Quaker Valley’s Adou Thiero scores 25 in semifinal win despite fractured thumb

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Saturday, February 26, 2022 | 6:03 PM


Adou Thiero wore tape on the knee he injured last winter and a wrap on the thumb he fractured earlier this week.

His junior season was cut short by one injury, costing his team a chance at a WPIAL title, so the Quaker Valley star was determined that this season wouldn’t end the same way.

“I was going to do everything possible to play this game,” Thiero said Saturday.

Hurt or not, the 6-foot-6 senior threw his body around as usual, scoring 25 points, drawing fouls and blocking shots as No. 1 seed Quaker Valley defeated No. 5 Lincoln Park, 74-63, in a WPIAL Class 4A semifinal at the Robert Morris UPMC Events Center.

Markus Frank scored a game-high 27 points with 13 in the fourth quarter. Together, he and Thiero form a dynamic duo chasing an elusive WPIAL title.

Waiting for Quaker Valley (22-0) in the finals will be No. 2 Montour (20-4), another rival from Section 2. The Class 4A championship is 9 p.m. Thursday at Petersen Events Center.

The Quakers haven’t won a WPIAL title since 1997.

“We know a lot of people are depending on us and our class,” Theiro said. “Since sophomore year, maybe freshman year, they knew what we had. I feel like we owe the community something.”

Both he and Frank said they felt added urgency, knowing this was their final chance to win one. Quaker Valley was the WPIAL runner-up three years in a row in 2019, ’18 and ’17.

“I’ve been there once as a freshman and didn’t get too many minutes then,” Frank said. “I felt the environment, so I kind of know what it’s going to be like. But this year is a whole new year. I’m so excited to go.”

“This was what they’ve been wanting for awhile,” Quaker Valley coach Mike Mastroianni said. “Getting back is something they’ve talked about since Day One.”

The Quakers went 5 for 6 from 3-point range in the first quarter and never trailed, topping section rival Lincoln Park for the third time this winter. The Leopards (17-7) tried a new defense meant to contain Frank and Thiero, but QV’s other starters made shots instead.

Wil Dunda made two 3s, Jack Gardinier had one and Dan Bartels added another as Quaker Valley built a 17-6 lead.

“We tried to throw something a little different at them,” Lincoln Park coach Mike Bariski said. “We were going to concentrate on Adou and Frank, but they hit five 3s in the first quarter. That was the difference. Making those 15 points up was an uphill battle.”

Thiero and Frank took over from there.

The pair forced Lincoln Park into foul trouble with their ability to get to the rim. Combined, they attempted 26 free throws and made 19. Three Lincoln Park players finished the game with four fouls and a fourth fouled out.

Thiero showed off his dribbling skills on one court-length play in the third quarter. He spun at midcourt, crossed over behind his back near the 3-point line, made the layup and drew a foul.

“We play through contact,” Frank said. “That’s how we play. We drive into people and try to draw fouls.”

Brandin Cummings led Lincoln Park with 18 points, and Meleek Thomas and DeAndre Moye each had 17. The Leopards were the defending WPIAL champions.

Lincoln Park cut the lead to one point early in the third when Moye scored eight points in a row. Quaker Valley’s lead was 31-30 after he made two 3-pointers and a transition layup.

Frank and Thiero answered with consecutive layups to spark an 11-3 run that pushed the Quakers’ lead back to nine.

“When we got it to one, I thought we were fine,” Bariski said. “But we took some bad shots, and then we fouled.”

A three-point play by Moye midway through the fourth cut Quaker Valley’s lead to six points, but Lincoln Park got no closer. Thiero and Frank punctuated the win with consecutive dunks in the final minute.

Pitt coach Jeff Capel waited outside the locker room after the game to talk with Thiero, who doesn’t have a Pitt offer, but does have a few others from Division I schools.

Thiero injured his hand Wednesday in a quarterfinal win over Deer Lakes and missed the second half. He tried to catch himself after slipping and fractured his thumb on the floor. He said the injury was diagnosed as a fracture of the growth plate.

He initially was worried his season was over but gained hope after a doctor’s visit Thursday. If he could handle the pain, reduce the swelling and rest his hand whenever possible, the doctor said he might be able to play.

“He told me that there was a chance,” Thiero said. “From the time the doctor said that, I knew I was going to play this game.”

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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