WPIAL Basketball Playoff Recaps for Saturday, February 26th
Saturday, February 26, 2011 | 12:00 AM
After a quiet opening round, the upsets kept coming Saturday in a wild Quarterfinals weekend around the WPIAL. Two more top-seeds, Shaler in Boys AAAA and Vincentian Academy in Girls A were ousted in round two while a couple of other high seeds either survived scares or were eliminated from the chase. Here are recaps from the Boys AAAA, Boys AA, Girls AAA and Girls A Quarterfinals on Saturday afternoon.
Thanks to Glenn Thompson, Steve Nagler, Steve Superick, Randy Gore, Mike Mallory, Paul Paterra, Mike Krcil, Dan Zangrilli, Mark Schaas, Jim Frederick, Bob Barrickman, Josh Rowntree, Sam Hall and Marty Caridi for their help on these recaps.
WPIAL BOYS CLASS AAAA Quarterfinals:
Butler Golden Tornado 50 – Shaler Titans 47
Butlet continued its defensive clinic on Saturday with a huge win over the number one seeded Shaler Titans. The game was similar to Butlers first round game where to first half belonged to the opponent. Shaler was playing well with Geno Thorpe and J.T. Shwartz leading the offensive charge. But yet again, after the halftime adjustments were made, Butler came out and took care of business in the second half. Bobby Swartwout gave headaches to the Shaler defense, as no matter who defended him, he was still able to produce. With about 2 minutes to go in the OT period, Zach Slater drained a huge three-pointer that would prove to be the dagger in Shaler's season. The Titans had a chance but Bobby Swartwout came away with a steal and as the clock ran down Butler defeated the #1 Shaler. Hard fought game with hard fouls and plenty of contact, but the pace and strategy of Butler would prove the Golden Tornado to be the better team.
Gateway Gators 65 – Upper St. Clair Panthers 61 in Overtime
The 5th seeded Gateway Gators overcame an eleven-point 4th quarter deficit and survived losing their top scorer to fouls as they defeated the 4th seeded Upper St. Clair Panthers, 65-61 in overtime. The Panthers struggled at the foul line as they tried to salt away the win down the stretch, missing 6-10 foul shots in the final three minutes of regulation. Down five points with under a minute remaining, Luke Kochka hit a 3-pointer for Gateway to cut the lead to 55-53. After a time-out, Barnett Harris (16 points) stole the USC inbounds pass which lead to his left-handed lay-in to tie the score at 55-55. The Gators then went on to outscore USC 10-6 in overtime. Devon Cotrell, Gateway's go-to offensive player all game fouled out with under four minutes left in regulation. He ended up with 16 points, 7 rebounds and 7 blocked shots. USC's Steve Limberiou had a game-high 19 in the loss. The Panther's run towards the WPIAL title ends with a record of 16-8. Gateway (20-4) now heads to the Semi-finals to face Butler.
Mount Lebanon Blue Devils 52 – Connellsville Falcons 40
The Mt. Lebanon Blue Devils used full court pressure and a very sticky man to man pressure defense to hold Connellsville Star Johnny Leonard to just 18 points in low scoring game Boys Quad "A" Quarterfinal Round game on Saturday Afternoon at Canon Mac… Evan Eaton led the way offensively for the Mt. Lebanon with 17 points… The game was tied at 17 -17 at the half….The Blue Devils out scored the Falcons 35-23 in the final 2 quarters for the 52 to 40 victory….Mt. Lebanon will play Chartiers Valley in the Semi-Finals on Wednesday. The Blue Devils are now 22-2 on the season. The loss drops Connellsville to 20-3. The only way the Falcons season will continue is if Mt. Lebanon wins the WPIAL Championship, the Falcons would gain entry into the PIAA playoffs.
