In terms of the attributes longtime Mars coach Rob Carmody looks for in a player, Ryan Ceh checks all the boxes.

Rapidly emerging as the new go-to scoring threat for the Planets after graduating Tasso Sfanos last spring, Ceh turned in one of his best performances yet with a career-high 30 points in a 75-70 win against Archbishop McNicholas, Ohio, at the Pensacola Beach Tournament in Pensacola, Fla. The 6-6 senior knocked down a trio of 3-pointers and went 3 of 4 from the free-throw line in Wednesday night’s victory, which couldn’t have come at a better time for Mars (3-4).

“Ryan has always been in that Robin role,” Carmody said. “He’s always been a sidekick. He’s always been that third option or fourth option for us. And this year, he’s got to be Batman.”

As usual, the Planets are playing a grueling early-season schedule to prepare for what should be one of the toughest sections in the WPIAL in Class 5A Section 4. And with a three-game losing streak coming in that included back-to-back two-point losses and four defeats on the year by a combined 13 points, there’s no doubt Carmody and his players were desperate to get back in the win column as they begin their “business trip” in Florida.

“It wasn’t like we’ve been blown out of the water. Every game has been tight and close. And when you’ve got a new group, you have to go through those things a little bit,” Carmody said. “It does help when they pull one of these tight ones out. Instead of teaching through a loss, which I’ve got enough experience doing that, it’s really nice to see them [happy] after a win.”

For Ceh (pronounced “check”), Wednesday’s game served as another breakout game for the long, athletic guard-forward, as he continues to emerge as one of the most versatile players in the area while filling up the stat sheet for Mars. He can shoot the 3 at a 40% clip, but he’s also perfectly capable of getting into the paint and dominating in the low post — and he showed off his diverse array of skills once again to lead his team to victory on Wednesday.

Needless to say, Carmody and the Planets will be needing a lot more where that came from if they hope to go far this season.

“We’ve had great guards, obviously, and we’ve had really good post players,” Carmody said. “But Ryan is kind of that 6-6 wing with length, who can jump and can shoot, who we haven’t had in our program before. … Maybe tonight is another one of those big steps forward for him, because we will be a different basketball team when he takes on that role for us.

“Hopefully a win tonight gets us pointed in the right direction and gets everybody really bought into what we’ve got to do.”

Mars senior Ryan Ceh is a 6-6 guard-forward with the ability to score from anywhere on the court. (Matt Freed/Pittsburgh Union Progress).

Note: For a full recap of the inaugural Pittsburgh Holiday Hoops Classic at PPG Paints Arena, click here.

Other boys games

• Mt. Lebanon put its defensive prowess on full display in a lopsided 88-28 win against Coconut Creek, Fla., at the Sunshine State Explosion Tournament. The Blue Devils (7-0) shut out Coconut Creek for the entire second quarter, outscoring their foes by a score of 26-0 for the period en route to building a 51-20 halftime lead. Sam Diebert and Nate Girod led all scorers with 16 points apiece to go with 15 from Brody Barber.

• Backed by a balanced offensive attack that included four double-digit scorers, West Allegheny (8-0) kept its perfect record intact with a 56-45 win against Bishop Canevin at the Montour Tournament. Justin Manns led the Indians with 18 points along with 16 points and 11 rebounds from Brandon Bell, while Drew Allen led all scorers with 20 points for the Crusaders (1-5) in the defeat.

• Defending WPIAL Class 5A champion Penn Hills (4-1) held on to win a low-scoring affair against Hempfield (2-7) at the Greensburg Salem Tournament, 47-44. Darien Robinson led the Indians with 14 points to go with 13 from Robert Thomas, while Drew Gordon led all scorers with 15 points for the Spartans.

• Peter Kramer helped Hampton put an end to its two-game losing skid with a 24-point effort for the Talbots (6-2) in a 71-34 win against visiting Altoona at the Hampton Tournament. Big man Liam Mignogna contributed 16 points in the win to go with 11 from Alex Nyilas.

