Quaker Valley boys basketball hopes experience pays off in postseason
Friday, February 1, 2019 | 7:48 PM
Quaker Valley’s boys basketball team has reached the WPIAL Class 4A championship game the last two seasons.
The Quakers hope to make it a third.
After going through a tough Section 2 schedule, they believe they are prepared for a long postseason journey.
“It’s huge to get the experience. This section gets us really ready for the playoffs because all these teams are so talented,” Quaker Valley senior Danny Conlan said. “You have to be ready to step up your level. We’ll be ready to go once playoffs come.”
Quaker Valley got off to a 10-0 start, including a 4-0 mark in the section that included a 67-48 win at New Castle. However, the Quakers hit a speedbump with a 70-69 overtime loss at Blackhawk. A home 72-67 setback in double overtime to Ambridge followed. The squad rebounded for a 68-43 win over Beaver and survived a scare against Central Valley, 49-47. Quaker Valley beat New Castle again 70-67 but needed overtime to do it. That win gave the team a boost and a tie for the section lead at 7-2 with New Castle and Ambridge heading into the final week of section play.
“We’re back now. We’ve learned from our mistakes, and we’re trying to be better, moving forward,” Quaker Valley senior Ryan Stowers said. “The section is definitely wild. Teams are losing to teams they wouldn’t expect to. It just shows you have to come in every day and not judge any team by the standings because any team can beat any team.”
The Quakers hope their experience of highs and lows and intense situations in the regular season will help in the postseason.
“(The New Castle win) is a confidence booster for us going into playoffs. It really showed our perseverance,” Conlan said. “We lost our first two overtime games, so we are making progress as the year goes on. We just have to keep it going.”
Added Stowers, “These games definitely get us ready, so we know how to handle adversity playing with the lead and without the lead.”
Stowers (22.8 points per game) and Conlan (16.2) have paced the Quakers. However, they’re getting contributions from a multitude of players. That’s what coach Mike Mastroianni likes to see.
“We play a lot of guys, and I think our guys really understand their roles. Danny and Ryan have been in our program, and they realize they have to go and make some plays for us when we need them,” he said. “We’re heading in the right direction and getting good contributions.”
Freshman Adou Thiero moved into the starting lineup at point guard and has averaged 9.2 points. Christian Johnston and Quinn Hill joined those three in the starting five. However, Jon Weir, K.C. Johns, Jackson Zernich and Kyle Wolf have seen regular minutes, as well.
Mastroianni is happy with his team’s progress.
“Our section really prepares us. It’s difficult because until you go through the different game situations, you just don’t know how your team will respond,” he said. “We’ve been through some situations with the overtime games, and we were able to learn a little from that. We’re in a good place with our team.”
Joe Sager is a freelance writer.
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