Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

St. Joseph Guard Piling Up Points

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

St. Joseph Guard Piling Up Points

Article excerpt

A sprained ankle and a few knocked out teeth and just like that John Arcuri was thrust into a starting varsity role as a sophomore at St. Joseph High School.

Injuries to starting guard Michael Connelly and his backup, Nick Farrell, two years ago, forced Arcuri into the starting lineup on short notice.

Turns out it was the opposition that needed notice, not Arcuri.

Right after stepping into the starting lineup during the 2010-11 season, he scored eight points in a win against Steel Valley and then made a huge impact the very next game in an overtime win against a strong Clairton team by making a tying basket near the buzzer to force overtime and finished with 16 points in the win.

"He hasn't looked back since," St. Joseph coach Kelly Robinson said.

Last season Arcuri averaged 15 points per game. This year as a senior he is among the highest scoring players in the WPIAL.

Through 15 games he is averaging 25.9 points per game, third best in the WPIAL behind Shaler's Geno Thorpe and Fox Chapel's Matt D'Amico.

Arcuri, a 6-foot point guard, has been scoring in a number of ways.

"It is very unusual for a point guard to be scoring like this," Robinson said.

Through 14 games, he had 86 2-pointers, shooting 48.9 percent from inside the 3-point arc. Outside of the arc, he has 27 3- pointers, shooting 36 percent.

He also has 116 free throws, and he is shooting 81.7 percent from the free-throw line.

He is a big reason why the Spartans (6-9, 2-2) remain in contention for a playoff berth in Class A Section 4. They are tied for third place with Leechburg.

"We are hanging in there," Robinson said. "It has been a struggle but John is playing really strong. He worked really hard in the offseason and we are seeing that now. John has really worked on his perimeter game since his sophomore year."

Arcuri, an Oakmont resident, attended Riverview High School in ninth grade where he played basketball before transferring during his freshman year to St. Joseph. His first varsity experience came during his sophomore year after the injuries to Connelly and Farrell.

"When coach first told me I was going to be starting, I didn't realize what it meant to start on a varsity team as a sophomore on a really good team," Arcuri recalled. …

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