Chartiers Valley Colts 51 – North Allegheny Tigers 43
With a stingy defense and strong bench play from junior Wayne Capers, Chartiers Valley bounced North Allegheny from the playoffs with a 51-43 win in the WPIAL quarterfinals at Ambridge High School. After suffering an ACL injury in the first football game of the season, Capers didn't return to action until the Colts' opening round basketball victory over Norwin last week. Capers played sparingly against Norwin, but against North Allegheny he played 10 minutes and scored 14 points to help Chartiers Valley hold off a furious late rally by the Tigers.In the first half, both teams traded jabs as the defenses kept things tight and low scoring. Chartiers Valley led throughout most of the first half, but the Tigers tied the score on four separate occasions. After the Colts regained the lead on a pair of Zach Wallace free-throws at 19-17 late in the first half, senior Anton Constantino hit a three pointer to put North Allegheny in front for the first time in the game at 20-19. The Tigers took their one point lead into the locker room at halftime, and as it turned out, it would be the only time NA would have the lead all game long. The Colts burst through the gates to start the third quarter, grabbing the lead back on a 10-2 run that was capped on a Steve Burda trey. Senior Matt Noszka paced CV in the first half with 12 points and finished the game with 18 points. However, with the Tigers staging a frantic rally in the second half, it was Capers' play off the bench that kept the Tigers just far enough away on the scoreboard. Capers scored 12 of his 14 points in the second half, including a pair of timely three pointers in the left corner. The CV defense, which held Norwin's Matt Palo in check in the opening round, limited North Allegheny's Anthony Dallier to just 11 points. Dallier averaged 24 points per game this season. Chartiers Valley improves to 19-5 on the season and advanced to the WPIAL semifinals. North Allegheny ends the year with a 20-4 record, their second consecutive 20 win season.
WPIAL BOYS CLASS AA Quarterfinals:
Greensburg Central Catholic Centurions 64 – Summit Academy Knights 62
For 31 minutes and 57 seconds, the possibility of Summit Academy upsetting the powerful, undefeated Greensburg Central Catholic Centurions seemed more than realistic, but one final play ended one team's dream and propelled another one more step towards greatness. Led by a final drive to the basket that ended in two points from senior captain Jesse Reed, the Centurions avoided an upset of monumental proportions, defeating Summit Academy, 64-62, at Norwin Senior High School in a Class AA second round match Saturday afternoon. Reed finished with 25 points in the win. Senior Jake Swan added 11 points, including three 3-pointers for GCC. A game paced back and forth throughout the afternoon, Summit Academy trailed only by four points at the half after a P.J. McClaughlin layup at the halftime buzzer. McClaughlin, who was forced into foul trouble in the first half, rebounded for 16 points. Of Summit Academy's 62 points, 38 came in the paint. Seniors Dale Johnson and Ronald Smith each scored 14 points for Summit Academy.
Sto-Rox Vikings 78 – Quaker Valley Quakers 62
Two incredible runs at the start of the 1st and 2nd quarter were key in Sto Rox winning its 18th straight game and a trip to the WPIAL AA semis. The Vikings ran off 10 straight to open the game and then 14 in a row at the start of the 2nd period in rolling to a 78-62 verdict over Quaker Valley. Sto Rox was also efffective on defense in that second quarter limiting the Quakers to just 3 points in earning a 33-13 lead. A pair of seniors…Shawn Smith and Rob Baltimore…paced the way with 11 and 9 points, respectively. However, there would be no quit in the 20-4 Quaker Valley club. Down by as many as 21 early in the second half…the Quakers outscored Sto Rox 20-9 to pull to within 9 points. That is when the 21-3 Vikes iced the contest with outstanding free throw shooting as Smith nailed 10 in a row and Malcolm Jones..off the bench..added 8 of 10. Q-V had 4 in double figures as junior Augie Luptak scored 13…Sam Peduto a dozen…and Pat Conlan and Jon West 10 points each. The Quakers had to go without top scorer and guard Ben Stevenson, who sat due to an intense migraine. Smith of Sto Rox popped in 26 to lead all scorers while Dontez Ford scored 14…Baltimore 13 and Jones and Marzett Geter 10 points each. Sto Rox will get number 1 seed Greensburg Central Catholic in the semis.
Wilkinsburg Tigers 73 – Beaver Falls Tigers 68
Beaver Falls jumped out to a 25-14 second quarter lead but Wilkinsburg stormed back to take an 11-point lead of its own in the second half and settled for a 73-68 upset win Saturday over the number two seed in the boys WPIAL AA quarterfinals. Wilkinsburg's pressure defense and the shooting of junior guard Elisah Hill keyed the turnaround. Beaver Falls cut the deficit to one with over two minutes to play but never caught Wilkinsburg in a battle of Tigers at Aliquippa. Hill led Wilkinsburg with 25 points while Robert Taylor added 16. Beaver Falls wasted a 31-point effort from junior center Sheldon Jeter, who fouled out with 2:35 left in the game. Pitt football recruit Devin Cook assisted Jeter with 15 points. Wilkinsburg is now 17-5 and has qualified for the PIAA playoffs and will meet Monessen in the WPIAL semifinals on Wednesday. Monessen beat Wilkinsburg twice in Section 3 play. Beaver Falls is 18-6 and saw its 12-game winning streak snapped. It was Beaver Falls' first loss since Jeter returned at mid season from a hand injury. A Wilkinsburg win on Wednesday or a Monessen victory in the championship will put Beaver Falls in the state playoffs.
