Some former Division I college basketball players from the district have offspring shooting their way into the spotlight this season.
The sons are shining in the WPIAL and City League, carrying on their family name with pride and also a knack for scoring.
D.J. Porter is a 6-foot-5 junior forward at Obama Academy in the City League and is averaging 20 points a game. His father, Darelle, played at Perry and went on to a successful career at Pitt, where he had 1,007 points, 466 rebounds and 617 assists
Malik Walker is a 6-5 senior forward at Ambridge who is averaging 19 points a game. His father, Myron, is a former Aliquippa High School star and is Robert Morris' all-time leading scorer with 1,965 points. He also is a former Northeast Conference Player of the Year.
Maverick Rowan is a 6-5 1/2 freshman guard at Lincoln Park who is averaging 22 points a game. His father, Ron, played at Beaver Falls and then Notre Dame and St. John's. Ron Rowan also played in seven games with the NBA's Portland Trail Blazers.
Andrew Koester is a 6-4 sophomore guard who is averaging 19 points a game at West Allegheny. Koester's father, Bob, played at Franklin Regional and then Xavier University.
More family matters
• Sister Act IV is now playing at Mount Pleasant.
The Mount Pleasant girls basketball team has four sets of sisters on the team. Junior Dakotah Biller and freshman Katie Biller are forwards. Sophomore Brooke Kalp is a forward and her freshman sister, Alyssa, plays guard. Junior Elaina Fearer and freshman Ashley Fearer are guards. Senior Jena Szelong is a forward and her sophomore sister, Alexa, a guard.
• When the Steel Valley girls basketball coaches want to have a staff meeting, it's more like a family chat. Kelly Sabo is the head coach. Her brother, Ryan, and sister, Tiffany, are two of her assistant coaches.
One changed vote
It took one person on the PIAA Board of Control to flip a vote, and now Elijah Minnie is turning WPIAL Class A basketball upside down.
Minnie, a 6-foot-8 junior at Lincoln Park, was ruled eligible to play last Thursday by the PIAA. Minnie transferred from Summit Academy to Lincoln Park before the start of the school year. The WPIAL ruled him ineligible, saying he transferred for athletic intent. The PIAA upheld the WPIAL at an appeals hearing by a 3-2 vote.
But the PIAA forced the WPIAL to rehear the case because Minnie and his lawyer, Craig Lee, claimed they had new evidence in the case. The WPIAL heard the case again, but still ruled Minnie ineligible by a unanimous vote. Minnie appealed his case to the PIAA again -- and won this time by a 3-2 vote.
Dean Rossi, a representative of District 6, is a PIAA Board of Control member who flipped his vote from the first time, and his change of heart put Minnie in Lincoln Park's lineup. John Tommasini, the Department of Education representative, and Terry Diehl, the male officials representative, also voted to make Minnie eligible.
Lincoln Park officials were extremely happy about the outcome. Coach Mark Javens said justice had been served.
WPIAL officials were extremely upset, though, and you can bet Lincoln Park opponents aren't exactly happy, either. Minnie makes Lincoln Park most likely the team to beat now in Class A. What kind of difference can he make? Well, he averaged 19 points and 16 rebounds in his first three games.
"Having to re-hear cases is something that has come about only in the past year or two," WPIAL executive director Tim O'Malley said. "The frustrating thing in all of this is that in a summary review we received from the PIAA after they upheld our ruling the first time, all five members who voted originally were of the opinion that the transfer would not have occurred, if not for the sport of basketball. However, in that first appeal hearing, two members [of the PIAA Board of Control] felt he should still be able to play because they felt it was in the best interest of the kid.
"The precedent has been established now. Those people who are dissatisfied with a finding can now go and develop some new information to have the opportunity to be re-heard."
Olympics to high school
Imagine what a four-time Olympic gold medalist and world-record holder might be able to do against high school swimmers. They're finding out in Colorado.
Missy Franklin, who won four Olympic gold medals this summer and set a world record in one event, is swimming her senior year at Regis Jesuit High School in Aurora, Colo. She competed in her first meet last week and, not surprisingly, won rather easily.
Return of the flexbone?
George Smith is coming back to coach the McKeesport football team. Does that mean the flexbone will return, too?
Smith was McKeesport's coach for 28 years before resigning after the 2009 season. Jim Ward resigned after this past season, and McKeesport is expected to hire Smith as coach next week.
McKeesport was very successful using the flexbone (triple option) during Smith's tenure. Something else to think about is that Jamie Eckels has resigned as Serra's coach after three seasons. Eckels used to be Smith's offensive coordinator.
Check this out
• What a difference a year sometimes makes. The Cornell High School boys basketball team made it to the WPIAL Class A championship game a year ago before losing to Lincoln Park. This year, Cornell is 3-10 and in last place in Class A Section 1.
• Valley Forge Military Academy in eastern Pennsylvania will join the PIAA, starting in the 2013-14 season. Valley Forge is an all-male boarding prep school. In the past, Valley Forge has had a football team that used fifth-year players and some Valley Forge players have gone on to play at Division I colleges. But Valley Forge will not use fifth-year players any longer. Valley Forge will be in the PIAA in football, basketball, cross country, baseball, swimming, lacrosse, soccer, wrestling and track and field.