Aliquippa gets last word in 1st-place showdown with Northgate

Friday, February 2, 2024 | 11:46 PM

With first place in Section 1-2A boys basketball as stake, Aliquippa beat host Northgate by technical knockout.

The defending WPIAL champions overcame four technical fouls called against them to win going away, 58-39, and clinch at least a share of the section championship.

The verbal sparring between the teams started at the tip and continued through the final horn. All five technical fouls, four on Aliquippa and one on Northgate, were issued to players for unnecessary words after the whistle.

“They haven’t learned you can’t talk your way through this and now they are dragging us down to where it’s a talking game,” Aliquippa coach Nick Lackovich said. “We’re a classy program and we don’t do that. We have to take care of that (problem) now.”

Between the whistles, Quips senior Cameron Lindsey was a problem all night for Northgate.

Despite giving away two inches to the Flames combo of Ty Daniels and Kadenne Kemp, Lindsey had a double-double, leading Aliquippa with 20 points, 18 rebounds and several blocked shots.

After Northgate scored the first two points of the game, Aliquippa went on a 16-0 run that put the Quips in control for good.

The Flames trailed by 14 points after the opening quarter and 11 points at halftime.

“I thought we had a slow start,” Northgate coach Cam Williams said. “We talked about not having unforced turnovers early in the game. We settled down and chipped away, but every time we started chipping away, we gave up turnovers and they scored a bunch in transition. We really weren’t worried about their half-court offense. They feed off of turnovers, which killed us.”

The lead for the Quips remained in double digits in the second half with one exception.

With about five minutes left in the fourth quarter, a six-point possession — two free throws, two more technical free throws and a field goal — cut the Quips’ lead to 42-33, but the visitors outscored the Flames 16-6 the rest of the way.

Aliquippa senior Quentin Goode earned his nickname of “The General,” doing damage on offense with five points, six rebounds and two assists and collecting three steals while going one-on-one with the all-time leading scorer in Northgate history, senior Josh Williams.

“Quentin does that to all guards,” Lackovich said. “He’s as good a point guard as there is around here. He makes everybody uncomfortable.”

Williams ended up scoring 27 of the Flames’ 39 points but was limited to two 3-pointers, five field goals and was a perfect 11 for 11 from the free-throw line.

Kemp provided a spark for Northgate off the bench on the defensive side of the ball, but the Flames not named Josh Williams had trouble scoring the entire game.

The loss ended a six-game winning streak for Northgate and dropped the Flames to 6-2 in the section and 14-4 overall.

“We will learn from this, watch film and continue our mission throughout the playoffs,” Cam Williams said. “We will be ready if we see them again.”

Sophomore Josh Pratt scored 15 points and sophomore QaLil Goode added 10 points for the Quips, who have won five straight games and are 11-1 in calendar year 2024 and 15-4 overall as they prepare to defend their 2023 title.

“Absolutely, as long as you can rebound the basketball, defend the basketball and take care of it without turning it over, you’ve got a chance to win every game,” Lackovich said. “For the most part, we did those things. We rebounded, we defended, and we just need to get better at taking care of the ball.”

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