Battle AT The Bluff Blog

Saturday, March 5, 2011 | 12:00 AM

Blogs. They are here, there and everywhere. But if you want a recap from all the happenings from Championship Weekend at the A.J. Palumbo Center, check out the below thoughts from all eight WPIAL championship games here on the MSA Sports Network.

BOYS AAAA – Gateway vs Chartiers Valley (Don Rebel)

FINAL THOUGHTS: Another great weekend of high school basketball from the new look A.J. Palumbo Center. No repeat winner this year, but plenty of first time winners, including the Gateway Gators, the Montour Spartans and the Vincentian Academy Royals boys teams. Four number one seeds came into this weekend seeking expected gold and all four have to settle for silver. Hope you enjoyed it as well. All eight games along with EVERY other WPIAL boys and girls playoff game can be heard archived here on the MSA Sports Network!

10:20pm: The Gateway Gators are celebrating their first ever WPIAL basketball championship as they beat Chartiers Valley 58-43. Well deserved championship for the Section 2 winners. First champion from Section 2 in 11 years since Penn Hills won in 2000. Actually, Pittsburgh Central Catholic won it out of that section in 2008, but they are now in Section 3.

10:14pm: The end is near. Harris throws one down as the Gators close in on their first ever basketball championship. 1:18 left, Gateway 55 – Chartiers Valley 43

10:07pm: Boy, Tyler Scott is having a huge game. He was invisible for most of his first game back in the OT win against USC in Quarterfinals. Took over then when Cottrell fouled out to lead them past the Panthers. Has been solid tonight with 17 points and great defense. Gators lead 48-39 with 3:15 left.

10:04pm: Gateway has steadied the ship a bit. Now lead 46-39 with 4:33 left in 4th qtr. Harris picks up 3rd foul for Gateway.

9:57pm: We got a ball game! After three quarters, Gateway 41 – Chartiers Valley 37.

9:53pm: Capers 3, Char Valley steal and layup by Christian Kuntz, Colts down 41-35 late in 3rd.

9:47pm: Gateway putting on a show on both sides of the floor. Really focused tonight as they lead 39-25 with 3:45 left in third quarter.

9:32pm: HALFTIME: Gateway 29 – Chartiers Valley 19. Colts are keeping Devon Cottrell and Barnett Harris in check. Combined, they have six first half points. But junior Tyler Scott leads everybody with 11 points. Char Valley is being led by Matt Noszka with 10. Capers only with 2. Remember, Colts playing without second leading scorer in Steve Burda.

9:28pm: Slow on the blog after writing girls AAAA article posted on front page. Gateway has come to play and they are dangerous when that happens. Lead Chartiers Valley 27-16 late in second qtr.

9:04pm: After the national anthem, both teams meet at half court and shake hands. Never saw that before…I like it! Should be a dandy!

GIRLS AAAA – Mount Lebanon vs Shaler (Mark Schaas)

8:36pm: Final, Shaler 41-35. When you shoot 9 of 59 from the floor and 17 of 39 from the foul line, you do not three peat. Lebo played great defense, very physical contest.

8:34pm: Mt. Lebo just had a basket taken away on a charge, great and gutsy call.

8:29pm: Shaler up 39-33 with 1:17 left, wondering if win or lose Dori Oldaker will have Lebo in the gym shooting free throws as soon as they get off the bus.

8:27pm: Shaler now leads 39-32 with 1:27 left, Lebo hurting from the line, 14 of 32 from the line, Kelly Johnson 0-8 in the game.

8:18pm: Timeout Shaler with 4:04 left, still tied at 32. Shaler has turned the ball over 6 times since leading 32-26. Lebo is 14 of 29 from the line in this game. WOW.

8:16pm: Madison Cable has just tied the game at 32 with 5 minues left.

8:14pm: Hillary Sauer has just fouled out for Shaler, she leaves with 12 points.

