Quaker Valley’s offense struggles in PIAA semifinal loss to Sharon

Tuesday, March 20, 2018 | 1:24 AM

For Quaker Valley, this was the kind of night where even a breakaway layup bounced off the side of the rim.

Sharon quickly grabbed that rebound and 31 others.

The high-scoring Quakers couldn't find their offense Monday night, they struggled with Sharon's height and lost 65-48 in a PIAA Class 4A semifinal at New Castle. With a 6-foot-8 junior and a 6-5 senior under the basket, QV's scorers had trouble finishing around the rim or earning second chances.

Quaker Valley made 15 of 41 shots and was out-rebounded 32-15, a combination it couldn't overcome against the District 10 champion.

“We're not used to playing against bigger guys; we're usually the bigger team,” Quaker Valley coach Mike Mastroianni said. “So obviously when you have that, it's an adjustment period. We were struggling on offense, and couldn't get easy stuff around the basket.”

Sharon (27-2) will make its first state championship appearance since 1957 when it faces Philadelphia's Imhotep Charter (30-2) in the PIAA Class 4A final Thursday.

Coletrane Washington led Quaker Valley with 18 points on 4 of 16 shooting. The senior went 9 for 10 at the foul line, but no teammate scored more than nine points.

“You're always surprised when your offense isn't there,” said Washington, a Drexel recruit and 1,500-point scorer. “In general, we didn't run out and they did a great job of getting back. But, yeah, it was a little bit surprising.”

Sharon shot 53 percent (22 of 41) from the field and made 16 of 17 free throws. James McKinney led Sharon with 18 points, Elite Williams had 17 and Ethan Porterfield, the 6-7 junior, added 11.

The loss was just the second all season for Quaker Valley (26-2), which was trying to reach the state finals for the second time in school history. The team's other loss this year was in the WPIAL finals.

“Obviously, this one hurts now,” Mastroianni said, “but it shouldn't define who we are. … Hundreds of teams in Pennsylvania would trade places with us. Although it hurts a lot right now because you want to get to the end, you realize the terrific season that we had.”

Sharon jumped out to an early lead much like it did to defeat New Castle three days earlier.

The Quakers made just two baskets in the first quarter, four in the second and trailed 28-16 at half. The offensive woes were surprising for a QV team that averages 68 points and scored 89 in a quarterfinal win over Huntingdon.

“We played so well on Friday night, actually I was excited about it,” Mastroianni said. “I actually thought we'd come out and be OK scoring. … We were taking some tough shots, so we probably didn't play through our stuff the right way. And then we got stagnant, which has not happened in awhile.

“But Sharon had something to do with that.”

Sharon wanted to limit Quaker Valley to a half-court offense. At times, Sharon used a zone to clog the lane with Porterfield and 6-5 Tristan Ballard in the middle.

“We didn't want to go up and down with them,” Sharon coach Zach Sarver said. “They're so potent on the offensive end. We had to get back on defense in transition and limit them to one shot. We did that tonight.”

Chris Harlan is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at charlan@tribweb.com or via Twitter @CHarlan_Trib.

Chris Harlan is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Chris by email at charlan@triblive.com or via Twitter .


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