Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Player of the Year ... the floor is yours

It's time to focus on all-district boys and girls basketball teams along with Player of the Year selections before spring sports hits high gear.

The all-district teams are taking shape, where there remains some doubt is selecting the respective POYs. Why? Well, there are several worthy candidates.

In addition to my observations, I've spoken with several coaches (as I normally do) for their input. This year, I've asked more coaches than usual because the selections are that tough.

So, with that in mind, I'd like to hear from readers. From the following list of candidates, tell me whose the pick and why.

Nate Bellhy, Fort Cherry
Seton Hill recruit and, from what I watched, area's most athletic and explosive player. Bellhy averaged 25.7 points and double-digit rebounds.

Michael Lamberti, South Fayette
West Liberty State recruit and reigning Player of the Year. Lamberti helped SF reach WPIAL championship game and PIAA semifinals. Probably area's most complete player, averaged 18.7 points, 9.0 rebounds.

Josh Valentic, Trinity
Wheeling Jesuit recruit with unlimited shooting range. Valentic, an improved rebounder and accurate free throw shooter, averaged 30.3 points (second in WPIAL) and at times looked like he single-handedly carried the Hillers in critical games.

Pat Zedreck, South Fayette
Considered by many to be WPIAL's premier point guard this season. Zedreck is receiving Division II and III interest and often plays better than more heavily recruited players at the position. Zedreck averaged 18 points per game in the postseason, 15 in the regular season with 9 assists.

Beka Bellhy, Fort Cherry
A junior, Bellhy entered the area's elite this year and evolved into one of the WPIAL's better talents. A heady player, Bellhy averaged 16 points and led the Rangers in rebounding during the best season in team history.

Emily Hansen, Canon-McMillan
Playing in possibly the state's toughest section, Hansen continued to get it done and topped 1,000 career points near the end of her senior season. She averaged 16.9 points per game to third in the section behind Division I recruits Belma Nurkic (Baldwin) and Madison Cable (Mt. Lebanon).

Geena Shrader, Monessen
Monessen lost only two games. One was to eventual WPIAL champion North Catholic, the other to Bishop Guilfoyle, which may win a third consecutive PIAA title. Shrader led the way with a scoring average of 18.0.

Amanda Temple, Avella
Temple led the WPIAL in scoring with a 22.0 average, more than 1 point per game better than any other player.


Anonymous said...

You have to give it to Emily. Over 16 a game at the Quad A Level is pretty impressive. Game after Game she was up against better talent.

Anonymous said...

I speak from seeing only the four players mentioned on the boys side.

If I were to pick any player as the POY, I would have to consider a few things. First, how crucial was each player to his team? Well, this may sound like a dumb question, but when putting it between Zedreck and Lamberti you can see what I mean.

Valentic was Trinity's team. Without him and this team wouldnt have competed in the section they were in.

Bellhy did some great things agaisnt so-so competition. The other three played in one of the toughest AAA sections. While Bellhy probably would have scored the way he did, he wouldnt be in consideration at this point.

Lamberti and Zedreck not only are great players, but they also play on a talent rich team. Zedreck starts plays and Lamberti finished them, so who really gets the advantage there?

At the end of the season I say it has to go to Lamberti because. If you take him off of that team they arent as good as if they didnt have Zedreck

Anonymous said...

I don't want to hear the big school, small school debate. All the players listed are deserving and very talented. Many of these kids played each other in AAU and I guarantee that the kids on the smaller teams mentioned here would start and be just as good if they were in AAA or AAAA

As for my vote for the girls it would go to Belhy. Look what she was able to do on a very balanced team that made it to the final 8 in the state. Her average was the same as Hansens and helped her team to 20+ wins too.

As for the boys I'd have to go with Lamberti as well. Won it last year I think and took his team on his shoulders early on when the football team was still playing. Belhy did all the scoring for his team which made the playoffs but lost in the first round. Same for Valentic.

Anonymous said...

Basketball is a team game. The object of that game is and has always been to win. The Player of the Year Award recognizes an individual player for his/her outstanding contributions to the overall success of the team. Sure, PPG, rebounds, big school vs small school, and other stats come into consideration and can be argued individually, but at the end of the day, which player's total body of work and contributions were the most impressive?

Mike Lamberti on the boys' side.

Beka Bellhy on the girls'.

