Andrew Maddalon helps North Catholic beat Burrell, clinch playoff spot

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Friday, January 21, 2022 | 10:11 PM


North Catholic junior Andrew Maddalon picked a good time for a career-best scoring night.

The junior guard poured in 37 points Friday night as the Trojans started the second half of the Section 1-4A season by becoming one of the first WPIAL schools to clinch a playoff berth.

“We got shots up after school and in pregame, so we were all just ready to go for tonight,” Maddalon said. “We knew this was a big section game, and we came out hard. It was a fun game.”

Maddalon had six 3-point field goals and was 9 of 12 from the foul line as North Catholic (12-1, 7-0) defeated Burrell, 65-50, to secure its 20th consecutive playoff trip.

“We knew it was going to be tough. They’ve improved,” Trojans coach Jim Rocco said of Burrell. “Any time you get to the second half of the section, you’re more familiar with who you’re playing. We hit them hard earlier, but they have some kids who can make some plays.”

One of those is Brandon Coury, who had another outstanding night for the Bucs with 27 points — six over his per-game average.

North Catholic took a 37-24 lead at the half and eventually stretched its advantage to 43-26. But Coury scored 13 of Burrell’s 15 points as the Bucs were able to cut the Trojans lead to single digits several times.

“We made some mental mistakes and some physical mistakes, and they didn’t,” said Burrell coach Mike Fantuzzo. “That was the big difference. They took care of the ball. When we could have cut it closer, we didn’t take the opportunity.”

In the second period, the Trojans committed four turnovers, but the Bucs could only convert one of those into a basket. After Burrell had cut the lead to 10 late in the first half, the Trojans got off a final shot by Maddalon before the buzzer to take a three-point lead.

Maddalon and his teammates don’t shy away from the program’s expectations.

Said Maddalon: “North Catholic has a tradition here. We want to get it done every year. That’s why I came to North Catholic, the tradition here. I used to come to games here with my dad.”

The Bucs are now 5-2, 9-6 overall. Burrell and Deer Lakes are tied for second place at 5-2 and the two teams will square off Feb. 1.

Burrell’s magic number to make the playoffs is two. Any combination of Burrell wins and Keystone Oaks losses equaling two puts the Bucs into the postseason.

“I’m telling them every team we play in the second half gets better,” Fantuzzo said. “It gets more difficult as the season goes on. When you’re up in the standings, everyone’s looking to get you.”

Burrell was bolstered by the return of Donovan Callahan to the lineup after suffering a broken nose two weeks ago.

Callahan wore a clear, protective cover over his nose and scored six points.

Maddalon was averaging 17 points a game coming into Friday’s action.

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