Frew Mill tops Shenango for another ‘win’
Shenango (44) Vs. Frew Mill (67)

A peek through the gym door reveals all the common elements.

There’s a popcorn stand, women selling T-shirts and a public address system blaring music.

And there’s Carliss Jeter, in his first year as head coach, calling out plays last night in the next to the last game for the Frew Mill’s boys basketball team.

The Longhorns put it all together in the fourth quarter against visiting Shenango High, running away with a 67-52 win. The 20 or so Frew Mill fans — the ones permitted to go to games — support their team, giving Jeter and the players hugs and high-fives.

Leading scorer Corian Matthews (16 points) flashes a proud smile. Roman Herring (13 points, 11 rebounds and two spectacular dunks) jokes with teammates while devouring a slice of pizza.

It all looks so normal.

It isn’t.

Frew Mill School, an arm of New Castle’s Youth Development Center, is a facility for juvenile offenders.

Barbed wire tops every fence and visitors must surrender cell phones and car keys before they pass through a metal detector to enter.
The long walk around the perimeter of the facility can be intimidating.

But then you notice the first sign of normalcy: a basketball court.

Jeter, 43, is faced with building a program from scratch. Players are chosen by the court system. Five players are gone from the team since November for various reasons. This is the first time that most of the Longhorns have played organized basketball.

But that’s not Jeter’s biggest challenge.

“We try to get the message out that you can’t be sellin’ dope or toting guns,” said Jeter, who is also a youth development counselor supervisor at Frew Mill. “You can do good and basketball is a way to better yourself.”

Last night’s win makes the Longhorns 3-13. Win and losses won’t officially count until next season when they will join the WPIAL at the Class A level.

The exhibition record isn’t good, but the wins and losses can’t compare to the other benefits of simply playing the game.

“We have 16 wins,” said Ken Wint, Western Regional Director of the Bureau of Juvenile Justice Services, who initiated the process of getting basketball back to Frew Mill after it was terminated in 1993 in light of increased security.

“There has been no problems, excellent sportsmanship, no technical fouls,” he continued. “Model behavior.”

But the barbed wire remains.

Jeter and his staff want to make sure it’s the last time his kids are locked up.

“The staff — counselors, coaches and Ken Wint especially — all believe in this, that we’re doing this for the young men who are sent here,” Jeter said. “(Assistant coaches) Dan Short, Brian Folk and Cordell Kimbrough, too. Fantastic job with the kids.”

Jeter, a former Beaver Falls High star, was an assistant coach for the Tigers for the last five seasons and has WPIAL and PIAA championship rings to show for it.

He’s still waiting for the rubber court at Frew Mill to be replaced by hardwood.

He knows it will take time to get a program implemented.

But for now, Jeter’s gratification comes from the type of thing that happened yesterday afternoon.

One of Jeter’s better backcourt players was released from the facility and on his way back to eastern Pennsylvania last night.

“The kid was with me every day since we started this,” Jeter said. “He said he’s going to go back to his high school and try out for the team next year. He asked me for the coach’s phone number.”

“We got to him and I think helped him make a change,” Jeter said.

It could be the biggest win for Frew Mill all year.
Game Scoreboard
Shenango 14 13 10 7 0 44
Frew Mill 15 15 15 22 0 67
Box Scores
Field Goals Attempted Foul Shots Made Foul Shots Three Points Total Points Fouls
Andrew Watson4214130
Jesse Noca300170
Brian Chieze221050
Rick Ferrari4003110
Ryan Tanner000000
James Vournous000000
Bobby Gwin000000
Rich Gaston6440160
Mike Murcko000000
Chris Grant000000
Frew Mill
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