WPIAL Basketball Playoff Recaps From Friday, February 22nd

Saturday, February 23, 2013 | 12:58 AM

The top four seeds in Boys Class AAA, four of the top five in Boys Class A and four of the top five in Girls Class AA all advanced to the Semifinals on Friday. The lowest seed to reach the Final Four was #7 Gateway in Girls Class AAAA as they eliminated #2 North Allegheny. Here are recaps from Quarterfinals Friday played in the Boys AAA, Boys A, Girls AAAA and Girls AA brackets.

A special thanks to Justin McKim, Mark Uriah, Mike Azadian, Terry Neary, Lee Mohn, Mike Sackley, Bob Gregg, Sam Hall, Josh Rowntree, Randy Gore, Scott Briggs, Matt Vandriak, Mark Schaas, Bob Barrickman, Bob Orkwis and Don Rebel for their help on these recaps.  

WPIAL CLASS AAA Quarterfinals:

Chartiers Valley Colts 67 – South Fayette Lions 62 
Chartiers Valley trailed for most of the game before erupting for 16 straight points in the fourth on the way to a 67-62 win over South Fayette.  Michael Boulos scored 20 points, Matty McConnell had 19–including 9-for-9 at the foul line–to lead the Colts to the win.  Zach Challingsworth had 15 points in the first half, helping the Lions to a 35-30 lead at intermission.  South Fayette pushed the margin to a game-best 12 points midway through the third, Evan Bonnaure hitting a deuce and a pair of three-pointers in the quarter.  In a preview of what was to come one quarter later, Chartiers Valley rallied and took a 47-46 lead through three periods.  Bonnaure buried a trey with about 4 seconds left in the quarter, but Boulos sprinted unchecked to the stripe and hit a three-pointer just across the mid-court line.  The Lions (14-10) opened the fourth with a 7-0 run, capped by Challingsworth's final three-pointer, then pushed the lead to 58-59 with 5:15 to play on Nick McKee's trey.  Spencer Casson started the rally for the Colts (21-3) with an inside move for two.  Dominic Castello's trey made it a four-point game with 4 minutes to go, then finished an "and-one" trip, giving the Colts the lead for good at 59-58.  Castello (3-4) and McConnell (8-8) iced the win with solid free throw shooting down the stretch.  Chartiers Valley was 24-31 at the foul line, South Fayette just 5-9.  Castello finished with 13 points, eight in the final period.  Challingsworth had game honors with 21.  Bonnaure had with 17 points before fouling out with about 10 seconds left.

Beaver Bobcats 71 – Kittanning Wildcats 67 
Kittanning erased a 10-point deficit at halftime to take a 43-42 lead early in the fourth quarter, but Beaver responded and won the WPIAL Boys AAA quarterfinal contest, 71-66 at North Allegheny.  Senior Austin Logan had a career evening with 36 points for the Bobcats including 19 in the fourth period.  Fellow seniors Corey Nesmith and Aaron Barlow added 13 and 11 points, respectively. Senior Sterling Henry, who had 30 points Tuesday in a victory over Central Valley, led the Wildcats with 19 points.  Beaver, now 19-3, moves on to the semifinals for the second straight year and will take on number one seed Chartiers Valley.  The Bobcats upset the Colts in a non-section game earlier this season, 59-55.  Kittanning is 20-5 and will need a Beaver win on Tuesday to qualify for the PIAA playoffs.  For the first time in school history, Beaver has qualified for the state tournament for two straight seasons.

Mars Fighting Planets 79 – Uniontown Red Raiders 55 
Since losing to North Hills by one point back on January 23, the Mars Planets have now reeled off eight wins in a row – with an average margin of victory of nearly 30 points.  Their closest contest was a 12-point victory over arch-rival Knoch in the final section game of the season.  Win number eight came Friday night – by 24 points – 79-55 over Uniontown in the class AAA quarterfinals at Baldwin High School.  The Planets were led by 6’8’ senior Josh Goetz once again as the big guy dropped in 20 points, and guard Mitchell Buzard who blitzed the Red Raiders for 10 of the Planets 22 first quarter points.  Buzard finished the night with 18, followed by Owen Nearhoof with 16, and Matt Getsy’s 11.  Nearhoof hit three consecutive three’s to open the third quarter – and put the number 2 seeded Planets up by more than 20.  Uniontown’s Jordan Pratt led the Red Raiders equaling his season average of 18 points, and Xavier Ellis chipped in 10.  Mars scored the first 11 points of the game and led 22-11 after the first frame as Uniontown never got closer than six points.  Mars advances to the WPIAL semi-finals for the first time in school history to face Montour.  The Rock Station 97.7 will carry the game next Tuesday night.

