Deer Lakes’ historic PIAA run ends vs. Sharon

Saturday, March 16, 2019 | 4:45 PM

During its school-record run through the PIAA postseason, Deer Lakes found the right answer at the right time: a big shot, a key stop, a significant scoring run.

It all dried up with a trip to the state semifinals on the line.

An off shooting performance, a strong Sharon team and what Deer Lakes deemed inconsistent officiating combined to sink the Lancers in the PIAA Class 3A quarterfinals, as District 10 champion Sharon pulled away in the second half for a 68-42 win Saturday at Slippery Rock University’s Morrow Field House.

“They played aggressive defense, but we just didn’t hit shots today,” Deer Lakes coach Terence Parham said. “We picked the worst day possible to have an off night shooting, even from the foul line.

“High school basketball, you just never know. It wasn’t due to lack of effort. We shot on the same rims, used the same basketball. It fell for them and didn’t fall for us.”

Deer Lakes (18-8) was appearing in the PIAA quarterfinals for the first time after getting the first two state playoff victories in school history over the last week. The Lancers ran into an experienced Sharon team that finished as runner-up in Class 4A last season.

Ethan Porterfield scored 28 points to lead Sharon (24-4), which led Deer Lakes by two points late in the second quarter but finished the game on a 46-22 spurt.

“The further you go, the games get bigger and bigger, and we were fortunate we made a heck of a run last year,” said Sharon coach Zach Sarver, whose team will play Richland/Lincoln Park in the semifinals Tuesday. “Three of our guys out there played in those, and the other guys, they’re around it. That counts for something. It helps having Ethan out there, too.”

Porterfield, a 6-foot-8 IUP recruit with more than 1,500 career points, posed a nightmare matchup for Deer Lakes with his ability to score inside and outside. He made three 3-pointers among his 28 points. Camren Atallah and Michael Calloway each added a pair of 3s for Sharon, which made eight as a team.

Six of Sharon’s 3-pointers came in the second half as the Tigers turned a 28-20 halftime lead into a runaway win. Deer Lakes couldn’t get its own run going, seeing its fortune run out on the eve of St. Patrick’s Day.

“That second half, man, I don’t know what they shot from behind the arc, but they didn’t miss many and we missed a lot,” Parham said. “When you’re trying to make that run, you can’t have that.”

Deer Lakes also got increasingly unhappy with the officiating as the game wore on. Lancers starters Jack Hollibaugh, Colin Kadlick and Zac Herbinko fouled out in the fourth quarter, and Parham received a technical foul for unsportsmanlike conduct after Kadlick fouled out.

An automatic technical is issued if a replacement for a fouled-out player isn’t at the scorer’s table within 15 seconds. Parham said Kadlick’s substitute was there within the required time.

“I just ask for consistency, and I thought our guys were being just as aggressive and not getting the call,” Parham said. “I thought with (the official) calling the technical, that was unsportsmanlike on him … he rung it up, and that was just like, why?

“If you’re going to do that, give me an explanation. I thought the other official did a good job trying to, but the guy who made the call (didn’t). To me, it seemed personal. It shouldn’t be about (that). Nobody paid to see me, and nobody paid to see him. It’s about the kids, and I thought he took that away from the kids.”

The mixture of Deer Lakes’ unhappiness with the calls, the Lancers’ cold shooting and Sharon’s outside proficiency allowed the Tigers to pull away.

“(Deer Lakes is) playing with great confidence, and it’s tough to do,” Sarver said. “They were off a long time between games (in the WPIAL and PIAA playoffs), and they get an overtime win in the first round and a tough, hard-fought win on Wednesday night. They’re playing with a lot of confidence. They have some strong, athletic kids out there, and they play so well together.”

Brad Perrotte scored 17 points for Deer Lakes, which closed the most successful postseason run in school history: the first WPIAL playoff victory and PIAA tournament appearance since 1985 and the first two state playoff wins in its history.

“Even though we lost on the scoreboard, the fact that the whole community showed out and supported us, that was a win,” Perrotte said. “Even after the North Catholic loss (in the WPIAL quarterfinals), I was really proud of the way the community showed out.”

Doug Gulasy is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Doug at 412-388-5830, or via Twitter .


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