Peters Township survives scare from Penn-Trafford in Class 5A first round

Friday, February 17, 2023 | 10:57 PM

Those who thought No. 1 Peters Township would have an easy first-round game in the WPIAL Class 5A playoffs forgot to tell No. 16 Penn-Trafford.

Peters Township (20-3) used a big first half and then held on to defeat a gritty Penn-Trafford squad, 66-55, on Friday at home. The Indians will now face No. 8 South Fayette, a 34-33 winner over Shaler on Friday, in Wednesday’s quarterfinals.

Senior Brendan McCullough scored 17 points and Jake Dunbar had 13 as the Indians opened up a 16-point lead in the second quarter.

But the Warriors, who lost to Peters Township by 29 in December, wouldn’t allow a repeat to happen. They trimmed that lead to 40-28 by halftime and 52-46 early in the fourth quarter.

Tyler Freas had a game-high 18 points for the Warriors (7-16), and Brayden Stone had 13.

“I didn’t think we played well,” Peters Township coach Joe Urmann said. “Some of the credit goes to Penn-Trafford; they attacked our pressure well. They were aggressive, and we had a hard time keeping in front of them.

“We definitely made some runs in the first half that helped us build the lead. When I called timeout in the fourth quarter, I reminded them that we needed to finish strong.”

Peters Township did just that by building the lead back to 56-46 on buckets by Dunbar and Tom Aspinall. Penn-Trafford didn’t get closer than nine the rest of the way.

“It was not the outcome we wanted, but how we’ve grown since Dec. 16 when we played these guys is amazing,” Penn-Trafford coach Doug Kelly said. “We knew they would make some runs because they are a solid team and have a lot of guys coming back too, but I’m proud how we shrunk the gap.

“The difference this time was the fight we showed. That was a big difference all year. Back on Dec. 16, that 16-point lead went to 30 very quickly. But we were able to fight back and make better decisions.”

Kelly said his team still made too many turnovers.

Peters Township also got secondary scoring from Jake Ziegler, who scored 12, and Nate Miller, who had 10. Urmann said Miller led the team in rebounds and assists.

“I told our guys that I didn’t think they were entirely ready to play,” Urmann said. “They know that. It can be a little bit of a letdown. So I challenged them to find that chemistry we need to be successful.

“We got a lot of contributors. We had guys come off the bench and play great defense. It was a total team effort.”

One area Peters Township needs to improve is free-throw shooting. The Indians were 9 of 18 from the line in the second half.

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

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