WPIAL Basketball Playoff Recaps From Saturday, February 23rd
Saturday, February 23, 2013 | 8:39 PM
Quarterfinals Saturday in the WPIAL Basketball Playoffs was a little wild, a tad crazy and a bit one-sided as well. Boys Class AAAA made history with all four Section 3 teams winning to make it to the Semifinals while in Boys AA, Burrell, Quaker Valley and Apollo-Ridge won to eliminate seeds 2, 3 and 4. Meanwhle, the eight girls teams won by a combined 197 points or an average margin of victory of just under 25 points. Here are recaps from Quarterfinals Friday played in the Boys AAAA, Boys AA, Girls AAA and Girls A brackets.
A special thanks to Mike Azadian, Dennis Fischer, T.J. DiStefano, Mike Sackley, Mark Schaas, Josh Rowntree, Bob Barrickman, Greg Kuntz, Randy Gore and Johnny Lee for their help with these recaps.
WPIAL CLASS AAAA Quarterfinals:
New Castle Red Hurricane 87 – Gateway Gators 55
There will be a new champion in the Quad-A boys ranks as the two time champion Gators were knocked off the Battle to the Bluff by the undefeated Red Hurricanes at the Bridger Field House. New Castle claimed a 87-55 victory to go to 24-0, with the win, New Castle has won 51 of it’s last 52 games, the only loss coming to Montour in the PIAA second round last season. New Castle is the current Class AAA champion. The first eleven minutes were back and forth with the teams exchanging leads, in fact with seven ties and nine lead changes. New Castle led 21-18 after one quarter and trailed 27-26, but the Red Hurricanes would take advantage of two 7-0 scoring runs to lead 46-33 at the break. New Castle hit four three pointers in the quarter, the Canes hit 11 three’s on the afternoon. New Castle outscored Gateway 20-7 in the third quarter and led by as many as 34 in the fourth. Shawn Anderson led the high powered New Castle attack with 26 points. Malik Hooker scored 14, Brandon Domenick and Anthony Richards each hit four three-pointers for 12 points. Drew Allen added 9 points off the bench. New Castle was 12-18 from the foul line and committed only 9 turnovers, one under their season average. Of the 51 wins, New Castle has won once by less than 10 points, to Hampton in the final section game of the season. New Castle has only trailed once this season at the half and has not trailed entering the fourth quarter. Jordan Landfair got off to a hot start, scoring 10 points in the opening quarter, he finished with 16. Delvan Randall scored 11, D.J. Boyce was held to just 4 points, he scored 23 in the first round win over Kiski Area on Wednesday. Gateway can qualify for the PIAA playoffs, if New Castle wins out, the Gators fall to 16-6 overall. Gateway committed 18 turnovers and was 5-14 from the line. New Castle will meet section rival Seneca Valley on Wednesday at 7pm back at Ambridge, New Castle won the first two meetings, 79-45 on the road and 75-52 at home.
Seneca Valley Raiders 44 – Upper St. Clair Panthers 34
The WPIAL playoff pairings committee controversially placed three Quad A, Section 3 teams in the first three seeds of the Quad A playoff bracket. Maybe No. 12 Seneca Valley should have been the fourth. The Raiders (17-7) halted a 17-game winning streak by No. 4 Upper St. Clair (20-4), beating the Panthers 44-34 in a defensive slugfest on Saturday at North Allegheny High School. Seneca Valley started the contest on a 14-0 run, not allowing Upper St. Clair to score a point in the first 11 minutes of the game. The Raiders, who win just their second quarterfinal game in school history, were paced by R.J. McCauley's 13 points and 15 rebounds. Seneca Valley's other quarterfinal win was in 2009 and was also over Upper St. Clair at North Allegheny High School. After trailing 6-0 after the first quarter and 17-10 at halftime, the Panthers would go on an 8-0 run in the second half, cutting Seneca Valley's lead to 32-30. But the Raiders would finish the game on a 12-4 run, hitting clutch free throws and forcing Upper St. Clair to commit costly turnovers. The Panthers turned the ball over 15 times and made just 10 field goals in the game, hitting only two in the first half. They were led by Jordan Grabowski's 16 points and 6 rebounds. Upper St. Clair failed to get secondary scoring, especially from Joel Klein, who scored 24 in the first round, but just 3 against the Raiders. J.J. Conn, a Junior Forward who averages 14 points per game scored just 3 as well for Upper St. Clair. The win for Seneca Valley is the 100th under head coach Victor Giannotta and puts them into the semifinals against section rival and top-seeded New Castle. The Raiders lost to the Red Hurricane (24-0) twice this season, by 34 and 23 points. Upper St. Clair will be rooting for Seneca Valley now, as a Raiders win in the WPIAL AAAA Semifinals and Championship Game would put the Panthers into the PIAA playoffs. If Seneca Valley loses again, Upper St. Clair's season ends with an impressive 20 wins, their most since 2007-2008.
