Jake DiMichele, OLSH dominant again in WPIAL Class 2A championship win over Fort Cherry

Saturday, March 5, 2022 | 3:24 PM

Jake DiMichele cracked open a cold Pepsi before meeting a gaggle of reporters.

It looked like a Name, Image, Likeness type of deal as the Our Lady of the Sacred Heart star sipped and answered questions in the media room at Petersen Events Center.

“Nah, it’s just my favorite drink,” the soft-spoken senior said with a smile.

The choice of a new OLSH generation, DiMichele poured in 29 points, grabbed 11 rebounds and added six steals to lead the top-seeded Chargers to their fourth straight WPIAL title with a 60-36 victory over No. 2 Fort Cherry in the Class 2A final Saturday afternoon.

“To be the first player to start and win four WPIAL championships, it shows all the hard work I put in,” DiMichele said. “The time goes by quick. It’s nice to stop and think about what you’ve done.”

OLSH (23-0) is the first WPIAL boys basketball team to win four straight titles since Midland won seven in a row from 1971-77.

The victory was the Chargers’ 63rd in a row, adding to their WPIAL record.

“This is about the guys who were here four years ago, the guys who started this,” OLSH coach Mike Rodriguez said. “Remember, we lost our first two appearances here before we won. We had to learn how to win down here. This is a huge accomplishment. It’s always special when we get here.”

Fort Cherry (23-4) was seeking its second WPIAL title and first since 1961. The Rangers had won 14 straight games.

“Transitions are difficult with (OLSH),” Fort Cherry coach Eugene Briggs said. “With all the athletes they have all over the floor … You try to take one away and there is another, then another and another. It’s difficult to guard them because of their teammates.”

Senior Dawson Summers added 15 points for OLSH, which had more steals (9) than turnovers (8).

“Everyone knows our job isn’t done yet,” Summers said, referring to OLSH going for a repeat title in the PIAA tournament. “We want to keep going.”

DiMichele recently moved into sole possession of fourth place on the WPIAL’s all-time scoring list, breaking a tie with former Belle Vernon star Vince Graham. DiMichele now has 2,458 points in his prep career.

OLSH took a 29-16 lead into halftime and stretched the margin to 25 in the second half.

DiMichele had his own 8-0 run early in the second quarter to help the Chargers build a 25-12 advantage.

Senior Dylan Rogers scored 13 to lead the Rangers, who outrebounded OLSH, 33-31.

“Leadership is the big difference in this team,” Briggs said. “We don’t have a lot of size or the athletes of other teams. Our kids are tough. They expected to win today. They really did.”

Watch an archived broadcast of this game on Trib HSSN.

Bill Beckner Jr. is a TribLive reporter covering local sports in Westmoreland County. He can be reached at bbeckner@triblive.com.

Tags: ,

More Basketball

Corey Dotchin steps down as Highlands boys basketball coach
PIAA taking bids to host basketball championships
Basketball coach Rob Niederberger, who lifted Shaler from last place to WPIAL contender, resigns
Penn Hills senior joins Point Park basketball at exciting time
A-K Valley shooters on target at Cager Classic skills competition