WPIAL Basketball Playoff Recaps for Friday, February 25th
Friday, February 25, 2011 | 12:00 AM
Quarterfinals Friday saw most of the higher seeds advance in Boys AAA, Boys A, Girls AAAA and Girls AA. Most of them. Boys A #1-seed Rochester, Boys AAA #2-seed West Mifflin and Girls AA #2-seed Riverside all saw their district title teams get washed away in the second round. Here are recaps from ALL eight boys and eight girls contests on Quarterfinals Friday.
Thanks to Brian Mroziak, Jim Frederick, Don Rebel, Dennis Fischer, Bob Barrickman, Matt Vandriak, Terry Neary, Bob Orkwis, Sam Hall, T.J. DiStefano, Jonathan Whaley, Justin Pyles, Mike Mallory, Greg Kuntz and Justin McKim for their help on these recaps.
WPIAL BOYS CLASS AAA Quarterfinals:
South Fayette Lions 87 – Uniontown Red Raiders 58
South Fayette showed why they are the top seed in the Boys Triple "A" Field as the Lions jumped on Uniontown early and cruised to 87 to 58 win in Friday's Quarterfinal Round Game at Canon Mac. The Lions lead Uniontown 28 to 7 after 1 quarter of play and controlled the tempo for the rest of the night. Michael Lamberti who verbally committed to West Liberty on Monday paced South Fayette with 30 points. Patrick Zedreck 23 points, Josh Patterson 10 points and Christian Brumbaugh 10 points were also in double figures for the Lions. Uniontown was lead by Semori Wilson who scored 13 points. Kerik Morris 11 points and Daryl Ricks 10 points were also in double figures for the Red Raiders who dropped to 16-6 on the season after the loss on Friday Night. Uniontown must now root for South Fayette to knock off New Castle on Tuesday in the WPIAL Semi Finals to earn a berth in the PIAA Playoffs. South Fayette is now 21-1 on the season.
New Castle Red Hurricanes 47 – Central Valley Warriors 42
New Castle capitalized on a 15-2 spurt early in the 4th quarter and then hung on after a furious Central Valley rally to prevail in a WPIAL AAA Quarterfinal matchup at North Allegheny High School. The 47-42 win was keyed by two long-range treys by freshman guard Anthony Richards early in the final stanza. The Canes took what appeared to be a commanding 45-31 edge into the three minute mark of the game. However, C-V had other ideas. Senior Nick Delisio, who followed up on his 26 point performance against Highlands Wednesday, hit two triples and added another bucket and three free throws to key an 11-0 Warrior run.
That eventually made the game a one-possession affair at 45-42 with just 10 seconds remaining. That is when sophomore guard Brandon Domenick put the Red Hurricanes on the way to a semi-final match-up with top seeded South Fayette. He connected on two free throws to seal the 18th win of the year. Shawn Anderson, who fouled out late in the game, paced New Castle with 13 points while another junior..Antonio Rudolph..added 10. Delisio was the game's high scorer with 18 points which included 3 treys. Dan Steffine added 8 points for 14-8 Central Valley. Another major key was the play of New Castle on the boards with the Canes enjoying a 35-25 edge.
Montour Spartans 45 – West Mifflin Titans 31
Playing without the schools all-time leading scorer, West Mifflin's struggles again Montour continued as the 7th-seed Spartans eliminated the 2nd-seed Titans with a double-digit win Friday night at Baldwin High School. West Mifflin's C.J. Hester was a spectator after another head injury suffered in an opening round victory over West Allegheny. Montour took control early as they raced out to a 14-6 lead after one quarter thanks in part to a strong inside game led by Austin Heter. The Spartans expanded the lead to 23-10 by halftime. While West Mifflin finally got the offense going a bit in the second half, they never got closer than seven points. Balanced scoring helped the Montour cause as they had four players with at least seven points led by Tyler Haas' 11 points off the bench. Lonzell Coles had a game high 12 points to lead West Mifflin. The Titans fall to 21-3 and now must play the waiting game. If Montour wins on Tuesday, the Titans season is alive with a berth in the state playoffs. If the Spartans, now 17-7, lose to Blackhawk in the Semifinals, then West Mifflin's season is over.
