BEAVER FALLS — The annual Roundball Classic returned this week to Geneva College’s Metheny Fieldhouse.
This year’s event, a series of all-star basketball games for local high school stars, began Thursday and concluded Saturday. Day 3’s action on Saturday — which featured five games — had plenty of Beaver Valley representation. In all, 21 players and coaches from the Beaver County Times’ coverage area were on the court or sidelines during the final day of games.
Here are some notes and general observations from Day 3 of the event:
Game 1: Boys Class 2A (Gold) 118, Boys Class 3A (Gold) 103
1. OLSH’s Jake DiMichele leads boys Class 2A (Gold) with 20 points
Our Lady of the Sacred Heart guard Jake DiMichele — who became the WPIAL’s second all-time leading scorer (2,652 points) after OLSH’s PIAA title win in March — led the way for the boys Class 2A (Gold) squad. Though the 6-foot-3 guard didn’t take home MVP honors for his team, he finished with a team-high 20 points after exploding for 14 points in the fourth quarter.
But DiMichele was more excited about sharing the court with Chargers teammate Dawson Summers and players he’d competed against throughout his high school career.
“It was really cool just getting to play with the 2A guys,” DiMichele said. “After playing against them for four years, it was just cool to be on the court with them.”
The star guard also shared that he’s still undecided on where he’ll play collegiately.
“I’ve got some offers from schools around here, Division II schools,” DiMichele said. “So, I’m kind of just weighing my options right now. I kind of wanted to finish out my senior year — I’ve got like three days left — then I’m really going to buckle down and make a decision.”
2. Former Ellwood City coach Steve Antuono Sr. gets one last hurrah with Steve Antuono Jr. and Alexander Roth
After announcing his resignation from the Ellwood City boys’ basketball program in March, Steve Antuono Sr. — who coached the boys Class 3A (Gold) squad — got one last opportunity to coach two of his former players.
The Wolverines had a duo of guards, Steve Antuono Jr. (Antuono’s son) and Alexander Roth, selected to play in the contest.
“Both of those guys had great careers,” Antuono Sr. said. “And to end it right here … is awesome.”
Roth finished with 18 points, while Antuono Jr. had one point.
“Coming out here with (Antuono Sr.) as my coach and Stevey as a teammate, it was really neat,” Roth said. “That doesn’t really happen all the time (after your high school career).”
Antuono Jr. said it took a while to get used to being on the court without all of his former Ellwood City teammates. But the familiar face of his father, who had coached him since his early elementary school days, on the sideline was certainly special. He savored competing for him for the final time.
“We’ve been doing this since I was in second grade,” Antuono Jr said. “So, all these years, this was it. This was the last time. It really meant everything. My whole high school career led up to this moment. It was an honor to play in this game, too.”
Game 2: Girls Class 4A 64, Girls Class 3A 61
1. Ellwood City’s Kyla Servick leads all scorers with 15 points
Even though her girls Class 3A squad fell to the girls Class 4A team 64-61, Ellwood City guard Kyla Servick was the most impressive player on the court in the contest. She finished with 15 points — the most of any player from either team.
The Division III Westminster College commit said getting to compete against some of the best talent in Western Pennsylvania served as a nice tune-up as she prepares this summer for his first collegiate season. She’d also had relationships with many of the girls she took the court with on Saturday, either from playing with them during previous summers in AAU or from competing against them during AAU or high school seasons.
“It’s just so fun, because after basketball season ends, it’s obviously sad that you don’t get to walk on to your high school court and wear the uniform anymore,” Servick said. “It was nice just playing with all these girls. They’re so amazing.”
2. Freedom Area girls' basketball on Western Pennsylvania map once again
After an appearance in the PIAA title game in March for the first time in school history, Freedom Area head coach John Kaercher — who led the girls Class 3A team — and former Freedom Area guard Renae Mohrbacher got one more game together.
Participating in the annual local all-star game meant even more to both because it put the Bulldogs on a big stage for one more time this year after the program’s historic season. Along with getting to Hershey for the first time ever, Freedom Area also clinched its first-ever berth in the WPIAL title game.
“For how dark and dismal things were for the last two years (for our program), to see this team come together (this past season) the way that they did and string those victories together (was special),” Kaercher said. “... To be able to represent the Freedom Area School District here, to coach in this venue, it’s just another honor.”
Throughout Mohrbacher’s high school career, she said she “didn’t know” if an appearance in the local all-star game would be a possibility since her primary sport has always been soccer. But, just like she and her teammates did this past season, the Robert Morris soccer commit accomplished something on Saturday which she once thought was improbable.
“The chance that I had to play with these girls that I had been playing against was just super cool,” Mohrbacher said.
Game 3: Girls Class 6A 83, Girls Class 5A (Gold) 63
1. Representation of Moon Area Division I duo marks another sign of Tigers’ progress
It didn’t result in the outcome they wanted, but the Moon Area duo of forward Emma Theodorsson and guard Reilly Sunday combined for 16 points in the girls Class 5A team’s 83-63 loss to the girls Class 6A squad.
