Quentin Goode, Aliquippa overwhelm Greensburg Central Catholic in WPIAL Class 2A semis

Tuesday, February 28, 2023 | 10:01 PM

“Cheese” turned a frown upside down.

Junior 5-foot-9 guard Quentin Goode was tired of seeing Aliquippa lose in the WPIAL semifinals. The Quips had made five straight trips to the final four and came up short each time.

But given a sixth opportunity, they made sure the slide was over by putting the squeeze on Greensburg Central Catholic.

Goode powered the top-seeded Quips into the Class 2A championship for the first time since 2015-16 with a game- and playoff-high 24 points in a breezy, 61-36 victory over No. 4 GCC on Tuesday night at West Allegheny.

“We lost (in the semifinals) last year, so we wanted to get back,” Goode said. “We knew what we needed to do defensively. Defense turns into offense for us. That’s how we play.”

The Quips (19-6) will play No. 6 Northgate (19-6) for the title at 1 p.m. Saturday at Petersen Events Center.

GCC (17-6), making its third straight semifinal appearance, faces No. 2 Bishop Canevin (20-5) on Thursday in the third-place game.

The Centurions had won 10 games in a row.

Now, about Goode’s nickname …

“My dad’s name is Cheese, too,” Goode said. “I guess he got that name because he smiles a lot.”

The rest of the Quips were smiling, too, because they executed their gameplan. It centered on containing GCC junior 6-foot-5 forward Franco Alvarez.

With a face-guarding, man-to-man style, the Quips made the Centurions work for offense. Alvarez struggled to get position and was kept away from the paint.

He had two points after scoring 33 in a quarterfinal win over Eden Christian.

“Major focus … We were well aware of what he did the last two games,” Aliquippa coach Nick Lackovich said. “Cameron Lindsey did a great job of guarding him straight up, and we had good help.”

Every drive GCC took was contested, and outside shots were limited. The rushed offense led to turnovers that the Quips converted into points.

Junior guard Tyree Turner still found a way to get 22 points, including 13 in the second quarter as GCC took a 30-20 deficit into halftime.

“We’re not an explosive scoring team,” Lackovich said. “We’re a defensive team. We have a bunch of football guys playing basketball.”

The Quips have held five straight opponents to fewer than 40 points.

GCC played without senior guard Jaydin Canady for an undisclosed reason.

“We were out of sorts tonight and had guys in different roles,” GCC coach Christian Hyland said. “Aliquippa is just so tough. I don’t think we were intimidated. We just picked a bad night to have one of our worst games.”

Goode had 10 points in the opening quarter as Aliquippa took a 17-6 lead.

He had 10 more in the third as the Quips stretched the advantage to 49-30.

GCC rallied behind Turner to get within 22-17. He had nine straight points in the quarter.

Freshman Samir Crosby also was assertive getting to the rim. Again, he faced a host of contact and finished with nine points.

Goode, though, scored off a steal just before the half for a 10-point lead.

In the third, Goode made a smooth pull-up jumper to extend the advantage to 47-30 with just under two minutes left in the quarter.

“We don’t know who is going to step up for us each game,” Lackovich said. “Tonight, it was (Goode).”

The Quips ended the third with a 10-3 run for a 19-point lead.

Senior guard Donovan Walker and sophomore Tiqwai Hayes scored to keep the Quips well in control.

GCC could only cut the deficit to 15 in the fourth.

Lindsey finished with 10 for the Quips, and junior Jayace Williams added eight.

The Quips also beat GCC in the semis in 2015 and ’16.

“We’re not motivated by (what past teams did not accomplish),” Lackovich said. “When we take the floor, it’s not about them, it’s about what we do: Us vs. us.”

Bill Beckner Jr. is a TribLive reporter covering local sports in Westmoreland County. He can be reached at bbeckner@triblive.com.

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