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BC’s McDannell earns first-team all-state

Tristan McDannell ended his on-court high school basketball career by making three free throws with 1.6 seconds left and his team down by two points to win a hard-fought PIAA Class 1A second-round game against Shade at the University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown.

Earlier this morning, he wrapped up the experience with one more accomplishment. After being honored on the second team of the Pennsylvania Sportswriters Class 1A All-State boys basketball squad the past two seasons, McDannell was picked for the first team for his efforts this past year.

“He’s at the gym all the time,” Bishop Carroll coach Cosie Aliquo said. “It’s well deserved. To get first team in Pennsylvania is pretty rock solid.”

McDannell appreciated the recognition, not just for himself, but for Aliquo’s program.

“There’s a lot of great kids who have gone through and made first team,” McDannell said. “I’m glad our school gets recognized, too. That’s three years in a row that I’ve made a team, so that’s pretty big for the basketball program and the school.”

McDannell was picked to the first team of the Altoona Mirror All-Star team for the second consecutive year earlier this month.

“I’ve put in a lot of hours. A lot of hours by myself and a lot of hours with the coaching staff,” McDannell said. “I’ve put time in with my brother, and it’s just tireless work. That’s all it is. Waking up every day and getting after it.”

The senior guard averaged 22.2 points per game while helping the Huskies make it to the PIAA quarterfinals before the COVID-19 pandemic halted the season. McDannell also helped Bishop Carroll make the PIAA semifinals as a sophomore.

“When he came up in ninth grade, from the beginning until the end, he’s gotten better every day,” Aliquo said. “He comes to the gym and works hard. He tries to get better, and he absolutely did.”

Cornell junior guard Kaden DiVito was picked as the Class 1A Player of the Year, and Dan Spangler of Chester Charter was selected as the 1A Coach of the Year. Aliquo also received votes for the coaching honor. Two juniors from District 5, Turkeyfoot Valley’s Tanner Colflesh and Berlin Brothersvalley’s Elijah Sechler, also made the first team. Another, Shade junior Vince Fyock, was honored on the second team.

The Class 2A boys all-state team will be announced Tuesday morning, 3A on Wednesday, 4A Thursday, 5A Friday and 6A on Saturday.

McDannell plans to continue his basketball career but hasn’t decided on a destination yet.

“It’s awesome to get recognized for something like this,” McDannell said. “But I do have bigger goals. I plan on playing college basketball and making a huge impact there. It feels good to be recognized for your hard work, but there’s bigger things ahead.”

Aliquo expects the same.

“Wherever he goes, they are going to get a solid player on and off the court,” Aliquo said. “He’ll go there, work hard and do really well.”

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