A-K Valley high school notebook: Leechburg’s Mikayla Lovelace to face fellow 2,000-point scorer

Saturday, February 17, 2018 | 3:57 PM

Mikayla Lovelace played against Sam Breen and Brenna Wise earlier in her high school career and has a close friendship with Amani Johnson and Alexa Williamson. The opportunity to join all four of them in an exclusive club meant something special for her.

Lovelace exceeded 2,000 career points with a 37-point effort in Leechburg's 75-60 victory over Frazier in a Class 2A first-round playoff game Friday night. The 42nd player in WPIAL history to reach 2,000, Lovelace has 2,006 going into the Blue Devils' quarterfinal matchup with Williamson and Chartiers-Houston on Thursday.

“To be able to say I got that accomplishment, especially seeing (Johnson and Williamson) get that earlier this year, really means a lot,” said Lovelace, an IUP recruit. “I remember growing up, and Brenna Wise and Sam Breen were two players that I kind of looked up to, so it's kind of cool that I got the same accomplishment as they did.”

Lovelace reached the milestone early in the fourth quarter but didn't realize it until her teammates informed her on the bench. A day later, she remembered little about the play — except that she took a Euro step.

Breen, a Cardinal Wuerl North Catholic graduate and freshman at Penn State, scored 2,448 career points. Wise, a 2015 Vincentian alumna and current player at Indiana, scored 2,331. Johnson, an East Allegheny senior and Kennesaw State recruit, and Williamson, a Temple recruit, reached the mark earlier this year.

Now Lovelace and Williamson and their teams will meet Thursday with a berth in the WPIAL semifinals on the line. Chartiers-Houston beat Leechburg in last season's WPIAL quarterfinals.

“I mean, no one really wants to play against Alexa Williamson,” Lovelace said. “She's really good. But I guess since we played them last year, we can see how much we've progressed.”

Charging into the playoffs

The Cheswick Christian girls basketball team qualified for the Southwestern Christian Athletic Conference tournament, which begins Monday.

The Chargers will face Plants and Pillars in the quarterfinals Monday at Trinity Christian at 5:30 p.m., with the winner advancing to face the winner of Trinity Christian and the Neighborhood Academy at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday at St. Joseph. The championship game is scheduled for 5 p.m. Saturday at Geneva.

Down to the wire

The PIHL's regular season is winding down, leaving the teams on the fringes of the Penguins Cup playoffs with limited chances to secure their postseason spot.

A pair of Alle-Kiski Valley teams — Deer Lakes and Kiski Area — will meet Monday in the hopes of picking up an important victory.

The Lancers and Cavaliers, who will play at 7:10 p.m. at Ice Connection, are in a battle for the 12th and final playoff spot in Class A.

A regulation defeat would eliminate the losing team from postseason contention.

Kiski Area (9-10) has a tenuous hold on 12th place with 18 points, one ahead of Deer Lakes. However, the Lancers (8-9-0-1) have a game in hand. Monday is Kiski Area's regular-season finale, and Deer Lakes hosts Greensburg Salem on Feb. 26.

Crise country

A multi-sport star at Highlands, Alan Crise became a standout collegiate decathlete at West Virginia Wesleyan.

Now, he will add coaching to his well-rounded resume.

West Virginia Wesleyan named Crise its cross country coach Wednesday, replacing longtime coach Jesse Skiles.

Crise, an assistant track and field coach at West Virginia Wesleyan, was an all-conference track and field athlete for the Bobcats before graduating in 2016. His sister, Vicki, also was an all-conference performer at the school.

Doug Gulasy is a Tribune-Review staff writer.

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