Montour Spartans 59 – Thomas Jefferson Jaguars 40 
Take a lot of Devin Wilson.  Mix in the outside shooting of Robert Julian.  Stir in some strong defense and add solid rebounding and you have the recipe for Montour's success in this quarterfinal round matchup. Wilson scored a game high 20 points, while Julian scored all 18 of his points on three-point shots.  But as impressive as this Spartans duo was offensively, the Spartans team defense was equally impressive.  In Thomas Jefferson's opening round win over Laurel Highlands, Joe Carroll, Jason Horan, and Chase Winovich combined for 35 of the Jaguars 48 points.  Montour held that trio to a combined 12 points and held a Thomas Jefferson team that was averaging 61.5 points per game to 23 points below their average.  Coming into the quarterfinals, TJ had won 5 games in a row and held 4 of those opponents to 41 points or less.  But Wilson's strong offensive work driving to the hoop and Julian's great outside shooting helped the Spartans exceed that total by the end of the 3rd quarter. With the victory, the Spartans have now won 12 games in a row.  It was also the second time this season Montour beat Thomas Jefferson.  The Spartans defeated the Jaguars 69-47 back on January 23rd.  The Spartans, who improved to 20-4 with the win, will have another rematch in the semi-finals.  Montour will get another crack at Mars, who defeated Montour earlier this season, 71-68 back on December 19th. Thomas Jefferson, who's first round win was their first playoff win since 2008, falls to 17-7 with the loss.  The Jaguars will now have to root for the team that beat them, hoping Montour at least gets to the AJ Palumbo Center to guarantee TJ one of the six allocated slots in the PIAA tournament.

WPIAL CLASS A Quarterfinals:

Lincoln Park Leopards 99 – Wilkinsburg Tigers 58 
Maverick Rowan and Elijah Minnie were too much for the Wilkinsburg Tigers at West Allegheny High School on Friday night, as the top seeded Lincoln Park Leopards cruised to a 99-58 victory and a trip to the Class A semifinals for the third consecutive year. Rowan, a freshman, finished with 31 points with 15 points in the third quarter. Minnie scored 26 points, blocked 11 shots and had six dunks. The Leopards pulled away in the second quarter with a 10-0 run, after leading by a 20-17 margin after one quarter, which was played at a frantic pace. Lincoln Park outscored Wilkinsburg 61-26 in the second half, kicking the mercy rule in with 5:25 remaining in the fourth quarter. Ryan Skovranko added 18 points. The Leopards had 41 field goals, including eight three-pointers and were 9-11 from the foul line.  Lincoln Park has won eight straight games and goes to 19-5 on the season. With the win, the Leopards also qualify for the PIAA playoffs. Wilkinsburg was led by Isaiah Pete and Eric Dean, each scored 16 points. The Tigers turned the ball over 18 times, they had 25 field goals with just two three-pointers and finished 6-10 from the charity stripe. Wilkinsburg finishes the season at 13-10. Lincoln Park will meet Clairton in the semis on Tuesday, the Bears were a 66-55 victor over Union.

