Sports

Penn-Trafford’s Joey Ference Repeats as WPIAL AAA Diving Champ
February 28, 2016
Second verse, same as the first for Penn-Trafford’s Joey Ference, who came into Saturday’s Boys Class AAA Diving Championships as the favorite, and the senior left with his second straight gold medal posting the only score above 500, as he finished his 11-dive set with 546.90 points. Ference admitted afterwards that he was a little bit disappointed that he didn’t come close to his score of 589.40 from last year, or the WPIAL record of 610.00, but in the end, Ference realized a gold medal is a gold medal and a second consecutive first place finish in the Championship.

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2016 WPIAL Class AA Individual Wrestling Results
The talent in AA Wrestling was on display this weekend, as many wrestlers repeated as WPIAL champions. Saturday’s finals at South Fayette High School featured 9 returning WPIAL Champions, including 5 of which who had already won multiple WPIAL crowns before taking the mat for the finals. The most impressive of which was George Phillippi of Derry. At 138 pounds, Phillippi became the 26th wrestler all time to win four WPIAL championships. He did by defeating Evan Myers of Southmoreland 9-3. For Myers, who is a senior, this is the third straight season he finished as a WPIAL runner-up.

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Bethel Park’s Maria Capozzi Wins AAA Gold on Final Dive
In a meet seemingly dominated by underclassmen, it was a senior who ended up top of the class. Bethel Park's Maria Capozzi finally broke through to the taste the gold at  the Girls Class AAA Diving Championships at North Allegheny High School. Capozzi slipped past Hampton's Adrienne White in the finals, defeating her by just under ten points.

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2016 WPIAL Individual Wrestling Class AAA Sectionals Results
The field for the 2016 WPIAL Class AAA Individual Wrestling Championships is now set following the results from all four Triple-A sectionals on Saturday. The top five wrestlers from each section qualify for the district championships next weekend at Penn Hills High School and here on MSA Sports. CLASS AAA SECTION 1 at KISKI AREA HIGH SCHOOL:

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Pine-Richland Cruises To First WPIAL Quad-A Basketball Title
February 27, 2016
Following a 77-75 double-overtime win against top-seeded Latrobe Wednesday, Pine-Richland got off to a mildly sluggish start early in the first quarter of Saturday’s WPIAL Class AAAA Championship game. However, that didn’t last long. The Rams opened up a 12-0 run midway through the first quarter, and never looked back, defeating North Hills 70-53 at the Petersen Events Center to win the first District 7 Championship in school history. “We went really light for two days after that,” said Pine-Richland head coach Jeff Ackermann. “We didn’t watch any film; I think it helped us that we played them twice in section play. From that standpoint, we didn’t need as much preparation. Nothing full court, we kept it light so they had legs. It was more about executing.”

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Norwin Comes Back To Repeat Girls AAAA Title In Overtime
“Don’t ever underestimate the heart of a champion” has often become a cliché in the world of sports. That adage proved fitting at the Petersen Events Center on Saturday night, however, as the reigning champion Norwin Knights scored a 63-57 overtime victory against North Allegheny in the Class Quad-A title game. Top-seeded Norwin overcame a seemingly insurmountable fourth-quarter deficit against North Allegheny to not only keep its undefeated season in tact, but to repeat as champion. Pitt recruit Alayna Gribble led the Knights with a game-high 22 points, with 17 points in the second half, while teammate Dominique Petach contributed 13 points, including five points in overtime.

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South Fayette Edges Trinity for First WPIAL Basketball Title
No. 1 South Fayette (22-3) returned to the Peterson Events Center for a second consecutive year to the WPIAL Girls AAA Championship Game. This time, however, the Lions would survive a thrilling victory over section rival Trinity (21-4), claiming their first WPIAL basketball title, 59-52.  In their third meeting of the season, South Fayette would see No. 2 Trinity battle back from a 17-point deficit to one-point game in the final minutes. In section play, South Fayette won both meetings, including a 43-40 game in which the Lions overcame an eight-point halftime deficit. But in this matchup, the Lions did not need to mount a second-half comeback and led by five after the first quarter.

