Heath Humble in Getting 600th Win at Keystone

KNOX, Pa. (D9Sports) – If you had asked Greg Heath two weeks ago how close he was to 600 career wins, the 35th-year Keystone boys’ basketball mentor would have looked at you sideways.

(Greg Heath with his 2018 team after Keystone beat A-C Valley for Heath’s 600th career point)

Relisten to the game:

“I don’t keep track of that stuff at all,” Heath said during a pregame interview prior to his team giving him career win No. 600 with a 56-38 victory over visiting A-C Valley before a packed house at Keystone High School.

After the game, the veteran coach, who saw his team improve to 12-3 overall and 5-1 in the KSAC South while taking over sole possession of first place in the South thanks to Karns City’s loss to Redbank Valley, said what did mean a lot to him was the number of former players and coaches who came back to celebrate the milestone.

“What really meant a lot (and) you really start to care when you see all those former players and your former coaches coming down to join you,” Heath said. “That means something. I didn’t score a single point in those 600 wins. They are the ones who did the work. It’s all about them.”

One of the former players to join Heath in the postgame photo with former and current players and coaches – over 50 of them in all – was Patrick Irwin, who played for Heath in the early 2000s and who has followed Heath into the coaching profession as the head coach at nearby Cranberry High School. What made Irwin’s presence so special was the fact that he had a game Friday night – one that he coached in – but as soon as it was over he made sure to get to Keystone to see his mentor.

And that leads into something else Heath said in the pregame interview.

“If high school sports isn’t about a lot more than winning and losing, then why have high school sports?” Heath said. “There are lessons to be learned and lifetime connections to be made, and hopefully, I have done a good job with that.”

The atmosphere had that of an old-time game at Keystone or a perhaps a playoff game. The parking lot and the gym were full by 6:30 p.m. for the 7:30 p.m. tip-off, and the crowd had an exciting feel to it.

“I just thought there were a lot of elementary cheerleaders, that’s all,” Heath said referencing the fact it was Elementary Cheerleading Night. “You could kind of feel it in the air. There was some excitement there.”

Watch all of Heath’s postgame interview.

As for the game itself, it was perhaps a quintessential Heath-coached win.

The Panthers were without two starters – Isaak Jones and Conner Exley – to injuries but got production all up and down their lineup led by Dawson Steele, Andrew Lauer and Troy Johnson, who all scored in double digits.

“That’s how it has been all year,” Heath said. “But it was even more meaningful tonight in that we were down a couple of key players and guys came off the bench and stepped it up for us.”

Steele led the Panthers with 17 points and helped penetrate the A-C Valley zone.

“He is very good at getting to the paint,” his teammate Lauer, who was named the Hager Paving Player of the Game after scoring 14 points and grabbing seven rebounds while also playing strong defense, said. “He is really sneaky. He can fit through the holes. He is pretty good.”

Steele was right in the middle of a 7-0 second-quarter run that took a tie game and turned it into a 25-15 halftime lead for Keystone.

The Panthers still led by nine, 42-33, after the third quarter – the lead could have been more except for the unconscious shooting of A-C Valley’ Eli Penny, who scored 12 of his team-high 14 points in the third quarter while hitting a pair of 3-pointers.

But in the fourth, Keystone started to pull away thanks in part to Lauer, who scored four straight points to push the lead to 38-33 with just under five minutes to play.

“Someone had to pick up the scoring since Isaak is one of our big scorers,” Lauer said. “I just need to shoot more and got some to go in.”

Lauer said it was an honor to play a part in Heath’s 600th win.

“It’s amazing,” Lauer said. “I don’t even know how to explain it. To just be here for his 600th. He has coached so many players over the years. You saw that group photo. There were so many people like half the gym was down there with us.”

Watch all of Lauer’s postgame interview.

Johnson added 11 points for Keystone.

Eddie Stevanus (11 points, 11 rebounds) and Levi Orton (10 points, 10 rebounds) each had double-doubles for A-C Valley, which fell to 4-10 overall and 0-6 in the KSAC South.

Keystone is back in action when it hosts Karns City Tuesday. A-C Valley hosts Punxsutawney Monday.

Heath is 600-277 in a career that started at Keystone during the 1984-85 season. He joins Elk County Catholic’s Aaron Straub (832-236 in 37th season as ECC’s boys’ coach and 853-257 in 39th year as a head coach having coached ECC girls for two seasons) and Union’s Don Stemmerich (636 wins in 38 seasons) as the only D9 coaches to win 600 career games.

Heath with former players and coaches after his 600th win Friday

Heath with former players and coaches after his 600th win Friday


Score by Quarters

A-C Valley 9 6 18 5 – 38
Keystone 11 14 17 14 – 56


Levi Orton 4 2-2 10, Carson Snyder 0 0-0 0, Eddie Stevanus 4 3-6 11, Eli Penny 6 0-0 14, Austin Cratty 0 0-0 0, Broc Weigle 0 0-0 0, Jade Burkett 0 0-0 0, Cole Dehart 0 0-0 0, Tanner Merwin 1 0-0 3, Caleb Penny 0 0-0 0, Brady Cullen 0 0-0 0. Totals 15 5-8 38.


Troy Johnson 4 2-6 11, Max Thompson 1 0-0 2, Jayden Blazosky 0 0-0 0, Marc Rearick 0 0-0 0, Luke Hurrelbrink 1 2-4 4, Alex Rapp 1 0-0 2, Dawson Steele 7 1-2 17, Andrew Lauer 7 0-2 14, Brandon Kapp 0 0-0 0, Brooks LaVan 2 0-0 6, Colin Say 0 0-0 0, Keenan Heeter 0 0-0 0, Logan Sell 0 0-0 0. Totals 23 5-14 56.

Three-pointers: A-C Valley 3 (Eli Penny 2, Tanner Mewin). Keystone 5 (LaVan 2, Steele 2, Johnson)

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