Clairton Bears 66 – Union Scotties 55 
The Bears used career high 24-points from Terrish Webb to defeat the Scotties at North Hills High School in this quarterfinal matchup. Webb, a 6-1 senior guard, scored most of his points inside the paint and put up 12 of Clairton’s 20-4th quarter points. In the Bears first round romp over St. Joseph, Clairton played a very up-tempo game running on offense and pressuring on defense. The pace in this game was much more deliberate even though Union favored the same run & gun style of basketball. Two other Bears scored in double figures. Tyler Boyd had 15-points to go along with 10-rebounds, while leading scorer Bryon Clifford added 14, including hitting four-of-four free throws down the stretch. Webb, Clifford and Boyd have scored in double digits in both of Clairton’s playoff victories. Union also had 3 players in double digits led by junior Ben Young’s 20-points, including three 3-pointers. Joe Salmen added 15-points which included a 10-for-10 performance from the free throw line. Senior Markel Peace finished with 14-points for the Scotties, 5 below his season average. Union finishes the season with a record of (17-6). With the win, the Bears are now (15-6) and 5th seeded Clairton moves onto the WPIAL Class A semifinals to face the defending WPIAL Single A boys champions Lincoln Park.  The Leopards, the top seed in the WPIAL Class A tournament, defeated Wilkinsburg 99-58 to advance to the semifinals. “That will be a tall challenge,” Clairton head coach Matt Geletko said after the game, “but we’re not going to back down from it.” The win also clinches a spot in the PIAA Playoffs for Clairton, as all four Class semifinalists will represent the WPIAL (District 7) in the state playoffs.

Vincentian Academy Royals 82 – Monessen Greyhounds 42 
At Keystone Oaks High school in WPIAL Boys A Quarterfinal action the Vincentian Academy Royals defeated the Monesson Greyhounds 82-42. An insane pace started the first quarter and it continued the whole period. The Royals led 29-17 after one. Ryan Wolf had 12, and Tony Dinardo helped with 10 to pace Vincentian. The second quarter saw 9 Monessen turnovers and the Royals led by Wolf's 21 first half points were ahead 52-29 headed into the 2nd half. The second half was more of the same as the Royals hit the 80 point mark by the 4th quarter. The mercy rule went into effect At the end of the 3rd as the Royals rolled to an easy victory. Wolf led Vincentian with 23, Dinardo poured in 21 to Pace the Royals who improve to 23-1 and will move on and face North Catholic in the semi finals next week on a date and time to be determined. Monessen was led by Justice Rawlins with 12 points, and Clintell Gillaspie with 11. They end their season at 10-14.

North Catholic Trojans 53 – Our Lady of the Sacred Heart Chargers 46 
These two teams played quite the "roller coaster" game Friday night at North Hills High School.  The Trojans used hot shooting from outside the arc to take an 18 – 9 lead after one quarter, but OLSH picked up both their defensive and offensive games to close within two points (24 – 26) at the half.  The Chargers then started the second half with a 9 – 0 run to pull ahead by seven. Then North's big man Dominic Robb scored the next five points to pull his club closer.  the two teams were tied at 40 in the fourth quarter when senior Pat Rielly sparked a final Trojan run with a 22 foot three pointer.  North.outscored OLSH 19 – 9 in the fourth to seal the victory. Robb scored all 12 of his points and Rielly got all 8 of his in the second half to lead the Trojans.  Senior Dan Savulchak also scored 12 points.  Cameron Johnson led the Chargers with 18 and Nick Metz chipped in 14.  North Catholic (16 – 5) advances to a WPIAL Class A semifinal game on Tuesday night, while OLSH ends it season with a 19 – 5 record.  With the win, the Trojans also qualify for the PIAA class A tournament.  This is the second time in the past three seasons that North Catholic has eliminated OLSH from the playoffs in a quarterfinal game at North Hills.

WPIAL CLASS AAAA Quarterfinals:

Mount Lebanon Blue Devils 45 – Fox Chapel Foxes 42 
Mount Lebanon received a scare from Fox Chapel Friday night falling behind by 8 points in the 3rd quarter but went on a 20-7 run and held on for a 45-42 victory.  It was a defensive struggle in the first half for both teams as they combined for only 22 points,  Fox Chapel led 12-10.  The Foxes would score the first 6 points in the 3rd on 3 fast break lay ups but after a Mount Lebanon timeout the momentum switched.  Mount Lebanon extended their defensive pressure and led by 5 at the end of 3 quarters.  Mount Lebanon extended their lead to 11 but had to hold on at the end.  Fox Chapel cut the lead to 3 with 7 seconds left but chose not to call a time out and could not foul as the Blue Devils ran out the clock.  Mount Lebanon was 21-26 from the free throw line.  Mount Lebanon was led by Alex Ventrone with 14 points and Christine Ehland with 13.  Fox Chapel was led by Erin Mathias with 18 points and 6 blocks and Kayla Slovenic with 12 points.  Mount Lebanon will now face Chartiers Valley in the semi-finals next week while Fox Chapel becomes fans of Mount Lebanon.  If Lebo wins the WPIAL championship Fox Chapel will qualify for the PIAA tournament.

