Aliquippa rallies past Northgate to win 13th WPIAL basketball championship

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Saturday, March 4, 2023 | 3:07 PM


Minutes after posing for a championship photo, juniors Cam Lindsey and Quentin Good entered the press room wearing sunglasses Saturday afternoon at Petersen Events Center.

Whether it is football or basketball, Aliquippa never seems fazed by the bright lights of WPIAL championship games.

Make them play up: Doesn’t matter. Make them play from behind: Doesn’t matter.

Double-digit deficits don’t make the Quips squint, either.

Lindsey scored 19 points and pulled down 17 rebounds, and top-seeded Aliquippa rallied from an 11-point deficit to win its 13th district title with a 52-40 victory over No. 6 Northgate in the Class 2A final.

“It’s just something we said we’d do (for the finals),” Lindsey said of the shades. “We wore them for pictures. We put them on after we won.”

Would they have worn the sunglasses if they had lost?

“Guess we’ll never know,” Goode said.

Losing wasn’t an option for Aliquippa (20-6), which last won a title in 2016 when it went back-to-back and finished 30-0.

“This is what we expected,” Quips coach Nick Lackovich said. “We expected to face a dogfight. We didn’t do anything special. It was, do your job. Our guys came out ready to play.”

The Quips pulled off a three-game sweep of the Flames (19-7), a Section 1 opponent, to celebrate basketball and football titles in the same school year.

Many of the same players had a hand in both titles.

Lindsey and Goode, who won rings in November at Acrisure Stadium, both played 32 minutes.

“Basketball feels better,” said Lindsey, who has multiple Division I football scholarship offers as a linebacker. “We knew we had to come out and play defense like we can.”

Said Lackovich: “We’ve been building for this. It’s good to be a Quip.”

Senior Donovan Walker finished with 12 points, eight rebounds and seven assists for the Quips, who have now held six straight opponents to 40 or fewer points.

In all, 13 opponents have failed to get more than 40 against them this season.

Walker, an Ohio football commit at safety, scored eight in the fourth.

Lindsey, a physical force at 6-foot-3 and 195 pounds, had 13 offensive rebounds.

“You have to keep them off the offensive glass,” Northgate coach Cam Williams said. “We know what they bring. They are very good defensively. They keep coming at you. You have to score to beat them.”

Northgate started fast in its first WPIAL final since 1988. It jumped out to an 18-11 lead after one quarter, using drives down the lane to build momentum.

Sophomore Tylan McCune-Daniels gave the Flames a pair of 11-point leads in the second quarter, the second at 27-16.

McCune-Daniels had seven points and six rebounds.

But the Quips ran off 11 straight points, with the run spilling into the third after they took a 27-24 deficit into the half.

They had 32 points in the paint.

Lindsey, who shot 7 for 12, scored inside to tie it 27-27 early in the third, before junior Demarkus Walker hit a short jumper during his valuable 16 minutes off the bench, to give the Quips their first lead.

They never gave it back.

The Flames cut it to 45-40 with three minutes to play on a 3-pointer from senior guard Stephen Goetz, but they didn’t make another field goal as the Quips finished the game on a 7-0 run, mostly on free throws.

“They did a great job of wasting the clock when they were ahead,” coach Williams said.

Junior Josh Williams led the Flames with 11 points, junior Landon Lockett added nine and Goetz had eight.

The Flames, who came back to upset No. 2 Bishop Canevin in the semis, were averaging 69 points, with Josh Williams accounting for nearly 20 a game — closer to 30 in the playoffs.

“He wasn’t getting (30) today,” Goode said.

Junior 1,000-point scorer Jayace Williams chipped in eight for the Quips, who made just 15 of 28 free throws and one 3-pointer.

Both teams move on to the PIAA playoffs. The Quips reached the state final last year in 3A.

“It’s not over, mark my words,” Goetz said.

Williams thinks his team has more left in the tank.

“We’re proud. We have the whole community behind us,” an emotional Cam Williams said. “We were 2-18 two years ago. These kids have worked. This was not a fluke. We’re a very good team. Not great, because we didn’t win today. But very good. I believe we will see (Aliquippa) again.”

Watch an archived version of this game at Trib HSSN.

Bill Beckner Jr. is a TribLive reporter covering local sports in Westmoreland County. He can be reached at bbeckner@triblive.com.

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