Shaler doesn’t have that high-volume scorer who is going to pump in 25 points every game, but as the Titans showed Saturday, this is a team that could potentially make a lot of noise this season due to its depth and experience.

“I always say we have eight starters on this team, and every day it’s someone else stepping up,” Shaler coach Rob Niederberger said. “That’s the beauty of our team. We don’t have that superstar, but we have eight good high school basketball players. They’re all best friends, too. It’s a great group.”

Keegan Smetanka scored a game-high 20 points, “big man” Brandon London had a double-double, and Shaler pulled away in the fourth quarter to capture a 53-46 win against Highlands in the championship game of the Shaler Tournament.

Shaler (2-0), which brought back its top eight players (all seniors) from last season’s team that went 16-7 and lost in the first round of the WPIAL Class 5A playoffs, shot just 7 of 31 (22%) from the field in the first half Saturday. But the Titans were ultra-efficient in the second half when they went 10 of 16 (62%). The Titans were 17 of 47 (36%) in the game, while Highlands (1-1), which reached the WPIAL Class 4A semifinals last season, was 17 of 42 (40%).

With the score tied, 37-37, in the fourth quarter, Smetanka’s bucket with 6:49 left gave Shaler the lead for good. Smetanka scored 14 of his points in the second half. Kaden Orga added nine points, while Julian Vizzoca came off the bench to chip in seven points, including two timely 3-pointers in the second half.

The matchup between London and Highlands’ Bradyn Foster was a good one. At 6 feet 2, London plays center for Shaler and is typically at a size disadvantage every game. That was definitely the case Saturday with Foster, a Penn recruit, standing 6-8. But London, whose coach said is “a monster,” more than held his own despite the fact he was giving up 6 inches. London finished with 12 points and 15 rebounds, while Foster had 13 points and four rebounds.

“In a matchup like that, I know I have to be more physical,” said London, an all-section pick last season who weighs 240 pounds. “Being lower to the ground, I have to get into their chest. For me, it’s just about being more physical. If I can push them out of the paint and I can push them around down low, then I know I feel confident in my game to get to my spots and keep them out of their spots.”

Jordyn Tavarez scored a team-high 17 points for Highlands, which also got seven points from Cam Reigard.

Other boys games

• Tournament MVP Peter Kramer poured in 31 points to go along with 9 rebounds, 3 blocks and 3 steals to help Hampton (2-0) defeat North Hills (1-1), 75-63, in the North Hills Tournament. Alex Nyilas added 21 points for the Talbots, while Zach Pollaro paced North Hills with 25.

• Tyler Pepin scored 24 of his game-high 33 points in the first quarter to vault Seneca Valley (1-1) to an 84-41 win against Perry (0-2) in the North Hills Tournament. The Raiders outscored Perry, 40-8, in the first quarter. Perry’s Javon Diamond had five 3-pointers among his 26 points.

Bethel Park (1-1) used a huge third quarter to rally for a 74-67 win against Eden Christian (0-2) in the Shaler Tournament. The Black Hawks trailed, 40-32, at the half before outscoring Eden Christian, 24-8, in the third quarter. Nick Brown paced Bethel Park with 18 points and Shawn Davis and Mike Mathias each scored 17.

• Nate Wesling’s 22 points propelled host Baldwin (2-0) to a 74-59 victory against Chartiers Valley (1-1) in the Baldwin/Peters Township Tournament. Jayden Davis led Chartiers Valley with 25 points.

• Terek Crosby scored 29 of his 43 points in the second half to help Yough (2-0) rally for a 63-48 win against Derry (1-1) in the Yough Tournament. The Cougars outscored Derry, 40-24, in the second half. Brady Angus led Derry with 18 points.

Penn-Trafford (1-1) outlasted Hempfield (1-1), 72-70, in two overtimes in the Hempfield Tournament. Tyler Freas scored 22 points for Penn-Trafford, which lost in double overtime to Greensburg Central Catholic a day earlier. Hempfield’s Drew Gordon scored 20.

• Brett Meinert’s 17 points helped Upper St. Clair (2-0) beat Gateway (1-1), 58-49, in the Upper St. Clair Tournament. The Panthers outscored Gateway, 21-7, in the first quarter. Taili Thompson led the Gators with 13 points.

