Lincoln Park tops North Catholic to claim WPIAL Class 3A championship
By: Chris Harlan
Thursday, February 28, 2019 | 10:29 PM
Against one of the WPIAL’s top shooting teams, Lincoln Park’s defense was willing to trade 3s for 2s.
That decision led to title No. 4.
“Our main goal was to not let them do what they’ve been doing all year,” said senior Keeno Holmes, after top-seeded Lincoln Park limited North Catholic to two 3-pointers in Thursday night’s 62-50 victory in the WPIAL Class 3A final at Petersen Events Center.
“If you collapse down (on a drive), they kick it out to the opposite side. That’s what their offense is predicated upon,” Holmes said. “So we let them have a layup before a 3, because they can shoot.”
With Lincoln Park defending the 3-point line, third-seeded North Catholic went 2 for 15 from beyond the arc, including 0 for 11 in the final three quarters. Trojans star Isaac DeGregorio went 4 for 17 from the field overall and 2 for 9 from the arc.
The junior scored 14 points with 10 in the first quarter and fouled out with 2:15 left in the fourth.
“I’m a film nut and I watched everything that he did,” Lincoln Park coach Mike Bariski said. “He’s a great player, one of the best in the WPIAL, but we play great defense. That’s our mainstay.”
Andre Wilder had 16 points and 15 rebounds for Lincoln Park (22-4), which won its second consecutive WPIAL title and its fourth overall. All four came since 2012.
Wilder, a 6-foot-3 junior, also had a double-double in last year’s championship when Lincoln Park defeated Seton LaSalle, so he’s already quite fond of Pitt’s home court.
“It brought back great memories,” Wilder said. “I just wanted to bring the same intensity I had last time.”
Holmes and Casey Oliver had 13 points each and Isaiah Smith added 12. Smith also had seven rebound for Lincoln Park, which built a 43-25 advantage on the glass.
“I definitely took it all in because it’s my last time,” said Holmes, a senior, who made his fourth consecutive appearance in the WPIAL finals. “I try not to look into the stands, but I made sure I took in the whole atmosphere.”
Jackson Paschall led North Catholic (21-5) with 21 points and Hans Rottman added 12.
The game was close for three quarters. Lincoln Park led by only one point at half and two points after three, before outscoring North Catholic, 22-12, in the fourth.
The Leopards started the final quarter with a 9-0 run and quickly led 49-38 with 6 minutes left.
“A lot of our guys’ shots went front rim,” North Catholic coach Dave DeGregorio said. “I thought we wore down a little bit. On a little bigger court, we looked fatigued to be honest with you.”
Lincoln Park’s fourth-quarter run started with three points from Wilder and then a 3-pointer by Oliver, who came off the bench and scored all of his points after halftime.
“I felt like the first team that got a little separation was probably going to win the game,” DeGregorio said. “They got the separation and then they got the win.”
Chris Harlan is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Chris by email at [email protected] or via Twitter .