OLSH avenges last season’s only loss with mercy rule win over Aliquippa

Saturday, January 23, 2021 | 1:00 AM

Our Lady of the Sacred Heart waited more than a year for this chance to avenge its only loss from last season.

The Chargers held nothing back.

Jake DiMichele had 30 points and 16 rebounds, Dante Spadafora added 18 points and OLSH celebrated a mercy rule victory over Aliquippa, 77-39, on Friday night. Bryson Kirschner added 11 points for the Chargers, who watched the fourth-quarter clock run continuously in the nonsection boys basketball win.

“Me and Jake, it hit us really deep,” Spadafora said of last year’s loss, “because that was our undefeated season.”

OLSH finished last season 26-1. The team’s only loss was to the Quips, 73-69, last January. Aliquippa’s roster turned over quite a bit in a year and the team has a different coach, but for the Chargers, they were hungry for this.

“They’re not the same team as last year but I know at least for me, and Dante’s the same way, that competitiveness comes out,” DiMichele said. “We’ve been waiting a year for this one.”

OLSH led by eight points after the first quarter Friday before outscoring the Quips, 53-23, over the final three. That included a 13-0 run to start the second half.

DiMichele alone scored seven points in the third, and the Chargers entered the fourth leading 65-34. The mercy rule kicks in when the lead is 30 points or more.

“They beat us last year,” DiMichele said. “That was our only loss. That’s been in the back of our mind for over a year now, so we were ready tonight.”

Both teams entered Friday undefeated and ranked highly. OLSH (7-0) was ranked first in Class 2A. Aliquippa (4-1) was second in 3A.

But the score turned lopsided early.

Aliquippa tried to keep pace with one of the WPIAL’s top-scoring teams but never solved OLSH’s matchup zone defense. The Quips went 4 for 21 from beyond the 3-point arc as the Chargers packed the middle.

Overall, Aliquippa shot just 33% from the floor.

OLSH led 24-16 after the first quarter, before outscoring Aliquippa, 24-14 in the second, 17-4 in the third and 12-5 in the fourth. The Chargers are known for their fast-paced offense but the defense is somewhat overlooked, said DiMichele, who had five steals and six blocks.

“People don’t really talk about how the defense turns the offense,” he said. “I couldn’t even count how many times I got the rebound, looked up, and when I see Dante running, I’m just going to give it to him.”

Chris Harlan is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Chris by email at charlan@triblive.com or via Twitter .

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