The bounces were kind to many basketball teams this season. They produced successful seasons, filled with a number of firsts and strong playoff performances.

The group of coaches leading these teams come from varied pasts but had one thing in common this year: winning seasons.

Boys basketball coaches Rick Bell of Canon-McMillan, Eugene Briggs of Chartiers-Houston and Tim Tessmer of Trinity and girls basketball coaches Bert Kendall of Peters Township, Laura Montecalvo of Chartiers-Houston and Jordan Watson of West Greene are finalists at the Tri-County Athletic Directors Coach of the Year Banquet, which will be held at 5 p.m. Sunday, April 29 at the DoubleTree by Hilton in Meadow Lands.

Tickets for the banquet are $35 each and are on sale at Washington Highw School, 201 Allison Avenue, Washington, Pa., 15301. Reservations can be made by calling Washington athletic director Mike Bosnic at 724-223-5085, ext. 2091.

All proceeds from the banquet benefit Special Olympics.

Winners will be revealed at the banquet.

Bell led the Big Macs to a second-place finish in Section 1 of Class 6A. Canon-McMillan beat Seneca Valley in the first round of the playoffs before falling to Woodland Hills in the quarterfinals. Canon-McMillan finished with a 21-3 record that included a 14-game winning streak.

There were a number of firsts for Briggs and the Bucs this season. Briggs led Chartiers-Houston to the Section 2-AA title and advanced to the WPIAL semifinals for the first time, where Sewickley Academy stopped the run. Conemaugh Township downed the Bucs in the first round of the state playoffs. The Bucs won a program-best 19 games against 7 losses.

Trinity enjoyed an outstanding season under Tessmer with the first 20-win season and first playoff appearance. The Hillers finished second in Section 1 of Class 5A. Trinity advanced to the WPIAL semifinals, and the second round of the state tournament, losing to Mars both times. The Hillers finished with a 21-6 record.

Kendall ended the regular season with a section title and 19-3 record, which was significant because Kendall finished his first season at PT with a 3-19 record. The Indians made it to the WPIAL Class 6A final, where nationally ranked North Allegheny won. Bethel Park eliminated Peters Township (21-5) in the state tournament.

Montecalvo led Chartiers-Houston to a second straight appearance in the WPIAL Class AA championship game, the first time that occurred since Immaculate Conception of the 1980s. The Bucs split the two meetings in the WPIAL finals against Vincentian Academy, winning last year. The Bucs advanced to the PIAA quarterfinals before falling to Bellwood Antis and finished with a 21-7 record.

Behind a quick and effective running game, West Greene became the first girls basketball team from Greene County to reach the WPIAL finals, where Winchester Thurston defeated the Pioneers. Watson led WG to a section title and silver medal in the WPIAL tournament. Farrell ended the Pioneers season in the first round of the state tournament. The Pioneers finished with a 22-4 record.

Assistant Sports Editor

Joe Tuscano has been with the Observer-Reporter since 1980. He has covered all sports for the newspaper, including the Steelers, Pirates, Pitt football, local college football and wrestling.

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