South Xtra: The Bradleys celebrate notable year

Brad Everett's High School Basketball Notebook

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Films such as "12 Years a Slave" and "Dallas Buyers Club" were some of the most critically acclaimed of the past year.

Unfortunately for them, none were given the one award more prestigious than an Oscar -- a Bradley.

The Bradleys highlight the best of the 2013-14 WPIAL basketball season.

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

Player of the Year -- Matty McConnell, Chartiers Valley. While older brother T.J. is leading the University of Arizona on a run to a possible national championship, Matty was using his fantastic all-around game to get Chartiers Valley to the WPIAL Class AAA title game. McConnell did a little -- OK, a lot -- of everything for the Colts. A 6-foot junior guard, McConnell averaged 21.8 points, 8.9 rebounds, 4.5 assists and 5.1 steals per game. He had a rare quadruple-double of 46 points (including 11 3-pointers), 10 rebounds, 10 assists and 10 steals in a regular-season win against South Park.

Coach of the Year -- Mark "Knobby" Walsh, Seton-LaSalle. With a wealth of returning talent, expectations were high for Seton-LaSalle. Walsh guided the Rebels to one of the most successful seasons in school history. The Rebels went undefeated in Class AA Section 4 for the second season in a row, won their first WPIAL title in 25 years and came within a shot of adding a PIAA title. The Rebels are 50-5 over the past two seasons.

Pick Five -- (Matty McConnell, Chartiers Valley; Jerrad Tuite, Chartiers Valley; Jonny David, Mt. Lebanon; Dale Clancy, Seton-LaSalle; Levi Masua, Seton-LaSalle). McConnell scored at least 20 points 18 times and was among the WPIAL's top 3-point shooters, knocking down 72. Tuite (17 ppg) teamed with McConnell to give Chartiers Valley a potent backcourt. Tuite was particularly outstanding in the WPIAL playoffs, pouring in 108 points in four games (only Lincoln Park's Maverick Rowan scored more). David, a junior point guard, averaged 17.8 points per game, including 42 in a season-opening win. Clancy (15.2 ppg) scored and carved up defenses with his penetration and passing ability, while Masua was a dynamic defensive force and one of the stars of the postseason.

Best Game -- Central Valley 70, Chartiers Valley 69 (2 OT) on Feb. 28. This WPIAL Class AAA championship game was an instant classic. The "Valleys" went blow for blow, with each team hitting clutch shot after clutch shot. Tuite (27 points) was 18 of 22 from the free-throw line and McConnell added 22 points. Central Valley pulled out the win after Tony Gates was fouled and made one of two free throws with 0.6 seconds left in double overtime.

And for the girls ...

Player of the Year -- Yacine Diop, Seton-LaSalle. You won't find Diop's name among the WPIAL scoring leaders, but she impacted the game in so many ways and there might not have been a better athlete in the WPIAL. Diop, a senior headed to Pitt, used her only season playing at Seton-LaSalle to help the Rebels win WPIAL and PIAA Class AA titles. Diop had 10 points, 23 rebounds and 6 blocks in the PIAA championship game.

Coach of the Year -- Spencer Stefko, Seton-LaSalle. In his first year after moving over from Chartiers Valley, Stefko led the Rebels to their sixth WPIAL title and third PIAA title. Stefko is one of the most vocal coaches in the WPIAL -- a great quote for us newspaper types, too -- and his team should make a lot of noise again next season, as multiple key players return.

Pick Five -- (Kaitlyn Slagus, Belle Vernon; Christine Ehland, Mt. Lebanon; Yacine Diop, Seton-LaSalle; Naje Gibson, Seton-LaSalle; Halie Torris, South Park). Slagus, a 6-2 junior forward, put up some huge numbers, averaging 22.6 points and 16.5 rebounds per game. Ehland (15.3 ppg, 8.1 rpg) helped Mt. Lebanon win another section title and was one of the best talents in Class AAAA. Diop, whose team was extremely balanced offensively, scored in double figures in all nine postseason games. Like Diop, Gibson will play at Pitt next season. Gibson's size (6-0) and shooting ability made her a very difficult matchup. Torris (15.6 ppg, 7.9 rpg) played a big part in South Park reaching the WPIAL Class AAA championship game for the third year in a row.

Best Game -- Hickory 55, South Park 54 (OT) on March 13. Defending champion South Park was a second away from reaching the PIAA quarterfinals, but ... Nikki Arbanas provided Hickory with a miracle finish, making an off-balance 3-pointer at the buzzer to end South Park's season.

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