Relentless North Catholic boys finish off Shady Side Academy

Friday, February 14, 2020 | 9:53 PM

Shady Side Academy’s 17th consecutive WPIAL playoff trip was a short one in more ways than one.

The Indians traveled just 1½ miles to Fox Chapel High School and fell behind quickly, ultimately dropping an 86-36 decision to No. 2-seeded North Catholic, 86-36.

The Trojans’ defense was unrelenting, holding the No. 15 Indians to just 3 of 17 shooting from the field in the first half.

North Catholic also forced 14 Shady Side turnovers in the first two periods.

The Trojans (21-2) will face the winner of a first-round matchup between Charleroi and Carlynton in the quarterfinal round Thursday at a site and time to be determined.

“I thought our effort was great,” said North Catholic coach Dave DeGregorio. “Tonight everybody gave a great effort … and moved to where they were supposed to be.”

North Catholic has made the playoffs each of the last 18 seasons.

The Indians (10-11) didn’t register a field goal until Mason Tomlin’s basket with 5 minutes, 42 seconds left in the second quarter. By that time, the Trojans were in command, 25-8.

“It didn’t help that we didn’t get a field goal until the second quarter,” said Shady Side coach David Vadnais. “We played hard, but if we can’t make shots, especially against a team like North Catholic that’s so potent offensively …

“We got tight, we stopped running things, and you have breakdowns on defense because you’re trying to make stuff up. We’re a team that doesn’t have just one guy that can fix things.”

Issac DeGregorio took a pass from Ryan Feczko and hit a 3-pointer to beat the second-quarter buzzer to put North Catholic in front, 48-16, at the half.

A reverse layup by Andrew Ammerman on a pass from DeGregorio and a subsequent foul shot with 4:01 left in the third quarter gave the Trojans a 64-24 lead and put the PIAA’s continuous clock rules in effect.

Twelve players hit the scoring column for North Catholic.

“I thought we were much better defensively than offensively tonight,” Dave DeGregorio said. “Offensively, I thought we were just barely OK. We got bumped off on our drives. We’ve got to be stronger and more physical driving to the basket.”

DeGregorio led the Trojans with 16 points and seven assists, while Jackson Paschall chipped in with 14 points. Hans Rottmann came off the bench to score 12 points and picked up five rebounds.

Tomlin led the Indians with 16 points, including 12 of 18 from the foul line. Grady Munroe collected six rebounds as Shady Side exchanged hugs and handshakes in a quiet locker room afterwards.

“It’s hard. You spend so much time with these guys,” Vadnais said. “Once you’re into the season, you’re family. You’re with them as much as your own family.”

Vadnais added that he’d like to not only keep the playoff streak alive, but to get into the higher tournament seeds that the program once enjoyed.

Click to watch an archived broadcast on Trib HSSN.

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