OLSH blitzes Greensburg CC, earns 6th straight trip to WPIAL finals

Tuesday, March 1, 2022 | 10:06 PM

Greensburg Central Catholic ended Monessen’s 16-game winning streak in the semifinals.

Transpose that number and that is what GCC was up against in the semis against Our Lady of the Sacred Heart.

Teams have been trying for weeks … months … years … to make the Chargers look human, but time and again have come up short.

The Centurions were hard-pressed to undo OLSH’s 61-game run and joined that list.

The WPIAL-record streak reached 62 as the top-seeded Chargers raced to an early lead with a scorching start and dispatched of No. 4 GCC, 77-42, in a mercy-ruled Class 2A semifinal Tuesday night at Gateway’s Furrie Sports Complex.

“We really shot it well and that opened the game for us,” OLSH coach Mike Rodgriguez said. “The boys really communicated well on defense. One stat that really stood out was that we had zero turnovers in the second half.”

Now they’ll look to win a fourth straight WPIAL title. It will be their sixth straight trip to the finals.

OLSH (22-0) will take on No. 2 Fort Cherry (23-2) for the title at 1 p.m. Saturday at Petersen Events Center.

GCC (18-4) was hoping to avenge a 71-52 loss to the Chargers in last year’s championship game but were blitzed by OLSH’s offensive firepower from the jump.

“That was insane. It was like, bam, right on you,” GCC coach Christian Hyland said. “They were ready to go. I think that team is 10, 15 points better than the one they had last year.”

In the first quarter, junior Rocco Spadafora hit four 3-pointers — three in a row to start the game — and senior Jake DiMichele added two of his five first-half 3s as the Chargers built leads of 15-0 and 23-5.

DiMichele made two straight 3s — from way behind the line — to increase the margin to 33-12.

“Every time I caught it, I knew it was going in,” Spadafora said.

DiMichele had 17 in the first half and finished with 28, and Spadafora had 15 before halftime and tallied 20.

OLSH made nine of its 11 3s in the first half.

“Dante’s little brother is no longer Dante’s little brother,” Rodriguez said of Spadafora.

DiMichele said he knew GCC would be motivated for the rematch, but his team wanted to win, too.

“That kind of put a chip on our shoulder,” he said. “We prepare the same every game, no matter who we’re playing.”

The Chargers, who came in averaging 78 points, was just as threatening at times on the defensive end. Their size was a problem for GCC, especially around the rim.

“Spadafora came out on fire,” said GCC senior guard Brevan Williams. “After that kind of start, it was kind of downhill from there.”

Williams led GCC with 18 points, and senior Ryan Appleby added 12. The Centurions will begin play in the PIAA playoffs March 9.

OLSH opened the third quarter with an 11-2 run, and a 3 from Spadafora and a dunk by junior Bryson Kirschner extended the advantage to 58-28 with 2:23 left in the quarter.

Senior Dawson Summers had 10 points for OLSH.

Bill Beckner Jr. is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Bill by email at bbeckner@triblive.com or via Twitter .

Tags: ,

More High School Basketball

Trib HSSN Boys Basketball State Rankings for March 28, 2023
Trib HSSN Boys Basketball Team of the Week for March 28, 2023
Trib HSSN Girls Basketball State Rankings for March 27, 2023
Trib HSSN Boys Basketball Player of the Week for March 27, 2023
A-K Valley Senior Spotlight: St. Joseph’s Jimmy Giannetta