Mt. Pleasant tops Hopewell for school’s 1st boys basketball playoff win since 2014

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Monday, March 1, 2021 | 9:05 PM


It was a big night at Mt. Pleasant on Monday.

The Vikings boys basketball team won its first WPIAL playoff game since 2014.

Behind seven seniors, No. 12 Mt. Pleasant rolled to a 61-34 victory over No. 21 Hopewell in a Class 4A preliminary-round game. Mt. Pleasant (9-8) will face North Catholic in Thursday’s first round.

Nate Kubasky paced the way for Mt. Pleasant with a game-high 21 points. Jacob Bungard chipped in with 12 points.

Mt. Pleasant made 10 3-pointers in the game, four each by Kubasky and Bungard.

“We definitely like to shoot the 3-point shot,” Mt. Pleasant coach T.J.Kravits said. “Would have I liked to go more inside? Absolutely. You take what the defense is giving you, and they really packed it in on this with the (3-2) zone. It was good for us to do that.”

Mt. Pleasant wasn’t sharp in the first half, but Hopewell struggled. The Mt. Pleasant defense did a good job forcing turnovers and limiting Hopewell to few second chances.

Mt. Pleasant led 10-5 after a quarter and 22-8 at halftime.

Mt. Pleasant turned it up in the third quarter and took control of the game by pushing the lead to more than 20.

“We wanted to make sure when you have a team down, keep them down, and to our credit, we created separation, Kravits said.

Kubasky added: “We were able to reset our mind at halftime. The coaches wanted us to speed up the gameplan and get into transition and get the ball inside. We kind of found our rhythm, and we found our shots. I had a rough first half.”

Mt. Pleasant senior forward Jonas King was a force all night. He scored nine points, pulled down 12 rebounds and blocked five shots. He had two dunks in the fourth quarter.

“I really liked our defense in the first half,” Hopewell coach Drew Falletta said. “We held them to 22. In the second half, they made a lot of shots. We shot horribly, we played poor, and we did not play well.”

Even though Hopewell had only one victory and qualified for the playoffs because the WPIAL adopted an open tournament for this covid-altered season, Falletta wanted his team to experience the atmosphere.

“Hopewell hasn’t been in the playoffs in more than a decade and hadn’t won a game since my junior year (2008) in high school,” Falletta said. “I truly thought we had a great gameplan and ready to go, but we struggled.”

Roman Gill led Hopewell (1-13) with 13 points.

“In soccer this year, we made it the furthest (in school history),” Kubasky said. “To be part of that and how weird the year has been, I wish we could have had more fans, but it’s great to have this in the record books.”

Now the Vikings face a big task at No. 5 North Catholic.

Paul Schofield is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Paul by email at pschofield@triblive.com or via Twitter .

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