Blackhawk Cougars 51 – Hampton Talbots 35
The #3 seeded Blackhawk Cougars overcame a four point halftime deficit to defeat the #11 seeded Hampton Talbots at Ambridge High School on Friday night, 51-35, to advance to the semi-final round of the WPIAL Triple A boys basketball playoffs. Hampton led 14-11 at the end of the first period, extending that lead to 24-20 at halftime. But Blackhawk, employing an aggressive man to man defense in the second half, held the Talbots to just nine points after the intermission to win going away. Blackhawk was led by junior guard Nick Martin with 16 points, half of those coming in the fourth quarter, and senior forward Tyler Damazo with 11. Hampton was paced by freshman guard Ryan Luther with 14. Blackhawk (17-7) will meet #7 seeded Montour, an upset winner over #2 West Mifflin, next Tuesday night at a site and time to be determined. The winner of that game will play in the championship game next Friday night at the Palumbo Center. Hampton (15-8) can qualify for the PIAA state playoffs if Blackhawk defeats Montour.
WPIAL BOYS CLASS A Quarterfinals:
Clairton Bears 56 – Rochester Rams 55
Sophomore guard Bryon Clifford made a basket with 12.8 seconds left in the fourth quarter which lifted Clairton to a 56-55 upset win over number one seed Rochester Friday night at West Allegheny in a WPIAL Class A quarterfinal. Rochester went on top, 53-48, with over three minutes left but the Bears went on an 8-2 run for the dramatic win. Clifford led Clairton with 13 points while Tyler Boyd added 12. Texas Tech football recruit Desimon Green was plagued with foul problems and was held to eight points. Rams 6'7" senior center Giovanni Ellis had 21 tallies while E.J. Blackwell chipped in with 14. It was another heartbreaking loss for Rochester to Clairton, which beat the Rams in the last two WPIAL A football championship games. Clairton is now 10-10 but has won seven straight games. The Rams saw their 12-game win streak snapped and fell to 19-4. The Bears will meet Vincentian in the semifinals on Tuesday and have qualified for the PIAA playoffs. Clairton must win the WPIAL championship for Rochester to reach the state playoffs.
Vincentian Academy Royals 67 – Serra Catholic Eagles 47
Revenge was sweet for #4 seed Vincentian as the Royals fast-pace offense was too much for #5 Serra Catholic to handle in this Boys Class-A Quarter Final round game from Gateway High School. Serra had defeated Vincentian in last year's Class-A Quarter Final round, but tonight it was the Royals who did the bouncing. Led by three double-digit scorers, a run and gun offense, and a smothering press defense, the Royals pulled away in the 4th quarter for a 20-point win. Vincentian, who averages 70 points per game, set the pace early with an up-tempo offense that the Eagles had trouble keeping up with. The Royals led by 2 points after the opening quarter, and took a 29-23 lead into the half. Vincentian than exploded in the 3rd quarter, pushing their lead to as many as 13 before the Eagles clawed back into it. Down 43-37 after the 3rd quarter, the Eagles started the 4th on a 6-2 run to cut the lead to 45-43. That was as close as Serra would get, as Vincentian dominated the rest of the game, closing with a 22-4 run en-route to the 67-47 win. Adam Dion led the way for Vincentian as he scored a game high 25 points, 15 of which came in the 2nd half. John Bray added 18, while Tony DiNardo chipped in 11 for the Royals. Serra was led by Matt Loftis, who scored 9 points, while Chris Miller and Shaun Menzies added 8 points a piece. Vincentian (22-1) moves on to face Clairton in the Semi-Finals on Tuesday night. Serra finishes 2010-2011 with an overall record of 15-8.