8:13pm: Timeout Shaler, the Titans still lead 32-28 with 5:17 left in regulation.

8:10pm: The Palumbo Center is packed now, Shaler leads 32-28 with 6 minutes left.

8:03pm: End of three, Shaler leads 30-25. Clock did not start with 5.4 seconds left, officials ruled the quarter was over, which was the right call.

7:58pm: We may have a developing situation, Shaler is up 26-23 with 2:07 remaining in the third, either the roof or cooling system is leaking again, with water on the floor, this time at the other end.

7:52pm: Char Valley students have joined with the Shaler students, against Lebo, like that was a major surprise. By the way, Shaler has rallied to take the lead 24-22 with 3:42 left in the third quarter. Hailey Sauer has 6 and Hillary Sauer has 4 in the quarter. The Blue Devils have turned the ball over 6 times so far in the period.
7:49pm: Shaler has cut it to 2, 20-18 Lebo on top.

7:45pm: Start of the second half, Madison Cable leads all scorers with 8.

7:37pm: Halftime with Mt. Lebanon up 18-9. The Blue Devils were 1 of 20 from the floor in the quarter, but 6 of 8 from the line, 5 of 32 for the game shooting. Shaler was 4 of 20 from the floor. Mt. Lebanon leads the battle of the boards 26-23. Lebo has 3 turnovers, Shaler has 12.

7:32pm: 1:20 left in the half, Lebo up 18-7.

7:27pm: Shaler is shooting 3 for 17 from the field and has 12 turnovers. Still 14-6.

7:24pm: Midway thru the second quarter, Mt. Lebanon 14-6.

7:14pm: 10-4 Mt. Lebanon after one quarter, Madison Cable leads with 6 points. Shaler has 6 turnovers.

7;11pm: Shaler scored the first 4, Lebo has scored the next 8, 8-4 the score with 1:44 left in the opening quarter.

7:04pm: Midway thru the first quarter Shaler leads 4-2.

6:59pm: Nice touch, Shaler students are all in green, getting reeady for St. Patrick's Day a little early.

6:54pm: Getting ready to get underway, good crowd, and it's only going to get bigger.

GIRLS AAA – Blackhawk vs Ambridge (Don Rebel)

4:38pm: Blackhawk too tough as Cougars win AAA girls district title 63-49. Fifth WPIAL championship for the Blackhawk girls and first since 2000. Some quick numbers:
Alexa Hayword led the Cougars with a game high 21 points while teammates Alexis Graham had 12 and Halle Denman had 11 points. Sam Santiago led Ambridge with 18 points while Erin Smith chipped in 13 points.

4:30pm: Doesn't look good for Ambridge. Blackhawk can seal the deal at the line as they lead 57-49 with 1:55 left.

4:08pm: Strong finish for Blackhawk to third quarter as they outscore Ambridge 10-4 in final 2 and a half minutes to take a 45-36 lead into the fourth quarter.

3:57pm: Still good action back and forth as we near the midway point of third quarter. They are matching points for points as Cougars lead Bridgers 35-32.

3:39pm: Good game as we reach halftime. Blackhawk ends quarter on a 13-4 run to take a 26-22 lead into the locker room.

3:35pm: The run continues for the Cougars. Nine straight now to give Blackhawk a 22-18 lead.

3:30pm: Five unanswered for the Cougars to tie the game at 18-18 with 3:56 left in first half. Timeout Bridgers.

3:22pm: Ambridge leads Blackhawk 13-11 after first quarter. Good action so far in this third meeting of the year between these section rivals. Cougars won at home 56-43 on 12/16 while Bridgers won at home 65-50 on 1/26.

3:10pm: Good start for Ambridge as they lead 8-3 over Blackhawk with 3:29 left in first quarter. Senior Erin Smith has four for the Bridgers, who come into this game as the #11 seed. But they are a double-digit seed in name only. They had a strong season but finished third in the best section in girls AAA, Section 2 behind powers New Castle (2009 and 2010 champ and 2nd-seed) and their opponent this afternoon, Blackhawk.

