Path to the Pete Recaps From Friday 2/12

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Friday, February 12, 2016 | 11:09 PM


The first night of the 2016 WPIAL Basketball Playoffs featured Preliminary Round hoop games from Boys AAA and Girls AA along with First Round action from Boys A and Girls AAAA. Here are recaps from all 18 district playoff games to begin the trip on the Path to the Pete.

A special thanks to Josh Rowntree, Cory Campano, Randy Gore, Steve Nagler,  Andy Stanko, James Dotson, Mark Schaas, Gary Frankhouser, Steve Superick, Brian Mroziak, Bob Orkwis, Paul Paterra, Bob Barrickman, Melissa Carle, Kyle Dawson, Bob Gregg and Kevin Zielmanski for their help with these recaps.

WPIAL BOYS CLASS AAA PRELIMINARY ROUND:

Montour Spartans 49 – Knoch Knights 38 
In a tale of two halves, the Montour Spartans advanced to a Tuesday date with the New Castle Red Hurricanes with the victory on Friday night in boys Class AAA preliminary round action. The Spartans, now 13-9 overall, got 18 points from Mike Mastroianni and 15 points from Kristopher Rhodes, while holding Knoch’s leading scorer Mac Christy to just 6 points. Knoch jumped out to a 5-0 lead, on the way to a 14-7 advantage after eight minutes. Montour cut into the lead in the second, led by Mastroianni, with 13 points, including a three-pointer off a screen with ten seconds left in the half. Both teams traded the lead in the third, the Knights suffered a huge blow when Christy picked up his fourth foul with two minutes left. Montour took the lead for good on a Mastroianni trifecta and extended the advantage on a Michael Butter banked three. The Spartans shot 10-13 from the foul line down the stretch for the win. The Spartans hit nine three pointers on the night and only committed eight turnovers. Knoch was led by Austin Hannes with 12 points, PJ Gourley added 10 off the bench. The Knights were 13-15 from the foul line and committed seven turnovers. Knoch ends the season at 14-8.

Thomas Jefferson Jaguars 57 – Yough Cougars 48 
The Thomas Jefferson Jaguars may have entered the playoffs on a bit of a slide, losing four of their last five regular season games. However, they seemed to do just about everything right in defeating the Yough Cougars. The Jaguars owned the boards, seemed to get the majority of loose balls and hit their fair share of three-point shots. C.J. Mason paced Thomas Jefferson with 21 points, including five three-pointers. Justin Farrell added 18, 16 in the first half. Nick Beers led Yough (16-6) with 19 points, despite missing much practice time due to tonsillitis. Thomas Jefferson (11-12) advances to take on #2 seed Beaver Falls Tuesday at West Allegheny High School.

Laurel Highlands Mustangs 68 – Southmoreland Scotties 60 
The Laurel Highlands Mustangs made it a season sweep over the Southmoreland Scotties.  The Mustangs followed up a regular season win, with a WPIAL “AAA” Preliminary Round playoff win over Southmoreland 68 to 60 on Friday Night at Charleroi High School.  Bryce Laskey connected on 5-three pointers and scored a game high 27 points to pace the Mustangs.  Hudson Novak also added 12 points for Laurel Highlands.  Zak Leighty(17 points) and Brandon Stone(14 points) were in double figures for the Scotties.  Laurel Highlands advances to take on the Mars Planets on Tuesday Night.