Monessen Greyhounds 61 – Jeannette Jayhawks 60
A short jump shot from the left wing by Nick Bolias with about 10 seconds remaining capped a furious comeback and gave Monessen a heart-stopping victory. Monessen (21-2) trailed 60-55 heading into the final minute of the contest. A key play in the comeback sequence was Earl Pinkney's put-back of a missed Cam Johnson free throw, and conversion of a subsequent free throw to make the score 60-59. Johnson paced Monessen with 19 points. Pinkney chipped in with 14 and Bolias 10. Jeannette (15-7) was led by Demetrious Cox with 16 points. Jordan Batts pitched in 14 points. Duke Brown contributed 13 off the bench and Darius Brown added 10. The game was played in front of an enthusiastic capacity crowd at McKeesport's Neenie Campbell Gymnasium. It remained close throughout. It was tied 29-29 at halftime and was tied 47-47 at the end of the third quarter.
WPIAL GIRLS CLASS AAA Quarterfinals:
Indiana Little Indians 49 – Uniontown Red Raiders 28
It took about 15 seconds. Indiana senior guard/forward Leslie Stapleton nailed an open three from the left baseline to start the game, and the Little Indians never looked back in a convincing 49-28 win over AAA Section 3 rival Uniontown in Class AAA quarterfinals action at Norwin High School. Initially, it appeared as though the Red Raiders were beginning to come alive and make the game competitive, trailing only 17-11 after one quarter, but Indiana outscored Uniontown 15-2 in the critical second quarter that essentially allowed them to coast the rest of the way. Senior forward Kristin Brice tied for a game-high 10 points to pace Indiana, with Stapleton and senior guard Haylie Fefolt adding 9 points a piece. Uniontown was plagued by turnovers, hard luck shots, and foul trouble throughout the game. Standout senior forward Kelsey Sleighter fouled out with 6 points before the end of the third quarter. Sophomore guard Lydya Dennis and sophomore center Jessie Madison put up 10 points each in a losing effort. The Red Raiders only canned one three-pointer in the contest. Indiana (23-1) moves on to face Blackhawk in the semi-final round. Uniontown falls to 19-5. They must wait and see if they will qualify for the PIAA playoffs.
Blackhawk Cougars 64 – Mount Pleasant Vikings 37
The Blackhawk Cougars advanced to the WPIAL AAA semifinals on Saturday afternoon as they cruised to a 64-37 win over the Mt. Pleasant Vikings at Canon-Mac High. The Cougar's Alexa Hayward led all scorers in the game with 15 points. The win for Blackhawk is their 10th in a row and are 16-1 in their last 17 games. Mt. Pleasant loses in the WPIAL quarterfinals for the third straight year and finishes their WPIAL season 18-6. Next up for Blackhawk is top seeded Indiana.
New Castle Red Hurricanes 59 – West Mifflin Titans 45
It wasn't easy but the road to a third straight Class AAA championship continues for the New Castle Red Hurricane with the victory on Saturday afternoon at North Allegheny. LaShauna Brothers paced New Castle once again in the post-season with 27 points, including going 11 of 14 from the foul line. New Castle led by one at the half 23-22, West Mifflin took a 33-27 lead midway thru the quarter, but New Castle stormed back, using a 16-0 run to take a 43-33 lead early in the fourth quarter. West Mifflin coach Phil Shar elected to begin fouling the Canes'after New Castle went 4 of 13 from the charity stripe in the first half. But New Castle answered the challenge, going 14 of 22 in the final frame. Christina Talbert shook off the effects of a banged up right knee to score 13 points for New Castle, now 21-3 overall. Jayla Leftwich led West Mifflin with 20 points, Ciarra Patterson added 16, including two three pointers. The Titans' leading scorer Jazmyne Hayes was held to just two points after scoring 17 points in the first round win over South Fayette. Hayes was playing in her second game back after suffering a concussion that prevented her from playing for almost a month. With the win, New Castle advances to the semifinals, the Lady Canes also qualify for the PIAA tournament. New Castle will have a third meeting with Ambridge in the semifinals Wednesday. West Mifflin falls to 17-7 overall, the Titans will advance to the state tournament if New Castle wins on Wednesday night.
Ambridge Bridgers 43 – Hopewell Vikings 38
Sophomore guard Katie Fischer hit two crucial baskets in the 3rd quarter which gave the Ambridge Lady Bridgers some momentum in overcoming an early seven point deficit to Hopewell and gaining the WPIAL Girls AAA semi-finals..43-38.
