Thursday, December 2, 2021 | 5:17 p.m.
The basketball season kicks off in a week from Friday and Penn-Trafford has already taken a devastating blow to the roster.
Big Ben is made for the season.
6-foot-6 senior forward Ben Myers tore his ACL and will need six to nine months to recover. The injury occurred during an open gym session a few days before the start of testing on November 19.
One of the many key players returning from a WPIAL 6A quarterfinal team, Myers averaged nearly a double-double as a junior. He was also a presence blocking shots in the paint.
“Ben had worked really hard during the offseason to become a complete player,” said Warriors coach Doug Kelly. “He is an exceptional young man. It’s a tough break, but he’s got a good outlook.
“We certainly don’t have another Ben Myers in our roster, but we have guys who will fight and play their roles.”
The winner of the 3rd Bill Fralic Prize for WPIAL’s Best Senior Indoor Lineman will be announced on Saturday morning during a pancake breakfast at the Longue Vue Club in Verona.
Billy McChesney of Greensburg Salem is the Class 4A finalist and joins five linemen from other classifications: Clairton’s Kanye Hawkins (Class A), Mason Manos of Neshannock (2A), Sean FitzSimmons of Central Valley (3A), Trent Fraley of Moon (5A) and Donovan Hinish of Central Catholic (6A).
Fralic, a former Penn Hills and Pitt star before embarking on an All-Pro career as an offensive guard in the NFL, died of cancer in 2018 at the age of 56.
Congratulations to this year’s finalists:
A: Kanye Hawkins, Clairton
2A: Mason Manos, Neshannock
3A: Sean Fitz Simmons, Central Valley
4A: Billy McChesney, Greensburg Salem
5A: Trent Fraley, Moon
6A: Donovan Hinish, Central Catholic
– Bill Fralic Memorial Award (@BillFralicAward) November 17, 2021
Blast from the past
Greensburg Salem had a guest speaker at Wednesday’s boys’ basketball practice.
Longtime coach Paul Sapotichne stopped by to speak to the team.
Sapotichne, who resigned in June after six seasons at the helm of the Riverview Boys, has contacted current Golden Lions coach Mark Zahorchak to speak to his players.
“He said he would do whatever he could to help us,” Zahorchak said. “He stayed for about 75 minutes and set up and pierced several different zone attacking sets.”
Sapotichne coached Greensburg Salem for 29 seasons and recorded 399 wins. He led the Golden Lions to the PIAA Class 3A final in 2009.
“The kids were very caring and loved having him there. They quickly understood things; Coach Paul is such a good teacher, ”said Zahorchak. “Paul loved being there and we loved having him there. It was fun to be back in the gym with him.
Coach Paul, and his 399 GS wins, helping coach tonight’s Golden Lion training pic.twitter.com/lHPKhqogrC
– Greensburg Salem Athletics (@GS_SportsUpdate) December 1, 2021
Mt. Pleasant has a permanent memorial to former football player and State Representative Mike Reese in his trophy case.
Sporting director Chris Brunson placed Reese’s No.12 jersey behind glass with a block plate that read: “Mike Reese, Class of 1996, QB / FS, 59th District, House of Representatives, 2009-2021.”
“We want people to remember (Reese) and everything he has done for our community,” Brunson said. “We just wanted to do what we can do now so that anyone can remember Mike in the sports complex who can see him. Maybe that sparks a conversation about who Mike was and how hard he fought and cared about athletics in high school.
“It’s really a small gesture, but that’s what we could do right now. Maybe a youngster hears Mike’s story and it keeps them going.
– Chris Brunson (@ ChrisBru22) December 1, 2021
Key words: Beautiful Vernon, Greensburg Salem, Mt. Pleasant