Franklin Regional (2-0) jumped to an 11-point lead after one quarter and went on to beat Greensburg Central Catholic (1-1), 68-51, in the Hempfield Tournament. Cam Rowell (16 points) led a group of four Franklin Regional players scoring in double figures.

• David Kwiat tallied 28 points and converted five of his team’s 10 3-pointers while leading Neshannock (1-1) to a 76-55 victory against Shenango (0-2) in the Neshannock Tournament. Shenango’s Brody McQuiston scored 35 points.

• Cameron Epps and Drew Cook combined to knock down 10 3-pointers for South Allegheny (2-0) in a 59-58 win against Belle Vernon (0-1) in the MVI Shootout. Epps made six 3-pointers and scored 19 points, while Cook made four 3-pointers and scored 16. Zion Moore scored 36 for Belle Vernon.

Girls games

• Riley Kalocay scored 25 points and connected on five of her team’s 10 3-pointers in leading Upper St. Clair (1-1) to a 60-28 win against Union (0-2) in the North Allegheny Tournament. Kalocay scored 15 points in the third quarter when the Panthers outscored Union, 22-7. Kelly Cleaver led Union with eight points.

Mt. Lebanon (2-0) led by 13 points at the half and went on to defeat North Catholic (1-1), 53-34, in the North Allegheny Tournament. Payton Collins scored a game-high 19 points for Mt. Lebanon, and Alayna Rocco scored 16 for North Catholic.

• Brooke Evans and Rachel Manfredo scored 14 points apiece to propel McKeesport (1-0) to a 44-39 win against Seneca Valley (0-1) in the Play 4 Mae Tournament at Woodland Hills. Maddy Hertzler added 10 points for the Tigers, while Natalie Hambly led Seneca Valley with 16.

• Alena Fusetti made four 3-pointers and scored a game-high 15 points in leading Blackhawk (2-0) to a 40-35 overtime win against Greensburg Salem (1-1) in the Greensburg Salem Tournament. Blackhawk outscored Greensburg Salem, 7-2, in overtime. Ashlan Price paced the Golden Lions with nine points.

• London Creach scored 18 points and freshman Kaylee DeAngelo added 10 to vault Oakland Catholic (1-0) to a 64-31 win against Berlin Brothersvalley (0-1) in the Play 4 Mae Tournament at Woodland Hills.

• Natalie Wetzel scored 18 points and Bri Morreale added 17 to vault Peters Township (2-0) to a 55-46 win against Pine-Richland (0-2) in the Baldwin/Peters Township Tournament. Madison Zavasky’s 25 points paced Pine-Richland.

Jeannette (0-2) nearly pulled off an improbable win before falling to Northgate (1-1), 27-24, in the Aquinas Academy Tournament. The Jayhawks played the final 5:30 with only three players. They dressed only five players and two fouled out. At the time, they held a 24-20 lead. Adriana Allison led Jeannette with 13 points.

Lincoln Park (2-0) raced to a 12-point lead in the first quarter and never looked back on its way to a 60-32 win against Freedom (0-1) at Geneva College. Sarah Scott led Lincoln Park with 16 points, and Maddie Syka chipped in 15.

• Greta O’Brien and Fiona Mahan each scored 13 points to help defending WPIAL Class 3A champion Avonworth (1-0) open the season with a 42-37 win against Shaler (0-1) in the Play 4 Mae Tournament at Woodland Hills.

• Ava Shazer and Ella Cupka each scored 13 points and Rachel Boehm added 12 to push Chartiers Valley (2-0) to a 61-31 win against West Allegheny (0-2) in the Keystone Oaks Tournament.

Plum (2-0) led by 15 points at the half and held on to defeat Highlands (1-1), 63-58, in the Freeport Tournament. Plum’s Megan Marston paced all scorers with 22 points, while Katelyn Myers led Highlands with 18.

Three stars

*** — Caroline Henderson, North Allegheny. Henderson, an RIT recruit, knocked down eight 3-pointers among her 26 points while helping North Allegheny (2-0) defeat Penn Hills (0-2), 54-44, in the North Allegheny Tournament.

** — Michael Plasko, South Fayette. Plasko dropped in 37 points in leading South Fayette (2-0) to a 74-56 win against Canon-McMillan (1-1) in the Canon-McMillan Tournament.

* — Taylor Schumacher, McGuffey. Schumacher was a “win maker,” as her game-high 28 points helped McGuffey (2-0) top Mapletown (1-1), 63-22, in the Avella Tournament.

