WPIAL Basketball Playoff Summaries for Friday 2/17

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Friday, February 17, 2017 | 11:49 PM


Twelves girls and six boys district postseason games got the ball rolling on this expanded version of the Path to the Pete. 8 Girls Class 5-A, 4 Girls Class 2-A and 6 Boys Class 1-A opening round games tipped off the WPIAL Basketball Playoffs on Friday night. Once again this year, any night there is playoff hoops, we have postseason recaps.

A special thanks to Kyle Dawson, Dennis Fischer, Bob Gregg, Cory Campano, Mike Azadian, Paul Paterra, Brian Mroziak, James Dotson, Bob Orkwis, Bob Barrickman, Kevin Zielmanski, Josh Rowntree and Nate Regotti for their help on these recaps.

BOYS WPIAL CLASS 1-A First Round:

Eden Christian Warriors 46 – West Greene Pioneers 35 
The West Greene Pioneers jumped out to a 14-6 lead after the end of the first quarter and led by as many as ten points in the second half, but it wasn’t enough to defeat Eden Christian on Friday night. The Warriors ended the first half on a 8-2 run to cut the deficit to 4 at the break. Eden grabbed its first lead of the game at 23-21 with just over 3 minutes remaining in the third quarter and never looked back. Eden junior Chase Haring led all scorers with 15 points and his teammate Drew Aiken chipped in 9. Craig Weaver had 11 for the Pioneers. Eden advances to take on #1 overall seed Monessen in the quarterfinals.

Clairton Bears 62 – Propel Andrew Street Panthers 40 
Clairton overcome an uneven offensive performance that was offset by a strong defensive effort to gain the victory in this Class (1A) first round game at Baldwin High School. The Bears, who have now won 9 of their last 10 games, used a strong performance from junior center Maurice Reeves who scored 13 points, grabbed 11 rebounds, blocked 6 shots and added 2 steals to lead Clairton to the win. Junior Koran Boyd, who scored 6 points, also had 6 blocks for Clairton on the evening. Senior Noah Hamlin also scored 13 points for Clairton, while leading the team with 3 three-pointers. Keishawn Wright also finished in double figures with 11 points as eight Bears found their way into the scoring column in the win. The inaugural season in WPIAL play for Propel Andrew Street saw the Panthers qualify for the playoffs in their first year, and finish the season with a (9-14) record. Talented freshman Darrius Davis paced the Panthers with 13 points before fouling out in the fourth quarter. No other Panther finished in double figures, although junior forward Tyrese Hicks was strong on the glass finishing with 11 rebounds and 6 points. The Bears, the #4 seed in the tournament, were making their 12th consecutive playoff appearance. Clairton is now (17-5) on the year and will face fifth seeded Union on Thursday in the quarterfinal round.

Union Scotties 66 – Winchester Thurston Bears 57 
A sloppy first half had three of Union’s top scorers scoreless at intermission. However, freshman Nate Meeks came off of the bench to hit four first half 3s to give the Scotties a 22-17 halftime advantage. The balanced offensive attack of Union arrived in the third quarter, using a 10-2 run and a Matt Costello buzzer-beater 3 to extend the lead to eight after three quarters. The Scotties would hit their free throws late and secure a 66-57 victory. Tre Charles led Union (17-6) with 16 points, all in the second half. Charles, along with Meeks (12), Evan Pinkerton (12), and Dom Dudo (10) all scored double digits for the Scotties. Malik Potter of Winchester Thurston (11-10) led all scorers with 40 points. Union’s bench outscored the Bears’ bench 22-0, and the Scotties shot 44% from the field (52% from 3 point range). Union advances to the WPIAL quarterfinals to take on Clairton, a rematch of a consolation game from last season, on Thursday at a site and time to be determined.

Rochester Rams 81 – St. Joseph Spartans 75 
Senior guard Chad Meny led a well balanced scoring effort for Rochester with 18 points as the Rams defeated St. Joseph in a First Round 1A playoff game, 81-75.  The Spartans started strong in the contest held at Fox Chapel HS and jumped to a 10-point lead in the first quarter.  But, Rochester caught fire at the end of that period and pretty much controlled the game the rest of the way.  Tyler Vargon added 17 points for the Rams while Mahlik Strozier chipped in with 16 and Darius Goosby had 15 for the winners.  Goosby scored 11 of his tallies in the fourth quarter to keep the stubborn Spartans at bay.  Daniel Fabregas paced St. Joseph with a game high 23 points while Vincenzo Schiano Dicola added 17.  St. Joseph finished 13-10 for the season while the 16-6 Rams will play Vincentian in the Quarterfinals on Thursday.  It will be the third meeting between the Section-1 foes this season with the Royals winning the prior two games.

