What Would Your "Fab 5" Look Like?
Before he graduates high school, Ethan Morton will be trying to win a WPIAL Boys Basketball championship for Butler.
SOURCE: Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Pam Panchak
WPIAL basketball is now in full swing as each WPIAL team has played at least one game this season. Even though it is only Christmas Eve, I decided to predict, so far, who I think will be on Pittsburgh Post-Gazette's Fab 5 for Boys and Girls Basketball for the 2019-20 WPIAL Basketball season.
1. Lizzy Groetsch (North Allegheny, 2021): The star guard has led her Tigers to a 5-0 start with a 3-0 section record. With Rachel Martindale now graduated from North Allegheny, it's the next woman up for the Tigers and I feel that Groetsch has made that step to becoming the leader for the team. With the Marisa twins, and Isabella Mills not playing for Peters Township anymore, Groetsch definitely has to have the mindset that 6A should belong to them this season. In her first five games, she has averaged 18.4 points per game. She is no doubt the leading scorer for the Tigers. To me, she has Fab 5 material.
2. Emma Waite (Taylor Allderdice, 2020): Even though Waite is not the tallest basketball player, she is a very nice scorer. She averaged 16.9 points per game in her junior year, last year. In the first game of the season for Taylor Allderdice, Waite was able to score 26 points in an 83-56 win over Amaia Johnson's East Allegheny team. Usually to me, it seems that the Post-Gazette chooses at least one player from the City League to be in the Fab 5 for both Boys and Girls basketball. If your choosing one city league player in Girls basketball to be in the Fab 5, it has to be Waite. She has led her team to a 6-1 overall record and can definitely lead her to team to a City League championship this year.
3. Tess Myers/Kylee Lewandowski (North Catholic, 2020): I can't pick between Tess and Kylee of who would be in the Fab 5. I could not tell you a time in which the Post-Gazette picked two Girls basketball players in the same year on the same team. Tess and Kylee are both just so good that as long as the Post-Gazette picked one of these two players, I would be happy. Myers is going to attend Duquesne University to play basketball next year while Lewandowski is going to attend Richmond to play basketball next year. A lot of us expect North Catholic to four-peat as WPIAL champions this year. With Myers and Lewandowski leading the squad, there is no reason why the Trojans should not four-peat.
4. Olivia Westphal (Bethel Park, 2021): Westphal is only a junior and has led the Blackhawks to a 6-0 record overall. I would not be surprised if we see North Allegheny and Bethel Park play for the 6A WPIAL championship in late February as Westphal has the ability to carry her team to a championship.
5. Aislin Malcolm/Megan McConnell (Chartiers Valley, 2022/2020): It is crazy to think about, but Chartiers Valley has the ability to repeat as WPIAL and PIAA champions and repeat of having an undefeated season. Chartiers Valley won the KSA Classic Tournament this past Saturday against Argyle, a high school in Texas. Argyle High School have won state titles in Texas, in 4A, for five straight years (2015-19). The fact the Colts beat a five-time state champion team is so impressive to me. Anyway, McConnell is going to play college basketball at Duquesne University next year while Malcolm continues to be racking up Division 1 offers. If this team is able to repeat as WPIAL or PIAA champions, it would only be respectful if one of these two athletes would be on the Fab 5. Malcolm and McConnell's high school teammate, Mackenzie Wagner, was on the Fab 5 Girls team, last year.
1. Ethan Morton (Butler, 2020): Morton has to be considered the best Boys basketball player in the WPIAL. This man can do it all. He can score points, rebound the ball, play defense, set up a pick and roll, make free throws, and has a nice euro step move. Morton will be playing college basketball at Purdue University next year and was part of the Post-Gazette's Fab 5 in 2018 and 2019. Like, I will bet $5,000 that he is on the Fab 5 again in 2020. That's how much trust I have in Morton. He is trying to win a WPIAL Boys Basketball championship this year, in his senior year of high school. All the pressure is on Butler as we all expect them to hoist the 6A crown this year. Four of the five players that started against Mt. Lebanon in the WPIAL 6A Boys Basketball championship, last year, have all returned this year. It's go time for Morton.
2. Rodney Gallagher (Laurel Highlands, 2023): Butler was hyped when they saw Morton play basketball in his freshman year (2016-17 WPIAL Season). They were ready to start becoming successful when Morton got into high school. Laurel Highlands is ready to watch Rodney Gallagher lead the Mustangs to a WPIAL championship. Last year, Laurel Highlands, realized that the 2019-20 season would be special when Gallagher comes up to high school and plays on the Varsity basketball team. In the first six games, Gallagher has averaged 21.3 points per game for the Mustangs. Even if Laurel Highlands, does not win the WPIAL 5A trophy, if Gallagher can lead his team deep into the playoffs, with perhaps a PIAA tournament appearance, there should be no question that he should be in the Fab 5. Laurel Highlands had a total of 4 wins last year and I expect them to have more than 4 wins this season and make an appearance in the WPIAL playoffs.
3. Jake DiMichele/Dante Spadafora (Our Lady of the Sacred Heart, 2022/2021): I am so serious when I say that the Chargers can be undefeated in the regular season this year. This team has the ability to repeat as WPIAL champions and DiMichele and Spadafora are playing lights out. They are both averaging at least 25 points per game and to me, they both have to be considered one of the best duos in not just Boys Basketball but one of the best duos in all of WPIAL Basketball. These two should help the Chargers repeat as WPIAL champions as the sky is the limit is for both of them. Now to me, both of these players deserve to be in the Fab 5, but the Post-Gazette is probably only going to choose one of these athletes.
4. Mekhi Reynolds (Shaler, 2020): After Reynolds defeated Mars on December 17, 2019, I think a spark has lit up for Shaler. Reynolds was dealing with an injury in that game and still scored 26 points. Now, Shaler has other players that can play, but this is the time that Reynolds gets under the spotlight. This dude has the ability to get Shaler down to the Petersen Events Center in late February and after beating Mars they are all in. With Keandre Bowles, Donovan Johnson, Andrew Recchia, the Ryan twins at Moon, and Jackson Blaufeld/Bobby Clifford all playing in the WPIAL/City League last year, they got a lot of attention for leading their team to wins which gave Reynolds less attention. Now, with all the players that I just listed gone, Reynolds has more time to shine under the spotlight and he is going to show everybody why he deserves to be Fab 5 material.
5. Isiah Warfield (Central Valley, 2020): Warfield is going to play college basketball at Liberty University next year. Warfield has the ability to help lead the Warriors to a section title. Even though he is not allowed to play in the WPIAL and PIAA playoffs, if he can get Central Valley to the playoffs, it would only be right if he makes the Fab 5. Central Valley's overall record was 7-14 last year, did not make the WPIAL playoffs, with no Warfield. With Warfield on the team, they should have at least double digit wins even though they play in a tough section with Quaker Valley, New Castle, and Ambridge.
BY Hilton: email@example.com and Twitter @BYHilton13