2022 Trib HSSN Head of the Class: WPIAL boys’ basketball best in each classification

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Tuesday, April 5, 2022 | 22:46


There were many players and coaches who spent a lot of time on the basketball court this season to be the best they could be.

While we pay tribute to all those who participated in a memorable 2022 high school boys basketball campaign, we have a special place in front of the classroom for those who were far above.

The following six players and coaches will fill these positions after being named Trib HSSN Head of the Class for the 2021-22 season in each of the six standings.

Class 6A

Player of the Year: Royce Parham, North Hills

Only another, 6-foot-7 Parham was a big part of a dominant season for the North Hills. Parham averaged 22 points, nine rebounds and six blocked shots for the Indians, who were undefeated until they lost to Fox Chapel in the WPIAL 6A Championship. The 26-2 season was one of the best ever for the Indians. Parham has local interest from two colleges in Duquesne and Robert Morris midway through his school career.

Coach of the Year: Zach Skrinjar, Fox Chapel

Finally, Fox Chapel can shake the name of being the best regular season team in Class 6A. After years of good regular seasons and high seeds in the off-season, only to fall short in the district playoffs, the Foxes flew high. Zach Skrinjar led Fox Chapel past the final four and into the WPIAL Finals, where Foxes disrupted top-seeded North Hills for the school’s first boys basketball crown since 1977. The team lost in the PIAA semifinals and finished 27-2.

Class 5A

Player of the Year: Mike Wells, New Castle

While WPIAL champion Laurel Highlands leaned heavily on the stunning trio of Rodney Gallagher, Keondre DeShields and Brandon Davis, WPIAL and PIAA runners-up New Castle owed a lot to going to Wells this winter. Senior Mike Wells survived a punishing basketball style with some incredible numbers, including 23.5 points and 6.5 rebounds per game. He was the model for consistency by scoring 25, 22, 23 and 23 points in the four Red Hurricanes district playoff games. He wants to play football in Youngstown State.

Coach of the Year: Rick Hauger, Laurel Highlands

Two years ago, Laurel Highlands shocked the district’s hoops world by coming from the No. 8 seed to win the school’s first WPIAL boys’ basketball championship in more than half a century. This season there were no interruptions, no one sneaked in on anyone as the Mustangs were the preseason No. 1 team in Class 5A. Rick Hauger kept focus and hunger, and when Rodney Gallagher hit two penalty throws late in the double OT of the WPIAL title fight against New Castle, the Mustangs galloped around again in the golden enclosure.

Class 4A

Player of the Year: Adou Thiero, Quaker Valley

When Adou Thiero was a rookie, he was a 5-11 point guard who played a major role on a veteran team that was reaching the WPIAL Class 4A championship for the third year in a row. When his school career ended, he was a 6-6 guard who was a basketball machine on the court. Whatever the Quakers needed him to do, he did. Thiero averaged 23.3 points, 10.3 rebounds and 5.9 assists per game as he led the Quakers to an almost perfect season with WPIAL gold and PIAA silver. Thiero was named Trib HSSN Boys Basketball Player of the Year.

Coach of the Year: Mike Mastroianni, Quaker Valley

There was no silver in 2022 for this veteran coach. After watching his Quaker Valley team reach the WPIAL Championship three years in a row in 2017, ’18 and ’19, each time losing to New Castle, Mastroianni and his team would not be denied the gold. Led by Trib HSSN Terrific 10 seniors Adou Thiero and Markus Frank beat Quaker Valley Montour to win the district’s 4A title. QV then suffered its only loss in a 27-1 season in the PIAA 4A final.

Class 3A

Player of the Year: Makhai Valentine, Steel Valley

Some of the top scorers in the WPIAL last season were in Class 3A with Will Wagner from Charleroi and Mikey Smith from East Allegheny among them. The girlfriend in this classification, however, is Makhai Valentine. The 6-2 junior had an average of almost 30 points per game. fight to help Steel Valley secure a playoff spot. In the postseason, Valentine scored 23 points as the Ironmen disrupted No. 4-seeded Seton LaSalle in the opening round. Steel Valley’s season ended in the quarterfinals with a two-point loss to South Allegheny after Valentine scored 26 points.

Coach of the Year: David Vadnais, Shady Side Academy

In David Vadnais’ first year as head coach at Shady Side Academy, the Bulldogs lost their first five games. The team turned things around and ended with a record of 14-9 in 2014. SSA has reached the playoffs in each of Vadnais’ nine seasons and has won at least one post-season game in eight of the nine years. This year, the Bulldogs were a perfect 4-0, beating Avonworth in the WPIAL 3A final of the first boys’ basketball WPIAL championship since 1999.

Class 2A

Players of the Year: Jake DiMichele, Our Lady of the Sacred Heart

Last year, DiMichele shared this front row seat with then-senior teammate Dante Spadafora. This winter, the honor and the chair are all his. DiMichele ended a fantastic career at Our Lady of the Sacred Heart with a fourth WPIAL championship in a row and another PIAA title in a row. DiMichele was again one of the top scorers in the district, averaging over 30 points per game. match (31.9) for the second year in a row. He finished as WPIAL’s second ever goal scorer with 2,642.

Coach of the Year: Mike Rodriguez, Our Lady of the Sacred Heart

Las Vegas Raiders founder and late owner Al Davis had a mantra that he expected his team to live up to: “‘Just win baby.’ Our Lady of the Sacred Heart coach Mike Rodriguez may or may not have adopted that motto for his Chargers, but he has certainly lived up to it. Rodriguez has just overseen two of the most successful back-to-back seasons in WPIAL basketball history. The count now stands at four district titles in a row, two consecutive state crowns and a winning streak of 68 matches, which is a draw for the longest time in the state’s history and will continue over to the 2022-23 season.

Class A

Player of the Year: Matthew Stanley, Union

With his place at the head of the class, Matthew Stanley may have earned himself the big chair at the head of the Stanley dinner table. OK, that seat belongs to Dad, also known as head coach Mark Stanley, who once again enjoyed a successful season with three of his sons on the Scotties list. Matthew Stanley averaged nearly 19 points a game in the regular season, but excelled in the off-season. The junior scored 24 and 36 points in the WPIAL quarterfinals and semifinals, then added another 68 points in Scotties’ loss of title fight to Bishop Canevin and three state playoff games.

Coach of the Year: Gino Palmosina, Bishop Canevin

After hoisting gold again this season, Bishop Canevin’s girls basketball program has now won six WPIAL championships in the last 10 years. The boys’ basketball coach, Gino Palmosina, seems keen to eventually equalize the golden result. The Crusaders followed up on their first district title ever from last year with double gold this season after repeating in the WPIAL and claiming a first state championship. In his four years with Bishop Canevin, Palmosina has three titles and an overall record of 75-24.

Tags: Bishop Canevin, Fox Chapel, Laurel Highlands, New Castle, North Hills, Our Lady of the Sacred Heart, Quaker Valley, Shady Side Academy, Steel Valley, Union

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