Greensburg Central Catholic boys hope to get over WPIAL semifinals speed bump

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Tuesday, March 9, 2021 | 4:35 PM


Junior forward Brevan Williams has taken on a greater scoring role this season and leads Greensburg Central Catholic with a 20-point average.

He is among the upper echelon of scorers in the WPIAL.

But now can his team make a similar rise in Class 2A?

Williams and the second-seeded Centurions (15-3) will take on No. 3 Sto-Rox (11-5) at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday at Norwin in a semifinal game as they inch closer to a shot at a WPIAL title.

GCC will be seeking its first appearance in the finals since 2014. The Centurions came up short in the semifinals in ‘15, ‘16 and ‘17.

“We knew we could get this far if we played our best,” the 6-foot-3 Williams said. “We have been getting better every game.”

After a 54-53 win over Serra Catholic in the first round — a game GCC had to play on the road because of the small size of its home gym — the Centurions advanced past Sewickley Academy, 48-41, in Saturday’s quarterfinals.

GCC stayed poised as the perennially strong Panthers cut a 17-point lead down to three late in the fourth quarter.

“We really preached confidence to the guys the last few days,” Hyland said after the win. “That’s our big M.O. — confidence in your shot, confidence in themselves and their teammates, confidence that the coaching staff was going to put together a good plan for them to be successful.”

The Centurions, who finished atop Section 3 and have won six of their past seven, split the season series with rival Jeannette. The possibility exists for a GCC-Jeannette WPIAL final if both can win Wednesday.

Jeannette (15-4) faces top-seeded Our Lady of the Sacred Heart (19-0).

With Williams taking the scoring reins, Hyland has seen consistency take root in a lineup that also includes senior guards Christian McGowan and Dylan Sebek, junior Dylan Parsons and Ryan Appleby and freshman Tyree Turner, all of whom contributed to the playoff wins, despite a lack of playoff experience.

Balanced scoring has been a staple, along with help defense.

McGowan could not play in the postseason last year because of the timing of his transfer from Greensburg Salem. He and Williams give the team go-to options that worked well in the regular season and are carrying over to the tournament.

“We’re learning as we go,” Hyland said. “We’re not used to the playoffs, yet.”

GCC was one and done last year when it was upset in the first round by Eden Christian. Over the hump now under Hyland’s leadership, the Centurions want more.

“This started in the fall when we started working,” Hyland said. “We had open gyms and lifting, and our guys showed up and were ready to do their part and compete.”

Sto-Rox, the WPIAL runner-up and PIAA quarterfinalist last season, beat South Side (73-63) and Fort Cherry (49-44) to reach the semis. The Vikings have no common opponents with the Centurions.

Bill Beckner Jr. is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Bill by email at bbeckner@triblive.com or via Twitter .

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