North Allegheny Tigers 79 – Fox Chapel Foxes 61
In a nip and tuck battle through three quarters, North Allegheny pulled away from Fox Chapel in the final period for a 79-61 victory in the Class AAAA Quarterfinals. The lead changed hands countless times in the first three quarters and the score was even at 55-55 with six minutes to play before the Tigers gained command. North Allegheny broke the tie with a 20-2 run that was spearheaded by R.J. Colabrese. The senior point guard scored 18 points and was a perfect 10-for-10 at the free-throw line. Of his 18 points, 16 of them came in the second half. In the first three quarters, the Foxes traded baskets with the Tigers behind the efforts of junior Matt D’Amico who scored a game-high 23 points. However, in the fourth quarter Fox Chapel unraveled by committing 21 turnovers to NA’s eight. Junior David Haus was the top thief for the Tigers with six steals. North Allegheny improves to 21-3 on the season and will face the Hampton Talbots in the WPIAL Semifinals. The Section 3 rivals split their meetings in the regular season with each team winning at home. Fox Chapel falls to 17-7 with the loss.
Hampton Talbots 71 – McKeesport Tigers 63
The #3 seeded Hampton Talbots advanced to the semifinal round of the boys Quad A basketball tournament with a 71-63 win over the #11 seeded McKeesport Tigers on Saturday afternoon at North Allegheny High School. Hampton led by seven, 23-16 at the end of the first period and then outscored McKeesport 27-12 in the second quarter to take a 50-28 lead at the half. But in an exciting comeback, the Tigers chipped away, narrowing the lead to four with less than 10 seconds to play. The Talbots made key five free throws in the closing moments to seal the win. Hampton was led by junior forward Ryan Luther with 31 points, 18 of those coming in the second quarter. twin brother Collin scored 15, while sophomore guard Dave Huber pitched in 14. McKeesport saw four players reach double figures, sophomore guard Jordan Payne leading the way with 12, senior forward Jamie Grayson and junior guard William Gadsen had 11 each, and senior guard Carlitto Acie added 10. Hampton (20-4) will meet North Allegheny in a quarterfinal game on Wednesday night at a site and time to be determined. With the win, the Talbots qualified for the PIAA state tournament. McKeesport (15-8) can still qualify for the state playoffs if Hampton wins the WPIAL title game next Saturday night.
WPIAL CLASS AA Quarterfinals:
Beaver Falls Tigers 66 – Brentwood Spartans 36
Beaver Falls led 17-15 after one quarter and held Brentwood to just 21 points for the remainder of the game as the Tigers move to the semifinals with a 66-36 victory at the Ambridge Field House. The Tigers’ defense forced 28 Spartans turnovers, Beaver Falls goes to 21-3 overall. The Tigers started to pull away in the second quarter, taking advantage of scoring runs of seven and six straight points. Elijah Cottrill led the Tigers with 22 points. Drew Cook added 15 for Beaver Falls, who committed just 10 turnovers. With the win, the Tigers are also guaranteed a trip to the PIAA tournament. Brentwood was led by Westminster recruit Jason Pilarski with 21 points. The Spartans fall to 14-10 overall.