Trinity Hillers 73 – Mount Pleasant Vikings 66 
Joe Koroly scored 27 points leading Trinity past Mt. Pleasant, 73-66, Friday night.  The Hillers (16-8) advance to play #4 Highlands Tuesday night in the Triple-A Boys First Round at Fox Chapel.  The sophomore guard hit back-to-back three-pointers in the middle of the first quarter, putting Trinity in front 10-9.  They never trailed again, though the Vikings wouldn’t go away quietly.  Mt. Pleasant (7-16) got a quick score from Aaron Bunting right after intermission, pulling to within a point, but the Hillers scored 12 straight from there to lead, 41-27.  With 2:35 to play in the third, trailing by 14, the Vikings ripped off an 11-0 run to close to within three.  But Koroly’s fourth trey of the night calmed the hearts of the Hiller faithful, sending the game into the final period up, 50-45. Eventually building the margin to 14 again, the Hillers had to stave off one more Mt. Pleasant run, as Jake Newill hit a pair of three-pointers, Bunting found the bottom of the net three times and the Vikings hit on seven of 8 free throws to get to within 5 before Trinity put the game away. Koroloy finished with 27 points, aided by 11 each from Jaden Nelson, Dylan Kern and Ben Phillis.  Keith Kalp had 20 for Mt. Pleasant.  Newill scored 17 including five treys.  Bunting finished with 15.  The teams were a combined 32-of-38 at the foul line. 15-16 by the Vikings.  The Hillers extended their current win streak to four in a row, 9 of their last 11.

WPIAL BOYS CLASS A FIRST ROUND:

Cardinal Wuerl North Catholic Trojans 65 – Winchester Thurston Bears 39 
For the third consecutive season, the Trojans were seeded 4th and the Bears were seeded 13th in the WPIAL Boys Class A playoffs, and for the third consecutive year the Trojans ended the Bears season, this time winning 65-39 at North Hills High School. Cardinal Wuerl jumped out to a 10-0 lead courtesy of senior forward Erick Taylor who scored the game’s first seven points as the Trojans led by 15 after the first quarter and never looked back. The (6-4) Taylor posted an impressive stat line, scoring 17 points, grabbing 12 rebounds, blocking 5 shots and adding 3 assists as a dominant force inside for CWNC. Junior forward Kenny Fukon paced Cardinal Wuerl with a game-high 18-points to go along with 7 rebounds. Senior Tristan Newcamp hit a pair of three-pointers in the game and finished with 15 points for the Trojans. Winchester Thurston was led by forward Tyler Coleman, who came into the playoffs averaging 18.5 PPG. The senior led the Bears with 16 points and finished his career with 1,079 points. Junior Malik Potter added 14 points while senior Andre Curtis finished with 9 as those were the only three Bears players to score. Winchester Thurston finishes the season with a record of (12-8). Cardinal Wuerl North Catholic improves to (15-8) with the win and moves onto the quarterfinals to face the 5th seeded Clairton Bears next Friday night at a site and time to be determined.

Clairton Bears 71 – Avella Eagles 37 
The Clairton Bears (seeded 5th) pulled away from the Avella Eagles (seeded 12th) in the second half and cruised to a 71 – 37 victory in a Boys A game at Keystone Oaks High School. The game was far from fluent in the first half as both teams committed enough turnovers to almost equal the halftime score of 23-14. The Eagles started to make a run in the third quarter until Sophomore Anthony Pruitt entered the game for the Bears and provided the spark his team needed by scoring 8 points, 6 of those points on three consecutive possessions. Senior Uri Meyers then took over the game in the fourth quarter when he scored 11 of his game high 21 points to close out the victory. Ultimately,  the Bears’ athleticism and depth overwhelmed the Eagles, especially in the fourth quarter when the outscored Avella 29-9. Three other Bears reached 10 points: Koran Boyd, Maurice Reeves, & Pruitt. For the Eagles, Junior Shawn Willard did well to convert his chances in the post to finish the game with a total of 10 points.

Eden Christian Academy Warriors 64 – Trinity Christian Falcons 47 
The 3-seed Eden Christian Academy Warriors used a fast start to take down 14-seed Trinity Christian School, 64-47, in the first round of the WPIAL Class A playoffs. The Warriors ended the first quarter on a 12-0 run, leading 25-7 after one quarter of play. Eden Christian’s pressure defense forced eight Falcon turnovers in the first quarter and 18 total turnovers in the game. Offensively, battling foul trouble and cold outside shooting, the Warriors turned to the dribble drive against the athletic and aggressive Falcons defense. Sophomore David Ritchie and junior Drew Aiken used the dribble penetration to get easy layups and to get to the free throw line. Ritchie led the way for Eden, scoring 22 points for Eden to match his season average. Aiken finished with 12 tallies, while Blake Carpenter scored 11 points, 9 coming in the opening quarter. The dominant defense held Trinity Christian’s senior 1000-point scorer Jonathan Murphy to just 13 points. He came in averaging over 24 points per contest, amongst the best in Class A. DJ Fitzgerald also scored 13 for the Falcons. Eden Christian will now face 6-seed Jeannette, a 50-36 victory over Cornell, next Friday in the quarterfinals at a site and time to be determined.