Chartiers Valley Colts 55 – Upper St. Clair Panthers 52 
The Chartiers Valley Colts advanced to the semi-finals for the fourth time in head coach Spencer Stefko's seven years with a 55-52 win over the Upper Saint Clair Panthers at Canon-MacMillan high school Friday night. The Coltes were led by senior Mariah Wells who scored 16 points in the win. The Colts and Panthers were tied at the half 24-24 and USC shut down Wells in the second half holding the Colts leading scorer to only two points after the break. Char Valley countered with inspired play from Kassidy O'Keefe and Alexa Golden as the pair combined for 20 points in the second half. O'Keefe finished with 11 for the night and Golden a dozen, all in the second half. USC was led by Jordan Serio, the senior scored a game high 20 points on the night. The Panthers also got a big night from junior Elayna Kaylor who totaled 18 points. After trailing at the end of three 45-36 USC outscored the Colts 16-10 in the final frame to pull within three but a 3/4 court desperation heave fell short for Diandra Conwell and the Colts beat the Panthers for the third time this season. USC falls to 12-12 on the year, they could still reach the PIAA playoffs if Char Valley wins the WPIAL championship. The Colts improve to 18-6 on the year and move into the semi-finals to face the Mount Lebanon Blue Devils a team that beat them twice during the regular season. Tune in to that semi-final match up Tuesday night on the MSA Sports Network.    

Gateway Gators 50 – North Allegheny Tigers 43 
Behind a double-double by Maria Taylor, the Gateway Gators dispatched the North Allegheny Lady Tigers on Friday night with a 50-43 victory in the Class AAAA Quarterfinals.  Taylor and the Gators built a 14-1 lead to start the game as the senior forward dominated the offensive glass with 12 first half points and nine rebounds. Taylor helped Gateway to a 26-14 advantage by halftime and finished the night with 16 points and 12 boards. Gateway led 37-25 late in the third quarter before North Allegheny staged a late comeback bid. The Lady Tigers managed to slow Taylor in the second half and whittled the Gateway lead to 41-39 with three minutes remaining. The Tigers received numerous contributions in their rally, but the steady hand of senior point guard Maddie Nellis was important to the effort. Nellis dropped in nine points with three treys and added three late-game steals to bring NA to within two points. However, Gateway connected on 12 of 17 free throws in the second half and held off the Tigers for the 50-43 victory. The Gators’ Katey Wilson was 6-for-6 from the charity stripe on her way to a 12 point performance. Gateway improves to 20-4 on the season and will face Bethel Park in the WPIAL Semifinals. North Allegheny’s season ends with a 20-4 record.

Bethel Park Black Hawks 43 – Penn-Trafford Warriors 34 
A tough and gritty performance by the 3rd seeded Bethel Park Lady Black Hawks was enough Friday night as they defeated the 6th seed Penn-Trafford Lady Warriors 43-34. Bethel Park got out to a 20-9 lead in the 2nd quarter before Penn-Trafford fought back with a 9-0 run to close the half, going in at halftime down 20-18. After a back and forth 3rd quarter, Bethel Park was the better team in the 4th quarter, slowly but surely taking the will out of the Lady Warriors with great defense. The Lady Hawks were lead by Megan Marecic. The junior had an outstanding night with 22 points. Samantha Simpson chipped in 10 for the Hawks. Penn-Trafford was lead by Taylor Cortazzo, who knocked down a couple first half threes and finished with 14 points. Bethel Park, a team that lost in the quarterfinals a year ago, moves on to the semifinal to play 7th seeded Gateway next week.

