Canevin leads the list of Almanac All-Stars

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The 2012-13 girls’ basketball campaign marked a year of firsts for two area clubs as well as success for perennial powerhouses. So, it comes as no surprise that those squads dominate this year’s Almanac Elite Eleven unit.


Bishop Canevin leads the way as the Lady Crusaders captured top honors on the list. In addition to Erin Waskowiak nailing down MVP laurels, (see related article), Tim Joyce claimed Coach of the Year recognition and two other players gained all-star recognition for the Crusaders, who won both their first WPIAL title as well as PIAA championship in the program’s history.


Carly Forse headlines the first-team. The senior averaged 14 points and 12 rebounds a game. The senior scored 18 tallies in Canevin’s 45-38 victory over York Catholic in the state final. A Point Park recruit, she scored more than 1,000 points in her varsity career.


A tough, inside player with a quick first step, Forse makes smart, strong moves, says Joyce. “She’s very skilled and athletic,” he added. “She’s a tough post defender and rebounder. She can also shoot outside when needed.”


Forse and the Crusaders, however, relied more heavily on Celina DiPietro for outside shooting. The senior averaged four, 3-pointers per game. DiPietro, who averaged 12 points per game, also tossed in 18 points in the state championship contest. Bound for Washington and Jefferson College, she scored more than 800 career points.


A noted defender, DiPietro has long arms that can steal passes, says Joyce. “She’s very smart on defense and on offense. She was one of our best defenders.


“Celina,” he continued, “was an excellent 3-point shooter with deadly range. She can beat defenders off the dribble, too. She’s has a quick first step.”


Rebel duo

While Seton-La Salle failed in its bid to repeat as WPIAL and PIAA champions this season, the Rebels enjoyed a 27-3 season. Two of the defeats came to rival Canevin in the district final and the state semifinals.


Naje Gibson and Angela Heintz powered the Rebels and in the process gained recognition at the state, district and local level.


An all-section performer, Gibson recently garnered All-State, first-team honors. The 6-1 center led the Rebels in scoring with 13.3 points per game. She pulled in 6.4 rebounds an outing. The junior registered 30 assists and a team-high 72 steals.


A senior, Heintz scored more than 1,000 points in her career. Though switched to more of a play-maker position this season, Heintz averaged 9.2 points. She collected 55 steals and averaged 3.9 rebounds. She is a Duquesne recruit.


Marecic 3-peat


Just a junior, Megan Marecic dominated the action at the Quad-A level. Deft at draining the 3-point field goal as well as driving to the basket, she led Bethel Park to its first WPIAL title in school history. The Lady Hawks defeated Chartiers Valley, 48-34, for the crown and finished 23-4 on the year.


In addition to spearheading a defense that allowed only 36.9 points per game, Marecic tossed in 15 tallies on average. She grabbed six rebounds per game.


A Division I prospect, having received scholarship offers from Stetson, Akron and St. Joseph universities, Marecic earned All-State, second team acclaim recently. The three-time all-section and all-Almanac performer has already scored more than 1,000 career points.


“Megan leads by example,” said her coach Jonna Burke. “Her work ethic is second to none and is contagious with her teammates.”


Ehland leads Lebo

Just a junior, Christine Ehland dominated both ends of the court for Mt. Lebanon. The 6-foot swing player guided the Blue Devils to a 24-4 record that included a section title and appearances in the WPIAL as well as western regional Final Four of the PIAA tournament. In each of those losses, Lebo met its match in rival Chartiers Valley.


Ehland averaged 11.3 points per game. She also managed 5.7 rebounds. She had a team-high 16 points in Lebo’s loss to CV, 48-37.


Trio complete list

Olivia Lorusso from Canon-McMillan, Mariah Wells of Chartiers Valley and Upper St. Clair’s Jordan Serio complete the Almanac all-star list.


A junior, Lorusso led the Lady Macs in scoring with a 14.2 average. She also led in rebounding with 10.7 caroms. For her career, she already has 705 points and 625 rebounds. Not a bad defender, she averaged 2.7 steals a game.


Lorusso is a three-sport standout. In addition to excelling in volleyball, Lorusso played on Canon-Mac’s WPIAL softball team last spring.


A senior, Wells guided the Colts to the WPIAL Quad-A championship game after consecutive showings in the Class AAA district semifinals. Wells was also a part of three straight PIAA Final Four clubs.


An all-section performer, Wells led the Colts in scoring with 13.3-point average per game.


Serio makes her second straight appearance on the Almanac all-star list. The senior led USC to the district playoffs. An all-section performer, she averaged 11.1 points per game.


“She’s a tough, tough competitor,” said USC skipper Ernie Koontz. “She’s run through a brick wall for you.”


Honorable mention


Among the players to garner Almanac honorable mention recognition are:


• Harper Zimmer, Sami Simpson and Mariah Penascino from Bethel Park. A senior who will play at Mercyhurst, Penascino directed the Hawks’ offense. The point guard dished up five assists per game. She averaged six rebounds. A junior, Zimmer managed eight points an outing while Simpson fired in nine points and pulled down five rebounds a game.


