West Xtra: A former rival helps lift Central Valley on court
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When Beaver Falls sophomore forward Kiana Law and Central Valley sophomore forward Seairra Barrett played against each other last season, it produced one of the best matchups of the regular season.
Now that the duo is playing together at Central Valley, it may produce one of the best frontcourts in Class AA.
Law, a 6-foot-1 junior center, and Barrett, a 5-11 junior forward who can also play guard, have teamed up this season and made the Warriors a force to contend with.
Law averaged 11 points per game last season before transferring to Central Valley from Beaver Falls. In an early-season game last year against Central Valley, Law and Barrett battled throughout the game. Law finished with a double-double but Barrett hit a game-winning layup at the buzzer to give Central Valley a thrilling 50-48 win.
"Law had a big game against us last season," Central Valley coach Chris Wagner said. "She played really well. Her and Seairra went at it pretty well. It is nice to have them together now."
Now that they are together, the junior duo is even more dangerous. They have helped the Warriors open the season with five consecutive wins.
Central Valley won the Montour tip-off tournament championship knocking off Class AAAA Peters Township and Class AAA Montour by an average of 21 points. They beat non-section foe Riverside by 22 points and blasted Section 2-AAA opponents West Allegheny and Ambridge by an average of 35 points.
In the win against Ambridge Barrett led all scorers with 27 points while Law added 13 points and 12 rebounds.
"Law can step out and hit the jumper but she is more of a back-to-the-basket kind of player," Wagner said. "Barrett is more of a slasher with just tremendous athletic ability. She can get to the rim, she runs the floor extremely well. She loves to get out on the break."
Others are starting to take notice of the Law and Barrett combo, evidenced by the steady stream of college coaches making their way through the Central Valley gym.
All this says nothing of senior point guard Madi Rowan, the top returning scorer. With Rowan, Law and Barrett, Central Valley has three future collegiate basketball players.
"The last 30 days you have five or six Division I coaches coming through," Wagner said. "That has been kind of exciting to see that and see the development of these players as coaches."
Schools such as Niagara, Kent State, Robert Morris and Saint Francis (Pa.) have been in to see Law and Barrett. Rowan is leaning toward playing at Seton Hill University next season. Rowan scored 22 points in the win against Ambridge.
"Madi Rowan is really, really solid," Wagner said. "And she is out of position for us, she will be a two-guard in college but we are thin at ball handler and she embraced that position pretty well and did a nice job."
Central Valley is an experienced bunch with a starting lineup of three seniors and two juniors.
"My starting five is pretty solid in terms of experience," Wagner said. "My biggest issue is a lack of depth."
Rowan and Barrett are both averaging more than 20 points per game, Law averages a double-double with 13 points and 12 rebounds per game.
Central Valley also starts senior guard Kayla Schwarz and senior forward Karisa Pancotti. With Rowan (5-9), Schwartz (5-9), Pancotti (5-10), Barrett and Law, the Warriors are one of the tallest teams in the section that features powers such as Blackhawk and Hopewell.
"Schwartz and Pancotti really embrace their role," Wagner said. "They are not relied on to be big scorers but they do the dirty work, rebounding and defense. You can't win with just three."
Central Valley is scheduled to play in the C.J. Betters Tournament starting today. The tournament also features South Fayette, Montour and New Brighton.
First Published December 27, 2012 12:00 am