Congratulations to all of those under consideration. Whoever is chosen, all are worthy. A great group of players.

Anonymous said...

South Fayette is not a part of Washington or Greene County! Bellhy is our best basketball player and Joe Hough Avella and FC girls coach for Coaches of the year. They have all earned that but have to share it with SF. In Allegheny County, Tim McConnell and Char Valley are kings, so the went down I-79 to steal from us.

Anonymous said...

When a very good individual plays for a team and that team offers no support in the way of other talent on the team, it is easy for the opposing team to game plan against them. Shut down the very good player and you win. In Fort Cherry's case you have five girls on the floor that can score, rebound, assist, etc. So don't tell me you can take a very good player like Beka Bellhy and place her on a team that is not that good and does not offer the support that her current teammates do and say she will be as successful. It just won't happen.

mike_kovak said...

Yes, SF said "Let's steal honors from Washington and Greene county schools because of Char Valley."

Come on! That's just ridiculous and petty.

Once again, the O-R's coverage of South Fayette dates back decades. Get over it already!

mike_kovak said...

I believed I saw the FC girls in every WPIAL and PIAA playoff game they played this year and I don't recall that all five girls on the floor scored.

"In Fort Cherry's case you have five girls on the floor that can score, rebound, assist, etc."

I find that comment interesting. If someone is on the floor that can't do at least one of those things, why is that person on the floor?

A player shouldn't be punished in the evaluation process because her teammates aren't slouches or simply taking up floor space.

Anonymous said...

As I believe to be true, isn't Montour in Trinity's and South Fayette's section? Why don't you ask the head coach of Montour who was the hardest player to plan for?

Anonymous said...

I figured I would have heard SF lost the PIAA semis to Montour.

Anonymous said...

Have seen all of these players (boys and girls) play this year.
For the girls the pick seems easy, I think Becca Bellhy is the pick. She is multidimensional on the court, shoots very well, rebounds, passes, defense excellent, blocks, and is a very intelligent player. Her play during playoffs kept them in the games I saw.

For the boys, Pat Zedreck did the most for his team down the playoff stretch vs Lamberti. Pat is an underrated point guard with excellent skills. Maybe the best OG in WPIAL. Valentic too one dimensional, but a great shooter. Nate Bellhy is strong and powerful player, shoots well, rebounds well, defense very good and blocks shots. When I rechecked the stats in the paper he scored/rebounded well on all of the better schools StoRox, SF, Monessen, Washington.
Close between Zedreck and Bellhy. I think Bellhy is the best player/athlete in the mix, but doubt you would pick a brother and sister.

All the players are worthy of contention for POY. Any of these players would be a starter on any of the other players teams and would contribute equally as well as they did for their teams.

Anonymous said...

Tyler Scott should be the player of the year.

mike_kovak said...

Having seen Valentic on numerous occasions, I do not view him as a one-dimensional player.

Anonymous said...

Give me 4 Pat Zedreck's and you take 5 Mike Lamberti's. I win EVERY TIME! Not close.

Zedreck is Boys POY.
Rebekah Bellhy is Girls POY.

mike_kovak said...

I'll take a team with five Mike Lamberti's on it.

I'd take a team with four Pat Zedreck's too.

Anonymous said...

Big time players, make big time plays, in big time games. Lamberti did not. Without a doubt, Valentic and Zedreck did more for their team. Valentic kept his team alive every game and Zedreck drove his team through the state playoffs.

mike_kovak said...

Completely disagree.

For starters, South Fayette does not win the state title last year without Lamberti. His play carried the team through the state playoffs. That's a big-time player playing big in big games.

He also had several big games in these playoffs. I can recall him having 24 points in the first half against Uniontown, putting up 25 against a tough New Castle defense and having an excellent second half in the PIAA quarterfinals against Eastern York and totally outplaying that team's Division I big man.

Yes, he struggled in two games against Montour but let's not act like that's all he did.

You're not a four-year starter, your school's all-time scoring leader and a recruit of one of the top D2 programs in the nation by some fluke.

Anonymous said...

Everyone knows that Emily Hansen will be the Player of the Year...there's not even good players competing against her for it. She plays girls that are going D1, Beka Bellhy probably doesn't do that. If she was playing at the level that Hansen was then her numbers wouldn't be the same at all. Hansen is the one and only person that deserves this award.

mike_kovak said...

