapel win its first WPIAL playoff game since 2007. After going 22-6 this season, Hampton has won 62 games in Luther's career. Goetz, a 6-8 senior, was one of the WPIAL's most improved players. He averaged a double-double which included 12.2 points per game. Savulchak (21.1 ppg) was once again one of the best players in Class A, and joined his sister, Lauren, as 1,000 career-point scorers. Thorpe, a Penn State recruit, finished with a WPIAL-best 25.4 points per game.

Best Game -- Fox Chapel 49, McKeesport 48 on Jan. 18. Fox Chapel could have been dubbed the Cardiac Kids, and this was the Foxes' second win against McKeesport in the closing seconds. Matt D'Amico made two free throws with two seconds left to give the Foxes the win, this after Billy Urso's basket with 1.8 seconds left lifted the Foxes to a 55-53 victory at McKeesport on Dec. 14.

And for the girls ...

Player of the Year -- Brenna Wise, Vincentian. Wise showed that she isn't just one of the top sophomores in the WPIAL, but one of the WPIAL's top overall players. Wise (22.7 ppg), a 6-foot-1 forward, sported a double-double average and led Vincentian to WPIAL Class A championship and a runner-up finish in the PIAA playoffs.

Coach of the Year -- Ron Moncrief, Vincentian. Like many of his players, Moncrief was visibly shaken after falling to Tri-Valley in the PIAA championship game, but the fact is he guided Vincentian to one of the best seasons in school history. The Royals went 29-2, won their second WPIAL championship in a row and third in four seasons, and reached the PIAA championship game for the third time. The Royals started four underclassmen.

Pick Five -- (MacKenzie O'Donnell, Butler; Erin Mathias, Fox Chapel; Sara Pilarski, Hampton; Lauren Wolosik, North Catholic; Brenna Wise, Vincentian). O'Donnell was the key piece for a Butler team that placed second in Class AAAA Section 3, and was the top vote-getter in all-section balloting. Mathias, a 6-3 junior forward, bounced back from a knee injury sustained last season to average 17.4 points per game and show why Duke liked her enough to offer her a scholarship when she was a freshman. Pilarski (16.6 ppg), helped Hampton go undefeated in Class AAA Section 1. Wolosik, a senior guard, was a scoring machine. Her 27.1 average was second in the WPIAL. Wise already has offers from Pitt, Duquesne, Providence and Drexel.

Best Game -- Vincentian 65, North Catholic 64 on Jan. 14. In a showdown of the top two teams in Class A Section 2, Brenna Wise made a layup just before the buzzer to vault visiting Vincentian to the heart-thumping win. The Royals had rallied from being down nine points at the half. Wise scored 24 points and North Catholic's Lauren Wolosik poured in 32.



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