A-K Valley Boys Basketball Notebook: Three more teams see their season come to an end

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Thursday, February 20, 2020 | 6:25 PM


Three more A-K Valley boys basketball teams had their seasons end this past weekend as Deer Lakes, Apollo-Ridge and Leechburg lost their first-round matchups.

In a WPIAL Class 3A first round matchup with No. 1 Lincoln Park, the No. 16 Lancers put up a fight. Thanks to intense defensive pressure, the score was tied after eight minutes.

“When we left the locker room, I told them the only ones that were gonna be surprised were the people watching and the WPIAL committee,” Deer Lakes coach Terence Parham said. “We were confident in our preparation, and the kids believed.”

But the Leopards proved why they were given the No. 1 seed, outscoring Deer Lakes, 24-11, second quarter before cruising to an 18-point victory.

“Anybody watching the game, I don’t think anyone would say we quit,” Parham said. “As a coach, at the end of game, you want that other team to respect you, win or lose. And every coach over there (for Lincoln Park) was shocked and they said that in passing. So I tip my hat to our guys.”

Leechburg reached the WPIAL playoffs for a school record fifth straight year, but the WPIAL Class A eighth-seeded Blue Devils faced a team looking for its first playoff victory since 2005. No. 9 Geibel Catholic accomplished just that, winning 65-58.

Dylan Cook scored a game-high 28 points, and Connor McDermott was the only other Leechburg player to score in double-digits.

“It was like the nitrous button. We didn’t really get to the gear, scoring wise, that we normally do,” Leechburg coach Damian Davies said. “We normally dominate the boards, get some run outs, some put backs. But you gotta give (Geibel) credit.

Apollo-Ridge lost to Brentwood in a Class 2A game.

Junior guard Jake Fello led the Vikings with 25 points, Klay Fitzroy added 14 points and sharp-shooter Keighton Reese returned from an injury to add 10. Guard play from Brentwood helped the Spartans earn a 57-53 victory. The Vikings will return every player other than one senior.

Back to work

After a week off, Fox Chapel (21-1), Highlands (19-3) and Knoch (19-3) are ready to get back to it Saturday.

The WPIAL Class 6A No. 2-seed Foxes will face No. 7 Central Catholic (13-10) at 1 p.m. Saturday at Plum. The Vikings defeated Penn-Trafford, 50-35, on Tuesday. The Foxes still have the best defense in the WPIAL at 43.2 points per game.

Looking to return

Since losing to eventual Class 3A state champion Beaver Falls, 56-45, in the 2015-16 WPIAL championship, Highlands has been looking to earn another trip to the WPIAL finals. They have been to the WPIAL semifinals twice in the past three seasons but lost on both occasions.

Their latest playoff journey begins Saturday, this time as the No. 1 seed in Class 4A. They will take on No. 9 Ringgold (14-9), which defeated No. 8 Ambridge, 73-62, on Wednesday, at noon Saturday at North Hills.

The defending champs

Although they earned the No. 2 seed, the Knights will have a difficult journey in order to make a WPIAL championship appearance. It starts at 1:30 p.m. on Saturday at North Allegheny as they face three-time defending champion New Castle (16-7).

The seventh-seeded Red Hurricane defeated No. 10 Mt Pleasant, 64-47, on Wednesday night and After a week off, the Knights are itching to get back to work.

“I know our guys are looking forward to getting back on the court,” Knoch coach Ron McNabb said.

Greg Macafee is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Greg by email at gmacafee@tribweb.com or via Twitter .

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