Nazareth Prep is a private Catholic high school that provides an affordable, progressive education that is real-world rigorous for its 140 students. It’s a school that is concentrated on building relationships with students and their families while using evidence-based practices to equip each student for success.
And apparently they can ball, too.
The Nazareth Prep Saints boys varsity team is 12-3 as of Feb. 4. They won their first four games of the season, beating teams like Keystone Oaks, Carrick, and Cornell. They suffered their first loss, Dec. 18, at Vincentian Academy, but then won their next five games to hold an impressive 9-1 mark.
“The success we have seen happen over the course of this basketball season has been great. I can see us moving on to compete in state and WPIAL championships. It’s truly a blessing to coach a group of guys like this,” Saints head coach Nehemiah Brazil told the New Pittsburgh Courier.
The Saints play in WPIAL Class 1A.
The team practices and preps in between games most Mondays and Wednesdays, with workouts to help improve quickness, lateral movement, and explosive power. There’s also studying film and taking out time to bond.
“As coaches, of course, we want our players to build and improve skill when it comes to the basketball court, but it is bigger than basketball. We want to instill values and life lessons that our players can use on and off the court that will stay with them for a lifetime,” Assistant Coach Darrell Barron said.
Nazareth Prep junior William Taylor made school history by being the first boys basketball player to score 1,000 points. Taylor is an honor roll student and sits on the sportsmanship council.
“I have learned a lot from Coach Brazil and Coach Barron. Our coaches are like our second fathers and my teammates are my brothers. I’ve learned my bigger purpose beyond the court, and I’m happy to be a part of this team and I want this experience to take me as far as it can go,” Taylor said.
Other teams Nazareth Prep has competed against include Rochester, Eden Christian Academy, Union Area, and Western Beaver.
“My most memorable moment of the season was when the team lost their first game,” Brazil said. “I know that may come off as unusual, but this moment stood out to me because I saw how much they wanted to win. And in that moment I witnessed the level of confidence they had. They wanted to win, they expected to win, and felt they had what it took as a team to win.”
“We stick together, we push each other, we challenge each other, and they’re my brothers,” Tre Harvey, a senior on the team, said. “Our chemistry is solid on and off the court. We make sure we stay up on our grades and stay eligible to play. There is no ‘I’ in team so we have a responsibility to uphold to ourselves and teammates.”
Nazareth Prep (8235 Ohio River Blvd, Emsworth), completes their regular season this Friday, Feb. 8, with a home game against Eden Christian Academy.
What’s next after Friday’s regular season finale? The Saints hope it’s another trip to the WPIAL playoffs, a feat they achieved for the first time in school history last season.
(Rob Taylor Jr. contributed to this story.)
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