BOYS AA – Greensburg Central Catholic vs Monessen (Mark Schaas)

Final Thoughts: Monessen controled the glass 44-21, GCC shot 7 of 28 in the second half. The Greyhounds had 4 players in double figures, led by Jalen Madison with 13. Jesse Reed was held to 5 points in the second half. Congrats to Joe Salvino, back with a gold medal for the first time since 2002.

2:18pm: Final Monessen 63-43.

2:14pm: 57.3 seconds left, Monessen 61-43. Mike Azadian points out, Monessen never trailed in the game.

2:13pm: Cam Johnson just fouled out, leaving with 12 points, including two great slams.

2:08pm: Jeff Francia hit a three, Earl Pinkney a put-back and Cam Johnson rocked the basket again with another slam, Monessen up 59-40 and nails one, two and three drilled into the coffin of GCC. 2:11 remaining.

2:06pm: May be the cooling unit dripping onto the floor, not sure which is colder, Palumbo Center, Consol Engergy Center or Artic Circle, Consol may be first, Palumbo 2nd, Artic Circle third in my opinion.

2:03pm: 5:37 left, Monessen back up by 10 at 48-38, if GCC is going to make a run, it better come quick.

2:01pm: Monessen up 46-38 with 6:20 remaining. Jesse Reed held to just 2 points in the third quarter after scoring 15 in the first half.

1:57pm: End of three with Monessen up 41-33. Romulus Marino off the bench with 9 points for GCC. Monessen is like Windex on the glass, cleaning 35 boards so far to just 17 for GCC.

1:54pm: 1:54 left in the third, Monessen 41-29.

1:49pm: We could have a problem, looks like the Palumbo Center roof has sprung a leak, a worker continues to wipe up water near the Monessen basket. Something to keep an eye on.

1:46pm: 5:50 to go in the third, a backboard shaking slam from Cam Johnson to give Monessen a 39-27 lead, timeout GCC.

1:32pm: Halftime, the Greyhounds with a 31-25 lead,
Jalen Madison leads Monessen with 9 points, the Greyhounds shot 11 of 26 in the half, with only 5 turnovers. Reed has 15 for GCC, who shot 8 of 22 with 4 turnovers.

Who stays out of further foul trouble will be the key, Johnson has three fouls for Monessen, Dan Sinwell and PJ McLaughlin both have three for GCC. Monessen continues to control the glass, leading 20-13.

1:31 pm: Monessen still leads 29-25, 50 seconds left in the half.

1:25pm: Monessen leads with 3:35 remaining in the half 23-18. Reed has 13 of 18 for GCC. Cam Johnson has 6 in the quarter for the Greyhounds.

1:20pm: Good to see an old friend, former Hempfield coach Bill Swan on the GCC bench as an assistant, coach Swan was always one of my favorites, he spent a lot time yelling at me(but always in a nice way) at the various team camps.

1:17pm: End of first quarter, Monessen leads 15-8, Jesse Reed has all 8 points for GCC. Monessen 5 of 14 from the field, GCC 3 of 10 and Monessen leading in rebounds 13 to 5.

1:08pm: Monessen leads 12-4 with 3:35 left in the first and hitting the glass, leading in that department 9-1.

12:59pm: Palumbo Center starting to fill up as starters are being announced by Randy Cosgrove, looking very forward to this game.

GIRLS A – Fort Cherry vs North Catholic (Don Rebel)

12:27pm: FINAL: North Catholic 49 – Fort Cherry 43:
Kudos to Fort Cherry for not fading into the night in this, their first trip to the finals. They went down fighting and made things very interesting in the end in what looked like earlier to be a Trojanettes blow out. NC had three girls in double figure scoring led by Kendall Hoffman's 15 points while both Angela Nowacki and Erin DeSanti had 10 points. Rebekah Bellhy had 13 points to lead Fort Cherry while Carolena Gasbarro chipped in with 10 points.

