Brayden Reynolds’ clutch shot sparks Chartiers Valley past Shaler
Friday, February 21, 2020 | 11:55 PM
Chartiers Valley coach Brandon Sensor thought Shaler did a pretty good job on his standout guard Brayden Reynolds through the first three quarters of Friday’s WPIAL Class 5A quarterfinal game.
Sensor also knew that the all-section senior would come through for his team when they needed him to, because he’d done it all season.
Reynolds hit a deep, clutch 3-pointer midway through the fourth and went 6 for 8 from the foul line down the stretch to help the second-seeded Colts thwart No. 7 Shaler, 52-45, at North Allegheny.
“Brayden’s our guy,” Sensor said. “He came around at the end when it mattered. I’m proud of him. He’s been doing it all year for us. When the game is on the line, we get the ball in his hands, and he makes good decisions with it. He’s shot the ball well, and he shot well from the free-throw line as well.”
The Colts (19-4) advanced to play No. 3 Mars in the semifinals Tuesday at a site and time to be announced. It’s a rematch of last year’s semifinals, which the Fightin’ Planets won, 53-44, en route to their second consecutive WPIAL title.
Shaler (14-10) can qualify for the WPIAL playoffs if Chartiers Valley beats Mars.
Reynolds’ deep 3-pointer came at the 4:15 mark of the fourth, and it gave the Colts a 39-33 lead. Shaler never got within five points again. He finished with 19 points, 11 in the fourth.
Another big possession came when Jared Goldstrom was fouled on a 3-pointer and sank all three foul shots to give the Colts a 42-34 lead.
“Those were two possessions I look at as the difference,” Shaler coach Rob Niederberger said. “I thought there were a couple calls that could have gone either way that were tough. Those matter in a one-possession game.
“I’m proud of our guys. They represented Shaler well. They fought tooth and nail, and that’s what their community is all about.”
Chartiers Valley extended its winning streak to 13 games. The Colts have won 10 games decided by less than 10 points.
“We’ve been like that the entire year,” Sensor said. “Somehow, we keep finding a way to come out on top, and hopefully we can keep that going.”
Parts of the game were played at a breakneck pace with both teams running up and down the floor, creating turnovers and playing tough defense.
That led to a low-scoring first half, and Shaler took an 18-17 lead into the locker room.
Mekhi Reynolds got rolling for Shaler in the third quarter, scoring eight points, mostly on strong drives to the basket, and the Titans led 31-30 heading into the fourth. He finished with a game-high 21 points.
If it was Mekhi Reynolds’ final game, it was a strong one in what has been a stellar career at Shaler.
“He’s going to go down as one of the greatest players to ever come out of Shaler,” Niederberger said. “We’re proud of him, and we love him.”
Nick Rispoli had 12 points for the Titans, and Christian White scored 10. Sean Banas had 10 points for the Colts.
After coming so close to making it to the Petersen Event Center last year, Sensor is looking forward to an opportunity to play Mars again with the same stakes Tuesday.
“It’s a rematch from last year, so hopefully we’ll get some revenge,” Sensor said. “They are a great team. They’re coached well. It’s going to be a tough task, but I’m excited for the challenge.”
Jerin Steele is a freelance writer
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