A trio of Lawrence County basketball standouts propelled their teams into the WPIAL playoffs.
Their strong play earned them postseason accolades as well.
Shenango High’s Colin McQuiston along with Laurel’s Marcus Haswell and Luke Barker were named to the first-team all-WPIAL Section 3-2A squad.
McQuiston, a 6-foot senior point guard, scored 19.3 points a game with 44 3-pointers. He finished his stellar career with 1,425 career markers, third on the school’s all-time scoring list.
“He’s a pretty good player,” said Wildcats coach Bob McQuiston, who also is Colin’s dad. “He sees the floor well, he can score. He plays good defense.
“I thought he did what he needed to do for us to win this year. I think his main priority was to win and that could be said for all of the players on our team. It’s been good the last four years having a good point guard. You go how your point guard goes.”
McQuiston made 61.2 percent of his free throws as well. Shenango tied for second in the league with the Spartans, both with 8-4 league marks. The Wildcats fashioned a 19-7 overall ledger as well.
“As the season progressed, he shot the ball better,” Bob McQuiston said. “As the year progressed, he shot more outside shots, too. I thought his shooting improved throughout the year. His defense improved, too.
“His ball handling was great. He sees the floor well. He’s pretty quick with the ball and he’s strong with the ball.”
Shenango lost in the WPIAL semifinals to Sto-Rox and in the first round of the PIAA playoffs to Ridgway.
Haswell, a 5-10 junior guard, netted 17 points per game for Laurel.
“You have to perform well to get that honor,” Spartans coach Ken Locke said of Haswell receiving first-team status. “He works harder than anyone.
“He’s passionate and overall he had a really good year. He became more of a leader as the season went on. We’re certainly pleased with the season he had.”
Haswell tossed in 26 3-pointers and was 70 of 81 from the foul line (86.4 percent) as well.
“Marcus is a great foul shooter, he shoots it well,” Locke said. “His decision making is great.
“He’s such a good player, it’s hard to see drastic improvement because he’s such a good player. He’s just progressed really well throughout his career. He’s setting the bar higher and higher.”
Barker, a 5-11 junior guard, notched 13.8 points a game.
“He handles the ball great,” Locke said of Barker. “We could switch him and Marcus at the point; they both handle it great.
“He’s been very tough as a lockdown defender. He’s done a great job on the defensive end.”
Barker drained 34 3-pointers, while sinking 76.5 percent of his free throws (49 of 64).
“Those guys (Barker and Haswell), and even all of our guys, the whole team in general, shoots it well from the foul line,” Locke said. “These guys are in the gym constantly. It’s a game you have to have a ball in your hand all the time.
“These guys work just as hard as anybody. It just comes naturally. Luke is probably our best three-point shooter.”
Laurel posted a 14-9 overall record and was bounced from the WPIAL playoffs in the first round by Winchester Thurston.
Dante Spadafora and teammate Jake DiMichele (Our Lady of the Sacred Heart) along with Brandon Barber (South Side Beaver) also earned first-team recognition.
Our Lady of the Sacred Heart won the section championship with a 12-0 record. The Chargers captured the WPIAL title with a verdict over Sto-Rox. Our Lady of the Sacred Heart (26-1) is still alive in the PIAA playoffs and would play Farrell if the playoffs resumed.
FIRST TEAM: Dante Spadafora, Our Lady of the Sacred Heart; Jake DiMichele, Our Lady of the Sacred Heart; Colin McQuiston, Shenango; Marcus Haswell, Laurel; Luke Barker, Laurel; Brandon Barber, South Side Beaver.