A-K Valley notebook: Deer Lakes boys basketball coach Parham sees progress
Saturday, March 2, 2019 | 7:43 PM
Terence Parham saw a different feeling in the Deer Lakes locker room after the Lancers’ loss to North Catholic in the WPIAL Class 3A quarterfinals.
“That’s the kind of feeling I want them to have after a game, is mad,” Parham said after North Catholic’s 74-65 win Feb. 21. “I think years past, they would have literally been OK. ‘Hey, we played them close.’ But they’re mad, and so now I think they get it, the light switch has clicked on, and we can build from that.”
Parham saw that as an example of the progress Deer Lakes (16-7) made over the course of the season, and the progress won’t stop there. By virtue of North Catholic’s semifinal win over Aliquippa, the Lancers were pulled into the PIAA tournament and will make their first state playoff appearance since 1985.
Given that Deer Lakes also registered their first postseason win since 1985 last month, the Lancers finally can leave the year of “Back to the Future” in the past.
The Alle-Kiski Valley will send three teams to the PIAA boys basketball playoffs: Highlands, Deer Lakes and Leechburg.
Highlands, which qualified by getting to the WPIAL Class 4A semifinals, finished as the third-place team after New Castle beat Quaker Valley in the WPIAL championship game Saturday. The Golden Rams will play District 6 champion Huntingdon in the first round Friday.
As the sixth-place team from WPIAL Class 3A, Deer Lakes will play District 9 champion Brookville in the first round Saturday. Brookville beat District 5 champion Everett in a PIAA sub-regional.
Leechburg, which got into the PIAA tournament when Vincentian beat Monessen in the WPIAL Class A semifinals, goes in as the WPIAL’s sixth seed after Vincentian lost in the district championship game to Nazareth Prep. The Blue Devils will play District 9 champion Elk County Catholic in the PIAA first round Friday.
Because Mt. Lebanon won the WPIAL boys Class 6A championship Saturday night, Fox Chapel was pulled into the PIAA playoffs as the WPIAL’s fifth seed in the tournament. The Foxes will play District 10 champion Kennedy Catholic in the PIAA first round Saturday.
The Peters Township victory in the WPIAL girls Class 6A championship Saturday night means Fox Chapel qualified for the PIAA playoffs as the fifth-place team. The Foxes will play District 3 champion Cumberland Valley in the first round Friday.
March into spring sports
Spring has sprung — on the PIAA sports calendar, at least.
Monday marks the first day of official practices for spring sports: baseball, boys and girls lacrosse, softball, boys tennis, track and field and boys volleyball.
Tennis begins play next week, and all other sports begin competition March 22.
Baby on board
Although Deer Lakes lost to North Catholic in the WPIAL quarterfinals, Parham got good news earlier that day when his wife Leslie gave birth to the couple’s fourth child, and first girl, Oaklyn.
The name is a nod to Pitt, where Leslie attended college. And they kept their tradition of their children’s names ending in the letter n — their boys are named Preston, Kason and Roman.
Several Alle-Kiski Valley baseball players are staying close to home for college, committing to Penn State New Kensington in recent weeks.
Burrell’s Zach Kerr, Plum’s Tim Morris, Kiski Area’s Dalton Ross and Highlands’ Jaden Yarris announced commitments to the Lions in February.
PSNK recently hired Dean Minerva as coach, replacing Jim Perry.
• Knoch lacrosse standout Chase Mullen recently made his college decision, committing to Marietta. An attackman, Mullen led Knoch in scoring as a junior to help the Knights reach the WPIAL Class AA quarterfinals. He also played quarterback for Knoch’s football team as a senior.
• Deer Lakes senior Greg Geis commited to West Liberty for baseball, where he likely will pitch. The southpaw went 1-2 with a 2.31 ERA as a junior, striking out 40 batters and walking just seven in 33 1/3 innings.
Doug Gulasy is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Doug at 412-388-5830, [email protected] or via Twitter .