Jeannette Jayhawks 50 – Cornell Raiders 36 
Things got off to a slow start in this Class A preliminary round matchup.  Jeannette was held scoreless until the 3:00 mark of the first quarter.  Mike Pompei helped to get things started for the Jayhawks, though, hitting two three-pointers to close out the opening quarter.  Cornell found success at the free throw line, but still trailed the Jayhawks, 15-8 at the end of one. The Raiders then hit a scoring drought throughout the first five minutes of the second quarter.  The Jayhawks held the ball for final 1:30, but were unsuccessful in their attempt to score before the half.  Jeannette headed to the locker room with a 20-13 lead.  Sloppy play plagued both sides, as Jeannette and Cornell combined for 21 first half turnovers. Nadahma Luster and Antionio Gary got on the board for Cornell in the third quarter, but it was not enough.  Jeannette maintained a 10-point lead through three, 35-25. Anthony Schmidt, Jeannette’s 6’5” center, dominated the paint throughout the night, and lit up the scoreboard in the fourth quarter.  The Jayhawks held off a few surges by the Raiders late in the game, but in the end, held on for a 50-36 victory. Schmidt finished with a double-double, including a game-high 16 points, and 11 rebounds.  Pompei hit five three-pointers for 15 Jeannette points. Nadahma Luster led Cornell with nine points. The Raiders finish their season with a (7-14) record.  The Jayhawks improve to (17-6) and advance to the WPIAL quarterfinals, where they will face Eden Christian on Friday, February 19, at a site and time to be determined.

WPIAL GIRLS CLASS AAAA FIRST ROUND:

Norwin Knights 66 – Gateway Gators 33 
At halftime of Friday night’s WPIAL Class Quad-A First Round matchup between the #1 overall seed and undefeated Norwin Lady Knights and the 16-seeded Gateway Gators, the game was close, relatively speaking to how Norwin won its other 21 games this season over inferior opponents. At the half it was 33-21 in favor of the top-seeded Lady Knights, but a 24-6 third quarter put any hopes Gateway had of an upset to bed, as Norwin survived and advanced in the do-or-die tournament on the Path to the Pete. The defending WPIAL Champions, as they look for their 2nd title in program history, received 15 points from senior guard Dominique Petach, 13 from Pitt Panthers’ recruit Alayna Gribble and 12 from senior forward Jenna Cole. With the loss, Gateway ends its season at 9-13 overall and will graduate just one senior, Jasmine Copeland, as every other player will return to the hardwood next season for the team out of Monroeville, including Friday’s leading scorer for the Gators, junior guard Katie Madjerich, who had 10 points in the first round loss. Norwin will now turns its attention to the number-9 seed Mt. Lebanon Blue Devils. The two teams meet for a chance to play in the semifinals next Friday, Feb. 19 at a site and time to be determined.

Mount Lebanon Blue Devils 54 – North Hills Indians 45 
The Mount Lebanon Blue Devils (seeded 9th) defeated the North Hills Indians (seeded 8th) 54 – 45 in a first round Girls AAAA game at Keystone Oaks High School. The Blue Devils utilized a box-and-one defense to limit the opportunities for Jamie Halloran, the star Senior guard of the Indians.That assignment was given to Sophomore Jess Wilhelm who aggressively shadowed Halloran all over the court, limiting her to 5 points before Halloran departed the game after crashing to the court hard. On the offensive end of the court, Junior McKensie Bushee was a force under the basket leading all scorers in the game with 22 points. The Indians had no answer for the entry passes that repeatedly found Bushee on the low block. The Blue Devils lead 27-23 at the half and never trailed in the game. North Hills climbed back to tie the game late in the third quarter and had a possession with a chance to take the lead but the Mount Lebanon defense spurred a 6 point run and they cruised to the victory in the fourth quarter by making 8 free throws. Other players that scored in double figures were Kate Sramac with 10 for Mount Lebanon and Anna Treser with 11 for North Hills.

