Steel Valley captured its first outright section title since Charlie Batch's senior year when it defeated visiting Thomas Jefferson, 75-70, last Friday. The victory was Steel Valley's seventh in row and it gave them the Class AAA Section 4 championship.
Batch, who went on to have a long NFL career, was a starter on the Steel Valley basketball team during the 1991-1992 season. The Ironmen went 22-6 and lost to Dante Calabria and Blackhawk in the WPIAL Class AAA semifinals. The Ironmen had won three section titles since then (1999-2000, 2001-02 and 2002-03), but each of them was split with another team.
Clinching the title at home was important to first-year coach Dale Chapman, who said afterwards "We wanted to get it done here." Steel Valley is 7-0 at home and 14-3 overall. With three regular-season games and at least one playoff game ahead, the Ironmen could win more than 17 games for the first time since the 2002-03 season. The Ironmen, led by senior guard Kennedy Smith and sophomore forward Ja'Mier Fletcher, will be looking to win their first WPIAL title since 2002.