PIAA Class 2A boys basketball championship preview: Aliquippa vs. Holy Cross

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Thursday, March 21, 2024 | 8:49 PM


PIAA Class 2A boys basketball championship

Aliquippa vs. Holy Cross

2 p.m. Friday at Giant Center, Hershey

PIAA titles: Aliquippa 5 (1949, ’98, ’94, ’97, 2016), Holy Cross 0

Aliquippa (25-5)

Coach: Nick Lackovich

Probable starting lineup

No., Name, Ht., Cl., Pos.

0, Qalil Goode, 6-1, so., G

1, Brandon Banks, 6-0, sr., G

4, Josh Pratt, 6-1, so., G

5, Quentin Goode, 5-10, sr., G

23, Cam Lindsey, 6-3, sr., F

How they got here: WPIAL champion Aliquippa defeated Otto Eldred, 56-27; Eisenhower, 79-47; Redbank, 54-21; and Fort Cherry, 65-53.

Notable: Aliquippa is trying to avoid a third straight PIAA runner-up finish. The Quips lost to Devon Prep, 76-58, in the Class 3A final in 2022, and lost to Lancaster Mennonite, 60-44, in the 2A final last year. … Pratt averages a team-best 16 points, and Lindsey averages 14.5. … Four of the five starters also started for Aliquippa’s football team that won WPIAL and PIAA titles in the fall. The exception is Pratt. … This is Pratt’s first season with the Quips. He was on Lincoln Park’s basketball roster a year ago. … This is Lackovich’s seventh season as coach in two stints. He has led the team to the state finals five times, including a championship in 2016. … The Quips are 5-7 all-time in state basketball finals … Lindsey is a Pitt linebacker recruit, and Banks is a Yale defensive back recruit … Qalil Goode intercepted three passes in the state finals, and his brother Quentin Goode was the Quips’ starting quarterback. Another brother, Darrien Fields, is an assistant coach for both football and basketball.

Holy Cross (24-3)

Coach: Al Callejas Jr.

Probable starting lineup

4, Austin Bicking, 6-2, jr., G

12, Matt Lyons, 6-6, jr., F

14, Michael Hughes, 5-10, jr., G

23, C.J. Thompson, 5-11, fr., G

33, Mario Matrone, 6-2, jr., F

How they got there: District 2 champion Holy Cross defeated Schuylkill Haven, 70-35; Claysburg Kimmel, 72-24; Dock Mennonite, 62-52; and Constitution, 78-66.

Notable: This is Holy Cross’ second appearance in the state finals. The team lost to Beaver Falls, 69-63, in the Class 3A final in 2013. … Callejas is a first-year coach. … The team has reached the state playoffs in 16 of 17 seasons since the school was formed. The only year they missed was 2021, when the team withdrew from the postseason for covid concerns. … Hughes averages 18.1 points and Lyons 13.1. … The school is in Dunmore near Scranton.

Chris Harlan is a TribLive reporter covering sports. He joined the Trib in 2009 after seven years as a reporter at the Beaver County Times. He can be reached at charlan@triblive.com.

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