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Mustangs land two on all-state basketball team

Two Portage starters were selected to the Class 2A Pennsylvania Sports Writers Boys All-State Basketball squad announced Tuesday evening.

Kaden Claar, a junior, made the second team and senior Preston Rainey landed on the third team.

Claar and Rainey helped the Mustangs make the PIAA Class 2A semifinals, the deepest playoff run in Portage boys basketball history, and led their team to its first District 6 championship.

Claar averaged 15.2 points per game and had a team-high 5.4 rebounds per game. He scored a team-high 26 points in a PIAA quarterfinal win over Kennedy Catholic and was the Mustangs’ leading scorer with 21 points in a PIAA semifinal loss to eventual state champion Our Lady of the Sacred Heart.

“He had a great season, and he proved to be a capable scorer at all levels,” Portage coach Travis Kargo said. “I thought he raised his level of play when the playoffs came around.”

Rainey led Portage by averaging 15.6 points per game, averaged 2.2 steals per game and upped his defensive game during his senior year. He scored his 1,000th point in the final game of his junior year.

“He’s been an emotional leader, and he’s battled every day for four years,” Kargo said. “One of the most impressive things about him this year was that he didn’t need to score as much, his average was down slightly, but he really focused on the defensive end and his focus also paid off in taking charges on that side of the floor. He took 22 charges, which is pretty great stuff.”

Glendale’s Ryan Sinclair also landed on the second team with Claar. Sinclair averaged 25.8 points and 9.2 rebounds per game for the Vikings.

“He did unbelievable. He had four good years and ended up with 1,455 points,” Glendale coach Steve Sinclair said. “He averaged 25 points per year this year alone. He put the work in, and he’s been the offensive force for us the last two years. He’s worked hard and earned everything he’s got. He worked in practice and had to work in every game he played in. He was double-teamed and sometimes triple-teamed and still put up good numbers.”

Tyler Poznanski, a senior at Conemaugh Township, represented District 5 by making the third team.

Our Lady of Sacred Heart’s Jake DiMichele was named the 2A Player of the Year, and his coach, Mike Rodriguez, won the coaching honors.

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