Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Spartans Put Early Setback Behind Them

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Spartans Put Early Setback Behind Them

Article excerpt

Hempfield's boys basketball team entered the season with high expectations, and for good reason. It had just come off a 17-6 season in which it advanced to the WPIAL playoffs and returned several key contributors.

So far, that promise appears to be paying off.

Following a two-point loss to Greensburg Central Catholic Dec. 7, the Spartans have won their past six games to improve to 7-1. Their two most recent victories have been their most impressive, as they defeated Seneca Valley and Franklin Regional in the Montour Showcase. Both of those teams are 6-3, and the 18-point win against Seneca Valley was the Raiders' most lopsided loss of the season.

Perhaps the most impressive aspect of the team's recent run has been its defense, as it has held opponents to an average of 42.8 points per game and has given up more than 50 points only once in that span.

Of course, Hempfield's offense has also been a noteworthy aspect of its early success. After leading the team in scoring last season as a sophomore, guard Kason Harrell has continued to improve going into his junior season. He led the team in scoring in each of its first seven games, averaging 23 points per game in that period and never once scoring fewer than 18 points.

BURRELL STILL GOING STRONG

Burrell's girls basketball team continued its impressive start to the season with close victories against State College and North Schuylkill in the State College tournament Dec. 27 and 28. Coach Meghan Ziemianski and the Buccaneers, who have climbed to No. 2 in the Post-Gazette's Class AA rankings, have won their first eight games. The 8-0 start is their second in the past three seasons.

WINS ELUSIVE FOR SOME TEAMS

Nearly a month into the 2013-14 season, there are still seven WPIAL boys basketball teams that have yet to record a win. Nearly half of those schools -- Woodland Hills, East Allegheny and Imani Christian -- are in the East Xtra coverage area.

After finishing 4-17 in the 2012-13 season, the Wolverines have lost their first nine games, partially because of a defense that has allowed an average of 71.4 points per game, the second-highest mark of any WPIAL team. …

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