• Star senior Joseph Roth was up to his usual tricks for Ellwood City (4-5), tallying 31 points with 12 rebounds, 7 blocks and 4 assists in a 77-71 win against Redbank Valley at the Mercer Tournament. Aaron Lake added 22 points and nine rebounds for the Wolverines in the win.

• Eamon O’Donoghue tallied a game-high 25 points to lead Canon-McMillan (5-4) past Albert Gallatin for a 60-40 triumph at the Trinity Tournament. Blake Wilson finished with 10 points to lead the way for the Colonials (3-3).

• Jeremiah Mick scored a team-leading 18 points to go with 14 from Roger Gradek and 12 from Lucas Stevenson, helping Mapletown (1-5) overcome a 32-point night from Dom Colarusso to secure its first win of the season with a 65-62 victory against Carmichaels (3-5) at the Carmichaels King Coal Lions Tournament.

• Aiden Reesman led all scorers with 20 points and Charlie Depner chipped in 11 for Moon (5-2) in a 62-55 win against Roswell, Ga., at the Pensacola Beach Tournament in Florida.

• De’Ondre Daugherty led four double-digit scorers for Washington (3-5) in a 61-46 win against Winchester Thurston (4-3) at the Monessen Tournament. Ruben Gordon added 15 points for the Prexies, while Henry McComb and Anthony Pipkin led the Bears with 13 points apiece.

• Lorenzo Gardner poured in a game-high 27 points for host Monessen (5-1) in a 58-34 win against Propel Braddock Hills (3-5) at the Monessen Tournament. The Greyhounds built up a 49-14 halftime lead before taking their foot off the gas and coasting to victory in the second half.

Girls games

Oakland Catholic continued its unbeaten start with a 46-39 win against Sanford School, Del., at the Governor’s Challenge at Maryland-Eastern Shore. London Creach scored a game-high 21 points for the Eagles (7-0), including 15 in the third quarter, and freshman Kaylee DeAngelo chipped in 10 while burying a trio of 3-pointers.

• Erica Gribble scored a game-high 18 points and Mya Morgan added 13 for Greensburg Central Catholic (5-2) in an impressive 44-35 win against Class 6A foe Canon-McMillan (6-3) at the California University Hoopfest. Nadia David finished with a team-leading 14 points for the Big Macs.

• Katie Lucarelli led all scorers with 23 points while draining five 3-pointers for Baldwin in a 62-48 victory against Mars at the Highlands Tournament. Vita Vargo paced the Planets (5-3) with 17 points in the defeat, while Lynsey Bernotas finished with 15 and Laci Bernotas tacked on 13 for the Highlanders (5-3).

Norwin put up a valiant effort in a marquee showdown at District 10 powerhouse Kennedy Catholic, but the Knights (7-2) came up just short in a hard-fought 51-50 defeat. Kendall Berger scored a team-leading 18 points on the night to go with 16 from Lauren Palangio.

• Ava Bunocci led the way with 24 points for Bethel Park (3-6) to go with 17 from Ella Hartman and 11 from Julia Benlock in a 76-44 win against Franklin Regional at the California University Hoopfest. Softball star Toryn Fulton led the Panthers (1-7) with 11 points on the evening.

• Lexi Ewig led four players in double figures for unbeaten McGuffey (8-0) with 18 points in a 61-24 victory against visiting Avella (1-7) at the McGuffey Tournament. Ava Frank led the Eagles with 12 points in the defeat, while Faith Ealy finished with 13 points for the Highlanders along with 12 from Taylor Schumacher and 11 from Madison Gaso.

• Mallory Daly scored a game-high 21 points while Tiara Curry added 20 and Addie Lonergan finished with 14 for Seton-LaSalle (5-2) in a 67-26 blowout victory against Gateway (1-7).

Seton LaSalle’s Mallory Daly had another efficient night of scoring in a lopsided win for the Rebels. (Alexandra Wimley/Pittsburgh Union Progress)

Three stars

*** — Ben Hays, Bentworth. Hays led all scorers with 29 points for the Bearcats, but it wasn’t enough to secure a victory in a narrow 46-45 defeat against West Greene.

