Seton-LaSalle coach Mark "Knobby" Walsh is no astronomy expert, but he knows a star when he sees one.
He doesn't need a telescope to view one, either. All he has to do is look at his point guard.
Dale Clancy, a 5-foot-9 senior, has established himself as not only one of the top point guards in Class AA, but the entire WPIAL. Clancy has used his quickness, ball-handling and passing ability and scoring acumen to fuel a Seton-LaSalle team that is undefeated (9-0 overall, 3-0 in Section 4) and among the highest-scoring teams in Class AA (66.9 points per game).
"He's doing a really good job for us," Walsh said. "He's a senior leader and is doing a great job handling the ball. He's doing a great job distributing and getting the ball to everyone in the offense. He's shooting the ball well and attacking the basket."
Clancy, a three-year starter, averages 18 points and six assists per game, both team highs. He's had several big scoring outings, including a 31-point effort against Gateway and a 29-point performance against South Park.
The scoring spike has come after he averaged 13.6 points per game on his way to all-section honors as a junior. His increased scoring prowess, however, hasn't stunted his ability to get the ball to open teammates.
"He's scoring a few more points this year because I think the opportunity has been there," Walsh said. "I think sometimes when we hit a lull, I'll look at him and say, 'Dale, we need you to score more.'
"You put that bug in his head, and he'll go out and look to do it more. He's so unselfish. He can hit two jumpers in a row, but he'll come down the next five possessions and look to pass."
Clancy was named the most valuable player of Seton-LaSalle's 62-58 win against Wheeling Park (W.Va.) in the seventh annual Cancer Research Classic at Wheeling Jesuit last Friday. Clancy finished with 16 points, six assists and five rebounds.
The CRC has grown into one of the country's premier high school tournaments and brought together some of the nation's top players and teams. National powers such as Montverde (Fla.), Prime Prep (Texas) and Whitney Young (Ill.) participated in the two-day event.
All in the family
Two of the top players in Class AAAA Section 4 have familiar last names. That's because their fathers are head coaches.
Mt. Lebanon's Jonny David and Baldwin's Jon DeGregorio are having terrific seasons. David plays for his father, Joe, at Mt. Lebanon. DeGregorio is the son of Belle Vernon coach Kyle DeGregorio.
The sons both lead their teams in scoring. David, a 6-1 junior point guard, is averaging 20.5 points per game. DeGregorio, a 5-8 senior point guard, is averaging 14.1 points per game.
David is a two-year starter and has scored in double figures in every game. He poured in a career-high 42 points in a season-opening win against Johnstown.
"He's an ultra-competitor and he doesn't take any plays off," Baldwin coach Joe Urmann said. "I really like the way he defends. He's definitely the guy who makes them go."
DeGregorio leading Baldwin in scoring is a bit of a surprise. He had not played the past two seasons as he had other commitments. He has scored in double figures in all but one game.
"I knew he would definitely help us, especially because he's a good ballhandler and he could help us against pressure," Urmann said. "I think he's improved a ton since the beginning of the season."
Here are a few boys games to keep an eye on this week:
Steel Valley at Thomas Jefferson, Friday, 7:30 p.m. -- The only blemish to the Class AAA Section 4 records of these teams were narrow losses at Elizabeth Forward, Steel Valley (7-1, 2-1) in overtime and Thomas Jefferson (8-2, 2-1) by one point. A big key for Thomas Jefferson will be containing Steel Valley's 6-5 forward Dom Keyes, who has developed into one of the best players in the section.
Chartiers Valley at South Fayette, Tuesday, 7:30 p.m. -- With Matty McConnell (appendectomy) back, Chartiers Valley (8-1 overall, 4-0 in Class AAA Section 5) rebounded from its first loss by rolling to a 15-point win against Montour last Friday. McConnell scored 32 points and is averaging 22.5 for the season. South Fayette (6-1, 3-0) is beginning to jell as some of its players who played on the school's PIAA football championship team are rounding into form.