Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Riveting Rematchpenn Hills, State College Meet Tonight

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Riveting Rematchpenn Hills, State College Meet Tonight

Article excerpt

Basketball coaches usually credit defense and rebounding as the two major components in winning championships.

Penn Hills coach Jim Rocco said the unsung heroes in the Indians' starting lineup deserve as much credit as the top scorers for the team's successful PIAA playoff run.

Senior guard Matt Ionadi and senior forward Akida McLain average about 16 points per game apiece, but Rocco said junior guard David Harvey and junior forward Gerald Warrick have played equally valuable roles. Harvey has turned into the designated defensive stopper and Warrick, a 6-foot-4, 185-pounder, is the top rebounder.

Both have turned it up a notch since the playoffs began. Penn Hills (22-6) will meet defending PIAA champion State College (26- 2) tonight in the Class AAAA semifinals at Altoona. The winner will advance to the state-title game in Hershey Saturday.

Penn Hills handed State College its most recent loss, 59-49, at Penn Hills Jan. 29.

Warrick averaged 10 rebounds per game during the regular season, but has averaged almost 12 in the postseason.

"He's been in double digits in rebounding all through the state playoffs," Rocco said. "He's just been tremendous. He's probably the best offensive rebounder we've had here in a long, long time. His job is to assume that every shot that goes up will miss and he's tough to box out.

"He takes great pride in his rebounding and all great rebounders have to have that attitude. He also gets big rebounds. He keeps the ball alive all the time and he also plays good defense."

Harvey, a standout wide receiver/defensive back, is being recruited heavily by various top 20 major-college football programs.

Harvey is often assigned to guard the opponent's top scoring threat. He held Connellsville all-state guard James Hairston to 14 points when the Indians prevailed against the Falcons in the second round at the Palumbo Center, 55-54, last Wednesday.

Harvey also held Hairston to 14 points in the WPIAL quarterfinals, a 50-48 Penn Hills loss. …

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