Coming into this season, Chartiers Valley knew it had to replace its top scorer and its best true post player in at least a decade.
Players simply worked their way into bigger roles and the results remained outstanding.
Chartiers Valley put together yet another fine season, one which came to an end with a 68-64 loss to Lancaster Mennonite in a PIAA Class AAA second-round playoff game last week.
The Colts finished 25-3, continuing its long reign as one of the WPIAL's elite programs. The Colts went undefeated in Section 5 and finished as the WPIAL runner-up for the second year in a row.
Minus Michael Boulos -- he averaged 17.9 points per game last season -- and 6-foot-6 center Spencer Casson -- he averaged nearly a triple-double (points, rebounds and assists) -- it was still business as usual for Chartiers Valley, a result that made its longtime coach very happy.
"To be 25-3, the job that these kids did this year is something," Tim McConnell said. "I'm very proud of the way they performed and how hard they played. I just have to give these kids all the credit because they just worked so hard."
Chartiers Valley has now won at least 20 games eight seasons in a row. No other WPIAL team has done that. The Colts have gone 190-32 in that span, winning seven section titles and 28 playoff games. They've advanced to the WPIAL championship game five times -- winning one title -- and to the PIAA final once.
McConnell's "other son," Matty, made a name for himself this season with his scoring ability and all-around play. While older brother T.J. was helping the University of Arizona to a No. 1 seed in the NCAA tournament, his younger brother was leading all Class AAA players in scoring with 21.8 points per game.
A junior guard, Matty McConnell also averaged 8.9 rebounds, 4.5 assists and 5.1 steals per game. McConnell had a rare quadruple-double -- highlighted by 11 3-pointers and 46 points -- in a win against South Park late in the regular season.
The team's biggest breakout player was McConnell's cousin, Jerrad Tuite, a senior guard who missed the majority of his junior season with a severe knee injury. Tuite was second on the team with 16.9 points per game. He took his play to another level in the WPIAL playoffs when he averaged 26 points, scoring a game-high 27 in a 70-69 double-overtime loss to Central Valley in the championship game.
Tuite was joined in the starting lineup by the team's two other seniors, guards Haedyn Herzer and Kyle Westover. Both were key contributors to an offense that averaged 73.3 points per game.
Chartiers Valley will move up to Class AAAA next season, but expect the Colts to still be very good. In addition to McConnell, the Colts will return a strong group that includes sophomore forward Joe Antonucci and sophomore guard Eddie Flohr.
"I think we have a good nucleus coming back," said Tim McConnell, who could win his 500th career game next season (he currently has 483). "We go to Quad-A. I think size might be a problem again. But I like my young guys. I've got some good young guys who can shoot the ball. They're already eager to get in the gym."