Five area basketball players have received all-state recognition from the panel of Pennsylvania Sports Writers.
Named to the all-state teams were Bishop Carroll’s Brandon Martinazzi on the Class A second team and teammate Marcus Lee on the third team. On the Class AA second team is Bishop McCort senior Nemo Trexler.
The two girls selected to the all-state team are both in Class A - Shade sophomore Emma Spinelli on the second team, and Portage’s Olivia McCabe on the third team.
Martinazzi, who was a third-team selection on the all-state team last year, and Lee were both members of the Huskies squad that had an amazing and successful season, winning both the Laurel Highlands Athletic Conference championship as well as the District 6-A crown.
Bishop Carroll advanced to the PIAA Tournament winning games over Clarion-Limestone, Monessen and North Catholic before falling to eventual state champion Lincoln Park Charter School in the semifinals. The Huskies were 28-1.
Martinazzi, a 5-foot-10 junior guard, led the team in scoring with 20.5 points per game while Lee, a 6-6 senior forward, added 16 points and 7.6 rebounds per game. Both topped 1,000 points for their careers on back-to-back nights in late January.
“I am so happy for him,” Bishop Carroll coach Cosie Aliquo said about Lee. “He had a great year and put the team on his back and helped carry us.”
About Martinazzi, Aliquo said: “What super year he had and the good news is that he is back for another year. He improved from day to day all year.”
Aliquo said that he thought it was probably the first time in school history that two players from the boys team were named all-state selections in the same season.
“This is great for the school, for our students, our fans and the basketball program,” Aliquo said.
Trexler, a 6-5 senior forward, averaged 19.7 points and 9.3 rebounds per game for the Crimson Crushers.
“I thought Nemo was one of the few guys in the area that you could depend on to have a double-double with points and rebounds in nearly every game,” Bishop McCort coach Jerry Murphy said. “He was very consistent. Of the over 80 games in his career, he had a double-double over 60 times. He was so athletic that he also contributed so many other intangibles including getting a big rebound or taking a big shot at key moments in a game.”
Trexler was also a second-team selection last year.
Spinelli, a 5-2 guard, averaged 22.4 points, 5.2 steals and five assists per game for the Panthers, who finished the season with a 22.6 record.
Shade played in the WestPAC title game as well as the District 5 championship and advanced to the second round of the PIAA championships before losing to Halifax.
“Emma plays with abandon and goes all out for the entire time she is on the court,” Shade coach Andy Muha said about Spinelli, who is also a catcher on the softball team. “I think that she got some notice when our team was able to go east in the state playoffs. I think that people were able to see what kind of player she was. She knew what the team meant to her and was instrumental in helping us to get where we did this season.”
Muha said she is the first girl from Shade to be selected to the all-state team.
“A lot of her hard work has paid off and I’m so happy and proud of her,” Muha said. “But she won’t just sit back and relax and will continue to strive to improve.”
McCabe, who is headed to Pitt-Johnstown in the fall, is a 6-1 senior guard. She averaged 14.5 points and 10.5 rebounds per game for a Mustangs squad which marched to its second straight WestPAC championship and a second consecutive appearance in the District 6 Class A title game. Portage finished 23-3.
“We were very excited to find out (about her selection to the all-state team),” Portage coach Lance Hudak said, noting that McCabe is the first girl from Portage to receive the all-state honor.
“Liv has worked hard since fourth grade to become the player that she is. She has a natural ability and is very athletic for her size. She sprints and jumps in track.
“The skill set she has, definitely has made her that much better. She is quick and moves well laterally. The sky is the limit for her as she moves on to UPJ. We are very proud of her.”
Cory Isenberg is a sports writer for The Tribune-Democrat. Follow her on Twitter at twitter.com/CoryIsenbergTD.