Shorthanded Warriors Use Double OT To Win First WPIAL Title

Friday, February 28, 2014 | 11:43 PM

It took a little longer than originally planned.?In fact it took a lot longer than anyone originally planned.?But when all was said and done, the Central Valley Warriors had the first WPIAL basketball championship in the school’s brief history after a 70-69 win in double overtime over perennial title contender Chartiers Valley.

Tony Gates sealed the victory with a free throw with just .6 seconds left on the clock at the end of the second extra frame. After a desperation heave came up empty, Central Valley players erupted into a wild on-court celebration.

It was expected and deserved for the school that was formed as Center and Monaca high schools merged in 2010.?Then again sprits were high all evening, as each team’s student section was quite boisterous throughout the evening.?

Central Valley (22-3) won this championship despite having three key players foul out of the contest – John George, Jacob St. George and Michael Sims.? But Gates made up for the trio’s absence with a number of big plays, not the least of which was his drive to the hoop late in the second overtime where he drew contact from Chartiers Valley’s Kyle Westover and sunk the first of two free throws.?

Central Valley grabbed a 67-63 lead in the second overtime, but layups by Eddie Flohr and Matty McConnell tied the game at 67.?
Gates displayed his magic touch with 1:06 left in the overtime with a hoop to put Central Valley back up 69-67, but a tough layup by McConnell that went through the net after hitting high off the back board tied the game at 69 with 49 seconds left.?

That set the stage for the heroics from Gates. The wild affair never saw either team take a sizable lead and the score remained close throughout the two overtimes.

The game featured seven ties and nine lead changes.?A second overtime was needed after a flourish at the end of the first four-minute extra frame.

Gates put Central Valley ahead 63-62 when he converted a layup after a steal in the back court.?But Jerrad Tuite tied the score just seconds later when he connected on one of two free throws with .14 left at the end of the first overtime.?

The game was initially forced into overtime when Michel Sims scored on a driving layup to tie the score at 55 with a shade more than four seconds remaining in the fourth quarter.?

St. George paced Central Valley with 17 points, George and Sims each had 10.?Tuite led Chartiers Valley (24-2) with 27 points, including an incredible 18-21 performance at the free-throw line. McConnell added 22 and Flohr 13.?

Central Valley connected on 22-of-47 shots from the field (5-of-13 from three-point land) and collected 30 rebounds. Gates led the Warriors on the boards with nine.?Chartiers Valley made 21-of-44 shots (3-of-12 from behind the arc) and grabbed 26 rebounds. McConnell and Joe Antonucci each grabbed six rebounds.?Both teams now advance to the PIAA tournament.

Score by Quarters?:
Central Valley Warriors:  11 – 16 – 15 – 13 – 8 – 7 = 70?
Chartiers Valley Colts:    17 – 12 – 13 – 15 – 8 – 6 = 69

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