North Allegheny Tigers 62 – Penn-Trafford Warriors 30 
North Allegheny’s WPIAL first round game against the 15th-seeded Penn-Trafford Warriors began with a steal and layup by junior Hayley Zeise to give the Tigers a 2-0 lead. The opening bucket epitomized the night for both sides as the second-seeded Lady Tigers forced 25 turnovers and rolled to a 62-30 victory over Penn-Trafford. It  was NA’s 13th consecutive victory. Following the Zeise steal and layup to start the game, North Allegheny opened up a 13-0 lead before Penn-Trafford scored its first points with less than two minutes remaining in the first quarter. The Tigers started slowly shooting from the field but found their groove in the second quarter as freshman Rachel Martindale poured in 11 first half points on 3 of 5 shooting from beyond the arc. The Tigers held a 31-16 lead at the half and put the game in cruise control in the second half thanks to their pressure defense. With NA hounding Penn-Trafford’s guards all game long, no Warrior touched double figures as senior Michelle Bosco led the team with nine points. Meanwhile, five NA players reached double digits, including Piper Morningstar who scored a game-high 12 points. Senior Abby Gonzales added 11 points, while Zeise and Taylor Lake netted 10 points apiece. The win improves North Allegheny to 20-3 on the season making it the fourth consecutive year the Tigers have won 20 games more. Penn-Trafford ends the season with a 9-14 record. The Lady Tigers will face the Bethel Park Black Hawks in the quarterfinals next Friday night.

Bethel Park Black Hawks 49 – Seneca Valley Raiders 47 
In a game that offered over twenty lead changes, the Bethel Park Blackhawks outlasted the Seneca Valley Raiders in an opening round Class AAAA game held at Cardinal Wuerl North Catholic HS.  Seneca Valley erased an early 8-6 deficit in the first quarter by going on a 7-0 run and took a 13-10 lead at the end of the first quarter.  But, Bethel Park would turn that 3-point deficit into a 3-point halftime lead behind the hot shooting of Shannon Conely (13 pts) and Justine Mascaro (16 pts).  Conely and Mascaro would combine for 19 of their teams 25 points at the break.  The Raiders would storm back in the 3rd quarter and eventually took a 35-34 lead heading into the 4th quarter but Bethel Park would overcome the Raiders in the final frame, outscoring Seneca Valley 15-12 behind excellent foul shooting and clutch defense.  The Blackhawks connected on 18/22 foul shots and would thwart a last-second 3-pointer by Michaela Lamont to salt away the victory.  Brooke Lyczek (11) and Paige Montrose (10) would score in double-digits for Seneca Valley and the Raiders got good complementary scoring from their other three starters, Erin Danik (9), Lamont (8) and Lexus Lambert (7).  With the win, Bethel Park (18-5) will play North Allegheny, the bracket’s 2nd seed on Tuesday night.  With the loss, Seneca Valley finishes their season with a respectable 16-7 record.

WPIAL GIRLS CLASS AA PRELIMINARY ROUND:

Apollo-Ridge Vikings 57 – Frazier Commodores 42 
The Apollo Ridge Vikings got revenge from a playoff loss to Frazier during the 2015 WPIAL Playoffs downing the Commodores 57 to 42 on Friday Night in a Girls “AA” Preliminary Round Game at Spartan Field House at Hempfield High School.  Senior Megan Bonelli scored a game high 25 points for Apollo Ridge while a pair of Freshman Elizabeth Penrose(11 points) and Madalyn Moore(10 points) were also in double figures for the Vikings.  Frazier was lead by Junior Hanna Fell who scored 13 points and Freshman Brooke Poling who added 12.  The Commodores season ends with a 12-9 record.  Apollo Ridge improves to 12-11 on the season and will take on top seed OLSH on Tuesday Night at Keystone Oaks.