12:22pm: Wow, that was an interesting finish. Fort Cherry makes a furious comeback in the final minute and a half with starters from both teams on the bench. After Ranger pull to within 6 with 17 second left, starters from both team in mass head to scorers table to check in…somewhat humerous. Trojanettes capture 16th girls title with a 6-point victory.

12:05pm: So much for momentum. Trojanettes stall for the first 50 seconds of quarter then hit a layup. 3:40 left in game, NC up 47-31.

11:57am: Something for the Fort Cherry fans to celebrate…a marvelous half court shot at the buzzer by Jessie Merckle. See how the Rangers start the 4th quarter as they trail 39-24 after three.

11:53am: Lead now 20 for Trojanettes with 2:10 left in 3rd. After losing in finals last year, they have turned it up a notch this postseason.

11:34am: Erin DiSanti hits a buzzer beater as the second quarter comes to an end as North Catholic extends lead to 31-14 halftime lead. Big story for Fort Cherry is that leading scorer Rebekah Bellhy has only 6 points in first two quarters. Rangers need more from her if they are going to try to come back. North Catholic has been led by Hoffman's 10 points.

11:25am: Fort Cherry can't stop Kendall Hoffman on the baseline. Rangers offense picking up but their zone can't slow down North Catholic as Trojanettes lead 28-13 with 4:14 left in 2nd quarter.

11:16am: One quarter down, North Catholic leads Fort Cherry 20-7. I saw the Trojanettes beat up previously unbeaten Monessen in the Semifinals. This morning and into the states, they are going to be tough to deal with. Really tough on both sides of the court.

11:11am: Sorry for the late start, was updating the site elsewhere. New School vs Old Guard in this game as North Catholic makes its third straight trip to Palumbo and shoots for a 16th overall district title, while Fort Cherry is a participant for the first time in school history. As you would expect, Trojanettes off to good start while Rangers 'settle' in. NC up 19-7 with a 1:14 left.


BOYS AAA – South Fayette vs Montour (Mark Schaas)

Final thoughts: Great job by coach Adam Kaufman, his team played hard defense all night long, loved the way Austin Heter dominated the paint. That said, I would not be surprised to hear from South Fayette with a deep run in the PIAA tournament. Montour was 17 of 22 from the line, the Spartans did not score a field goal in the 4th, going 16 of 20 from the charity stripe. South Fayette was 6 of 13 from the line. All in all, two great boys games, a dominant performance for Seton LaSalle in the AA girls game and a great start for these championships, back with more on Saturday, bright and early from the Palumbo Center.

10:29 pm: It's over Montour wins it 45-34. Lamberti frustrated all night, he ended up with 13 points, and went 2 of 7 from the line. South Fayette had three players foul out, fouls however were 22-13 with the Lions fouling in the last 2 plus minutes.

10:28 pm: Montour feeling it, 43-34 they lead with 11 seconds left.

10:24 pm: South Fayette fans not happy with the officiating, it seems like the Lions are very frustrated tonight.

10:22 pm: Lamberti just hit a three, timeout SF 38-33 Montour leads 1:05 left.

10:20 pm: Brumbaugh has fouled out of the game with 1:15 left, Montour 36-30.

10:14 pm: Josh Patterson also has 4 fouls for the Lions, Montour leads 33-27 with 2:24 left. Neither team has a field goal in this quarter, South Fayette is struggling from the line, 3 of 7.

10:09 pm: 4:24 left, Montour leads 31-25, wow, the physicality is amazing.

10:03 pm: Zedrick now has 4 fouls and is also headed to the bench.

10:02 pm: Christian Brumbaugh back to the bench with 4 fouls, he has not been able to dominate the glass like he did against New Castle in the semis, Zedrick has just picked up his 3rd foul as well.

