Westmoreland basketball notebook: Mt. Pleasant girls get another shot at Southmoreland

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Friday, March 5, 2021 | 12:01 AM


The Mt. Pleasant girls basketball team did not play its best in two section games against Southmoreland, but the Vikings will get another shot against the Scotties.

The Section 3 opponents will meet at 6 p.m. Friday at Southmoreland in the WPIAL Class 4A quarterfinals.

Mt. Pleasant (11-7), the No. 6 seed, dropped section games by scores of 46-24 and 59-37 to the third-seeded Scotties (15-4), the returning WPIAL runners-up who handled Deer Lakes in the opening round, 53-24.

Motivation could lie in the fact Mt. Pleasant never has been to the WPIAL semifinals. Or that it could not overtake the Scotties before.

“Our motivation at this point lies in the fact that we’re playing our best basketball so far, at the right time of the season,” Vikings coach Scott Giacobbi said. “Making the semis would be a fantastic distinction for our program, but to get there, we must compete at yet a higher level, against a really excellent Southmoreland team.”

Learning from the best

Latrobe made the WPIAL playoffs in its first year in Class 5A with clutch shots, its usual run-and-gun style and good defense.

One unheralded player who has played a key role is senior 6-foot-3 guard Frankie Newill, who had 17 points to help the Wildcats defeat Thomas Jefferson, 61-59, in the first round of the playoffs.

Newill’s late grandfather would be proud.

Newill is the grandson of Bernie Matthews, the late and legendary Saint Vincent coach, who won 505 games in 33 years and is a member of the Pennsylvania Basketball and the Pittsburgh Basketball Club halls of fame.

On the road again

The Greensburg Central Catholic boys, who won at Serra Catholic, 54-53, to advance to Saturday’s quarterfinals, won’t play at home again despite being the higher seed and despite Gov. Tom Wolf’s announcement of increased fans with no limit on venue size.

GCC’s gym holds only 625, which would be all right for the next round, but lingering problems from a campus water main break played a role in the Centurions having to play away Saturday.

Their opponent, Sewickley Academy, also has a small gym, so the WPIAL decided to play the game at 2 p.m. at Norwin.

Upset special

Greensburg Central Catholic has been to the WPIAL girls basketball playoffs 21 straight times and knows a thing or two about high seeds.

That’s because the Centurions usually are one.

But they are a 12th seed this year and have to play on the road, even though capacity restrictions would have prevented home games initially.

GCC (9-4) is taking it in stride — and winning big.

After a 72-12 win over Northgate in the play-in round, the Centurions “upset” No. 5 Burgettstown, 52-39, in the first round.

“We executed down the stretch, and I felt like we won the 50-50 ball battle,” GCC coach Sam Salih said. “We got a lot of deflections and tips. Our hands were active. We disrupted a lot of what Burgettstown liked to do. I thought it was a big difference in the game.”

Not many teams are winning by as much as GCC. Its margin in nine wins is 35.6. That is skewed some by a 41-38 victory over Berlin Brothersvalley.

Take that away, and the margin is 39.6.

Bill Beckner Jr. is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Bill by email at bbeckner@triblive.com or via Twitter .

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