Hot from deep

Players with 3 or more 3-pointers: Caroline Henderson, North Allegheny, 8; Joseph Rosio, Cheswick Christian, 7; Cameron Epps, South Allegheny, 6; Samantha Miller, Canon-McMillan, 5; David Kwiat, Neshannock, 5; Javon Diamond, Perry, 5; Rylee Kalocay, Upper St. Clair, 5; Zion Moore, Belle Vernon, 4; Alena Fusetti, Blackhawk, 4; Luke Gronbeck, Eden Christian, 4; Peter Kramer, Hampton, 4; Meghan Murray, Hampton, 4; Sam Chapman, Quaker Valley, 4; Tia Yellock, Rochester, 4; Drew Cook, South Allegheny, 4; Laci Bernotas, Baldwin, 3; Mike Mathias, Bethel Park, 3; Erica Gribble, Greensburg Central Catholic, 3; Shyan Tindall, Laurel, 3; Payton Collins, Mt. Lebanon, 3; Zach Washington, Quaker Valley, 3; Tyler Pepin, Seneca Valley, 3; Grace Howell, Upper St. Clair, 3. 

Boys scores

Aquinas Academy 65, Pittsburgh Christian 34

Armstrong 57, Westmont Hilltop 56

Avonworth 70, Winchester Thurston 29

Baldwin 74, Chartiers Valley 59

Beaver 57, Brentwood 22

Bethel Park 74, Eden Christian 67

Cheswick Christian 60, Portersville Christian 42

Clairton 64, Ringgold 49

Derry 44, Brashear 33

Devon Prep 69, North Catholic 68

Franklin Regional 68, Greensburg C.C. 51

Hampton 75, North Hills 63

Hopewell 52, South Side 46

Jefferson-Morgan 46, Waynesburg 39

Knoch 65, Freedom 22

Laurel Highlands 59, Summit Academy 40

Ligonier Valley 52, Purchase Line 50

Neighborhood Academy 62, Beaver County Christian 14

Neshannock 76, Shenango 55

Penn-Trafford 72, Hempfield 70 (2 OT)

Quaker Valley 66, Carlynton 37

Seneca Valley 84, Perry 41

Serra Catholic 56, Charleroi 49

Seton LaSalle 48, Norwin 45

Shady Side Academy 54, Riverview 40

Sharon 63, Mars 61

South Allegheny 59, Belle Vernon 58

South Fayette 74, Canon-McMillan 56

Upper St. Clair 58, Gateway 49

West Allegheny 56, Fort Cherry 41

Yough 63, Derry 48

Girls scores

Apollo-Ridge 40, Leechburg 21

Aquinas Academy 63, Riverview 34

Avonworth 42, Shaler 37

Baldwin 50, Thomas Jefferson 43

Beth-Center 46, Jefferson-Morgan 26

Blackhawk 40, Greensburg Salem 35 (OT)

Butler 35, Knoch 27

Canon-McMillan 43, Hampton 37

Charleroi 36, Monessen 25

Chartiers Valley 61, West Allegheny 31

Derry 44, Brashear 33

Fort Cherry 58, Ellis School 28

Fox Chapel 67, Freeport 32

Greensburg C.C. 43, Altoona 40

Indiana 69, North Star 20

Laurel 54, Slippery Rock 27

Laurel Highlands 50, Franklin Regional 38

Lincoln Park 60, Freedom 32

Mars 51, Mercyhurst Prep 49

McGuffey 63, Mapletown 22

McKeesport 44, Seneca Valley 39

Mohawk 54, Riverside 27

Mt. Lebanon 53, North Catholic 34

North Allegheny 54, Penn Hills 44

Northgate 27, Jeannette 24

Oakland Catholic 64, Berlin Brothersvalley 31

Peters Township 55, Pine-Richland 46

Plum 63, Highlands 58

Rochester 59, Quaker Valley 25

Serra Catholic 56, Washington 17

Seton LaSalle 51, Belle Vernon 35

Sewickley Academy 42, Carlynton 11

South Allegheny 32, Cheswick Christian 10

South Park 61, Ambridge 24

Upper St. Clair 60, Union 24

Waynesburg 50, Ligonier Valley 29

Brad is a sports writer at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, but he's currently on strike. Email him at

Brad Everett

Brad is a sports writer at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, but he's currently on strike. Email him at