North Xtra: Vincentian still running up big numbers
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Vincentian Academy boys basketball coach George Yokitis often refers to his team's style of play as "organized chaos."
That bedlam has helped the Royals become the highest-scoring team in the WPIAL.
No district squad fills up the basket or lights up the scoreboard as frequently as Vincentian, which is averaging 80.5 points per game. The Royals (6-0) have scored at least 75 points in each game and totaled 84, 82 and 82 in their past three contests.
"People thought we would fall off, but I think we're a little faster [than last year]," said Yokitis, whose team averaged 74.2 points a season ago. "We're trapping more effectively and scoring out of transition.
"I think it's primarily our defense. I had an opposing coach tell me that we must score 90 percent of our points off our defense."
Vincentian constantly traps in both the full-court and half-court, and that pressure often leads to steals and transition baskets.
Tony DiNardo, a 6-foot senior guard, has been the ringleader of the offensive and defensive attack. Against Wilkinsburg last week, DiNardo had 23 points, 10 rebounds, 6 blocked shots and 6 steals, according to Yokitis. DiNardo has a sneaky-good low-post game and his wingspan -- much longer than his height would suggest -- often causes havoc in the passing lanes.
DiNardo teams with sophomore point guard Ryan Wolfe to give the Royals an excellent backcourt.
And then there's "big man" Matt Rathz, a 6-2 senior center. Rathz made five 3-pointers in one game. Yokitis described Rathz's shot as being "quirky," calling Rathz "the Jim Furyk of high school basketball."
The Shady Side Academy family will never be the same after one of its distinguished alumni, Pete Sauer, died suddenly on July 8 in New York while playing the game he loved.
Tonight, Shady Side Academy will honor Sauer, a 1995 graduate, in a number of different ways. The school will officially name its basketball court "Peter Sauer '95 Court" prior to the team's game against Highlands in what will now be known as the "Peter Sauer '95 Memorial Basketball Tournament." Also, the Indians will wear a "PS" patch on their uniforms for the remainder of the season in memory of Sauer.
Shady Side Academy athletic director Gene Deal, former assistant coach Dean Kartsonas and Sauer's widow, Amanda, are expected to speak at the ceremony, which will include a ribbon-cutting to mark the dedication.
Sauer was terrific in his playing days at Shady Side Academy. As a senior, he led the Indians to their first PIAA championship. Sauer finished his career as the school's all-time leading scorer. The Post-Gazette named him to its Fabulous Five team after both his junior and senior seasons.
After graduating, Sauer attended Stanford, where he helped the Cardinal reach the NCAA tournament four years in a row. Sauer captained the Cardinal to the school's second Final Four as a junior in 1998.
Here are a couple of games to keep an eye on this week.
Tonight: Fox Chapel Area vs. Hempfield Area, 6 p.m. (Montour tournament) -- How good is Fox Chapel? Well, we'll find out a lot about the Foxes during a two-day stretch that commences with a game against Hempfield. Both teams are paced by strong guard play. Fox Chapel has Matt D'Amico and Brian Papich, while Hempfield will lean on Kasen Harrell and Tyler Handlan.
Tonight: North Catholic vs. North Allegheny, 8 p.m. (North Allegheny tournament) -- Chances are North Allegheny will win this one, but North Catholic likely won't go down easily. The Trojans are off to a strong start and will have one of the best players on the floor in Danny Savulchak. North Allegheny, though, is very talented and deep.
Holiday tournament primer
Here's a look at some of the top holiday tournaments involving North Xtra area teams.
Montour tournament (Beaver Falls, Fox Chapel, Hempfield, Montour), tonight-Friday: These four teams are a combined 24-3. Fox Chapel and Hempfield are off to great starts in Class AAAA, while Montour (No. 4 in Class AAA) and Beaver Falls (No. 2 in Class AA) are ranked in their respective classes. The tournament is loaded with standout guards. Among them are Montour's Devin Wilson, Beaver Falls' Cottrill, Hempfield's Harrell and Fox Chapel's D'Amico.
First Published December 27, 2012 12:00 am