For once, Ryan Luther will have Malik Hooker on his side.
Luther and Hooker widely are regarded as the top two WPIAL basketball players in the senior class. Luther is a 6-foot-8 forward from Hampton and a Pitt recruit. Hooker is a 6-2 guard-forward from New Castle and an Ohio State football recruit.
Hooker’s team beat Luther’s nine times the past three seasons, including four this season. But Saturday night, they will be teammates playing in the Roundball Classic at Geneva College.
The Roundball is an annual event that features the top senior boys and girls players in Southwestern Pennsylvania. Hooker and Luther will play for the Class AAAA All-Stars against the Class A/City League All-Stars at 8 p.m. in the finale of four games.
“It will be kind of nice to have [Hooker] on the same team for once,” said Luther, whose twin brother, Collin, also will play in the game. “We played on the same AAU team a couple times a few years ago, and I think we’re pretty comfortable with each other.”
Hooker and Luther are two of the big stars in the Roundball and event organizer Allen Deep believes this might be the most talented field in the 11 years he has run the Roundball. The boys games have 11 players who earned all-state recognition; the girls games have nine. The games include top seniors in the WPIAL and City League, plus a few players from surrounding districts.
The girls will play in the first two games: Class AA All-Stars vs. Class A/City League at 2 p.m., and Class AAA vs. Class AAAA at 4. In the other boys game, Class AAA will meet Class AA at 6.
The game might carry a little more meaning for Luther because it will be one of the final times he plays with Collin. The Luthers also will play together in the Hoops-For-A-Cure All-Star Game April 26 at Chartiers Valley.
“It will be kind of weird, knowing this will be one of the last meaningful, or somewhat serious games I ever play with him,” Ryan Luther said. “We’ve been playing every game together forever, and I mean ever.”
Collin Luther has not decided on a college yet. Division I schools Elon and Albany are showing interest.
Four for 1,000
It didn’t get a lot of attention, but in the second-to-last game of Hampton’s season, Collin Luther surpassed 1,000 career points and the Luthers became only the second family in WPIAL history to have four siblings with 1,000 points. The other was the Bellhys of Fort Cherry.
Ryan Luther finished with 1,968 points and Collin had 1,033. Older brother, Bill Jr., and older sister, Jodie, also scored 1,000.
But if you count the Luthers’ uncles and a cousin, there are seven 1,000-point scorers in the extended family. Uncles Brian and Rob Shanahan scored more than 1,000 points in their careers at Hampton in the 1980s. Also, a Luther cousin, Mike Shanahan, scored 1,000 in his career at Norwin before going on to play football at Pitt.
Hempfield’s Maddie Holmberg is one of the top track and field athletes in the WPIAL. A junior, Holmberg already has won WPIAL individual championships in the 100- and 300-meter hurdles and the long jump. Her long jump a year ago of 19 feet, 10 inches was the third best in WPIAL history.
But there is another Holmberg running her way into the spotlight this year. Freshman Gabby Holmberg, Maddie’s sister, has the second-best reported 400 time this season at 59.2 seconds. She also is eighth in the 100 and 200.
Maddie is once again one of the top WPIAL hurdlers and has the best long jump at 19-0.
More sister stuff
Billy Stanley was the greatest javelin thrower in the history of the WPIAL, setting WPIAL, PIAA and national records in his senior year at South Park two seasons ago. Now his sister is making a name for herself.
Sarah Stanley, a junior at South Park, won the javelin event at the recent Tri-State Track Coaches Association meet. Her throw of 137 feet, 2 inches is the second best this year.
Billy Stanley is a sophomore at Ohio State who made All-American last year as a freshman when he finished fourth at the NCAA championships. He won the Battle on the Bayou recently at LSU with a throw of 242-3. He threw a school-record 246-10 a year ago.
For more on high school sports, go to “Varsity Blog” at www.post-gazette.com/varsityblog. Mike White: email@example.com, 412-263-1975 and Twitter @mwhiteburgh.