Theodorsson, a Bucknell commit, tallied 10 points, while Sunday, a Duquesne pledge, added six.
For a Tigers team that made the WPIAL semifinal for the first time in 15 years this past season and featured two Division-I-bound talents, having two players compete in the Roundball Classic was just one more reminder of how far the program has come.
“It was definitely a lot of fun to play together one last time after the season we had,” Sunday said. “(This past season) was really great for our school, because we hadn’t had a season like that in a really long time.”
The Moon Area pair has been teammates at various levels since grade school. Though that will end at the collegiate level, maybe they'll one day be on the same court as opponents.
“We’ve been playing together since we were in the fourth grade,” Theodorsson said. “So, we’ve been playing together forever. It’s just great to be on a team (together) one last time. Next time we play each other — hopefully, if we play each other — it’ll be on (opposite) teams.”
Game 4: Boys Class 4A (Gold) 134, Boys District 10 81
1. Lincoln Park’s L.A. Pratt takes home game MVP honors
In a game littered with high-level talent, it was Lincoln Park’s L.A. Pratt who shined the brightest in the boys Class 4A (Gold) versus boys District 10 contest. The 6-foot-5 guard finished with a game-high 29 points and took home one of the contest’s three MVP awards.
Pratt — who was named co-MVP of the boys Class 4A squad with Belle Vernon’s Devon Whitlock — said it wasn’t necessarily his intention to go out and make a statement.
“I really just wanted to have fun,” Pratt said. “Obviously, I know I can play, so I was going to do that, too. But my main goal was just to have fun. This was my last high school basketball experience.”
After decommitting from Duquesne in late April, the Roundball Classic stage provided Pratt with one more opportunity to showcase his talents to colleges. Since reopening up his recruitment, he’s garnered a handful of news offers, including ones from Elon, Miami U. (Ohio), Northern Kentucky and Northeastern. He'll announce his decision in the coming days.
Before he moves on to the collegiate ranks, though, he’s grateful to add one last accolade to his high school resume.
“It’s just really an honor,” Pratt said. “Just being able to be selected to this game means a lot to us. It just (shows us) that all our hard work doesn’t go unnoticed.”
2. Quaker Valley’s Markus Frank posterizes opponent
With just a few minutes left in the third quarter of the boys Class 4A versus boys District 10 game, Quaker Valley’s Markus Frank took flight.
The 6-foot-6 forward passed up a wide-open 3-pointer on the right wing before dribbling toward the paint and throwing down a right-handed dunk that made the entire Metheny Fieldhouse crowd let out oohs and aahs. It didn’t matter that there was an opposing player under the basket.
“He was just standing under the rim and he looked at me,” said Frank, who finished with 14 points. “And then I just ran and dunked it. He jumped with me, and I just started laughing.”
And for the final time, Quaker Valley head coach Mike Mastroianni watched from the bench as his star made another jaw-dropping play — the type of plays he often made during the Quakers’ run to the PIAA title game this past season.
“Just getting the opportunity to have a front row seat again to watch him make those type of plays,” Mastroianni said, “it’s just awesome.”
3. Was a District 7 versus District 10 battle personal for WPIAL players?
Ask players on the boys Class 4A squad if they played with a little extra fire to leave no doubt that the WPIAL has superior basketball talent compared to District 10 and they’ll deny it.
“I don’t think it was a big deal or to try to prove a point,” Pratt said. “We were just definitely going out there to have fun.”
But after a six-point halftime lead for the boys Class 4A team quickly ballooned in the third quarter, players kept pouring it on. The examples go on and on — Frank’s posterizing dunk on an opposing player to Belle Vernon guard Devin Whitlock pulling 3-pointers from Steph Curry range while his team had a 40-plus-point lead.
Although players deny the contest being personal, Mastroianni thought there may be some substance to such a claim.
“I think what happens is they probably don’t look at it too much prior to the game,” Mastroianni said. “And then when the game turns on and plays start happening, (that changes).”
Game 5: Boys Class 6A (Gold) 76, Boys Class 5A (Gold) 70
1. West Allegheny’s Scott Bilovus turns 12-year-old dream into reality
Scott Bilovus still remembers watching now-Indiana Pacers guard T.J. McConnell — at the time representing Chartiers Valley — play in the Roundball Classic in 2010.
That marked the start of Bilovus looking forward to one day playing in the event himself. The 6-foot-2 West Allegheny guard turned the dream into a reality when he scored nine points in the boys Class 5A squad’s 76-70 loss to the boys Class 6A team.
“I was super excited when I got invited,” said Bilovus.
The annual all-star game marked the official conclusion of the high school career of Bilovus, who will play collegiately at Division III Waynesburg University after committing about one month ago.
Contact Parth Upadhyaya at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @pupadhyaya_.
This article originally appeared on Beaver County Times: Takeaways from Day 3 of the 2022 Roundball Classic