Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

North Catholic Basketball Trojans Win Section Title as Junior Forward Excels

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

North Catholic Basketball Trojans Win Section Title as Junior Forward Excels

Article excerpt

Danny Savulchak isn't much for small talk.

But Savulchak, a 6-foot-4 junior forward on the North Catholic High School boys basketball team, more than makes up for his reticence with a dominating style of play that has opposing coaches and players talking.

The Trojans have clinched the WPIAL Section 2-A championship with an 11-0 record (15-4 overall) heading into Friday's game against section opponent and Sewickley Academy.

Savulchak is averaging 19.0 points a game heading into North Catholic's final section game game tonight at Sewickley Academy.

The Trojans conclude the regular season Monday at Central Catholic in a rivalry that was resumed last year after a hiatus of more than a decade.

"The ability to score and rebound [are the best parts of my game]," said Savulchak, a Millvale resident. "We've been playing well because of our teamwork. Everyone cooperates."

The balanced scoring confirms Savulchak's assessment.

Brandt Gribbin, a 6-2 senior guard from Richland, is averaging 13 points, 4.5 assists and 3 rebounds per game. Jon LeGrande, a 6-11 senior center from Troy Hill, is averaging 10 points, 8 rebounds and 4 blocked shots per game.

One who appreciates Savulchak's versatility is Dave Long, North Catholic's head coach for the past 12 years and Savulchak's uncle.

"He's explosive," Long said. "His strength gets him to the glass, and he's a tough matchup for some because he has the ability to shoot from behind the [3-point] arc. He's a great individual in that respect and is a difficult matchup for most of the other players we've faced."

The Trojans also have benefited from a nice mix of veterans meshing with some younger players, Long said.

"Some youngsters have stepped in and filled some roles," the coach said. "We also have leadership in players such as Brandt Gribbin, who has been on the varsity team since his freshman year. He's played on some great teams and picked up the experience, and it's lent to his character and leadership ability and what we do on the floor.

"We do have some leadership with Brandt and Jon [LeGrande], who has been given his opportunity based on some changes in our lineup," Long added. …

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