PIAA notebook: Deer Lakes done, but accomplishments will ring out

By: George Guido
Saturday, March 16, 2019 | 11:02 PM

Although the Deer Lakes ride came to an end Saturday afternoon at Slippery Rock University, the memories generated by the Lancers in the past few months will be savored for many years.

Fans know the factoids by now: best section start since 1987; first outright section title since 1992; first WPIAL playoff win since 1985 and the first two PIAA victories of all time.

The Deer Lakes bandwagon swelled as the season went on, and the fans hung on until the bitter end, giving the team a standing ovation after the game.

“Great turnout today,” coach Terence Parham said. “That speaks volumes. It got a little out of hand. Maybe in years past, the fans leave. But I think they know what this team is made of, and they probably think this team always has a shot as long as there’s time on the clock.”

The players appreciated the fan support.

“I think this was a great ride, and we enjoyed every moment of it,” said senior Brad Perrotte, who finished with 17 points. “Even more so with just me and my teammates, it was a great ride for the community and they recognized our resiliency, and we appreciate that more than anything.”

From an administrative standpoint, it was more work but an enjoyable time for Deer Lakes athletic director Chuck Bellisario.

“Overall, very proud of the kids,” Bellisario said. “Practicing every day at different times. These last couple of weeks with all the spring sports going, they were practicing from 7-9 so we could get the other teams practicing. I can’t ask any more of my coaches, how much they watch film, how prepared they’ve been, both Coach Parham and Coach (Albie) Fletcher.”

Shenango Valley success

The Shenango Valley area of Mercer County always has been known for great scholastic teams, but this year the area has outdone itself.

There are four boys teams within a 3-mile radius that were alive in the PIAA playoffs going into Saturday’s action. Sharon is headed to the Class 3A semifinals Tuesday, joined by neighbors Kennedy Catholic and Hickory. Farrell, one of the most successful programs in state history, dropped a three-point decision to Bishop Guilfoyle at Kiski Area.

A fifth team, the West Middlesex girls, also are headed for the PIAA semis after defeating Kane on Friday night.

“It’s a great area,” Sharon coach Zach Sarver said. “It just speaks to the athletes we have. If we don’t have good players, we’re not here. None of us. The senior classes, this year in particular, have been strong the whole way up.”

As for Sharon, Saturday’s win over Deer Lakes puts the Tigers in the state semifinals in back-to-back seasons for the first time since 1929-30. The 1930 team won the state title after defeating New Kensington to get to the semifinals.

Sharon made the Class 4A state finals last season before losing to Imhotep Charter at Hershey’s Giant Center.

Ethan the force

Deer Lakes, like many teams in the last two seasons, had trouble containing 6-foot-8 Ethan Porterfield, an IUP recruit.

Porterfield scored 28 points and was a force on the boards. He collected 13 of his team’s 21 rebounds.

Lancers forwards Jack Hollibaugh, at 6-1, and Colin Kadlick (6-3) held their own against Porterfield for a while. Hollibaugh had nine rebounds and Kadlick five before they got in foul trouble and eventually fouled out.

As if his play around the rim wasn’t enough, Porterfield stepped out and canned a trio of 3-pointers, two in the first period.

It reminded Parham of his days at Shady Side Academy trying to guard the late Peter Sauer in practice.

“I played against a guy like Porterfield in Peter Sauer,” Parham said. “I know the luxury when you can do that, and they’re able to live off that.”

Porterfield scored 17 against Valley in last year’s PIAA opening round.


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