The question has been asked a few times. Where is Sal Biasi — Hazleton Area’s high-scoring, deadly-shooting guard — going to be playing next season?
The answer — Penn State. The complete answer adds some shock. It’s for baseball.
Biasi will giving up his one love for another.
“It was really tough,” Biasi said. “I really don’t know how to describe it. Division I schools from major conferences started talking to me (about baseball).”
And why not. Biasi hit .487 with an on-base percentage of .571 as a junior shortstop. On the mound, he had a 1.71 ERA. Penn State baseball coach Rob Cooper was quoted on the university’s website that he believes Biasi can help out as both a hitter and pitcher.
A number of college basketball programs, many from the Patriot League and Ivy League, wanted him as well. Biasi has been a catalyst for Hazleton Area’s basketball team throughout his career. He can take over a game like few before him. He is averaging just under 29 points per game playing some of the top teams in the state. The Cougars aren’t shy about stacking their non-conference schedule.
“I like them both. They’re two different games,” Biasi said.
One deciding factor was where either sport could take him after college. As dynamic as Biasi is on the court, he’s just 5-foot-11. It would be difficult for him to carve out a possible professional career even at a low-level league overseas. Baseball is different. Its players come in all sizes. The annual Major League Baseball draft lasts 40 rounds and nearly 1,200 players are selected.
If Biasi continues to progress on the diamond, he could be one of them. He could live every kid’s dream of getting a shot at being a pro.
“I think I can advance farther in the game,” Biasi said. “So I looked at that.”
That’s a long way off. Right now, Biasi and his Cougar teammates are interested in winning the WVC Division I title. Then the District 2-4 Class 4A tournament. Then making a run in states.
But once that’s over, it’s play ball.
TIMES LEADER TOP 10
This will be the first time the Times Leader runs top-10 rankings for District 2 boys basketball. A top-15 ranking is done for football and it’s much easier to do.
Basketball is a little more tricky because of the ebb and flow of the game. For example, a 12-point loss could have actually been more competitive than a four-point loss. A football box score tells much more.
Anyway, we’ll give it a try. Remember, it’s just for amusement purposes.
The Tunkhannock at Hazleton Area game was moved from Friday to Saturday, with tipoff scheduled for 7:15 p.m.
Hazleton Area hosts Williamsport on Thursday in a game that could be a preview of the District 2-4 Class 4A championship. Williamsport (6-5) will be playing its fourth WVC opponent. The Millionaires lost to Crestwood 67-56 and GAR 63-36, and defeated Wyoming Valley West 64-51.
Scranton Prep, which will be part of a crowded and challenging D2-3A playoff field, defeated winless Western Wayne 103-48 Friday. It was the second time the Cavaliers (13-1) have scored more than 100 points this season. They opened their schedule by defeating Dallas 101-57.
After checking a few sources, it appears the last time a District 2 team scored 100 points was during the 2003-04 season, when Scranton defeated Coughlin 102-82.
FIRST TO 1,000
Lake-Lehman’s Pete Borum scored his 1,000th career point Friday in a 58-39 victory over Northwest. Borum finished with a double-double — 18 points and 14 rebounds. He was the first WVC player this season to reach 1,000 points.
Wyoming Area suffered its 19th consecutive loss Friday, falling 86-53 to Holy Redeemer. However, the Warriors scored at least 50 points for the first time during that slide. It’s been a very rough year for the Warriors, who have scored 12 and 15 points in games.
TWICE TO 40
Tunkhannock’s Austin Yanora has scored at least 40 points twice during the WVC season. He netted 47 against Berwick on Jan. 9 and had 40 against Coughlin on Friday.
Hazleton Area’s Sal Biasi did it three times last season. Biasi had 41 against Crestwood, and torched Wyoming Valley West twice for 41 and 40 points.