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Westmoreland County high school basketball notebook: Former coach says don’t count out Franklin Regional

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Thursday, March 21, 2024 | 11:01 AM


Steve Scorpion probably would not advise anybody to bet against Franklin Regional in Friday night’s PIAA Class 5A championships game.

The safe bet, he thinks, is Franklin Regional (27-3) giving Philadelphia powerhouse Imhotep Charter (28-3) a game.

Scorpion’s last run with the Panthers was three seasons ago when the current seniors were freshmen. He first began to mold players like Cam Rowell and Cooper Rankin.

“I’m really really happy for them,” Scorpion said. “I’ve coached most of the seniors during AAU since they were in seventh grade. I’ve coached the majority of the kids on the team during AAU the last couple years too, so I’ve seen how much work they’ve all put in during the offseason. I have seen up close how they’ve improved each year as players.”

Now an assistant at Kiski Area, Scorpion is enjoying watching his pupils make a run to state glory. He said it should not be such a surprise if the Panthers knock off two-time defending state champion Imhotep.

“They’re a great group of kids and I’m really glad that they were able to put it all together and have the success that they’re having this year,” he said. “I’ve seen these guys beat teams during AAU that nobody expected them to beat, so there’s no doubt in my mind that they’re talented enough to beat Imhotep.”

Thousand Island

Franklin Regional coach Jesse Reed is the second all-time leading scorer at Greensburg Central Catholic with 1,599 points. But if you think he’s the only one in his family to reach the scoring milestone, you’re way off.

Reed is one of — wait for it — nine members of his family to score 1,000 or more, eight of them at Saltsburg.

His sister, Janelle Baudinet, who played at Saint Vincent and later coached at Saltsburg, is also part of the list, which also includes six cousins and an uncle.

The other 1,000-point scorers are Jeremy Reed, Jesse’s uncle, and his cousins Joey Reed, Joshua Reed, Aaron Ulisse, Greg Ulisse, Sheena Muffie and Nick Porter.

Janelle Baudinet is married to Maryland-Baltimore County assistant men’s basketball coach Brian Baudinet.

Jesse Reed said he often contacts his brother-in-law to discuss coaching situations and to draw advice.

On the tube

The Franklin Regional-Imhotep Charter 5A state championship — and the 11 other PIAA finals — can be watched live via cable TV, but non-cable viewers must subscribe to PCN Select to watch the live streams.

County champs

Franklin Regional is looking to become the first boys basketball team from Westmoreland County to win a PIAA championship since Jeannette in 2008.

Three other schools from the county have won boys state titles: Irwin (1947, ‘48, ‘53, ‘54), Valley (1979) and Monessen (1988, ‘89).

Local girls PIAA champions are Franklin Regional (1979), Greensburg Central Catholic (1997) and Monessen (2004).

Brotherly love

Franklin Regional has two sets of brothers who will look to bring home multiple gold medals Friday night.

Senior Cooper Rankin is on the same roster with his brother, freshman Webber Rankin, while key junior reserve Drew Devola is a teammate of his brother, freshman Cole Devola.

Bill Beckner Jr. is a TribLive reporter covering local sports in Westmoreland County. He can be reached at [email protected].

Tags: Franklin Regional



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