With the tip-off tournaments in the books, the high school basketball season for 2012-13 is officially underway.
Among the weekend’s games, the Blacklick Valley boys pulled off what I consider one of the biggest upsets.
Playing at the Bill Lamp Tournament in Rockwood, the Vikings’ Dalton Cesarz hit a 3-pointer with just eight seconds to go to lift Blacklick to a victory over defending District 6 Class A champion Northern Cambria.
The challenge of the close contest should help both squads as they head into their respective conference schedules this week.
Other area boys champions included Shade at the Chestnut Ridge Tournament, Penn Cambria at the Ron Davidson Tourney at Central Cambria and host Somerset at the Pine Grill Classic.
Among the ladies, Forest Hills and Portage claimed the titles of their respective tournaments and Richland won the Windber Tournament.
Area teams also fared well in Indiana County with Westmont Hilltop getting the win at Marion Center, Central Cambria claiming the Homer-Center crown and Conemaugh Township besting host Penns Manor.
Top teams: In a poll of 11 WestPAC coaches, Shade was the runaway winner as the boys team to beat this season.
The Panthers have four returning starters including two of the top players to watch as selected by conference coaches in seniors Ryan Fyock and Wade Walker.
Conemaugh Township, Blacklick Valley, Berlin Brothersvalley and Shanksville-Stonycreek also received votes as teams to watch.
Cesarz and Johnny Sheesley of Blacklick Valley, Dillon Boyer of Conemaugh Township, Drew Glotfelty of Berlin and Carter Slade of Shanksville all have gotten the attention of the league’s coaches.
In the girls WestPAC poll, 11 coaches pointed to Conemaugh Township as the team with the bull’s-eye on them.
Other teams who earned points include Berlin, Conemaugh Valley, Portage, Meyersdale, Windber, Rockwood and North Star.
Three of the Township players were touted among the best players with the Baer twins, Carly and Lyndy, along with Megan Boyer topping the list.
Portage’s Olivia McCabe and Emily Chobany, Jamie Cekada of Conemaugh Valley, Shelby Coughenour of Berlin and Kayla Stockenus of Shanksville also received votes.
At the Laurel Highlands media day, the boys from Bishop McCort and Penn Cambria were chosen as the top contenders while the girls from Bishop Guilfoyle and defending champion Forest Hills have targets on their backs.
Individually, the boys coaches have tagged Bishop McCort’s Nemo Trexler and Penn Cambria’s A.J. Leahey as the top two players.
Others earning at least two points included: Kyle Flick of Richland, Jake Close of Somerset, Phil Madison of Greater Johnstown, Isaac Vescovi of Cambria Heights and Brandon Martinazzi of Bishop Carroll.
Halee Adams of Bishop Guilfoyle and Forest Hills’ Casey Gallaher were the top vote getters among LHAC girls coaches.
Other players to watch with at least two votes are: Kayla Bates of Guilfoyle; Sarah Pfeil and Katie Gehlmann of Richland; Tori Shingler of Penn Cambria; and Westmont’s Erin Rodgers and Paige Lamberson.
In the Heritage, the boys of Ligonier Valley, Northern Cambria and Homer-Center and the girls of Ligonier, Blairsville and Homer-Center were listed as the teams to beat.
Cory Isenberg is a sports writer for The Tribune-Democrat.