Apollo-Ridge Vikings 53 – Jeannette Jayhawks 49
It was 4th seeded Jeannette that got out to an early lead, but it was the 12th seeded Apollo-Ridge Vikings that dominated the rest of the game, upsetting the Jayhawks Saturday 53-49 at Plum High School. The Jayhawks jumped out to a 24-6 lead at the end of the 1st quarter, but it was all Vikings from there. Apollo-Ridge’s 2-3 zone stifled Jeannette the rest of the game. Jeannette did a great job forcing turnovers and getting out in transition in the 1st quarter. But their looks at the basket were limited after that. Apollo-Ridge fought back to cut the Jeannette lead to 8 at halftime. Jayhawks PG Julian Batts hit a three at the end of the half to extend the Jayhawk lead to 31-23. After that, it was all Vikings. Apollo-Ridge played even with Jeannette in the 3rd quarter, but built momentum right at the end of the quarter when Vikings guard Tre Tipton hit a half-court shot at the buzzer to give Apollo-Ridge a 41-37 lead. The Jayhawks stayed in the game right until the final seconds, but made some unforced errors in the final minute, with Apollo-Ridge icing the game at the free throw line and pulling off the big upset. The Vikings were lead by Tipton and Connor Billingsley, each scoring 13 points. Lucas Burrell added 11 for the Vikings. Batts had 12 for Jeannette, with all of those points coming in the 1st half. Duke Brown and Seth Miller, who kept Jeannette in the game in the 2nd half, also had 12 each. With the win, the Vikings cinderella run continues as they will face #1 seed Beaver Falls in the semifinals. Also with the win today, Apollo-Ridge clinches its first PIAA State Tournament berth since 1988. Jeannette falls to (18-5) but remains alive for a state playoff berth.
Burrell Buccaneers 67 – Greensburg Central Catholic Centurions 63 in Overtime
It was a thriller at Plum High School Saturday afternoon as the #7 seed Burrell Buccaneers took the #2 seed Greensburg Central Catholic Centurions to overtime and got the upset win 67-63. Burrell only had two field goals and three foul shots in the first quarter and trailed 12-8. The Buccaneers began getting shots to fall in quarter number two outscoring GCC 15-10 to take a 23-22 lead into halftime. The Centurions seemed to take control in the 3rd quarter as they outscored Burrell 20-10 to hold a 42-33 lead after three. However, the Buccaneers weren't done as the exploded for 24 points,thanks to hot shooting from behind the arc in the 4th quarter.The Bucs had five of their 10 three pointers for the game in the 4th, one by Peter Spagnolo and two each from Alex White and Jacob Prefling. Of the 15 points for GCC in the fourth 12 came from Brian Graytok, who kept the team in the game. After regulation it was 57-57, so the game headed to overtime. In overtime both teams only had one field goal apiece, but the key was turnovers and free throws. GCC had some chances late in OT to tie or take the lead, but had some turnovers at critical points that would prove costly in the end. Burrell was clutch from the line going 8 for 10 helping them to seal the upset victory. Burrell had four players in double figures led by 16 points from Pete Spagnolo. Alex White had 14, Jacob Prefling added 13 and Cole Bush had 10. The Buccaneers went 13 of 19 from the foul line in the game. The Centurions were led by Brian Graytok with 22 points, 17 of which came in the second half and overtime. Christian Hyland added 14 and Zach Herman had 9. GCC went 18 of 24 for the game from the foul line and were 15 of 18 in the second half and overtime. Burrell improves to 18-6 and has now won nine in arow and will take on #6 seed Quaker Valley Wednesday night at a site time to be determined. Greensburg Central Catholic had their 14 game winning streak snapped as they fall to 22-2.
Quaker Valley Quakers 62 – Seton-LaSalle Rebels 61
In a fun to watch back and forth game between two excellent high school basketball teams, it was the Quaker Valley Quakers who had just a little bit more of the fun as they held on to defeat the Seton-LaSalle Rebels 62-61 at North Hills High School. SLS was able to build an early lead, but with Junior Guard Dale Clancy in early foul trouble, the Quakers fought back and took their first lead at the half time buzzer as Nelson Westwood hit a two point leaner from the top of the key for a 30-28 Quaker Valley lead at the break. The second half was a game of mini runs from both teams. QV was able to open up an early 3rd quarter lead, but this time is was the Rebels fighting back behind 8 quick points by Dom DelGreco to knot it at 42 apiece after 3. The game went down to the wire with QV up by a single point, SLS's Clancy was able to penetrate and kick to Luke Brumbaugh whose shot was partially blocked to secure the game for the Quakers. Quaker Valley was led in scoring by Westwood with 20 points. Burke Moser played an outstanding all around game for QV and finished with 15. For SLS, they were led by Ryan Norkus off the bench with 18 points. Eric Marasco and Clancy finished with 14 and 13, respectively. Malik White and Levi Masua were held to 2 points apiece by a well designed QV defense. Up next for Quaker Valley, the WPIAL Semi-finals, where they will take on the Burrell Bucs at a site and time TBD.