** — Christian Ito, Upper St. Clair. Ito knocked down six 3-pointers on his way to a game-high 29 points, helping the Panthers cruise to a 70-45 win against visiting Beaver.

* — Emma Larkin, Geibel Catholic. A sharp-shooting sophomore and one of the top track-and-field athletes in the area, Larkin delivered a game-high 39 points for Geibel Catholic in a 55-8 win against Neighborhood Academy at the Neighborhood Academy Tournament.

Hot from deep

Players with 3 or more 3-pointers: Christian Ito, Upper St. Clair, 6; Katie Lucarelli, Baldwin, 5; Jake Rynd, Neshannock, 5; Addie Lonergan, Seton LaSalle, 4; Vita Vargo, Mars, 4; Laci Bernotas, Baldwin, 3; Ryan Ceh, Mars, 3; Kaylee DeAngelo, Oakland Catholic, 3; Nate Girod, Mt. Lebanon, 3.

Boys scores

Allderdice 51, Fox Chapel 48

Brownsville 58, Carrick 53

Canon-McMillan 60, Albert Gallatin 40

Charleroi 59, California 33

Deer Lakes 67, Steel Valley 24

East Allegheny 50, Ringgold 49

Ellwood City 77, Redbank Valley 71

Greensburg Central Catholic 61, Yough 37

Greensburg Salem 54, Mount Pleasant 48

Grove City 57, North Hills 51

Hampton 71, Altoona 34

Jeannette 76, Connellsville 48

Jefferson-Morgan 56, Beth-Center 50

Lincoln Park 72, North Catholic 58

Mapletown 65, Carmichaels 62

Mars 75, McNicholas, Ohio, 70

McKeesport 66, West Mifflin 55

Monessen 58, Propel Braddock Hills 34

Moon 62, Roswell, Ga., 55

Mt. Lebanon 88, Coconut Creek, Fla., 28

Neshannock 73, Greenville 29

Northgate 79, Freeport 25

Penn Hills 47, Hempfield 44

Southmoreland 69, South Park 68

Trinity 64, Hickory 57

Union 72, Westinghouse 37

Upper St. Clair 70, Beaver 45

Washington 61, Winchester Thurston 46

West Allegheny 56, Bishop Canevin 45

West Greene 46, Bentworth 45

Westmont Hilltop 91, Ligonier Valley 30

Wheeling C.C., W.Va., 71, Armstrong 62

Yorba Linda, Calif., 36, Seneca Valley 33

Girls scores

Aquinas Academy 59, Rockwood 9

Baldwin 62, Mars 48

Bentworth 60, Propel Montour 7

Bethel Park 76, Franklin Regional 44

Brentwood 45, Jefferson-Morgan 6

Chartiers-Houston 33, Freedom 31

Elizabeth Forward 56, South Allegheny 21

Ellwood City 59, Beaver 44

Fort Cherry 54, Steel Valley 9

Geibel Catholic 55, Neighborhood Academy 8

Greensburg C.C. 44, Canon-McMillan 35

Greensburg Salem 61, Brownsville 35

Hampton 60, Rock Academy 13

Highlands 49, North Hills 28

Kennedy Catholic 51, Norwin 50

Keystone Oaks 64, Burgettstown 45

Lincoln Park 69, West Allegheny 45

McGuffey 61, Avella 24

Mount Pleasant 30, Connellsville 27

Oakland Catholic 46, Sanford School, Del., 39

Our Lady of the Sacred Heart 42, Belle Vernon 26

Seton LaSalle 67, Gateway 26

Shenango 42, Winchester Thurston 31

South Side 63, Ringgold 28

Sto-Rox 44, Carrick 42

Uniontown 52, Springdale 23

Upper St. Clair 51, Thomas Jefferson 36

Waynesburg 42, Winter Park, Fla., 29

West Middlesex 60, Neshannock 58 (OT)

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

Steve Rotstein

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