WPIAL CLASS AA Quarterfinals:

Seton-LaSalle Rebels 65 – Greensburg Central Catholic Centurions 44 
It was a rough start for the two-time defending WPIAL Class AA champions, but once top-seed Seton-LaSalle kicked things into gear, cruise control was not that far behind. Seton-LaSalle led by only 10 points at the half before outscoring Greensburg Central Catholic 21-8 in the third quarter to advance with a 21 point victory in the very first WPIAL basketball playoff game at the new gym at Bethel Park High School. The Rebels built a 27-9 lead late into the second quarter before the Centurions ended the first half with a 10-2 run to pull to within ten. Seton-LaSalle was led by senior Natalie Piaggesi who came off the bench with a game high 18 points while fellow senior Angela Heintz added 15 points as the Rebels improved to 23-1 and will now face 5th-seed Jeannette in the Semifinals on Tuesday. Greensburg Central Catholic fall to 17-7 and will qualify for the PIAA state playoffs if the Rebels advance to the finals.

Jeannette Jayhawks 64 – Deer Lakes Lancers 56 
You may as well call them the "Comeback Kids." No. 5 Jeannette (17-6) overcame a double-digit deficit for the second time this week, upending No. 4 Deer Lakes (20-4) 64-56 on Friday night in a Girls Class AA Quarterfinal matchup at Fox Chapel High School. The Jayhawks, who trailed Steel Valley by 11 in the 3rd quarter on Tuesday and rallied to win, had to overcome a 31-18 2nd quarter deficit on this night. Jeannette was led by UNC Charlotte recruit and WPIAL leading scorer Ciara Gregory, who dropped in 33 points, including 14 points in a 2nd Quarter which saw Jeannette finish on a 17-2 run. Gregory, who scored a season-high 41 points against Steel Valley, knocked down five 3-pointers against a Deer Lakes squad that beat Jeannette 76-56 earlier in the season. After being outrebounded 62-31 by Steel Valley, Jeannette outrebounded Deer Lakes 49-20, with 25 of those grabbed by Sydney Pecorara. Deer Lakes, which started the game with six 3-pointers in the 1st quarter, would cool off and be led by Becca Babincak (15 points), Danielle Kearns (13 points, 6 rebounds) and Nichole Kearns (12 points). Babincak and Nichole Kearns combined for 50 points in the victory of Jeannette earlier in the season. Jeannette moves onto the Class AA Semifinals for the third time in four seasons. On Tuesday they will meet a familiar foe, Seton-LaSalle, who the Jayhawks met at the A.J. Palumbo Center in 2010 and 2011 for the WPIAL Class AA Championship. Jeannette won in 2010, while the Rebels won in 2011. Jeannette, who runs a six-player rotation, could be shorthanded against Seton-LaSalle, as second-leading scorer Monique Redman suffered a head injury late in the 4th quarter.   

Bishop Canevin Crusaders 56 – Mohawk Warriors 44 
Celina DiPietro showcased her long-range game, and Bishop Canevin moved one step closer to the WPIAL AA girls basketball championship game next weekend. DiPietro drilled eight 3-point shots, including five in the first quarter, on her way to a game-high 26 points as the Crusaders (20-4) beat Mohawk, 56-44, from West Allegheny. Bishop Canevin advances to the semifinals. The Crusaders' Carly Forse and Erin Waskowiak scored 14 points apiece. Meantime, Mohawk (17-7) was led by Paige Ruby’s 20. Shelby Brown added 12 and Devon Giancola contributed 10.  The Warriors were able to keep it close, trailing 29-27 at halftime, but Bishop Canevin used a 27-17 second half advantage to seal the victory.

Burrell Buccaneers 61 – McGuffey Highlanders 41 
Burrell led for nearly the entire game, beating McGuffey 61-41 in the Girls AA WPIAL playoffs. Four Bucs scored in double figures. Sydney Bordonaro led the way with 17. Kelsey Oddis added 15. Natalie Myers had 12 & Jaila Manga had 10. McGuffey’s Sammy Weiss led all scorere with 25, but the rest of the Highlanders combined for only 16. Burrell’s pressure defense forced McGuffey into turnovers throughout the game…as the Bucs (22-2) advance to Tuesday’s semi-finals. McGuffey (20-3) can still qualify for the PIAA playoffs.




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