WPIAL gets eight on state basketball first team

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Eight WPIAL players were named to the PIAA first team in their respective classes, including Hopewell senior Shatori Walker-Kimbrough who was a decisive winner in the Class AAA player of the year voting.

Coaches Reggie Wells of South Park and Bishop Canevin's Tim Joyce were voted coach of the year in Class AAA and AA, respectively.

Walker-Kimbrough, making her third appearance on the Class AAA first team, is a Maryland recruit and the Gatorade Player of the Year for the state. She averaged 27.8 points, 10.1 rebounds and 6.8 steals as Hopewell made the second round of the PIAA tournament before losing to Wells and eventual champion South Park by four points.

"Her ability in the open floor is something you don't see very often in girl basketball," Hopewell coach Jeff Homziak said of the 5-foot-11 star. "A lot of guys coaches said she would fit right in on their boys teams. ... She's a special kid."

Other WPIAL players named to the first team were Vincentian sophomore Brenna Wise in Class A; Fox Chapel junior and Duke commit Erin Mathias in Class AAAA; South Park senior Shelby Lindsay and Blackhawk sophomore Chassidy Omogrosso in Class AAA; and Seton-LaSalle junior Naje Gibson, Jeannette senior Ciara Gregory and Bishop Canevin senior Erin Waskowiak in Class AA.

Malia Tate-DeFreitas, Steelton-Highspire's 5-8 guard who averaged 34.8 points and scored more than 1,000 total her senior year, was voted the Pennsylvania Sports Writers Girls Basketball Player of the Year for an unprecedented third time in Class A.

Archbishop Carroll's Sarah Curran (Class AAAA), and Episcopal Academy's Megan Quinn (Class AA) garnered player of the year honors in their respective classifications in the poll of statewide media. Spring-Ford's Jeff Rinehimer (Class AAAA) and Tri-Valley's Bob Felty Jr. (Class A) also were voted coaches of the year after guiding their teams to PIAA championships.

"It means a lot because I think it shows I did a pretty good job helping and trying to lead my team," said Tate-DeFreitas. "We won three [District 3] titles and two state titles -- I only wish I could have won one more my senior year."

A recruit of Division I Hampton, Tate-DeFreitas is making her fourth appearance overall on the Class A first team. Despite an ACL injury early in her scholastic career, Tate-DeFreitas still finished with 3,366 points, second only to Mount Carmel's Maria Fantanarosa on the all-time state list.

"I think I had the natural ability, but it was also my dad and coaches pushing me," Tate-DeFreitas said. "The standards were set even higher."

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