Trib HSSN rewind: A look back at the 2018-19 boys basketball season

Friday, July 12, 2019 | 11:43 PM

With Moon and Mars leading the way, it’s safe to say the 2018-19 WPIAL boys basketball season was out of this world.

It helps that the two Class 5A rivals combined for one of the most memorable finishes in WPIAL championship history. Andrew Recchia made a game-winning 3-pointer with 2.6 seconds left as Mars celebrated a 58-56 victory March 1 at Petersen Events Center.

Moon had held a 16-point second-half lead before Mars stormed back to win its second consecutive WPIAL title.

Mt. Lebanon, New Castle, Lincoln Park, Our Lady of the Sacred Heart and Nazareth Prep also celebrated WPIAL basketball title at Petersen Events Center. It was the third consecutive championship for New Castle, each time defeating Quaker Valley in the finals.

Moon earned its redemption a few weeks later when it defeated Mars in a state semifinal and then beat Philadelphia’s Archbishop Wood in the PIAA final in Hershey. Moon senior Connor Ryan scored 17 of his game-high 28 points in the fourth quarter of the championship as Moon rallied late.

The victory was somewhat surprising because Philadelphia Catholic League boys teams were 14-3 in the state finals since joining the PIAA playoffs in 2009.

Moon finished 28-2 overall behind a strong senior class and star junior Donovan Johnson, who averaged 22.6 points and 9.4 rebounds per game as the TribLive HSSN Player of the Year.

Johnson and Butler junior Ethan Morton headlined a high-scoring Trib 10 all-star team. Morton, a Purdue recruit, scored a school-record 51 points in a regular-season loss to Pine-Richland.

In all, the WPIAL had three boys basketball teams reached the state finals. Lincoln Park won the Class 3A title and Vincentian Academy was the PIAA runner-up in Class A.

Chris Harlan is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Chris by email at or via Twitter .

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