Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Basketball stars join forces

Roundball Classic unites key players

- By Brad Everett

Tri-State Sports & News Service

North Hills’ Nick Smith, Pine-Richland’s Andrew Petcash and Latrobe’s Austin Butler have had some wars on the basketball court the past few years.

But for one night, the three all-state performers will be allies.

The trio will play for the Class 6A All-Stars in the annual Roundball Classic allstar event April 28-29 at Geneva College. Many of the top seniors — boys and girls — from the WPIAL and City League, as well as some stars from other districts will participat­e.

Smith, Petcash and Butler were all selected to the PostGazett­e’s Fabulous 5 team. Butler led the WPIAL in scoring during the regular season with 29.2 points per game. Smith averaged 26 and Petcash 19.9. Petcash helped PineRichla­nd win a WPIAL title and advance to the PIAA final.

“I’m looking most forward to being with the guys that I’ve always competed hard against, knowing next year we’ll be playing all over and not playing against each other,” Petcash said. “We have this one last time and this time we’re all together. We’re going to represent the WPIAL once we get out of here.”

Smith has teamed up with Petcash and Butler on the AAU circuit at times throughout his career.

“I actually did play with a bunch of those guys growing up. I played with Andrew for a couple years. I played with Austin this past year. It will be fun, but it will be a lot different than normal,” Smith said.

The 6A All-Stars will play the 5A/Prep All-Stars in the feature game at 8 p.m. April 29. Lincoln Park’s Nelly Cummings, the fifth-leading scorer in WPIAL history with 2,411 points, will also play in the event. He was the Post-Gazette’s Player of the Year.

Roundball director Allen Deep said he is excited about this year’s group of players that includes standouts from all six WPIAL boys champions and four of the six WPIAL girls champions, both City League champions, and PIAA Class A boys champion Kennedy Catholic.

“The Roundball is more about the area than the individual,” Deep said. “State champs, Hershey participan­ts, teams that every year compete for titles, whether it be Pine-Richland, Lincoln Park or New Castle, or the North Allegheny girls. We have powerhouse programs. State powerhouse programs. This is a very distinguis­hed crowd.”

On the girls side, the game between the 6A All-Stars and 5A/4A All-Stars features three players who were named state players of the year: Pine-Richland’s Amanda Kalin (6A), Trinity’s Sierra Kotchman (5A) and Cardinal Wuerl North Catholic’s Sam Breen (4A).

“It will be fun going against top players from other classifica­tions,” said Kalin, who averaged 23.2 points per game.

Breen led North Catholic to a WPIAL title and was the Post-Gazette’s Player of the Year. She finished her career with 2,488 points, 10th most in WPIAL history.

“I’m looking forward to getting to play with a bunch of different players I have played against and have never played with,” Breen said.

That game is loaded with Division I talent with eight players headed to play at that level.

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