Thursday, December 20, 2007

High on the Highlanders?

Headed to McGuffey High School last Friday night for the California at McGuffey boys basketball non-section game. Why? Well, the main reason being Cal coach Phil Pergola was one win from No. 500. No Washington County-based high school basketball coach previously reached the milestone.

Before tip-off I chatted with O-R photographer Greg Tarr and Rob Burchianti, a sports writer at the Herald-Standard in Uniontown. I told both of them that I would not be shocked to bee the Highlanders hold off Pergola's pursuit of 500.


Well, McGuffey is an improving basketball team and they showed as much during a 43-32 win over California, one of Class A's best teams.

The 3-5 record may not indicate such but this is McGuffey's best boys team since 2002, the most accomplished boys basketball team in school history.

Tom Alrutz, a former coach at Avella, is in his third year with McGuffey and the results are noticeable. Point guard Luke Baker is the type of player coaches love. He doesn't force the issue, is a great shooter and he plays defense. Baker is one of several strong perimeter players for McGuffey, who won't challenge Chartiers Valley for the Section 4-AAA title but the guess is the Highlanders will contend for the playoffs.

And that would be big news.

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