DeGregorio, Paschall combine for 64 points to lead North Catholic past Deer Lakes

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Thursday, February 21, 2019 | 10:53 PM


North Catholic knew it needed to adjust to the physicality of Deer Lakes after getting hit hard early by the Lancers’ offensive rebounding.

The Trojans’ plan of attack was to attack.

Isaac DeGregorio scored a game-high 37 points, and Jackson Paschall added 27 as No. 3 North Catholic shook off No. 6 Deer Lakes for a 74-65 win in a Class 3A quarterfinal game Thursday night at North Allegheny.

“I talked to a couple coaches, and they said, hey, (Deer Lakes is) going to play hard from beginning to end, it’s going to be physical, and it’s going to be a grind,” North Catholic coach Dave DeGregorio said. “And it was. I just thought we had some stretches where we extended the lead, but credit to them, they played hard the whole way.”

North Catholic (20-4), which advances to play No. 2 Aliquippa in the semifinals Monday at a site and time to be determined, took control of the game with an 18-2 run to open the second half. All 18 points in that stretch came from Isaac DeGregorio and Paschall.

North Catholic, seeing Deer Lakes’ man-to-man defense, played more isolation offense than usual, putting the ball in DeGregorio’s hands. The junior took advantage, whether it was driving to the basket for scores, drawing contact and getting to the free-throw line or dishing to Paschall.

“I think we wore them down with our pressures,” Isaac DeGregorio said. “And offensively, it’s easy for us because I had that wide-open lane, and if they helped, it was just a straight kick to Jackson for the layup.”

DeGregorio took 23 free throws, making 16. North Catholic shot 23 for 34 from the line as a team.

“You’ve got to be smart and kind of play the chess match, so to speak, on how you play them because he gets to the rack and he’s good at creating contact,” Deer Lakes coach Terence Parham said. “And then he’s pretty solid from the foul line. We knew he could put up some points.”

Deer Lakes (16-7), coming off its first playoff victory in 34 years, came out strong early. Jack Hollibaugh scored 10 points in the first quarter, spurring the Lancers to a 17-12 lead as North Catholic struggled to contain him in the post and on the boards.

The game began to turn in the second quarter as Paschall, who went scoreless in the first, began to assert himself down low. He scored eight in the second quarter and DeGregorio added 11 to give North Catholic a 33-29 lead.

“They were killing us on the boards (in the first half), and we didn’t let them get offensive boards,” Isaac DeGregorio said. “We didn’t let them get offensive boards, and when we got boards, we pushed, pushed, pushed.”

The Trojans continued their run into the second half; Paschall made two shots to open the third quarter, and DeGregorio drilled a 3 to give North Catholic a double-digit lead for the first time.

Colin Kadlick scored for Deer Lakes, but the Trojans responded with an 11-0 run to take their biggest lead of the game, 20 points.

“We did a good job early on rebounding and getting into the right spots,” Parham said. “That third quarter, we had a couple turnovers that led to easy points, and then second-chance opportunities, not only on jump shots but foul shots, created high-percentage shots for them, which they finished.”

Deer Lakes made it interesting in the fourth quarter as Hollibaugh, Brad Perrotte and Jared Colton got hot. Colton’s contested 3-pointer cut North Catholic’s lead to single digits at 68-59 with just over two minutes remaining, and Hollibaugh scored nine points in the fourth.

But Isaac DeGregorio made seven of his eight free-throw attempts to keep North Catholic comfortable.

“It’s just a good, positive vibe for the kids,” Dave DeGregorio said. “They work hard, and you just like for them to have some success.”

Hollibaugh scored 21 points for Deer Lakes, Perrotte added 14 and Colton had 13. The Lancers remain alive for the PIAA playoffs via the WPIAL’s follow-the-leader format: They would qualify if North Catholic beats Aliquippa on Monday, or if Aliquippa wins the WPIAL title.

“I told those guys: Nobody respected us going in, but I think we earned that respect,” Parham said. “But we’re not content with that. Being close was not our goal. … So now we’ve got to find a way to get over the hump, but I think we’re headed in the right direction.”

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

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