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Aliquippa Makes WPIAL History In Class AA Title Win
Senior Kaezon Pugh has been in a number of pressure situations as a member of the Aliquippa Quips football team, but he found himself in a tight spot on the basketball floor on Saturday afternoon. The Pitt recruit shined once again as he nailed two free throws in the final seconds to place No. 1 Aliquippa (25-0) in the WPIAL history books once again with a 49-45 victory over No. 2 Lincoln Park (22-4) at the Petersen Events Center. The victory in the Class AA championship is the 12th basketball title in school history. The Quips become only the second team in the 100-plus year history of the league to win back to back undefeated championships. The other was New Castle, which won three straight titles with an undefeated record from 2012-2014.

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Vincentian Wears the Girls A Gold Crown For Fifth Straight Year
Cardinal Weurl North Catholic and Vincentian Academy are far from strangers. The two have met twice already this season, this time though – there was much more on the line. The Trojans were looking for revenge after falling to the Royals in last year’s WPIAL championship. When the final buzzer sounded, though, Vincentian Academy again stood tall, as the Royals brought home the school's fifth straight WPIAL Class A championship, prevailing 68-54.

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Beaver Falls Goes From Silver to Gold
February 26, 2016
Last year, Beaver Falls lost the Class AAA Championship Game on a last-second shot. This year, the Tigers left no doubt, as they took control early, and secured a 56-45 victory against Highlands at the Petersen Events Center to capture the tenth WPIAL championship in school history. The Tigers won their first championship since capturing back-to-back crowns in 2012 and 2013. Leading the way for Beaver Falls was Josh Creach, the Tigers’ 6-foot-7 junior guard, who scored a game-high 17 points and collected 17 rebounds.

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WPIAL Class AA Wrestling Championships – Day One Update
Day one of the WPIAL Championships is in the books and many of the top wrestlers are still alive in the winners bracket. All 14 top seeds advanced into the semi-finals while 12 of the 14 number two seeds advanced. The only exceptions were at 113 pounds, where Manny Dovshek of Bentworth beat PJ Smith of Burgettstown 11-2 and at 182 pounds, where Joe Bastaroli of South Fayette beat Tyler McConaha of Elizabeth Forward 4-3. Of the 42 section champions, 31 still remain in the winners bracket with an opportunity to win a gold medal.

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Cardinal Wuerl North Catholic Golden in Boys Class A Title
The Cardinal Wuerl North Catholic Trojans used a strong defense and excellent free throw shooting to claim their third WPIAL boys basketball championship with a 50-36 victory over the Sewickley Academy Panthers. The Trojans were 14 of 18 in the fourth quarter from the line and held the Panthers to 4 of 15 shooting in that final frame to pull away for the win.

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Trevor Mahoney of SF Comes Back to Win AA Boys Diving Gold
A monster penultimate dive from South Fayette junior Trevor Mahoney turned a nearly twenty point deficit of leader John Ek from Lauel Highlands into an eleven point lead for Mahoney going into the final round of dives. Mahoney wins the event after finishing in second last season.  Mahoney held on to win after trailing Ek after both the preliminary and semifinal rounds. With six of the top eight finishers from last year's championships gone, the top three returnees Mahoney, Ek, and Knoch's Ben Lowery claimed the top three spots. Mahoney finished with a score 415.85, Ek claimed second with 392.00, and Lowery checked in for third with 386.40.

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Mars Taylor Hockenberry Repeats as Girls AA WPIAL Diving Champ
In the WPIAL Girls AA diving championships held at Moon Area High School Taylor Hockenberry, a Junior from Mars High School won her second consecutive title, and third top two finish. She is the reigning PIAA AA girls champion and favorite for the 2016 title. She led by 52.52 after the preliminary five dives, and by 80.45 after the semi finals thru  eight dives. The Mars student won easily going away and had the title sewn up before her final dive. Her winning score of 470.85 was 92.3 points ahead of second place finisher Reilly Diggins of Quaker Valley. In a post game interview Hockenberry admitted "today wasn't my best day". Even though she won she realized last years WPIAL score of 506.05  in which she set a new WPIAL diving record was better.

