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Pennsylvania sports writers honor state's top small-school boys' basketball players

Nisine Poplar

Some small-school players made quite a large impact this past season in Pennsylvania high school boys’ basketball.

Two, in particular, caught the attention of the state’s sports writers when it came time to honor Pennsylvania’s top players in Class 2-A and Class 1-A from the 2019-2020 campaign.

Nisine Poplar, a 6-4 junior guard from Philadelphia charter school Math, Civics & Science, was named the state’s 2-A Player of the Year. In 1-A, that honor went to Kaden DiVito, 5-11 senior guard from Cornell, a public school in Coraopolis, Allegheny County.

Poplar led the Mighty Elephants to a 2-A state title in 2019 and was still playing in the state quarterfinals when the coronavirus pandemic ended the 2020 season. The District 12 champions finished 24-5. MC&S won this year’s Philadelphia Public League title, knocking off Class 6-A power Simon Gratz in the final.

The NCAA Division I recruit made the all-state second team a year ago and averaged 22 points and five rebounds this season. He has college offers from Maryland, Auburn, Penn State, Temple, St. Joseph’s, Miami, Wichita State and Virginia Commonwealth, among others.

The 2-A Coach of the Year is Mike Rodriguez of District 7 champion Our Lady of Sacred Heart in suburban Pittsburgh. OLSH was 26-1 and through to the state quarterfinals when the games stopped, having won its two state games by a combined 76 points. Rodriguez is a former FBI agent.

Kaden DiVito

DiVito, meanwhile, scored 20.8 points per game for a team that reached the District 7 title game and then won two games to reach the PIAA quarterfinals. DiVito, who made the second team a year ago, will play at Washington & Jefferson College, an NCAA Division III program. He finished his career with 1,970 points for Cornell, which finished 20-7 in 2019-2020. 

The state 1-A Coach of the Year is Dan Spangler of Chester Charter after he led his team to a 20-5 mark, a District 1 title and a state quarterfinal berth in his first year at the helm and only the third year of the school’s existence.

The 6-A, 5-A, 4-A and 3-A all-state honorees will be announced later this week. There weren’t any York-Adams League players on the 2-A or 1-A all-state teams. The only District 3 player honored on either the 2-A or 1-A all-state teams was Nathan Blasick, a 6-3 senior from Halifax, who made the 1-A second team.

Reach Steve Heiser at sheiser@yorkdispatch.com.




Class 2-A

First team

(Player of the Year): Nisine Poplar, 6-4 Jr. G,  Math, Civics & Science

Keshaun Hammonds, 6-0 Sr. G, Constitution 

Jake DiMichele, 6-3 Soph. F, Sacred Heart 

Dante Spadafora, 6-0 Sr. G, Sacred Heart

Andy Zuchelli, 6-2 Sr. G North Star

Abe Atiyeh, 6-0 Sr. G, Moravian Academy 

Second Team

Isaac Marshall, 6-2 Sr. F, Academy of the New Church

Jevin Muniz, 6-5 Jr. G, Executive Education

Malik Smith, 6-3 Sr. G, Sto-Rox

Tvon Jones, 6-4 Sr. G, Math, Civics & Science

Malik Ramsey, 6-3 Sr. G, California

Tyler Fritz, 6-3 Sr. F, Marian Catholic

Third Team

Jessiah Witherspoon, 5-10 Sr. G, Bishop Guilfoyle 

Eric Hopson, 6-2 S. F, Farrell

Jackson Piotrowski, 6-6 Sr. F, Delco Christian

Kieran Burrier, 6-0 Sr. F, Holy Cross

Titus Wilkins, 6-4 Sr. F, Executive Education 

Darius Ellis, 6-7 Sr. F, Dock Mennonite 

Coach of the year: Mike Rodriguez, Sacred Heart.

Class 1-A

First Team

(Player of the Year): Kaden DiVito, 5-11 Sr. G, Cornell

Tanner Colflesh, 6-1 Jr. G, Turkeyfoot Valley

Davion Hill, 6-0 Fr. G, St. John Neumann

Angelo Reeves, 6-6 Jr. F Vincentian Acad. 

Tristan McDannell, 5-11 Sr. G Bishop Carroll

Elijah Sechler, 5-11 Jr. G, Berlin Brothersvalley

Second Team

David Hill, 6-1 Jr. G, St. John Neumann

Nathan Blasick, 6-3 Sr. G, Halifax 

Vinnie Cugini, 5-11 Fr. G, Aquinas Academy

Grant Sareyka, 5-11 Sr. G, The Christian Academy

Vince Fyock, 6-0 Jr. G Shade 

Symir Preister, 6-4 Jr. G, Sankofa Freedom

Third Team

Isaiah Langston, 6-2 Sr. F, Cornell

Kegan Hertz, 6-6 Jr. F, Nativity BVM

Malik Cook-Stephens, 6-3 Jr. G, Chester Charter

Hayden Callen, 6-4 Jr. F, Clarion-Limestone

Darian Keyser, 6-6 Sr. F, Jamestown 

Isiah Mitchell, 5-9 Sr. G, The Christian Acad. 

Marquis Ratcliff, 6-5 Soph. F, Nativity BVM

Coach of the year: Dan Spangler, Chester Charter.