North Catholic Trojans 66 – Our Lady of the Sacred Heart Chargers 54
Dan Savulchak scored 25 points and Martin Long added 16 (including four three pointers) as the North Catholic Trojans defeated the Our Lady of the Sacred Heart Chargers 66 – 54 in a WPIAL Class A quarterfinal contest Friday night at North Hills High School. The Trojans took a 19 – 10 lead after one quarter and never lost the lead, using strong inside play by Savulchak and Ryan Lewis to control the boards against the Chargers. OLSH cut the lead to five early in the fourth quarter, but could not get any closer to last year's Class AA champs. Andrew Orie led OLSH with 17 points. The Chargers finish at 15 – 8, while the Trojans (19 -6) move on to a semifinal matchup Tuesday night with Lincoln Park.
Lincoln Park Leopards 71 – St. Joseph Spartans 66
Sixth seeded St. Joseph and third seeded Lincoln Park can both score points, and both teams went at each other strong in this quarterfinal matchup at Fox Chapel High School. In the end, the Leopards depth and athleticism was just too much for the Spartans in this 71-66 victory for Lincoln Park. This game featured two of the top scorers in Class A, Brian Heinle (24.8 PPG) for St. Joseph and Chaquille Pratt (22.7 PPG) for Lincoln Park. Both players finished the night below their season averages, as Pratt finished with 19 points and five rebounds for the Leopards and Heinle tallied 15 points and hit only one three pointer for the Spartans. Their teammates however picked up the slack. For the fourth consecutive game, Lincoln Park saw four players reach double figures. In addition to Pratt, Sharron Moreland-Jones contributed 14 points and 8 rebounds and senior guard Kyle Taylor chipped in with 11 points. But the big stat line was another monster game and triple-double for 6-10center Devontae Watson. The junior finished with 14 points, 22 rebounds and ten blocked shots to lead the Leopards into the semifinals. On the other side of the court, Mike Connolly scored 16 points for St. Joseph and senior guard Nick Gigler was almost the hero for the Spartans. Gigler hit 3 treys in the 4th quarter and scored 13 of his game high 21 points in the frame to help St. Joseph pull within three points. The Spartans got the shot from the player they wanted, but Heinle's three point attempt from the top of the key late in the quarter was short off the front of the rim, and Lincoln Park with get key points late from Taylor and Jevar Smith to ice the game away. Lincoln Park, last year's runner up in Single A, upped their record to (16-6) with the win. The Leopards get a semifinal matchup with #2 seed North Catholic on Tuesday night at a site and time to be determined. St. Joseph falls to (20-4) on the year and the season for the Spartans is on hold as they now become fans of Lincoln Park. If Lincoln Park goes on to capture it's first ever WPIAL Class A championship, then St. Joseph would qualify for the PIAA playoffs as the 5th place finisher out of the WPIAL (District 7).
WPIAL GIRLS CLASS AAAA Quarterfinals:
Mount Lebanon Blue Devils 70 – Gateway Gators 41
Madison Cable did double duty for the Mount Lebanon Blue Devils Friday night at North Hills in a AAAA girls quarterfinal game against the Gateway Gators. Cable led everyone in scoring with 22 but she also did a shut down defensive job on one of the best offensive players in the WPIAL holding Gateway's Destiny Brown to 10 points as the top seeded Blue Devils rolled the eight seed 70-41. Cable held Brown to a single second half point as Mount Lebanon turned a 30-21 halftime lead into a rout. Kelly Johnson added 15 for the Blue Devils on the scoresheet she also had double digit steals as pressure from her and fellow guard Anna Kestler gave the Gators trouble all night long. Lebo improves to 19-5 on the year and heads into the semi finals where they will face Oakland Catholic. Gateway falls to 15-9 on the year. The Gators now become a big part of Mount Lebanon's fan base as their hopes to continue their season in the PIAA playoffs depend on Mount Lebanon winning the WPIAL Championship.
