There not much doubt who the best player on the court is night after night for the Ellwood City Lincoln boys basketball team.
Even with that not knowledge, opponents have not been able to slow down senior guard Anthony Roth.
Last week, Roth puts up 16 points in a 55-51 win over Union and 23 more in a 75-66 victory over Wilmington to lead the Wolverines to a Neshannock Holiday Tournament championship. Roth was named to the all-tournament team and, because of his performance, was selection as the Lawrence County High School Athlete of the Week sponsored by Washington Centre Physical Therapy and chosen by the New Castle News sports staff.
“He’s been very, very consistent,” Ellwood City coach Steve Antuono said of Roth. “We knew what he could do coming into the season and he’s definitely living up to the hype. Not only is he scoring for us, he’s facilitating well and really running our offense.”
Roth, whose brother Rick also played for Ellwood City and now suits up for Westminster College, currently leads the county in scoring at 22.9 points per game and surpassed the 1,000-point mark for his career in a 55-42 win over Steel Valley on Dec. 20. He currently sits at 1,084 points for his career.
“It was really fun getting that 1,000 points,” Roth said. “It was just a great experience and I got to do it at home, too. It took a lot of hard work and dedication.”
Roth’s biggest improvement in his senior year has not come as a scorer, however, but as a floor general and a facilitator. Antuono said he’s been pleased with the way Roth has become more efficient and added that the entire offense runs through him.
“Anthony is very smart about the game,” he said. “He has a knack for finding open people late in the game when we have the ball. There’s no one on my team I want to have the ball late in the game more than him. We know Anthony is going to get his points, but we are at our best when we’re balanced. He helps us balance things out.”
The two tournament wins leave Ellwood City at 7-3 overall, but the Wolverines have struggled slightly with inconsistent play all season, including a 52-50 loss to New Brighton to open section play. Roth says the holiday tournament win gives his teammates and him confidence as they enter the heart of the season.
“It was huge,” Roth said of the holiday tourney title. “We just took a tough loss against New Brighton, so those are big wins. I think everyone has to continue to play together. I think we’re a really tough team, we just need to play together.”
With Roth at the controls, Ellwood City looks to continue to make a push toward a second-straight WPIAL Class 3A playoff appearance.
“Now we kind of know what we’re capable of,” Roth said. “I need to continue to play at a high level and the team needs to continue to play at at a high level and if we do that we’ll be back where we want to be.”