Montour boys pull away to defeat Southmoreland in WPIAL 4A 1st round

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Friday, February 16, 2024 | 10:57 PM


Montour coach Bill Minear said his team works on end-of-the-quarter possessions.

That extra work paid off big time Friday in his team’s WPIAL Class 4A first-round game against Southmoreland.

The third-seeded Spartans (20-3) scored in the final second of every quarter and defeated the Scotties, 71-44. Montour will face Avonworth, which defeated Highlands, on Wednesday. The Spartans have won six consecutive games. No. 14 Southmoreland, which hasn’t won a playoff game since 2017, saw its two-game winning streak end.

A.J. Alston banked home a 3-pointer to end the first quarter to give Montour a 16-14 lead, and James Bundridge followed in a miss at the end of the second quarter to give the Spartans a 33-25 lead at halftime.

“We work on those types of plays,” Minear said. “Everyone on the team is prepared. Those were a big reason why we led in the first half.

“In the second half, I thought we wore them down and Ama (Sow) was a force in the middle.

Sow, a 6-foot-11 junior, finished with 19 points, six blocked shots, four dunks and 10 rebounds. He also altered numerous shots.

“We haven’t played against someone with that size, and it was tough to get used to,” Southmoreland coach Frank Muccino said. “He was the difference along with the scoring at the end of the quarters.

“We hung with them in the first half, but we didn’t make enough shots in the second half.”

Wyatt Richter scored seven points, and Ty Keffer added six to help the Scotties (16-7) take a 14-13 lead in the first quarter. The Scotties defended the final shot and actually blocked the first attempt. But the ball bounced to Alston, who launched it toward the basket and it banked in.

The Scotties pulled within 27-25 on a 3-pointer by George Campbell, but the Spartans closed the second quarter on a 6-0 run.

Junior Kaleb Platz, who finished with 17 points, scored 13 in the first half.

Montour then put the game away in the third quarter by outscoring Southmoreland, 25-6, to push the lead to 58-31. Sow scored nine points in the quarter, and senior Jason Wolfe, who leads the team in scoring on the season, had nine of his 16.

“I thought we’d wear them down in the second half,” Minear said. “They played hard and never quit, but we forced Keffer to work for his shots.”

Richter scored 18 points for the Scotties, and Keffer added 11.

“The 3-pointer was a fluke,” Muccino said. “We make a good play by blocking the shot, and they had some there. It was a bad break. The two at the end of the half, and their kid made a hustle play. At the end of the third quarter, we had a turnover and they had a kid who made a great play and got a hustle three-point play.

“It could have been a three-point game at halftime. Against a team like that, you have to make shots and we didn’t in the second half.”

Paul Schofield is a TribLive reporter covering high school and college sports and local golf. He joined the Trib in 1995 after spending 15 years at the Daily Courier in Connellsville, where he served as sports editor for 14 years. He can be reached at pschofield@triblive.com.

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