East Xtra: Guard tandem sets the pace for Greensburg Central Catholic
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Greenburg Central Catholic had the distinction of being just one of two basketball teams in the WPIAL with two players who averaged more than 20 points a game during the regular season.
Brian Graytok, a 6-foot-1 junior guard, scored 21.5 points a game and 6-0 senior guard Zach Herman had a 20.7 average.
The only other 20-plus duo was Lincoln Park's Maverick Rowan (23.6) and Elijah Minnie (20.3).
"I'm really proud of Zach and Brian," Greensburg Central Catholic coach Greg Bisignani said. "They've worked really hard to become good players and they've meant a lot to our team."
Bisignani is just as proud of the numbers his players have put up in the classroom, however. Graytok and Herman both have cumulative grade point averages better than 4.0 and seven of the eight players who see regular action have GPAs of at least 3.8 and are members of the National Honor Society.
Herman has not yet picked a college but plans to major in pre-med with hopes of becoming a doctor while Graytok also wants to become a health-care professional.
"It's an exceptional group of kids and I think that's why our student body has rallied around our team this season," Bisignani said. "We have kids who are leaders in the school, kids who are well-liked and respected by their peers. They are a pleasure to coach and they make my job very easy."
It is doubtful that anyone will outsmart Greensburg Central Catholic. Going into their WPIAL Class AA first-round playoff game against Northgate on Wednesday night, only one team had beaten the Centurions this season.
An 85-65 loss to two-time defending WPIAL Class AAAA champion Gateway in the semifinals of the Gateway Hoops Classic on Dec. 28 was the only blemish on Greensburg Central Catholic's 21-1 regular-season record. The Centurions bounced back to win their next 13 games.
The WPIAL basketball committee thought enough of Greensburg Central Catholic to seed it second in the Class AA tournament behind only Beaver Falls, which was 19-3 going into its first-round game against Bishop Canevin on Wednesday night.
The Post-Gazette has Beaver Falls and Greensburg Central Catholic ranked 1-2 in WPIAL Class AA and the Harrisburg Patriot-News has the Tigers and Centurions first and second in its state rankings.
Greensburg Central Catholic has established itself as a perennial Class AA power in the WPIAL with four consecutive Section 3 titles. It was difficult to project the Centurions as contenders for a state championship coming into this season, however.
Greensburg Central Catholic returned just six of its 17 players from a team that lost to Monessen in the WPIAL semifinals last season after heavy graduation and transfer losses. Graytok and Herman were the only returning lettermen.
Yet Graytok and Herman have raised their game a notch while a group of role players have developed around them.
Christian Hyland, a 5-10 junior point guard, pushes the ball in Greenburg Central Catholic's fast-paced offense while 6-7 junior forward Collin Bisignani is the Centurions' top rebounder and 6-1 senior swingman Ty Swan is the team's defensive ace.
Bisignani, the son of the coach, is beginning to develop his offensive game and scored a career-high 16 points when Greensburg Central Catholic beat Jeannette, 52-45, on Feb. 8 to clinch the section championship outright.
Three others play key roles off the bench: 6-2 senior forward Corey Marshall, 6-1 senior guard Zach Guiser and 6-2 sophomore guard Romano Sebastiani. The latter two are football players and came out for basketball for the first time this season.
"It's been a lot of fun to watch this group jell." Greg Bisignani said. "We certainly couldn't have expected to have this much success when the season started. With kids, though, you never know what might happen and our guys have worked really hard to become a good team."
First Published February 21, 2013 12:00 am