Imani Christian Saints 74 – Avella Eagles 45 
The #14 seed Avella Eagles took on #3 Imani Christian at North Hills High School friday night. Imani Christian proved well worthy of their seeding as they made quick work of the Eagles. The three headed monster of Kenny Robinson, Sam Fairly, and Ray Jackson combined for 66 points as the Saints won 74-45. The game reached a mercy rule halfway through the third quarter, and that’s when the Saints backed off a bit. Avella played hard throughout the contest, but they were just simply outmatched by the talented Imani squad. The Eagles turned the ball over 28 times as they could not figure out ways to break the stingy press defense of their opponent. Imani Christian came out hot from the get go, leading 23 to 8 after the first quarter, and never looked back. Imani Christian will face Cornell on February 23rd at a site and time to be determined.

Cornell Raiders 77 – Geibel Catholic Gators 20 
Cornell held Geibel to only 3 points in the entire second half as the Raiders cruised to a 77 to 20 win over the Gators in a Boys A First Round Game on Friday Night at Gateway High School.  Freshman Kaden Divito lead Cornell with 19 points, Na’dhama Luster (14 points), Antonio Gary (13 points) and Zaier Harrison (13 points) were also in double figures for the Raiders.  Freshman Cole Kendall lead Geibel with 7 points. The Gators’ season ends with a 7-15 overall record.  Cornell improves to 18-5 and will advance to the A Quarterfinals next weekend.

GIRLS WPIAL CLASS 5-A First Round:

Hampton Talbots 75 – Greensburg-Salem Golden Lions 34 
The Hampton Talbots advanced to the quarterfinal round of the girls 5A basketball playoffs on Friday night with a 75-34 win over the Greensburg Salem Golden Lions at Fox Chapel High School.  The Talbots took control of the game by the end of the first quarter, leading 19-4, and then increased their margin to 41-10 at the half.  The third quarter saw Hampton maintain its large advantage, 54-22, before winning going away.  Hampton, the #1 seed, was led by senior Jenna Lafko with 20 points and junior Laryn Edwards with 18, including four three-point field goals.  #16 seed Greensburg Salem was paced by sophomores Megan Kallock with 11 and Shay Stevens with 10.  Hampton (21-2) will face the winner of the #8 McKeesport/#9 Franklin Regional game that was held on Friday at Plum High School.  That game will be played on Saturday, February 25 at a site and time to be determined.  Greensburg Salem ended its season at 10-13.

McKeesport Tigers 52 – Franklin Regional Panthers 45 
McKeesport played some high-low offense to perfection in the fourth quarter and the result was a victory in this first-round class 5A playoff game. Freshman Jhayla Bray was the recipient of numerous Johnasia Cash passes and scored 12 of her game-high 19 points in the final quarter. Each of her baskets were layups. Cash, a Southern Methodist recruit, did not start for disciplinary reasons and missed most of the second quarter because of foul trouble. The Senior did score 12 points. McKeesport (12-11) will play top-seeded Hampton in the quarterfinals. Franklin Regional (13-10) was led by Kassidy Hubert with 13 points.

Oakland Catholic Eagles 42 – Connellsville Falcons 34 
Oakland Catholic held Connellsville to 7 points in the 1st half as the Eagles picked up their 1st playoff win since 2012 downing the Falcons 42 to 24 in a Girls 5A 1st Round playoff game on Friday Night at Gateway High School.  Jade Boyd was the only player on either team in double figures leading Oakland Catholic with 11 points.  Former MSA Sports Female Athlete of the Year Madison Wiltrout lead Connellsville with 7 points.  The Falcons who were playing in their 1st playoff game since 2001 see their season end with an 11-12 record.  Oakland Catholic improves to 20-3 and advances to the 5A Quarterfinals next weekend.

Mars Fighting Planets 72 – Montour Spartans 57 
The Mars Fightin’ Planets had an offensive outburst and beat the Montour Spartans 72-54 Friday night. Nicole McCloud had 21 points and played a terrific point guard. Tai Johnson was great also as she scored 20 and had a handful of steals on defense. Mars seemed to respond well to experienced head coach Dana Petruska. They consistently scored out of timeouts and on out of bounds play calls. Montour fought hard, but ultimately Mars was just too effective offensively. The Fightin’ Planets will play Oakland Catholic on February 25th at a site and time to be determined.