• Johnie Olkosky. This Canevin junior averaged nine points and eight rebounds per game. She exploded for a game-high 26 points in the Crusaders’ upset win over SLS in the WPIAL championship contest. “She’s a great 3-point shooter, defender and tough rebounder,” said Joyce. “She works hard on offense and defense.”


• Brittany Hutchison. This junior provided 11.5 points to the Lady Macs’ offense while dealing up 3.3 assists per game.


• Ashley Balzer and Addison Knetzer from Chartiers-Houston. Balzer averaged 12.2 points per game while Knetzer helped the Lady Bucs to an even slate in section play and 14 victories overall.


• Kassidy O’Keefe and Kristina Coyne. These two seniors helped Chartiers Valley make the transition from AAA to Quad-A basketball. They led the Colts to the state semifinals for the third year in a row and to the WPIAL finals, where they fell to Bethel Park. While Coyne was noted for her defensive efforts and rebounding, O’Keefe engineered the offense and provided strong, long-range accuracy on shots.


• Maryssa Agurs. This junior showed tremendous improvement as she led Keystone Oaks to the playoffs. She led the team in scoring with 15 points per game. She also ranked No. 1 in rebounding with 8.3 caroms and steals with 5.2 a game. “Maryssa showed tremendous maturity. She was our top scorer. She displays tremendous speed and athletic ability,” said KO skipper Nikki Preston.


• Alex Ventrone and Jordan Holmes. This duo led Mt. Lebanon to the WPIAL semifinals and the PIAA quarterfinals, not to mention a section title. Ventrone averaged 11.4 points per game. Holmes provided 7.8 points per game while blocking a team-high 137 shots. She averaged 5.3 blocks a game. Both earned all-section laurels.


• Natalie Piaggesi. A Mercyhurst recruit, this SLS senior averaged 11 points and four rebounds a game. She led the Rebels in blocked shots with 35.


• Cassidy Walsh. A sophomore, she suffered a stress fracture late in the season but managed to averaged 10.7 points per game while running the SLS offense from the point position. She picked up 39 assists and had 40 steals.


• Nicolete Newman. A sophomore, she shared the play-making duties with Walsh. Deadly accurate from long range, she led the team with 58 3-point field goals. She averaged 12.1 points to go along with 59 assists and 58 steals.


• Katherine Hart. A senior, she averaged 3.8 rebounds and 6.7 points per game for SLS.


• Caitlin McLuckie. A senior, she scored 238 points in 23 games to average 10.4 an outing.


Rookie of the year

Although Peters Township enjoyed little success, winning only three games in 22 outings, Madison Kerr made the leap to varsity action in the most difficult of divisions, Section 4-AAAA. In addition to averaging 13 points per game, the freshman led the Indians in rebounds and assists. She pulled down 6.5 rebounds and dished up four assists per game. For her efforts, she gained Almanac Rookie of the Year laurels.


Players to watch


Among the players to watch are:


• Danielle Parker. This sophomore averaged 12.7 points and 8.4 rebounds in 21 games for Canon-McMillan.


• Alexa Golden. This sophomore ranked among the team’s top scorers. She had a breakout game when she led CV to victory over Mt. Lebanon, 48-37, in the PIAA tournament. She exploded for 23 points and enabled the Colts to advanced the Final Four in the state tournament.


• Kayla Brownlee. The sophomore started her second season at point guard and led Keystone Oaks in assists. She also led the squad in 3-point field goals. A defensive stopper, Brownlee was a natural leaders says her coach Nikki Presto. “She played with the poise and experience of a senior.” Brownlee averaged seven points per game.


• Margie McCaffrey. This junior led Lebo in assists with 4.8 a game. The point guard also managed 6.8 points per game.


• Shaunay Edmonds. This freshman averaged 4.5 points for SLS. She collected 50 assists and 51 steals.


Joyce top coach

This season, the Coach of the Year field was crowded. At Bethel Park, Jonna Burke guided the Lady Hawks to their first WPIAL title. Under Spencer Stefko, Chartiers Valley made a successful jump from Class AAA to Quad-A, reaching the district finals and PIAA semifinals. After heavy graduation losses, Dori Oldaker rebuilt her club and returned Mt. Lebanon to the top in tough Section 4-AAAA. The Blue Devils were one game away from appearing in the WPIAL final and state’s Final Four, knocked off both times by CV.


Yet, only Tim Joyce finished No. 1. He found a way to topple Seton-La Salle and coached Bishop Canevin to both a WPIAL banner and PIAA championships. In his 11th season at the helm, Joyce guided the Crusaders to a 27-4 record. For directing the Crusaders to their first titles in school history, Joyce garners Almanac Coach of the Year honors.


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Published Apr 10, 2013 at 10:28 am (Updated Apr 10, 2013 at 10:28 am)

Canevin leads the list of Almanac All-Stars

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