10:01 pm: Start of the 4th quarter, Montour leads 29-24, Lamberti with 6 points for the game.

9:57 pm: Kinda funny that most teams use either a Wilson or Baden basketball during the regular season, then the WPIAL official ball is a Spaulding, then the teams go back to a Wilson for the state tournament.

9:50 pm: The officials are doing a great job keeping control of this game, a very physical game. I thought the boys officiating has been excellent during the post-season, they have let the kids decide the game while maintaining control.

9:48 pm: Austin Heter has scored the first four points of the quarter, Montour now leads 25-18 with 5:34 left.

9:47 pm: Third quarter underway.

9:41 pm: Always great to see all the different folks from the WPIAL that you don't get to see during the year, including Serra Catholic AD and girls hoops head coach Bill Cleary, he's running press row, nothing like putting the nicest guy in the world in charge.

9:33 pm: Holy……Kevin Sciulli just banked home a three from 25 plus feet to beat the buzzer and give Montour a 21-18 at the half. Kevin has 9 points to lead all scorers, all from behind the arc. Montour 8 of 22 from the field, 4 of 9 from the land of three. South Fayette 8 of 25, 1 of 4 from three, very clean game only 10 team fouls, Montour had 2 turnovers, South Fayette with 3. Zedrick leads the Lions with 8, Lamberti finished the half with just 2 points.

9:29 pm: Just like that, Montour drills two threes, tying the game at 18 with 2:06 left in the half.

9:27 pm: Pat Zedrick just drilled a three, giving the Lions an 18-12 lead with 3:13 remaining in the second. Zedrick is deadly from long range and he is not afraid to drive the lane, Mike Lamberti has only 2 points so far.

9:23 pm: Strong crowd here, close to 3,500 in the new 4,500 capacity configuration here at the Palumbo Center. As expected with schools so close together and section rivals, the student sections are going back and forth.

9:20 pm: End of the first quarter South Fayette leading 11-7, both teams struggling from the field, the Lions 5 of 15, the Spartans 3 of 10.


BOYS A – Vincentian Academy vs Lincoln Park (Don Rebel)

8:40pm – Mark Schaas will take you home with the Boys AAA game. I'll be back tomorrow. Hope you are enjoying our coverage. Let us know by clicking on the contact us button and shooting us an e-mail. Thanks!

8:36pm – FINAL: Vincentian Academy 67 – Lincoln Park 61
First ever title for the Royals who truly earned it. Also, kudos to George Yokitis and his staff. George is a CLASS act and this team is a deserving WPIAL champion! Congrats to the ROYALS!!!!!

8:33pm – Great job at the line down the stretch for the Royals…looks like a second straight year of silver for Lincoln Park down 6 with 10 seconds left.

8:28pm – Watson makes 1 of 2. Need to hit from the line when down late with clock stopped. VA 61-53 as Moreland-Jones follows Hutchins as fouling out with Leopards down with :56 seconds left.

8:20pm – Koryak misses 2 free throws. Lincoln Park timeout with 3:07 left, trailing 57-48. Like Mark said earlier, I like the renovated Palumbo Center. No more traffic jam behind us on press row…woo-hoo!

8:18pm – Great keep away bucket for Royals. Spread the floor and Koryak all alone underneath. VA by 9 with 3:30 left in 4th.

8:12pm – Keith Hutchins picks up 4th four for Leopards. He comes out. Moreland-Jones back in. Now Bray out for Royals with 4 fouls. Battle of attrition.

8:09pm – Great start to fourth quarter. Leopards core first 6, Royals answer with 5 straight, VA by 8 with just under 6 left in regulation.

8:04pm – Vincentian Academy ends 3rd qtr with four points in final 10 seconds. Royals lead 47-38 after three but Lincoln Park is far from done. I get the feeling we're going to see a good fourth quarter coming up.

7:57pm – Sharron Moreland-Jones loses the ball and picks up his 4th foul. NOT good for Lincoln Park with 2:54 left in 3rd qtr and Royals build lead back up to 41-33.

