Depth & talent promises a fun season for BP boys
At Bethel Park, everybody on the boys’ basketball team should be happy this winter.
And, after victories against Thomas Jefferson, 74-60, and Brashear, 69-39, in the Hawks’ opening tip-off tournament, head coach Ben O’Connor is particularly delighted.
In the win over the Jaguars, Joey Mascaro (16), Jake Dixon (14), Jake Murphy (12) and Anthony Bomar (13) all reached double digits and R.J. Pfeuffer and Dan Breit were close with nine and eight tallies, respectively.
Against the Bullets, Murphy finished with 13 markers. Dixon and Josh Krafczynski (14) ruled the boards, pulling down 11 and 10 rebounds respectively.
“It’s going to be a fun year,” said O’Connor, who said he can play 12 guys but will definitely use nine in a rotation. “We have a team. A fun group that relies on each other and we can count upon anyone.”
So while Mascaro may be the most experienced player, whom the Hawks can put the ball in his hands during crunch time, O’Connor is enthused about Breit, Murphy, Dixon, Pfeuffer, Bomar and others, including Josh Krafczynski, Sam Volpatti, Levi Metheny and Ryan Sosnak. The Hawks also feature Josh Duda, Quentin Keibler, Tyler Barnot, Chris Papalia, Cass Wisniewski, Sean Varley, Chance Wright and Brandon Thorsen.
“We have so many guys who can take the torch and lift us. That’s a good thing,” O’Connor said.
That’s important because several of the Hawks are on the mend. Mascaro had screws inserted in his right knee this summer to stabilize the cap. Metheny is back from breaking his thumb in football. Pfeuffer separated his shoulder during the grid campaign.
Meanwhile, Sosnak returns to the hardcourts after a year’s absence to focus on getting bigger for football. “He was a real surprise but we are so happy he’s back,” said O’Connor. “He just decided to come out and he showed up. As far as I’m concerned that’s great. Come one, come all.”
A sophomore, Dixon is standout volleyball player. A senior, Pfeuffer is a transfer from Peters Township. Like Metheny, Sosnak and Papalia, he played football for the Hawks this fall.
“R.J. blended right in and that’s a tribute to the chemistry on the team. We have a lot of kids like Josh (Krafczynski) who have worked so hard, can shoot from the outside, rebound or score off the dribble, guys like Dixon, who have a lot of potential, players like Bomar, who make plays and don’t panic.
“It’s huge having a lot of bodies and alternatives. It’s great to have kids that you can send out onto the court and just say, ‘go play’.”
That’s important because the Hawks begin action in rugged Section 4 of the WPIAL’s Quad-A division Dec. 13. Bethel Park hosts Canon-McMillan before traveling to rival Upper St. Clair for a Dec. 17 date. Both games tip off at 7:30 p.m.
“USC is the most seasoned club. They would have to be considered the favorite, the team to beat,” O’Connor said. “Baldwin and Moon and Lebo should be in the mix. Joey David’s kid (Jonny) is a good player,” O’Connor added of the senior who dropped 42 points in Lebo’s opening win against Johnstown. “And, over at Peters Township, Gary’s (Goga) kids play so hard.
“It’s going to be a track meet this year. Who wants it the most,” said O’Connor. “But, it’s going to be a fun year.”