Monday's Westmoreland Sports Notebook

FR boys, GCC girls in state semis; Mt. Pleasant swimming wins state gold; Leonard steps down

Mon Mar 18, 2024 - 4:22PM

Sean Meyers Sean Meyers

Last Updated: Mon Mar 18, 2024 - 4:23PM

FR boys, GCC girls advance to state semis

Entering the final week of the high school basketball season, a pair of Westmoreland County teams remain in the mix. The Franklin Regional boys and Greensburg Central Catholic girls both notched quarterfinals victories last Friday to advance to Monday’s semifinals. The Panthers knocked off Shaler Area 63-51 at Gateway High School in Class 5A, while the Centurions scored a convincing 56-26 win against Everett in 2A action at Forest Hills High School. In the FR win, Cooper Rankin posted a team-high 23 points, as the Panthers used a 13-0 run in the third to take command, and then fended off a late rally by the Titans. Cam Rowell added 16 points for the Panthers, while Connor Crossey contributed 10 points. Brandon London produced 26 points in the setback for Shaler. Franklin Regional gets another shot at Moon Area in the PIAA semifinals at 7 p.m. at Peters Township High School. The Tigers edged the Panthers in the WPIAL Championship game on March 1. Meanwhile, the Centurions used a dominant second half in their mercy-rule victory, outscoring Everett 39-12 after the intermission. Erica Gribble compiled 20 points for GCC, including 16 in the second half, while Mya Morgan and Avery Davis netted 15 and 14 points, respectively. Subsequently, Greensburg Central Catholic will battle District 10 champion Kennedy Catholic at 6 p.m. at North Allegheny High School.

Mount Pleasant girls swimming wins state gold

For the second year in a row, the Mount Pleasant Area girls swim team proved to be the best in the state. The Vikings repeated as PIAA Class 2A champions on Saturday, compiling 164 points to edge Erie Cathedral Prep at Bucknell University. The Vikings were boosted by winning four events, as Lily King took first in the 100 free and 200 free, Kiersten O’Connor won the 50 free, and the quartet of King, O’Connor, Kaylie Korpiel, and Maddie Barrick won the 200 medley relay. Meanwhile, the Mount Pleasant Area boys finished as runners-up, as the Vikes (168 points) placed behind only Indiana Area (184 points). Vikings junior Joseph Gardner was selected as the Class 2A boys swimmer of the meet.

Leonard steps down from Jeannette

Anna Leonard has resigned as the Jeannette girls basketball coach after two seasons at the helm. Leonard oversaw a program that made considerable strides this season, despite facing a numbers crunch on the roster. The Jayhawks went 8-10 overall, making the WPIAL Class 1A playoffs despite playing with five players for much of the season. Jeannette fell to West Greene 55-33 in the first round of the postseason. The Jayhawks went just 2-20 in Leonard’s inaugural campaign.

Westmoreland standouts litter Cager Classic roster

The rosters were announced last week for the 27th-annual Cager Classic, and Westmoreland County will be well represented. The boys and girls games, comprised of senior players from 20 schools within proximity of the Alle-Kiski Valley, will be held on April 6 at Highlands High School. The East girls roster features Kiski Area’s Abbie Johns, and Angelina Brush of Franklin Regional. In the boys game, the East team consists of the Burrell trio of Joey Discello, Esau King-Buchak, and Macky Bennis, Franklin Regional’s duo of Cam Rowell and Cooper Rankin, Kiski Area’s Isaiah Gonzalez, and Jacob Staraniec Valley. Additionally, Buccaneers head coach Mike Fantuzzo will coach the East. A skills competition will also be held on April 5.

Norwin, Greater Latrobe move up in boys volleyball polls

A quintet of Westmoreland County teams cracked the WPIAL boys volleyball polls this week. Per the Western Pa Volleyball Coaches Association rankings, Norwin was tabbed as the top county team in Class 3A, while Greater Latrobe headlined Class 2A in Westmoreland. The Knights were selected third, moving up one spot from the preseason rankings that were released last week. Norwin is two spots ahead of Penn-Trafford, while Hempfield Area cracked the top 10, as well, placing seventh. Shaler Area sits atop the rankings in the classification. In 2A, the Wildcats were ranked second, while Derry Area came in eighth. Greater Latrobe, which moved up a spot from last week, is behind only Mars Area. Additionally, Penn-Trafford senior outside hitter Bradley Heinbaugh was recognized as the initial Class 3A Player of the Week.