Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Freshman Plays Key Role for Lincoln Park

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Freshman Plays Key Role for Lincoln Park

Article excerpt

A team's first field goal of a basketball game is quickly forgotten unless it does not come until after a few minutes of play.

So, most fans at Duquesne University's Palumbo Center this past Friday have no idea who scored the first points for Lincoln Park or what the situation was when they were scored.

For the record, Antonio Kellem scored them and the Leopards were behind 4-0 against underdog Cornell.

Kellem tossed in a 3-pointer with 6:10 left in the first quarter to get Lincoln Park, which would go on to win the WPIAL Class A title, 74-57, that night, on the scoreboard.

It wasn't senior Trey Hosack, the Leopards' leading scorer, or 6- foot-10 Devontae Watson, the team's Division I college recruit, or Ryan Skovranko, Lincoln Park's sophomore sensation, who banged in the jumper from outside the arc. It was Kellem, a freshman from Freedom.

He starts at guard for the Leopards and has played a major role in the team's success this season.

Lincoln Park (22-4) returns to action at 7:30 p.m. Friday at Ambridge when it takes on Clarion Limestone (19-6), the No. 4 team from District 9, in the first round of the PIAA tournament. Cornell (19-6) will play in the 6 p.m. game at Ambridge that night against District 10 runner-up Kennedy Catholic (15-9).

One of the reasons Lincoln Park lost in the WPIAL finals the past two seasons was it didn't have a point guard ... someone who could run the offense, make good decisions and score enough to keep opponent's honest on defense.

Well, the Leopards have one this season in Kellem and, unless something crazy happens, will have one for three more years.

Starting the season with a freshman guard would make most coaches nervous. That wasn't the case with Lincoln Park's Mark Javens.

"The reason why I wasn't nervous was the past few years we didn't have a true point guard," Javens said. "Not that Antonio is a true point guard, but we knew he had a high basketball IQ."

Kellem made mistakes against Cornell in the final. He turned the ball over a few times and hardly played a perfect game. …

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