Oakland Catholic Eagles 39 – Baldwin Highlanders 28
The playoff game Friday night at North Allegheny HS between the Oakland Catholic Lady Eagles and the Baldwin Fighting Lady Highlanders was a carbon copy of their game back on January 8, which the Eagles won 49-34. That game was tied at halftime, but Oakland Catholic outscored Baldwin by 15 points in the second half on their way to the victory. Friday's game was tied 12-12 at the half before the Eagles exploded on offense in the second half outscoring the Fighting Highlanders 27-16 en route to a 39-28 victory. This game, like the first meeting, was a defensive battle from start to finish. Baldwin controlled the 1st half leading 6-5 after one and as mentioned before the game was tied at halftime. However, the momentum swung to Oakland Catholic in the 2nd half and they never looked back. Baldwin did lead after three 20-19, but the fourth quarter belonged to Oakland Catholic. The Eagles outscored Baldwin 20-8 in the final frame, which clinched the victory. Oakland Catholic was led in scoring by Bobbi Baker and Mara Fitzgerald both with 12. Baker scored all her points in the second half and went 7 of 11 from the foul line. Baldwin had no players in double figures, but were led by Victoria Johnston with 9 and Duquesne recruit Belma Nurkic was held to 8. Oakland Catholic is now 16-8 and plays top seed Mt Lebanon on Tuesday at a site and time to be determined. Baldwin finishes the season at 17-6.
Shaler Titans 60 – Penn-Trafford Warriors 47
It turned out to be a "Sauer" night for the Penn-Trafford Warriors (19-3) when they took on the Shaler Titans (21-2) in tonight's Class AAAA girls basketball quarterfinal playoff game at Gateway High School. The second seeded Titans pressed the seventh seeded Warriors right out of the gym with an impressive display of rugged defense and hard nosed basketball as Shaler won the effort plays and eliminated Penn-Trafford from the 2011 WPIAL Girls Quad A tournament with a 60-47 victory. The Titans were led by the Sauer sisters, 5'10", senior, forward, Hillary and 5'8", senior, guard, Haley. They combined to score (29) of the Titans 60 points. Hillary tallied a game-high (19) with ten of them coming in the first quarter when Shaler took a 16-7 lead after one period. Haley finished the contest with (10) markers. Hillary's performance was "sterling" as she spear-headed the Shaler pressing defense at the point, stole numerous Warriors passes, rebounded like former Boston Celtics Hall of Famer, Bill Russell and set up her teammates for high percentage scoring opportunities. To say that Penn-Trafford struggled with the Titans press would be the ultimate understatement. Shaler led 34-21 at the half, 49-33 after three quarters and ended the game with a 60-47 victory. The won the game with their leading scorer, 6'0", senior, Valerie McQuade only scoring (8) points which was eight below her average. Penn-Trafford was led by 5'8", junior, forward, Kylie O'Toole who registered (16) points before fouling out late in the third period. Penn-Trafford had only one senior on their roster, Emily Brady who scored (4) points before fouling out. They wrapped up a successful season with a 19-4 overall record. The Titans showed their experience as four seniors on this year's team have played basketball with each other since they were in the ninth grade (Hillary, Haley, Valerie and 6'2", senior, forward, Shannon Powell). Shaler now 22-2 advances to the semifinal round on Tuesday where they will face the third seeded Bethel Park Black Hawks. Fans should get their tickets now for that game as it should be a rather physical and intense match up between two squads that like to play in-your-face defense all over the court and each team possesses several talented players and has some size and length in their lineups. It should be must see basketball since the winner earns a ticket to the WPIAL Class AAAA Championship game and both these teams will leave plenty of skin on the floor when the Titans and Black Hawks lock horns on Tuesday evening.