Bad argument there ... C-M had to have Hansen score like that to be competitive. FC played a balanced brand of offense and Bellhy still put up good numbers.

Also, considering FC played teams like Monessen, North Catholic, Bishop Guilfoyle, chances are the Rangers ran into some future college talent.

Not trying to compare FC's schedule to C-M's Quad-A section, which is annually one of the best in the state.

Just sayin'.

Anonymous said...

On your comment, "You're not a four-year starter, your school's all-time scoring leader and a recruit of one of the top D2 programs in the nation by some fluke."

The exact same comment could be made for Nate Bellhy who was recruited and offered a scholarship by West Liberty during their early "letter of intent" signing period in November before he accepted Seton Hill's offer.

Also, Pat Zedreck should not be overlooked. He may be the best point guard in the WPIAL.

Consider these speculations:

Take Valentic off of his team for a game and what struggles to win, but has some good athletes to help out. Would lose their main 3-point shooter, and take it to the hoop man, some rebounding.

Take Lamberti off the team for a game...Zedreck steps it up as does the rest of the team which has above average athletes. Would be difficult to lose him for a game, but they could get by. Lose good rebounder and shooter.

Take Zedreck off the team for a game...Lamberti steps it up as does the rest of the team which has above average athletes. Would be difficult to lose him for a game, but they could get by. Lose their main playmaker and assist leader.

Take Bellhy off of his team for a game and what struggles to win any games. Would lose their main ball handler, rebounder, assist leader, shot blocker, 3-point shooter, and take it to the hoop man.

Consider this one:
Put these four players on a team and add John Tyler from California or Tyler Pavan from Burgettstown and play another good team.
What happens?

Pat Zedreck leads in assists (10) and has his season average 14 points.

Mike Lamberti has 18 points along with 5 rebounds and 2 assists and a dunk.

Valentic has 30 points with 7 3-pointers, 4 assists, 5 rebounds.

Tyler or Pavan has 16 or 23 points with a 4 assists, 4 rebounds.

Nate Bellhy has 27 points, 12 rebounds, 7 assists, 3 blocked shots, 2 dunks.

Speculate and change the numbers around, but they won't come out significantly different.

So who is the POY?

mike_kovak said...

We'll find out soon, in the pages of the Observer-Reporter.

Anonymous said...

Hansen is a great player, but she did not lead her team to a great season. As far as saying Fc plays nobody they beat Jeanette by 20 who is in AA and Jeanette also went to WPIAL championship, they also beat Ambridge who was in the AAA championship. They played Canon-Mac and lost by 25 and guess who wasn't there for that game? Bellhy because of a funeral. So that shows how much Bellhy is needed for FC. Fort Cherry was one of the area's best teams and Canon-Mac regardless on if your AAAA or A was not. Hansen can shoot as many times as she wanted at the AAAA level, Bellhy had to play with other very good players and still scored and had a great season.

Anonymous said...

That is why Bellhy could score, she had other players on her team that needed to be respected by opposing teams. In most cases you cant play man defense against FC, they are too tough and talented as a team. Let Bellhy be the star by herself and see how well she does. Other teams would simply double cover her or Box and 1 her with a player in her grill all the time. She gets very frustraded when an opposing player is physical with her, you can easily take her off of her game.

Anonymous said...

Didn't Canon Mac beat Fort Cherry last season and the season before? And I'm pretty sure Belhy was there for those games

Anonymous said...

"She gets very frustraded when an opposing player is physical with her, you can easily take her off of her game."

Golly gosh gee willickers.....imagine what Rebekah Bellhy would have done this year if she hadn't been so easily taken off her game and frustrated by an opposing player's physicality...

You made my mind up. Bellhy is POY, without doubt.

Anonymous said...

"Golly gosh gee willickers", read what I said. Other teams were not able to play physical (Risk foul trouble) or double team her (Leave Carolina, Jesse of Rachel Open) because of the other talented players on the team. Carolina, Jesse and Rachel are all college prospects at different levels. This allowed Beka to excel and show her talents.

Anonymous said...

Read what YOU said: "She gets very frustraded when an opposing player is physical with her, you can easily take her off of her game."

You said it, I didn't. Golly gosh gee willickers--you can't have it both ways....unless you're related to Joe T on the wrestling blog....

Anonymous said...

Valentic should be player of the year. He's the best all around talent in the area.