Area athletes headline Hoops For Cure roster
Nearly two dozen area athletes headline the Hoops For Cure fund-raising event to be held April 26 at the Chartiers Valley High School gymnasium.
The 19th annual all-star basketball extravaganza benefits the Nathan S. Arenson Fund for Pancreatic Cancer Research. To date, an excess of $1,200,000 has been raised to combat the deadly disease.
The event includes four all-star games featuring some of the finest boys’ and girls’ basketball players in the WPIAL. While action begins at 3 p.m. with Class A vs. Class AA in girls’ play, the Quad-A battle at 7:30 p.m. features stars from New Castle’s undefeated state championship squad, including Malik Hooker, who will play football at Ohio State next year, as well as Ryan Luther. The Hampton senior and Pitt recruit was named the Player of the Year in the state by Pennsylvania sports writers.
In addition to Hooker, Anthony Richards, who will play at West Virginia Wesleyan, and Drew Allen, who will play football at Robert Morris next fall, represent the Hurricanes. The Quad-A boys will be coached by their leader Ralph Blundo. He guided the Canes to three straight undefeated seasons against WPIAL competition and two straight state finals.
J.J. Conn from Upper St. Clair and Josh Krafcynzski of Bethel Park are among the local stars on the Quad-A club. A two-time Almanac all-star, Conn led the Panthers in scoring with a 15.1 average. A senior sharpshooter, Krafcynzski averaged 11 points for the Blackhawks.
Collin Luther of Hampton, D.J. Porter from Obama Academy, Franklin Regional’s Matt Renzi and Patrick Sprouls from Central Catholic complete the Quad-A team, which is also coached by Danny Holzer and Dave Richards.
Jerrad Tuite headlines the Class AAA roster. The Chartiers Valley senior averaged 16.7 points. He ranked second in assists and steals for the Colts, who were WPIAL runners-up this season.
Jaquan Davidson, Tony Gates, Matt Kline, Owen Nearhoff, Jordan Pratt, Charlie Scharbo, Dustin Sleva, Alan Smith and Zack Talley complete the Class AAA roster.
Seton-La Salle headlines the Class AA rosters.
Naje Gibson, the Player of the Year, and Yacine Diop, The Almanac MVP, lead the Class AA girls against the Class A girls at 3 p.m. Gibson and Diop are both Pitt recruits. They led the Lady Rebels to the WPIAL and the PIAA titles this season.
Johnie Olkosky from Bishop Canevin and Addy Knetzer from Chartiers-Houston also compete for the Class AA girls. Olkosky, who owns gold medals for WPIAL and state titles in 2013, averaged 14 points and eight rebounds a game. Knetzer led the Bucs with a 15.3 scoring average.
Sierra Fordam, Mackenzie Mayernik, Laura McGowan, Mia Woytovich, Rachel Bellhy, Jenna Lucas, Joanne Barlamas and Monique Redman complete the AA girls’ list.
Players on the Class A squad include: Kenna Drazich, Nikki Arbanas, Holly Grober, Lexi Arkwright, Kirsten Jackson, Nicole Pero, Megan Sieg, Mallorie Heinle, Allie Bartoszewicz, Madison Raber and Angelina Starr.
The Class AA boys will battle the Class A boys at 4:30 p.m.
Dale Clancy, Levi Masua and Malik White, all from SLS, will play for the AA stars while their coach, Mark Walsh, will direct along with Doug Biega. Clancy and Masua earned first-team all-state honors while White gained second-team acclaim. The trio led the Rebels to a WPIAL title and runner-up finish in the PIAA, falling by a bucket, 61-59, in the state final.
Miles Williamson and Kodie Hanley from Chartiers-Houston join the threesome on the Class AA roster. Williamson averaged 12.3 points for the Buccaneers while Hanley managed 14.4.
Other players on the Class AA team include: Brian Graytok, Eric Gallupe, Bill Hipp, Dupree Jenkins, Dan Stratton and Miles Sunders.
Elijah Minnie from state champion Lincoln Park spearheads the Class A boys’ all-star list. Also on the team are: Kevin Fischer, Kennan Hickton, Cameron Johnson, Nick Miller, Kendall Paige, Justice Rawlins, Dominic Robb, Ryan Skovranko and Luke Vith.
The Quad-A girls take on the Class AAA stars at 6 p.m.
While Maryssa Agurs of Keystone Oaks (14.1 points, 6.3 rebounds) headlines the Class AAA squad, eight area athletes comprise the Quad-A roster.
Megan Marecic, a Drexel recruit who missed the 2013-14 season because of a knee injury, and Harper Zimmer represent Bethel Park. Zimmer averaged nine points and three assists for the Hawks.
Olivia Lorusso stars for Canon-McMillan. A three-sport standout, Lorusso, who will play softball at Robert Morris, averaged 15.3 points and 11 rebounds a game for the Lady Macs. She was a 1,000-point scorer in her career and grabbed almost that many rebounds.
Lauren Herron, Kristen McGeough and Jenna Devinney will play on their home court for the Quad-A girls as they all were members of the Chartiers Valley girls’ basketball team.
Christine Ehland and Margie McCaffrey compete under the Mt. Lebanon emblem. Ehland led the Lebo ladies in scoring with a 15.9 average to go along with 7.9 rebounds. McCaffrey dished up 5.2 assists to go along with an 11.7 scoring average.
Other players on the Quad-A list include: Erin Mathias, who will play at Duke next season, Abbie Trzeciak, Carly Harris and Krista Pietropola.
The Class AAA girls’ team includes: Seairra Barrett, Kiana Law, Natalie Fekula, Angelina Starr, Karly Mellinger, Shaniya Rivers, Kari Steuer, Emily Knepshield, Amirah Moore, Halie Torris, Alexis Yanief, Ciara Patterson and Taylor Thomas.