Bethel Park Black Hawks 58 – North Allegheny Tigers 46
Friday night at Baldwin, the North Allegheny girls' playoff run came to an abrupt end at the hands of the Bethel Park Lady Hawks, 58-46. With the win, Bethel Park advanced to the semifinals of the WPIAL playoffs, where they will face Shaler. Kelly Brennan and Alexis Aiken led the Tigers with 11 points each, on a night when North Allegheny struggled to get anything going offensively. However, to get their eleven points, they shot 4-16 and 5-13, respectively. Overall, the Tigers shot just 30%, sinking just 3 of 17 from beyond the three point line. On the defensive side of the ball, North Allegheny had little answer for Hawks forward Megan Marecic. Just a freshman, Marecic led all scorers with 24 points. Akron recruit Candace Martino struggled from the field, scoring just eight points before leaving with an apparently leg injury. In her absence, Laurel Miller contributed 16 points, most of which coming during the second half. In the early going, the game had a frantic pace, as both teams traded layups and free throws. At the end of the first quarter, Bethel Park grabbed a slight 12-9 lead. In the second quarter, the Bethel Park defense clamped down, rushing, contesting, or altering any North Allegheny shot attempt. The Hawks were also tenacious on the boards, doubling the Tigers' first-half output rebounding the basketball. Faced with a 25-14 halftime deficit, North Allegheny needed another strong second half run, similar to the one from the week before against Hempfield. Following halftime, Bethel Park extended their lead to fifteen and North Allegheny Coach Sherri McConnell immediately called timeout. A three pointer from Zoe Calabrese and two free throws from Jessica Mancosh pulled the game to 31-21, and there was a feeling North Allegheny had revived its offense. Unfortunately for the Tigers, the ten-point margin was as close as they would get in the second half. The Hawks responded with a 7-0 run, pushing their lead to 17, and thwarting any attempt at another North Allegheny comeback. The loss drops North Allegheny to 20-4 for the season while Bethel Park will play in the WPIAL semifinals on Tuesday night.
WPIAL GIRLS CLASS AA Quarterfinals:
Seton-LaSalle Rebels 73 – Greensburg Central Catholic Centurions 41
In a storyline filled with turnovers, mistakes and sloppy play, it concluded with an undefeated team continuing its dominance as Seton La Salle pummeled the Greensburg Central Catholic Lady Centurions, 73-41 at Canon-McMillan Friday night. Angela Heintz led the Rebels with 20 points in victory. Seton La Salle, the WPIAL's highest-scoring offense struggled completing their shots throughout the first half, but put it together in the final 16 minutes. But it was the team's defense that proved most successful. The Centurions were held without a field goal for the entire second half. GCC senior Tess Zufall finished her high school career with nine points and fouled out in the loss. GCC closed the second on a 9-2 run, but couldn't keep pace with no. 1 ranked Seton La-Salle as the game moved to its latter stages.
Bishop Canevin Crusaders 53 – Avonworth Antelopes 31
The #4-seeded Bishop Canevin Lady Crusaders went into the quarterfinal round of the Girls' AA playoffs with more than just the championship on their minds. They were also seeking revenge on the fifth-seeded Avonworth Lady Antelopes for eliminating them from the playoffs the previous year, and right from the opening tip, the Lady Crusaders dominated the much smaller Lady Lopes' lineup by attacking them with the full court pressure and forcing a number of turnovers. Consequently, Avonworth, who had averaged just under 58 points per game in their march to the Section 6 Title, managed only 9 points in the first half as opposed to Bishop Canevin's 32. Leading the way for the Lady Crusaders were Erin Waskowiak with 19 points (11 in the first half), Johnie Olkosky, who was starting in place of Carly Forse, who was scratched from the lineup with the flu, with 12, and Celina DiPietro, who came off the bench to score 12 of her own. Despite the loss, valiant efforts were put forth from Avonworth by both Lauren Mayernik, who had 11 of her 13 points in the second half, and the 5' 4" senior point guard Catherine Costa, who had 10. The Lady Lopes conclude a very successful season with a 20-4 mark while Bishop Canevin improves their record to the same said mark, and they await the winner of the matchup between Greensburg Central Catholic and their Section 5 rivals, the top-seeded Seton LaSalle Lady Rebels, in the semifinals of the Girls' AA Tournament.
Beaver Falls Tigers 38 – Riverside Panthers 34
Beaver Falls girls basketball coach Brad Vaughn reminded his team of that Riverside celebration 15 days earlier. Vaughn's Tigers looked on devastated as the Panthers cut down the nets after that section-clinching victory, Riverside's second double-digit triumph over Beaver Falls this season in Section 2. On Friday night at Ambridge High School, it was Beaver Falls doing the celebrating
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