Boys Basketball: 2017 South Season Recap

Written by Brad Everett on .

WPIAL Class 1A teams tried and tried again, but there just was not catching up to the Monessen Greyhounds during the 2016-17 boys basketball season.

Monessen entered the campaign with six WPIAL titles. It exited with seven.

As usual, a rugged non-section schedule littered with teams from larger classes made for a not-so-exquisite overall record, but against teams in its own class, Monessen (21-8) had no peers. The Greyhounds ran the table in Section 2 with a 10-0 record. They beat Eden Christian and Union in their first two WPIAL playoff games before beating Imani Christian, 74-59, in the championship.

Monessen once again sported a high-powered offense. The Greyhounds tallied a 1A-best 78.8 points per game and surpassed 100 points three times. Having one of the best backcourts in the state was a big reason why. Jaden Altomore and Justice Rice were both named first-team all-state. Altomore averaged 22.6 points per game and Rice chipped in 20.3.

The Greyhounds saw their season come to an end when they lost to Kennedy Catholic, 73-59, in the PIAA semifinals. Kennedy Catholic went on to win the title.

No other South area teams advanced to the WPIAL championship, but three others reached the semifinals. Chartiers Valley (17-8) lost to Moon, 65-43, in 5A. Washington (22-6) was defeated by Cardinal Wuerl North Catholic, 49-44, in 3A. Bishop Canevin (22-6) fell to Sewickley Academy, 67-51, in 2A. Bishop Canevin also advanced to the PIAA semifinals, where it again lost to Section 3 rival Sewickley Academy, 50-48.

Seven teams won section titles: Mt. Lebanon in 6A Section 2, McKeesport in 5A Section 1, Belle Vernon in 4A Section 3, Washington in 3A Section 4, Chartiers-Houston in 2A Section 2, Bishop Canevin in 2A Section 3, and Monessen in 1A Section 2.

In addition to Altomore and Rice, four South players were named to all-state teams: Washington's Matt Popeck (3A second team), Steel Valley's Ja'Mier Fletcher (3A third team), Bishop Canevin's Mitchell King (2A second team) and Chartiers-Houston's A.J. Myers (2A third team). Popeck and Myers finished their careers as their school's all-time leading scorers. Popeck averaged 25.3 points per game and Myers 23 a game. Chartiers-Houston won its first ever section title.