Leechburg boys basketball team defeats Clairton, moves into 3rd place

Tuesday, February 4, 2020 | 11:29 PM

Leechburg couldn’t have scripted a better senior night.

Jake Blumer went over 1,000 points in his career, Dylan Cook scored a career-high 36 points and the Blue Devils tied Clairton for third place in Section 3-A with a masterful 85-40 win Tuesday night at Lewis Hicks Gym.

Leechburg (14-5, 9-4) led wire-to-wire and held the Bears (12-8, 9-4) to 30 points below their season’s scoring average of 70 per game.

Blumer exceeded the 1,000-point mark on a follow-up shot with 4 minutes, 8 seconds left in the half. He finished with 13 points, 13 rebounds and eight assists before exiting the home floor for the final time.

“It’s definitely bittersweet, and I’m sad this is my last home game,” Blumer said. “Over the course of four years I’ve made many memories with a lot of people I call my friends today.”

Connor McDermott hit a trio of 3-pointers within the first 90 seconds of the game to give the Blue Devils a 9-2 lead. McDermott would have been credited with a fourth, but he stepped on the sideline.

“I drew out their better defenders, and I let other people get open,” McDermott said. “It opened up the scoring for Dylan, Jake and the rest of the team.”

McDermott hit five 3-pointers en route to a 19-point performance.

Clairton defeated Leechburg, 84-78, earlier this season.

“We thought, offensively, we played well down there,” said Leechburg coach Damian Davies.

“We had some turnovers, and (Brendan) Parsons hit some big shots. We tried to remove him from being such a big factor. Defensively, I thought we stymied them.”

Parsons was held to three points but collected seven rebounds.

Leechburg extended its lead to as much as 19 points late in the first half.

In the second half, the Blue Devils shifted into overdrive, outscoring the Bears, 29-12, in the period.

“Connor was consistent and confident tonight,” Davies said. “Jake does so many things well, but I think big thing tonight was defensively, knowing where they were at.”

Cook scored 14 points in the third quarter, two on a long outlet pass from Braylan Lovelace and two more on Blumer assists.

Said Blumer: “Everything went the way we planned, and we worked hard. We seniors wanted to come out and avenge that loss earlier in the season. We worked hard, and we won.”

It was a busy night for Leechburg senior Peyton Martinka. He was honored before the game, sang the National Anthem and made a rare start, getting considerable playing time.

“Peyton started with our elementary program and has come the whole way through,” Davies said. “He’s in the gifted honors government class. He loves his politics, he loves his government and he loves being part of this team and we’re glad we have him.”

The Bears were led by Andre Henderson’s 11 points. Sa’mo Pitts had eight rebounds.

Leechburg will close the section season Friday at St. Joseph, and Clairton takes on Greensburg Central Catholic.

The Blue Devils are in the WPIAL playoffs for a school-record fifth consecutive season.

Clairton is in the playoffs for the 12th straight season, adding to its school record.

The WPIAL playoff pairings will be issued Tuesday in Green Tree. The tournament is expected to start the weekend of Feb. 14-15.

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