Trinity Hillers 61 – Plum Mustangs 20 
The Hillers began their quest to return to the championship game with a resounding defeat of the Plum Mustangs in this Class (5A) first round matchup at Baldwin High School. Trinity used a stifling and aggressive defense from the get go to force Plum into early turnovers, as the Hillers never trailed in this contest. Sierra Kotchman, Trinity’s all-time leading scorer, led the Hillers in scoring for the 16th straight game finishing with a game high 21 points. Junior point guard Alayna Cappelli was stellar at the front of the Trinity attack at both ends of the court, as she scored 18 points, adding 5 assists and a pair of steals in the win. Freshman forward Riley DeRubbo added 10 points for Trinity, who finished as the Class AAA runner up last season to South Fayette. 15th seeded Plum (10-13) was paced by senior Rayna Donatelli’s 7 points. Senior Liz Adamczyk grabbed a game high 9 rebounds and added 5 points in the loss. Senior Maria Lawhorne, who came into the game averaging 17 points per game, was held in check by the Hillers defense, scoring only 6 points and hitting only one field goal. Next up for the second seeded Hillers, who improved to (21-2), will be the #10 Gateway Gators, who defeated West Allegheny in overtime to advance to the quarterfinals.  The Hillers and the Gators are not scheduled to play until next Saturday February 25th.

Gateway Gators 54 – West Allegheny Indians 45 in Overtime 
The Gators outscored the Indians 11-2 in the extra period, prevailing 54-45 in the Class 5A first-round matchup at Plum High School. Gateway’s Jordan Edwards was the standout, as she tied for the game-high 19 points, including six in overtime. Edwards and teammate Katie Madjerich propelled No. 10 Gateway to a hot start in the first quarter, as the Gators held a seven-point edge after the opening frame. Tenth-seeded West Allegheny responded in the second quarter, though, as Melina Lynn and Hannah Lindemuth provided the offense. The Gators’ two-point halftime lead was trimmed to one heading into the fourth quarter, as both team’s went cold from the field. West Allegheny pulled even at 43-43, however, and the Gators two attempts in the closing seconds, including a desperation heave by Loren Minor, narrowly missed. That set the stage for Edwards, along with Minor and Alexis Smith, as the trio combined to go nine of 10 from the foul line in overtime. In addition to Edwards output, Minor and Cierra Christian each netted nine of Gateway. In the defeat for the Indians, Lynn produced 19, while Lindemuth and Grace Faulk scored 15 and 12, respectively. With the victory, the Gators advance to play Trinity in the quarterfinals on Feb. 25, as a site and time to be determined.

South Fayette Lions 60 – Ringgold Rams 37 
The #3 seeded South Fayette Lions used a smothering defense to defeat the #11 seeded Ringgold Rams 60-37 at Peters Township High School in the First Round of the WPIAL Girls 5A playoffs. The Lions extended their half court defense all the way out to the half court line and forced Ringgold to constantly work hard to try and get into their offensive sets. While trying to shake the first defender, the Rams were not able to notice the second defender that always seemed to be running at the ball to trap the dribbler and create turnovers which allowed the Lions to run the fast break. South Fayette lead 21-15 at halftime despite scoring only 6 points in the second quarter. The adjustments made by the Lions’ Coaching Staff propelled them to a 23 point third quarter which gave them a 20 point lead going into the fourth quarter and the Rams were never able to recover. South Fayette had three players score in double figures: Junior Maddie Gutierrez scored 18, Junior Samantha Kosmacki scored 15, and Carlee Kilgus, the lone Senior on the team, scored 11. Junior Ashley Briscoe from Ringgold lead all scorers with 21 points displaying a variety of post moves.
Ringgold 8-7-9-13 = 37     South Fayette 15-6-23-16 = 60

Chartiers Valley Colts 53 – Thomas Jefferson Jaguars 42 
A 9-1 run at the end of the third quarter spurred the #6 seeded Chartiers Valley Colts to 53-42 victory over the #11 seeded Thomas Jefferson Jaguars at Peters Township High School in the First Round of the WPIAL Girls 5A playoffs. It was a foul filled contest that saw only two players, both from Chartiers Valley, make three point baskets in the game. Freshman forward Meghan McConnell made 4 of the 5 made shots from behind the arc as she led all scorers with 22 points. But it wasn’t just her scoring that impacted the game, McConnell’s court savvy saw her continually step into passing lanes to get steals or make nice entry passes into the post. Sophomore MacKensie Wagner was the only other Colt to score in double figures with 10 points. The Jaguars shot poorly from the outside so their offense primarily relied on second chance attempts, drives into the lane, and free throw attempts. Junior Marina Petruzzi scored a game high 16 points for the Jaguars who say three of their players eventually foul out.
Thomas Jefferson 8-13-10-11 = 42     Chartiers Valley 11-12-15-15 = 53

GIRLS WPIAL CLASS 2-A First Round:

Leechburg Blue Devils 66 – Burgettstown Blue Devils 38 
At Northgate high school in WPIAL Girls 2A first round playoff action, the Leechburg Blue Devils earn a victory over the Burgettstown Blue Devils 66-38. It was a close, defensive battle in the first half as neither team could get their offense going. Burgettstown rebounded well with 21 in the first half, but that was due to so many missed shots. Leechburg led 26-22 after one half of play. In the 3rd quarter, Leechburg would out score Burgettstown 26-6. They hit 6 three pointers and made it look easy hitting open shot after open shot. Burgettstown came in as one of the better defensive teams in the classification, but it didnt help tonight. That third quarter propelled Leechburg to an easy victory. For Leechburg, their star Mikayla Lovelace led them in scoring with 22, Cameron Davies put in 19, with 5 three pointers, and Brittany Robilo helped with 16, with 4 threes. Burgettstown was led in scoring by Kacie Prasko with 12 as they end their season with a 15-8 record. Leechburg improves to 14-9 and will play the top seed Chartiers Houston in the second round.

California Trojans 33 – Sto-Rox Vikings 30 
At Trinity High School, two teams with 16 plus wins in the regular season did battle in the first round of the 2A girls’ playoffs, and at the start, it didn’t look the part on the floor. After one quarter, California led 9-2, but by halftime of the low-scoring affair, #12 Sto-Rox led 13-12 after a strong stretch in the closing minutes of the second quarter. The Lady Vikings has started to feed 6’2’’ post player JaQuaya Young inside, exploiting a mismatch California was prepared for, but couldn’t hold down at first, as Young scored six points late in the half helping the Sto-Rox leading effort. After a back-and-forth third quarter, California battled all the way back, taking the lead in the final minutes on a 3-pointer by Jenna Miller, who, according to head coach Chris Minerd postgame, took over the game late, scoring all 14 of her points in the second half. California was able to hold on and defeat the upset-minded Lady Vikings to move on in the Class 2A playoffs. After the game, Minerd said he expected a close game and a tough Sto-Rox team going on, but acknowledged his team will have to score more than 33 points to continue to win in the Class 2A playoffs. The next matchup for the Trojans is Thursday, Feb. 23, when they battle the No. 4-seeded Our Lady of the Sacred Heart Chargers at a site and time to be determined. That matchup will be on MSA Sports with a trip to the semifinals on the line, all happening on the #PathToThePete.

Washington Little Prexies 45 – Beth-Center Bulldogs 27
Tori Finley’s 13 points after intermission led the Washington girls past Beth-Center, 45-27, and into the WPIAL Class 2A Quarterfinals.  Wash High scored the final four points of the half to lead 16-13 at the break, thanks to Carley Allen’s 10 points, seven of them from the foul line.  The Little Prexies extended the run to 10 straight opening the third quarter.  Finley’s trey halfway through the period pushed the lead to 10 and Wash High never looked back.  Finley finished with a game-high 17 points.  Allen had 14.  Kinlee Whited scored 10 for Beth-Center in a game that did not include one senior for either team.  Washington did not have a field goal in a seven-point second quarter, then scored seven times from the floor in the third.  The Little Prexies face #2 Vincentian Academy Thursday in the quarterfinals.

Brentwood Spartans 58 – Frazier Commodores 43
No. 6 Brentwood (17-5) used a suffocating full-court press and timely shooting to run away with a 58-43 win over No. 11 Frazier (14-9) in a WPIAL Girls 2A First Round game at Charleroi High School Friday. Senior Stephanie Thomas, the daughter of head coach Rachel Thomas, scored a game-high 14 points and snagged nine rebounds, sending the Spartans to the Quarterfinals, where they will meet No. 3 Greensburg Central Catholic on Thursday at a site and time to be determined. Brentwood started the game by forcing 12 first quarter turnovers and building a 29-14 second quarter lead. But a 9-0 run got Frazier back into the game before halftime. However, the second half belonged to Brentwood, which knocked down seven three-pointers on the night. After halftime, the Spartans built a 21-point lead before Frazier rallied late on an 8-0 run, bringing it to a 13-point game with over 2:30 left. However, oddly, Frazier seemed to concede the game at that point, refusing to foul or play pressure defense, allowing Brentwood to dribble out the majority of the remaining clock. The Commodores were paced by Sophomore Brooke Poling’s 14 points. Poling, the daughter of head coach Ken Poling, came into the game averaging 20.1 points per game. Hannah Fell scored eight points and led the game with 15 rebounds, while Jovanna Isaac scored 12 for Frazier. Anna Betz added eleven for Brentwood, which forced 25 turnovers in the game. Frazier played the game with heavy hearts, as the school’s Athletic Director, Ken Culbertson, passed away earlier this week. Before the game, there was a moment of silence, while the Frazier players competed with Culbertson’s initials, K.C., written on their arms.

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