WPIAL Basketball Playoff Recaps for Thursday, February 24th
Thursday, February 24, 2011 | 12:00 AM
Finally, some surprises. On the fourth day of the opening round of the WPIAL basketball playoffs, three double seed teams from girls Class AAA advanced to the second round with wins over the 3rd, 4th and 6th seeds. Plus, 2nd-seed in Mount Lebanon in boys Class AAAA needed double overtime to advance to Round Two. Here are the recaps from ALL of the boys AAA and A action along with girls AAAA and AA on Thursday night.
Thanks to Steve Nagler, Glenn Thompson, Sam Hall, Brian Mroziak, Steve Superick, Justin McKim, Jim Frederick, Greg Kuntz, Bob Barrickman, Mike Azadian, Don Rebel, Mark Schaas, Johnny Lee, Bob Orkwis, Josh Rowntree, Lee Mohn and Jonathan Whaley for their help on these recaps.
WPIAL BOYS CLASS AAAA FIRST ROUND:
Shaler Titans 70 – Plum Mustangs 45
With their signature suffocating defense and the deft scoring touch of Geno Thorpe, the top-seeded Shaler Titans easily dispatched the Plum Mustangs 70-45 in the first round of the AAAA playoffs. Thorpe had a team-high 22 points, many coming in the decisive 2nd quarter. After the two teams battled to a 14-14 tie after the 1st quarter, the Titans pulled away from the Mustangs by outscoring them 23-8 in the 2nd quarter. Shaler's defense, which only allowed an average of 43 points per game in the regular season, forced Plum into 11 first half turnovers. J.T. Schwartz and Craig Freehan both chipped in with 11 points for Shaler. In the losing effort, Plum's Nolan Cressler scored a game-high 23 points but had to work hard for every shot he took. Plum's season ends with a record of 10-13. With the victory, Shaler (22-1) advances into the Quarterfinal Round and will face section rival Butler on Saturday.
Butler Golden Tornado 51 – Moon Tigers 50
Butler and Moon played one of the most evenly matched games of the first round on Thursday night. The idea was Moon would come in with their high scoring offense led by Aaron Johnson and pound the paint against Butler. Meanwhile, the Golden Tornado, who have worked hard on defense all year had different plans. The first half belonged to Moon, and mostly Aaron Johnson, as he had 12 of the Tiger's 24 first half points. Moon was getting out in transition, getting strong on the offensive boards, and using the 1-2 punch of Johnson and Kenderson to work the ball down low. Only trailing by 7 at the half Butler knew what it needed to do, and that was disrupt the offensive flow of Moon. In the second half Butler defensively made Moon work hard for every single point, and took their time offensively waiting for the right shot. Zach Slater drained three 3-pointers in the third which sparked the Tornado offense. With 1.3 seconds to go, and a 2 point lead, Bobby Swartwout of Butler stepped to the line to drain two huge foul shots and ice the game for Butler.
Mount Lebanon Blue Devils 65 – Penn Hills Indians 61 in Double Overtime
The 2 seed in Boys AAAA survived a scare from the 15 seed at Baldwin Thursday night as Mount Lebanon playing from behind for much of the game, managed to come back late, force a pair of overtimes and eliminate the upset-minded Penn HIlls Indians 65-61. The Blue Devils trailed by six entering the fourth quarter but Paul Lang and Evan Eaton combined to score 20 points in the 4th quarter and overtimes leading the Blue Devils to the quarterfinals. Lang led all scorers on the night with 28 points in cluding a dozen from the 4th quarter through until the end, Eaton added 15 for the Blue Devils. Penn Hills got a tremendously gutty effort from senior forward Jayvaughn Kirkland who battled down low all night despite being obviously banged up and exhausted. Kirkland led the Indains with 18 points in the loss. Mount Lebanon struggled from the floor and the free throw line much to the frustration of head coach joey David, who afterward said "I don't mind the whole situation that happened tonight because I think it better prepares us to move on…..but we've got to shoot free throws better you know, 12 for 26 is no good." Tyler Roth added nine points for the Blue Devils including two huge threes late in the contest, but as it seems is always the case junior guard Luke Hagy was the ultimate difference maker for Lebo with his floor leadership and ball handling in fact to quote his coach Joey David when asked about letting his start play with four fouls in the fourth period, "I think that without Luke late in the game they (the Indians) win." Mount Lebanon moves on the the quarterfinals where they will play the Connellsville Falcons, The Blue Devils record improves to 21-2. Penn Hills with the loss sees their season come to a close at 11-11.
Connellsville Falcons 52 – Pine-Richland Rams 50
Connellsville won their 1st first playoff game since 2006 downing Pine Richland 52 to 50 on Thursday Night in a Boys Quad "A" First Round playoff game at Spartan Fieldhouse in Hempfield. Johnny Leonard was a one man show for the Falcons scoring 33 points including 8 three pointers. Tre Coles with 11 points was also in double figures for Connellsville. Andy Andrie was the only Pine Richland player in double figures with 16 points. Connellsville advances to the WPIAL "AAAA" quarterfinals on Saturday and will take on 2nd seeded Mt. Lebanon.