Shenango Wildcats 69 – Beth-Center Bulldogs 30 
Shenango started fast, used a suffocating defense and efficient shooting to run away with a 69-30 WPIAL Girls AA Preliminary Round victory over Beth-Center on Friday evening at Baldwin High School. The win for Shanango (14-9) gives them the 15-seed in the AA bracket and advances the Wildcats to the First Round, where they will meet No. 2 Burrell on Tuesday. Angelina Sibeto paced the Wildcats with 15 points and, along the way, broke the Shenango single season assist record. Carolyn Peterson added 11 points, including a trio of three-pointers, the first of which broke the Shenango all-time three-point record. Samantha Seaburn chipped in 10 points and 14 rebounds for the Wildcats, which out-rebounded Beth-Center 36-20. Shenango scored the game’s first 13 points and built a 44-11 halftime lead behind 15 forced turnovers. Beth-Center (8-11) was led by sophomore Kinlee Whited, who scored a game-high 18 points. However Whited, who averages over 19 points per game, was held to just five in the first half. Shenango’s meeting with Burrell will be on Tuesday at 6:30pm at Cardinal Wuerl North Catholic High School.

Greensburg Central Catholic Centurions 49 – Avonworth Antelopes 37 
The Greensburg Central Catholic Lady Centurions defeated the Avonworth Lady Antelopes tonight by a score of 49-37. The game started slow as neither team could generate any offensive momentum. In fact, the score was just 18-17 at halftime. However, the pace picked up in the third quarter and both teams played extremely physical. Brittany Stawovy sparked the Centurions like she’s done all year. She had ten points in the third quarter and hit two big momentum swinging three pointers. Stawovy finished the game with 22 of the teams 49 points and led her team to a play in game victory. GCC is now the owner of the 14 seed in the girls AA playoff bracket and will face Seton La Salle at 8 pm Tuesday night from Peters Township high school.

Mohawk Warriors 65 – East Allegheny Wildcats 54 
Strong performances from seniors Erin Giancola and Aliya Gage pushed Mohawk past East Allegheny 65-54 in a Class A preliminary round victory. Mohawk led 29-27 at the half after being out scored 14-13 by EA’s Amani Johnson in the third quarter. Coach Mike O’Lare had his Warriors switch to a zone defense for the second half, and Johnson was limited to just six of her 25 points in the second half. Giancola scored 14 of her 24 points in the second half and Mohawk pulled away with a 17-9 third quarter and knocked down 11 free throws in the fourth to seal the deal. Mackenzie and Ashley McConnell combined to score 18 points for the Warriors, and Carlee Stelter added nine.  Cache Street joined Johnson as the only other Wildcat in double figures with 11 points, 9 coming in the second half. Mohawk will take on Bishop Canevin Tuesday night.

Charleroi Cougars 43 – Freedom Bulldogs 36
The situation looked promising for the Freedom Lady Bulldogs after they scored the final eight points of the second quarter and led Charleroi 24-22 at the half in a AA preliminary game.  But, the Lady Cougars defensive pressure held Freedom to 12 points in the second half as Charleroi went on to win the game at Peters Township High School, 43-36.  Turnovers by Freedom and repeated trips to the free throw line by Charleroi were also pivotal in the outcome.  The Lady Cougars made 14 of 27 foul shots while the Lady Bulldogs merely took five free throws total.  Sophomore Kaitlyn Riley paced the winners with 15 points but sat out much of the fourth period with four fouls.  Maria Claybaugh added 10 tallies for Charleroi, scoring nine of them after intermission.  Deanna Drobka had 13 points to lead Freedom and her 3-point field goal with a half minute remaining in the fourth was the Bulldogs lone field goal of that quarter.  Freedom ended its season at 8-15 while Charleroi improved to 16-7 and will meet Neshannock in a first round contest on Tuesday with tip off at 6:30 p.m. from Canon-McMillan.

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