WPIAL CLASS AAA Quarterfinals:
Blackhawk Cougars 71 – Belle Vernon Leopards 46
Blackhawk received 24 points from sophomore Pitt recruit Chassidy Omogrosso and 18 from junior Halle Denman as the undefeated Lady Cougars cruised past Belle Vernon in the WPIAL Girls AAA quarterfinal, 71-46. In the second game of a tripleheader Saturday at West Allegheny, Blackhawk opened up a 41-16 lead at the intermission and led by 30 after three periods. Jessica Slagus paced the Lady Leopards with 16 points and her younger sister in sophomore Kaitlyn Slagus added 11. The Lady Cougars qualified for the PIAA tournament and will take a 24-0 slate into the semifinals Wednesday against Elizabeth Forward. Now 16-7, Belle Vernon hopes that Blackhawk’s record stays unblemished after Wednesday’s action because a Cougar victory would put the Leopards into the state playoffs.
Elizabeth Forward Warriors 66 – Central Valley Warriors 45
Junior Kylie Owoc showed uncanny shooting ability off the bench and led Elizabeth Forward to a convincing 66-45 win over Central Valley in the final of a Girls AAA quarterfinal tripleheader at West Allegheny, 66-45. In a battle of Lady Warriors, Elizabeth Forward led by as many as 32 points. Owoc led the Elizabeth Forward attack with 16 points followed by Dana Buck with 14. Central Valley got 20 points from junior Seairra Barrett and 14 from junior Morgan DeMaiolo. Central Valley played without junior forward Kiana Law, who was ineligible because she received two technicals in her previous game. PIAA playoff bound Elizabeth Forward improved to 22-2 and will meet unbeaten Blackhawk in the semifinals Wednesday. At 18-5, Central Valley needs Blackhawk to suffer its first setback Wednesday in order to qualify for the state playoffs.
Hopewell Vikings 70 – Ambridge Bridgers 46
Hopewell got off to a big early lead and never looked back as the Lady Vikings dominated Ambridge in a WPIAL Girls AAA contest Saturday afternoon , 70-46. The Lady Bridgers trailed 37-17 at the half in the game played at West Allegheny. Maryland recruit Shatori Walker-Kimbrough led Hopewell with 28 points while juniors Ali Santia and Shaniya Rivers chipped in with 14 and 10, respectively. Katie Fischer led Ambridge with 24 points as the Bridgers lost for the third time this year to their Section 2AAA rivals. Defending WPIAL champion Hopewell is now 21-3 and will meet South Park Wednesday in the semifinals. Ambridge dipped to 15-9 and needs a Hopewell win to advance to the PIAA playoffs.
South Park Eagles 69 – Hampton Talbots 37
The #3 seeded South Park Eagles raced off to any early lead and never looked back on their way to a 69-37 win over the #6 seeded Hampton Talbots in the quarterfinal round of the girls Triple A basketball tournament on Saturday afternoon at North Allegheny High School. With the win, the Eagles advance to the semifinal round where they will take on the Hopewell Vikings on Wednesday night at a site and time to be determined. South Park jumped out to a 19-3 first quarter lead, extending it to 33-10 at the half. The Eagles continued to add on throughout the third quarter, taking a commanding 64-20 lead into the final period before Hampton narrowed the gap by outscoring South Park 17-5 in the fourth quarter. South Park (21-2) was led by senior guard Shelby Lindsay and freshman forward Allison McGrath, both scoring 18 points, while junior forward Halie Torris pitched in15. Hampton (18-6) was paced by senior center Sara Pilarski with 16. With the win, South Park qualified for the PIAA state tournament while Hampton will need for the Eagles to reach the WPIAL finals in order to earn a berth in the state playoffs.
