Gateway Takes On Central Catholic In Tonight’s Game of the Week

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Fresh off an overtime victory on Wednesday night, the Gateway Gators (9-3) visit the Pittsburgh Central Catholic Vikings (7-5) tonight in the MSA Sports & Quad-A Conference Boys’ Basketball Game of the Week. The Gators remained undefeated in Section 2-AAAA  with a dramatic 58-56 overtime win over Fox Chapel two nights ago. Gateway, now 5-0 in the section, saw a 12-point fourth quarter lead vanish but persevered in overtime thanks to a 17 point performance from Tom Kromka.

Central Catholic is also entering tonight’s contest coming off a victory as the Vikings hammered Woodland Hills, 76-39, to move to 4-1 in section play. Central Catholic was paced by freshman Paris Ford’s 15 points and outscored the Wolverines, 32-11, in the second half. The Vikings lone section loss came at the hands of the Plum Mustangs on January 3.

Gateway is led by ninth-year head coach Mitch Adams and Central Catholic is guided by long-time head coach Chuck Crummie who is in his 34th year.  Both teams are well-schooled and will be ready for a prime Section 2 battle.

The Gators bring a wealth of athleticism to the floor with Division I football recruits Delvon Randall (Temple University), Montae Nicholson (Michigan State) and Brenon Thrift (Temple University) all logging significant minutes on the hardwood.  Point guard Shomari Thomas is a three-year starter, and Tom Kromka is another three-year starter who will continue his basketball career at Carnegie Mellon University next season.  Kromka continues a family tradition of Gateway basketball with three older siblings having come through the Gators program.  Kromka’s younger brother, Jim, is a junior on the current Gateway team.

Central Catholic knows a thing or two about athletic football players who don basketball jerseys in the winter.  However, the extended run to Hershey for the Vikings football team left the basketball roster a bit depleted.  The Vikings turned the situation in their favor as younger players, such as freshmen Paris Ford and Kenny Robinson, saw significant varsity time and will be key figures off the bench in the games to come.  With six players having returned from football season, the Vikings have depth to begin the long haul of the Section 2 schedule. Add those players to regular starters Alex Schoppen, Kevin Wharton-Price, Sean Whelen and Bobby Kiernan, and the Vikings will be a dangerous team down the stretch.

Over the years, Gateway has struggled when visiting Central Catholic, going just 2-21 all-time at Alumni Hall. The Vikings defeated the Gators last season in Oakland when Sam Calhoun hit his sixth three-pointer of the game with two seconds left for a 79-76 win. However, Gateway has won four of the last five in this series, including the 2012 WPIAL Championship Game.

Tip-off for tonight’s game is slated for 7:30 pm at Central Catholic with the pre-game show starting at 7:15 pm.  Randy Gore and Don Rebel will have the call.  You can listen to tonight’s game live or on archive by clicking here.