Sunday, June 4Welcome

Royce Parham, North Hills boys go out to deal with unfinished business


Saturday, December 3, 2022 | 11:01 AM

North Hills enters a new season of high school boys’ basketball after one of the most successful years in show history.

But the way the season ended with a heartbreaking first loss in the WPIAL 6A title game and a loss in the PIAA playoffs left a sour taste in the mouths of the team’s players and coaches.

“It was a great run, but if we were 26-2, I would have thought we won something,” said manager Baz Gavos. “That was the hard part.”

The Indians started the 2021-22 season 24-0 before suffering a stunning loss to Fox Chapel at the Petersen Event Center. Archbishop Wood ended the season for North Hills with a 30-point win in the provincial quarter-finals a few days later.

“It’s been a great group with four seniors that we’re in the process of replacing,” added Gavos.

North Hills lost a lot. All four seniors were starters. That’s bad news. Good news for Indians? Their best player, and arguably he’s the WPIAL’s best player coming back as his senior year.

The 6.8-foot forward Royce Parham averaged 21 points and nine rebounds per game last season and shot more than 64 percent from the field.

“His game has expanded considerably over the last six to eight months,” Gavos said. “There were things he could have done last year, but we didn’t let him do it. But if you don’t give him a basketball around the basket, shame on you.

“Nobody else can do what he can around the basket like he does. We have to take advantage of him.”

Parham has received offers from several Division I programs including Pitt, Notre Dame, Marquette, Wisconsin, Maryland, Virginia Tech, and Penn State University.

But who complements Parham is the big question Gavos is trying to figure out.

Logan Johnson, a 6-foot junior, is the only player to have played for any significant amount of time last season. His sophomore point guard Zach Pollaro is in the mix, and his older brother Jake is back after season-ending hand surgery last winter.

“Until we figure it out, hopefully Reus is good enough to carry us on both sides,” Gavos said.

“When a team takes[Parham]we have to find a way to pay the price with the other shooters on the floor,” he said.

North Hills brings a lot of changes to their side of the court, but they also see a lot of changes on the opposition’s bench.

The Indians will be relegated from Class 6A to Class 5A this season, joining programs such as Chartiers Valley, Mars and Moon (all of whom have won WPIAL titles in recent years), plus the South Fayette and West Allegheny sections.

Gavos also set a demanding non-section schedule featuring matches against North Hill’s former Class 6A section rivals North Allegheny, Butler, Seneca Valley and Pine Richland.

“These games are fun and more accessible, so we wanted to keep them,” says Gabos. “Add to that a season where you have 26 wins to bring back the top players in the region, and some teams probably don’t want to play against you.

Gabos admits that this team will certainly take longer to come together than last year, when the North Hills dominated the WPIAL with win after win. But now their coach feels it may take him until January, when section play begins, for the team to make progress.

If so? Well, Gabos still sees his group as competitors.

“There is this unfinished business,” he said. “Let’s do it again. I know it won’t be easy. But if we come together and do things the right way, I think we can stand there again.”

“I don’t think we’ll go 26-2, but I think we’ll do pretty well.”

Tag: North Hills

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