Avella’s Drazich goes out a winner
Kenna Drazich thought her days of high school basketball were over when Avella lost its Class A first-round playoff game to Aliquippa, but when she was invited to play in Friday’s 30th Annual Washington-Greene County All-Star Basketball Game, she welcomed the challenge.
Representing the White team, Drazich scored a game-high 16 points to lead her team to a 61-52 victory at all-star game in Wash High’s historic gymansium.
Drazich, who averaged 13 points per game for the Eagles, used her skills at both ends of the court and made two three-pointers in the win.
“It was definitely a lot of fun,” Drazich said. “I like playing with different players and against different ones. It was nice to get one last high school game in.”
While she hit a clutch three-pointer to seal the win, it was a play on the defensive end that shifted the momentum. After trailing 16-5 in the opening four minutes, Drazich and her team stormed back. With the White team leading 56-53 with 36 remaining and the Red team with possession, Drazich stole the ball and was immediately fouled.
She hit the ensuing free throws, and her three-point shot with just second remainings made her the game’s leading scorer.
White team coach Jordan Watson, whose West Greene team was swept by Avella during the regular season, said it was a relief to have Drazich on his team.
“She hit those free throws down the stretch, and she’s a big-time player,” Watson said.
While it was Drazich who led her team in scoring, it was Chartiers-Houston forward Addy Knetzer who received the Most Valuable Player award for the White team. Knetzer dominated the lane, grabbing rebound after rebound, and finished with 13 points.
Knetzer, who is debating between playing at Washington & Jefferson, Waynesburg or leaving athletics behind, said it was nice to finish her high school career with a win – even if it was in an all-star contest.
“It’s different when you don’t have plays to memorize and anything, but it was nice to get one last game in,” Knetzer said. “(Winning the MVP) isn’t a big deal to me. I wouldn’t have scored those points if it wasn’t for my teammates.”
The moment was special for two of Watson’s West Greene players – Madison and Alyssa Raber. The two were able to get one last game in together before they graduate. They exited the game at the same time and even arrived late together. The Pioneers’ softball team had an extra-innings game against Monessen in the afternoon, and while Watson hoped they would be able to make it for tip-off, he was still relieved they got some to play together one last time.
“I was praying for rain all day, but it didn’t happen,” Watson joked. “It was great that they were able to go out with a win, and it’s special because I’ve been coaching those two since they were in sixth grade.”
Wash High’s India March picked up the MVP trophy for the Red team after she scored 12 points. McGuffey’s Abby Pattison had 11 points for the White team, which was coached by the Highlanders’ Amanda Burchett.