Jake Hoffman scores 40 as defending champ Mt. Lebanon pounds Bethel Park

Saturday, February 22, 2020 | 9:31 PM

Mt. Lebanon senior Jake Hoffman started the regular season with a statistical anomaly: four straight games in which he scored exactly 30 points.

The defending champion’s leading scorer decided to raise the stakes in the Blue Devils’ postseason debut as he dropped 40 points in a runaway 70-48 win over Bethel Park in the WPIAL Class 6A quarterfinals at Canon-McMillan.

Hoffman connected on everything in his shooting repertoire: layups, jumpers, free throws, straight-up 3-pointers, fade-away 3-pointers and 3-pointers while falling on his backside.

If he chucked it, odds are it was going in Saturday afternoon.

“I’ve seen him get hot before,” Mt. Lebanon coach Joey David said. “He’s a really nice player when he gets that way, and we feed the hot guy. We just kept calling things for him and calling things for him.”

David feels the Wooster recruit is relaxed now that he has made his college decision, and he is having fun.

Here is breakdown of Hoffman’s standout performance:

He scored 13 points in the opening quarter, passed his 21.2-point average 3 minutes into the second quarter — in which he ended up with 15 points, added four points in the third and scored with 10 in the final quarter.

“We’ve called him a sneaky scorer because you look up sometimes, and he’s got 20 points because he scores in a variety of ways that you don’t realize he has that many,” Bethel Park coach Josh Bears said about Hoffman. ”There was nothing sneaky about what he did in the first half.

“I feel we had him defended well most of the time, and he was unaffected. If we made the slightest mistake on coverage, he instantly made us pay.”

Hoffman hit 10 field goals, five 3-pointers and five free throws.

However, this hardly was a one-man show. David was quick to point out that a lot of points Hoffman scored were a credit to his teammates, as well.

“That’s part of our culture, that points are team points. That’s been preached to them for years now. Guys like Andy Sapp, who is doing the little things and made some fantastic passes. Jake Reinke comes up with a big shot here and there. Joey King did a fantastic job on the boards. I thought it was a great team effort.”

While Mt. Lebanon’s leading scorer had a dream game, Bethel Park’s top scorer was trapped in a nightmare.

Senior Ryan Meis, one of the top guards in the district who averages 22 points, was held to eight points.

“We executed the gameplan,” Davis said. “The Meis kid is a very good player. He’s quick. He’s got a nice shot. (Tommy) DiRenzo can knock it down. They’re a dangerous team.”

DiRenzo and Dolan Waldo led the Black Hawks with 10 points each.

Mt. Lebanon moves on to the semifinals Wednesday, when they will face No. 7 seed Central Catholic. The Vikings beat the Blue Devils, 61-56, in December.

Watch an archived broadcast of this game on Trib HSSN.

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