Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Central Issue: Replace 7 Seniors

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Central Issue: Replace 7 Seniors

Article excerpt

The world of high school basketball is cyclical in nature.

Students are only available for four-year stints as players, of course, and the turnover from season to season often reflects that.

Some years, more than others.

Take this offseason for the Central Catholic boys' team. The Vikings concluded their season Saturday with a loss to Penn Hills in the PIAA quarterfinals. And when the team next takes the floor in November, it will have a decidedly different look.

Seven seniors graduate and all contributed to the team's success. Each of the five starters was a senior.

"I'm trying to think back if that's ever happened to us," said Chuck Crummie, who coached for 24 years. "They were responsible for a good three-year run for us. All five of our starters can score, and the other two contributed in so many ways that don't show up in the paper, but they gave us a lot of leadership."

The two bench players Crummie was referring to are 5-11 guards Pat Fitzgerald and Jon Scholl, both of whom were defensive backs on the Vikings' WPIAL champion football team.

"It was sort of tough for them to get started after an extended football season," Crummie said. "They were really beat up and took a while to get into game shape. Otherwise, they would have played a lot more. But when they did come in, they gave 110 percent and their leadership was tough to measure."

Four of the starting five averaged between 10 and 13 points, providing a balanced, well-rounded offensive attack.

Ross Watson ended up as the team's leading scorer with 13.2 points. Crummie said the guard/forward really came on as a senior after not playing much as a sophomore and cracking the lineup as a junior.

DeMarcus Simmons took over the point guard role this season -- an unnatural position for him -- yet still averaged better than 11 points and was a defensive stalwart. …

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