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Defense Wins Girls AA Championship for Bishop Canevin
A couple of late regular season losses knock the team down to second place and a section title and top-seed also vanish. But as the #4-seed, the team gets hot and runs through the playoffs en-route to a WPIAL championship. Bishop Canevin fans are all too familiar with the above scenario as first the Crusaders girls volleyball team this fall, then the girls basketball team have followed the exact same path. Friday, the basketball team captured a second Class AA girls title in four years with a dominating 53-33 victory over the 14th-seed Greensburg Central Catholic Centurions at the Petersen Events Center. Bishop Canevin used a stifling defense to jump out to an 11-0 lead through a pair of Greensburg Central Catholic early time outs.

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Scholastic Notebook – 02/26/2016
For the Aliquippa boys and Norwin girls, Saturday could be a perfect day to walk hand in hand into WPIAL lore. Both the Aliquippa boys and Norwin girls take undefeated records into WPIAL championship games Saturday at Pitt’s Petersen Events Center. If they both win, it will be only the fifth time in WPIAL history that boys and girls teams have won WPIAL titles with perfect records in the same year. The first time it happened was 1983 when Sto-Rox and Mount Alvernia were both undefeated while winning WPIAL titles. The last time it happened was 2012 when Seton-LaSalle and New Castle did it.

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FINAL 2015-2016 PIHL Hockey Standings
Here are the FINAL 2015-2016 standings for the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Hockey League...including the FINAL PIHL playoff clinchings. You can follow the PIHL high school hockey regular season with weekly audio and video broadcasts, plus the PIHL Notebook every Monday and the PIHL Power Play Show on Wednesday nights at 8:00pm starting in December ONLY here on the MSA Sports Network. The top eight teams in Class AAA qualify for the Penguins Cup Playoffs. The top five teams in each Class AA conference qualify for the Penguins Cup Playoffs. The top five teams in each Class A conference qualify for the Penguins Cup Playoffs. The top eight teams in Division II qualify for the Penguins Cup Playoffs.

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Path to the Pete Recaps From Thursday 2/25
February 25, 2016
While there were a couple of games that were for seeding only, most of the eleven games were win and advance to the state playoffs, lose and hang up the uniforms for good. This was the second straight year that the WPIAL held consolation round games to determine the order and qualifiers for the PIAA postseason. However with expansion next year to six classifications, the WPIAL will go back to the old follow the leader. Anyway, here are the recaps form the final night of consolation basketball game sin the WPIAL. A special thanks to Mark Uriah, Kyle Dawson, Bob Orkwis, Steve Nagler, Dennis Fischer, Greg Kuntz, Bob Gregg, James Dotson, Matt Vandriak and Don Rebel for their help on these recaps. BOYS WPIAL CLASS AAAA Consolation Finals:

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Path to the Pete Recaps From Wednesday 2/24
February 24, 2016
While it may not measure up to the incredible hardwood action on Tuesday, there was still plenty of excitement at the four venues hosting WPIAL Semifinals action on Wednesday. While the boys Quad-A #1-seed fell in double overtime, the favorites were winners in Boys AA, Girls AAA and Girls A as in those three tournaments, it will be #1 vs #2 at The Pete on Saturday afternoon. Here are summaries from all eight WPIAL Semifinals games on Wednesday. A special thanks to Dennis Fischer, Tom Hays, Cory Campano, Steve Nagler, Aaron Anderson, Bob Gregg and Bob Barrickman for their help on these recaps. BOYS WPIAL CLASS AAAA Semifinals:

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Path to the Pete Recaps From Tuesday 2/23
February 23, 2016
While Tuesday was a bad night for top-seeds, it was a GREAT night to be a high school basketball fan. Five of the eight Final Four games turned into thrillers with teams laying it on the line for a spot in Championship Weekend. Four #1-seeds entered the night two wins from securing an expected championship. The night ended with only one team still alive and great heartbreak for eight teams that now must wait for the state postseason. Here are recaps from the Boys AAA, Boys A, Girls AAAA and Girls AA Semifinals. A special thanks to Mike Azadian, James Dotson, Bob Barrickman, Bob Orkwis, Josh Rowntree, Mark Schaas, Kevin Zielmanski and Randy Gore for their help on these recaps. WPIAL CLASS AAA Semifinals:

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