7:54pm – Watson getting hot for the Leps. Bray has 3 fouls so Lincoln Park hammering the ball inside. Leopards down 35-33 with 4:26 left in 3rd.

7:41pm – HALFTIME: Vincentian 31 – Lincoln Park 22
#'s – John Bray with 13 for VA, Dian with 8, 4 each for Tony DiNardo and Chris Koryak. Pratt with 7 for LP, Devontae Watson also with 7.

7:34pm – Leopards on a 7-0 run to pull to within 3 points with a buck and a half left in first half.

7:30pm – Can't stop Pratt when when he has the rock and is going to the hoop. Leopards need more of that. He only has 7 points late in 2nd.

7:25pm – Wow, the Royals are doing a great job on the boards, working hard underneath.

7:20pm – Lot of 'flat' shots from the perimeter for Vincentian but they are holding their own on the boards. Chaquille Pratt is very smooth but hasn't had much space early on.

7:17pm – 16-9 Vincentian after one quarter. Adam Dian with 6 to pace the Royals.

7:08pm – How will Carl Grinage, Mark Schmidt and Dave Shinsky officiate this game, that is a key as well. Most would like to see them let these two talented teams play.
12-6 Vicentian early on with 2:50 left in 1st.

7:00pm – Dominant performance by the Seton-LaSalle Rebels, now lets see what the boys can do. Looking forward to see if Leopards guards can handle great pressure by Royals.


GIRLS AA – Seton-LaSalle vs Jeannette (Mark Schaas)

6:31 pm: First issue of the night, someone on the scoreboard posted the final score as 74-30, sending press row into a frenzy, after consulting the official book, press row calmed down.

6:20 pm: Final Seton LaSalle 74 – Jeannette 29. The Rebels placed five players in double figures, Naje Gibson led with 16 points. Seton LaSalle shot 33-63 from the field after a cold start, Jeannette committed 31 turnovers.

6:11 pm: Mercy is here, Rebels lead 70-29 with 4:55 left in the fourth.

6:03 pm: Third quarter is over, Seton LaSalle leads 62-25, mercy rule coming.

5:51 pm: Seton LaSalle starts the third the same as the second, now up 43-19 with 5:40 remaining in the third. The Rebels have 20 points coming off the bench with Dwyer and Amy O'Keefe.

5:47 pm: Third quarter underway.

5:40 pm: Always nice when you are able to have a 8-0 run to take a lead in the first, then follow it up with a 16-0 run in the second, Seton LaSalle's defense is just dominating in this game.

5:35 pm: Halftime, with Seton LaSalle up 37-14 in the rematch of last year's title game. Seton LaSalle is led by Dwyer, who scored all 10 points in the second quarter. The Rebels are now shooting 17 of 36 from the field. Jeannette is led by Dominique Hall with 6 points, the Jayhawks are 4 of 16 from the field. The Jayhawks have committed 14 turnovers to the Rebels 11, Seton LaSalle is crushing on the glass with a 23-11 advantage.

5:28 pm: Rebels still on a run, now 12-0, they lead 27-10.

5:20 pm: Seton LaSalle now up 21-10 with 6:26 left in the second, Jordan Dwyer has come off the Rebel bench to score three straight baskets.

5:17 pm: End of the first quarter, with the Rebels up 15-8. Seton LaSalle has forced 8 turnovers so far and are starting to warm up from the field.

5:10 pm: Seton LaSalle up 10-7 with 1:45 remaining in the first, the Rebels are struggling from the field, going 5 of 16 so far, but Jeannette has turned it over 6 times.

4:48 pm: Love the new setup here at the A.J. Palumbo Center, I'm sure this place will be rocking and rolling before the night is over, looks like they are keeping the tradition of having the students stand in the high end zone seats. Looking forward to this game and seeing the high powered Seton LaSalle offense in action.

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