19-6 Ambridge slowed down the Lady Vikings' ace Shatori Walker-Kimbrough with a 1-3-1 zone as the sophomore was limited to just 9 points at the half. She was averaging nearly 21 for Hopewell. After gaining the advantage in the 3rd period and despite losing 6-2 Erin Smith to personal fouls with 5:14 left and just a 5 point lead….Ambridge demonstrated the way to put away a playoff game from the foul line. The Lady Bridgers hit on 9 of 10 down the stretch with Sam Santiago hitting on 2 of 3….Fischer 4 of 4…and Rachel Dieter 2 of 2. Walker-Kimbrough led the young Hopewell squad with 16 as the Lady Vikes dropped to 14-11. Next up for Ambridge for a trip to the AAA finals will be anther Section 2 foe in 21-3 New Castle.
WPIAL GIRLS CLASS A Quarterfinals:
Rochester Rams 48 – Vincentian Academy Royals 36
In a stunner, the Rochester Rams put away the top-seeded Vincentian Academy Royals by the score of 48-36. After trailing 26-23 at halftime, excellent Ram defense limited the Royals to nine total 2nd-half points. The one-two scoring punch of Ivorie Law (17 pts) and Hayden Kimbrough (14 pts) was too much for Vincentian Academy as they lost for only the second time all year. Royal's senior Gabby Baldasare led the way with 11 points and junior Ashlee Darby added 10 points for the Royals. Vincentian Academy's run towards a second straight WPIAL title ends with a record of 21-2 while Rochester (17-6) will head to the Semi-finals to face Ft. Cherry.
Fort Cherry Rangers 45 – Serra Catholic Eagles 34
A defensive tug-of-war for 32 minutes eventually resulted in #4 Fort Cherry moving onto the Class A semifinals by knocking out #5 Serra Catholic, 45-34. The Rangers, who were down early, made a run in the 2nd quarter, giving them a 25-16 lead at the break. However, Serra's defense would switch to a full-court press, forcing Fort Cherry into committing seven third quarter turnovers and limiting them to only 5 points in the period, cutting the Rangers' lead to 30-28. It was then Fort Cherry's turn to get defensive, holding Serra to only six fourth quarter points and finally figuring out the Eagles' press. The Rangers would win the quarter 15-6, giving them the eleven-point victory. Carolena Gasbarra would pace Fort Cherry with 13 points. Additionally, Jessie Merckle (10 points) would chip in along with the Bellhy sisters, Rebekah (nine points, eight rebounds) and Rachel (seven points, seven rebounds, six blocks). For Serra, Megan Sieg and Jaime Tedesco would contribute 15 and eleven points respectively. Fort Cherry will move onto the semifinals to take on Rochester, who stunned #1-seed Vincentian. Serra Catholic, still with PIAA hopes, has their WPIAL season end at 17-7.
Monessen Greyhounds 64 – St. Joseph Spartans 34
The unbeaten Monessen Greyhounds contnued to impress as they rolled past St. Joseph's in a single A girls WPIAL quarter final game at McKeesport Saturday afternoon. Junior guard Geena Shrader led all scorers with 27 on the afternoon, including 13 in the first half. Shrader reached a milestone in her career when with 2.5 seconds to play in the first half a right-handed runner in the lane gave her 1000 points for her career. Head Coach Gina Naccarato called a time out after the hoops so Greyhound fans could salute the junior guard who had no idea how close she was to the mark, as her club was keeping it a secret from her. Sophomore point guard Mariah Ward was fabulous for the 'Hounds adding 18 points to the scoresheet as she was able to get to the basket time and time again with dribble penetration. Monessen remains unbeaten at 24-0 heading into the semi finals. St Joes was led by freshman Mallory Heinle who scored 14 points all in the paint. Spartan junior Shayna Panchik was solid as well running the point and adding eight points for the Spartans but the Greyhounds were too big, too strong, and too athletic for the Spartans on this day and St. Joes falls to 15-8 on the year, they need Monessen to win the WPIAL championship to reach the state playoffs.
North Catholic Trojanettes 61 – Aliquippa Quips 34
A 61-34 Trojanette win. After being down early 4-3, NC went on a 17-0 run fueled by Erin DiSanti. NC held the Lady Quips without a point for over 7 minutes en route to a 20-4 lead after 1, and a 32-12 halftime lead. Kendall Hoffman led North Catholic (17-6) with 17 points, and DiSanti had 11. Aliquippa (21-3) had noone in double figures.