Champions Are Made In the Offseason

Wetzel’s Warriors are on the prowl and looking to repeat as section champs.

Drew Palmer, Editor

 

Last year Wetzel’s Warriors finished 17-5 overall and 10-1 in the conference, which was good enough to win the section and cut the nets down after a 78-73 win at home against Hempfield in front of a blacked out den.

Returning is the big three: Sean Graytok, Jake Biss, and Austin Butler. These three were hard to stop last year, and will continue to tear up opponents this year. Last year Butler averaged around 20 points per game. For all you NBA fanatics, that’s about the same amount of points that future Hall of Famer Dwyane Wade averaged last season with the Miami Heat.

 

Both Graytok and Butler were named to the Quad A All Section team along with coach Wetzel, who won coach of the year. Biss has been known for his smarts and moves. “Jake has great basketball IQ and moves well. He is also a very good on-ball defender so the opponent needs to stay on his toes!” said hoopgroup.com about Biss.

According to pittsburghbasketballreport.com, Graytok is ranked #3 in the Class of 2016, while Butler sits at #6 and Biss at #13 for the Class of 2017. Ryan Soisson is also an Honorable Mention in the Class of 2016. These three, along with the rest of the roster that is still TBD, will be a force to reckon with in Quad A.

Many young kids are coming up the pipes, like freshman Reed Fenton. Last season, Fenton won a section title while starting at point guard for the 9th grade team, as an 8th grader. This year, Fenton looks for varsity minutes. “Reed takes a lot of reps with the varsity team during practices, and does pretty well,” said sophomore Luke Stein. Reed also plays AAU basketball, for the Pittsburgh Storm Elite.

 

Preseason workouts, already? Of course. Winning a section title isn’t easy, especially with the pressure of a potential repeat. To avoid an early playoff exit like last year, Wetzel’s Warriors have been at it since the early summer months. Optional workouts twice a week included weight room sessions and open gyms have now extended to before-school practices. Every Friday the Cats are treated to breakfast and sent through a course of shooting drills, along with after school yoga. After school practices are also held on Monday and Wednesday.

“We have to be on the court at 6:00 A.M.. It sucks to have to wake up at 5:00, but I know it will all be worth it one day. We just have to keep grinding” said sophomore guard Matt Pernelli. Pernelli is one of many moving up to the high school level this year after capturing the section title with the 9th grade team last year.

With a section title repeat and WPIAL championship in the Wildcats dreams, this is where it begins, the offseason. Go Cats!