WPIAL CLASS A Quarterfinals:
Vincentian Academy Royals 76 – Winchester Thurston Bears 59
The Vincentian Royals wasted little time in flexing their #1 seed muscles in racing to a 30-7 lead after the 1st quarter and going on to a 76-59 Quarterfinal victory against the Winchester Thurston Bears at North Hills High School. The Royals full court pressure caused turnover after turnover that turned into a slew of early easy buckets in what would become a lopsided victory. Brenna Wise, who although only a Sophomore, scored her 1000th career point, led the Royals with 24 points. Abby Bartoszewicz, Vincentian's outstanding Senior Guard, chipped in with 16. In the defeat, the outstanding offensive performance was from the Bears Lexi Lonero, who finished with 28 points in a knock down shooting performance. The Royals will once again be in the WPIAL semi-finals where they will take on the Quigley Spartans this week at a site and time to be determined.
Quigley Catholic Spartans 60 – St. Joseph Spartans 31
Quigley Catholic jumped out to a 13-0 run to start in "The Battle of the Spartans" and a 12-4 run to start the 2nd half and never looked back as they eliminated St. Joseph in the quarterfinal round of the Class A Girls' playoffs. Kristin Jackson was all over the floor for Quigley as she was getting the job done on both ends of the court. She had 24 points to lead all scorers while pulling off a number of both rebounds and steals which led to many more points on the fast break for Quigley. Her effort was also supported by the backcourt of "The Smiths," Gabrielle and Kaitlyn, who each had 10 points. Quigley Catholic's smothering defense also neutralized the height advantage of St. Joseph as they limited 6' 1" C Mallory Heinle to 14 points and 5' 10" F Nikki Miliecki to just 9. Quigley ups its record to 18-5 and will play the Vincentian Lady Royals in the semifinals of the Class A Girls' bracket. St. Joseph has its season ended at 11-13.
Serra Catholic Eagles 61 – Rochester Rams 42
The Serra Catholic Lady Eagles utilized a fairly balanced attack and smothering defense to eliminate the Rochester Rams in the quarterfinals of the Class A Girls bracket from Northgate High School Saturday afternoon. The Lady Eagles were paced by the Sieg sisters, Katie and Megan. Katie was a force inside the paint as she had 19 points to leadf the way, and Megan was getting the job done from the perimeter as she contributed with 11. Serra also got quite a contribution from C Nicole Pero. who had 8 points and 4 blocked shots on the defensive side. Lelie Hoye was also all over the court for Serra with 8 points and a number of steals. A 3-pointer from Rams' G Payton Tomasko to start the game would be the only in the game the Rams would see, and the closest they would come to regaining the lead would tying the game at 26 at one point in the 2nd quarter. Demi McFrazier put up a valiant effort for Rochester with 13 points on the losing end. Kayla Besong also had 10 and Stephanie Waxler fouled out with 8 points. Rochester's seasn comes to an end at 12-12. Meanwhile,The Lady Eagles (22-2) will face Molly Rottman's North Catholic Lady Trojans in the semifinals of the Class A Girls' playoffs.
North Cathoic Trojanettes 51 – Cornell Raiders 22
At Ambridge High School in WPIAL girls single A quarter final action, the North Catholic Trojanettes defeat the Cornell Raiders by a 51-22 score. The first stanza was tight as Cornell played well on defense and led early. But NC led 10-8 after 1 quarter. That was as close as they would get as the Trojanettes rolled from there. They would out score Cornell 15-3 in the 2nd, and lead 25-11 at the half. It was more of the same in period three as NC would go on a 12-1 run and lead 37-12 going into the 4th. With reserves in for both teams and the Raiders fighting hard to the end they stayed with the Trojanettes but it was too little, too late and the final score was 51-22. For Cornell Mason Depetro led them with 10 points as their season ends at 12-11. North Catholic improves to 15-9 and will move on to the Semi finals next week on a date and time to be determined and will face the winner of Serra Catholic and Rochester. For the Trojanettes Lauren Wolosik had 17,and Paige Kizior, and Abby Goetz contributed 13 each to pace them.
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