WPIAL BOYS CLASS AA FIRST ROUND:
Greensburg Central Catholic Centurions 65 – Carlynton Cougars 48
Class AA's top-seed team set the tone early, outscoring Carlynton 18-9 in the opening quarter and never looking back en route to a 17 point victory Thursday night at Gateway High School. The Cougars were able to break even with the Centurions in both the second and fourth quarters 22-22 and 12-12, but the opening quarter and the third quarter in which GGC outscored Carlynton 13-6 proved to be the difference. Greensburg Central Catholic's Jesse Reed was the games leading scorer with 24 points while teammate P.J. McLaughlin added 14 points. Carlynton was paced by Ryal Laepple's 17 points. Tristan Adams added 13 points for the Cougars, who end their season with a 13-10 record. The Centurions are now 21-2 and move on Saturday afternoon to Norwin High School where they will face the 8th-seed Summit Academy Knights.
Summit Academy Knights 46 – Shady Side Academy Indians 41
It wasn't easy Thursday night, but the Summit Academy boys basketball team will definitely take it. The Knights trailed Shady Side Academy for virtually their entire WPIAL first round Class AA playoff contest. But in the fourth quarter, they took control and advanced to the quarterfinals on Saturday with a 46-41 victory at Northgate High School. Summit Academy trailed the Indians by seven points at the end of the first quarter and six at halftime. The Knights, though, never backed down. Ronald Smith, who scored a team-high 15 for Summit Academy (16-8), knocked down a 3-point shot with two seconds remaining in the third quarter, the Knights' first 3 of the game, to cut the Indians' lead to four points entering the final stanza. Summit Academy was in the bonus for the entire fourth quarter, and took its first lead since 2-0 when Derek Banks made a free throw with 2 minutes, 30 seconds remaining for a 39-38 advantage. The Knights would go on to outscore Shady Side Academy (15-7) by nine points in the fourth, and used an Arley Townsend steal and layup and two free throws by Rainford Miles with 10.7 seconds left to cement the victory. Townsend finished with 11 points for Summit Academy, while Evan Lutins scored a game-high 18 for the Indians. Shady Side Academy's Cooper Handelsman joined Lutins in double figures with 10 points, 11 below his average.
Quaker Valley Quakers 44 – Bishop Canevin Crusaders 30
4TH seeded Quaker Valley broke away from Bishop Canevin and outscored the Crusaders 26-12 in the second half on its way to the WPIAL CLASS AA Quarterfinals at the Ambridge Fieldhouse. A major key in the Quakers' 44-30 victory was free throw shooting after the half where Q-V connected on 13 of 19. Ben Stevenson led the way as he made 5 of 7 at the foul line in the 4th period when Quaker Valley pulled away. The game was tied at 18 at the half as both clubs suffered thru cold shooting spells although Quaker Valley was having its way on the inside. 6-5 Jon West rebounded well from an earlier concussion this season to score 4 buckets inside the Canevin defense and key the victory which was the 20th of the year for Q-V. Junior guard Bobby Gustine kept Bishop Canevin close as he scored 14 points including 4 treys. Augie Luptak scored 13 and Stevenson added 11 as Quaker Valley avenged an earlier regular season loss to the Crusaders. Next up for the Quakers is 20-3 Sto Rox while Canevin finished at 13-11.
Sto-Rox Vikings 61 – Steel Valley Ironmen 29
The Sto-Rox Vikings went into the first round of the WPIAL playoffs with a perfect 10-0 mark in Boys' AA Section 5, a 19-3 overall record, and a 17-game overall winning streak. Thursday night at Keystone Oaks, they continued to ride that momentum as they utilized their collective athleticism both offensively and defensively in destroying the Steel Valley Ironmen. Despite getting off to a slow start, the Vikings were able to grab the lead at the end of one quarter, 12-9. Then, they let their defense take over as turnover after turnover led to points on the offensive end. Sto-Rox outscored the Ironmen 16-4 in the second quarter, and they never allowed double-digit points in any one period. Steel Valley seened to paying quite a bit of attention on the Vikes' Rob Baltimore, who is one of the leading scorers in the WPIAL, averaging over 20 PPG. Baltimore was held to just 10 points in this one, but they got production from Dontez Ford and and Marzett Geter as they scored 15 and 13 points respectively. Steel Valley was led by Corey Keyes with 10 points in the loss, and their season ends with 9-15 record. Sto-Rox (20-3) moves on in the Boys' AA postseason to battle the Quaker Valley Quakers in the quarterfinal round, who knocked out the Bishop Canevin Crusaders Thursday night.
Beaver Falls Tigers 74 – California Trojans 34
Beaver Falls went on a 10-0 run early in the first quarter and never looked back as the Fighting Tigers dominated California to the tune of 74-34 on Thursday night at Chartiers Valley. Tiger 6'7