WPIAL Basketball Playoff Summaries for Wednesday 3/1
Thursday, March 2, 2017 | 12:04 AM
As the calendar changed from the February Frenzy to the madness of March, three days of Final Four action in the WPIAL basketball postseason also came to an end. Section supremecy was the theme on the boys side as a pair of Section 1 teams are title game bound in Class 6-A while two teams from Section 2 are headed to clash at The Pete in Class 4-A. For the girls, the lone district team with a perfect record is unbeaten no more and two lower seeds advance to play for gold in Class 5-A. Here are recaps from the eight Semifinals games on Wednesday from Boys 6-A, Boys 4-A, Girls 5-A and Girls 3-A.
A special thanks to Bob Barrickman, Tyler Friel, Dennis Fischer, Mike Azadian, Scott Majesky, Bob Gregg, Mark Schaas and Don Rebel for their help on these recaps.
BOYS WPIAL CLASS 6-A Semifinals:
Pine-Richland Rams 85 – North Hills Indians 62
In a rematch of the 2016 WPIAL Quad-A title game won by Pine-Richland, the meeting at North Allegheny HS marked the third meeting of the year between these Section 1 rivals with the Rams edging the Indians both times. There would be no nail-biting this time around as Pine-Richland jumped out early and booked a return trip to the final with a 23 point victory over North Hills. The Rams jumped out to a 21-15 lead after one quarter in a back and forth first quarter. But P-R bumped that lead up to 14 points in the second quarter and took a 42-32 lead into the locker room. When the two teams played at P-R, the rams had jumped out to a big lead, but the Indians fought back and just came up short. There would be no dramatic run in the second half for North Hills this time though, as they never got closer than seven points as the fresher looking Rams led by 12 after three and pulled away for the win. Pine-Richland had four players in double figure scoring led by Andrew Petcash, who had a game high 30 points. Evan Luellen had 18 points, Phil Jurkovec added 17 and Andrew Kristofic chipped in 11 points as the Rams improve to 23-1 and will battle Butler for a third time in the first ever 6-A title game. playing with a brace on his knee, Nick Smith still led the Indians with 22 points while Kamron Taylor had 15 and Andrew Paulauskas added 12 as North Hills now preps for the state playoffs with a mark of 19-6.
Butler Golden Tornado 54 – Woodland Hills Wolverines 36
It took Butler until the final game of section play to secure a spot in the postseason. Three games later, they now find themselves in the WPIAL Championship after a 54-36 win over Woodland Hills. Butler's freshman guard Ethan Morton put on arguably his best playoff performance yet as he scored 23 points along with eight rebounds. Tyler Frederick also paced Butler with 14. Junior Woodland Hills guard Amante Britt did all he could to keep the game close dropping 19 points, but a late first half switch to a 3-2 zone stymied the Wolverines offense. Butler will face a familiar section opponent Saturday in Pine Richland for the 6A title. The Rams have won the previous two meetings earlier this year, albeit by small margins.
BOYS WPIAL CLASS 4-A Semifinals:
New Castle Red Hurricane 61 – Central Valley Warriors 33
The Red Hurricanes trailed 7-0 to start the game, going almost 3 minutes without a basket. Following a Ralph Blundo timeout, New Castle slowly crept back into the game, trailing by one at 11-10 after 8 minutes. It was all New Castle to start the second, a 9-0 run turned a one point deficit into an 8 point lead. But the best was yet to come for the Canes. New Castle outscored the Warriors 16-4 in the remainder of the quarter and forced Central Valley into 16 first half turnovers and a 35-15 lead. Any doubt was erased in the third as New Castle held Central Valley to four points and their first trip to the title game since an undefeated season in 2014. Iowa football recruit Geno Stone was scoreless in the first, but sunk four threes in the second on the way to 16 in the quarter. Stone finished with 22 to lead all scorers, the senior has 79 trifectas for the year. Marcus Hooker added 10 points for New Castle, the Canes hit nine three-pointers, one above their season average and were 10-10 from the line. Michael Simmons was the only Warrior in double figures with 10 points. Central Valley is now 14-10 and has lost 11 straight times to New Castle. The Red Hurricanes will meet Quaker Valley for the third time this season, the teams split the first two meetings with home court wins. Both teams are also in the PIAA tournament.
Quaker Valley Quakers 68 – Beaver Falls Tigers 50
Shaking off an early Beaver Falls spurt to begin the second quarter, Quaker Valley dominated the Tigers and rolled to a 68-50 win in a Boys 4A Semifinal at Moon High School. The Quakers led 19-11 after the first period before Beaver Falls scored the first eight points in the second quarter to tie the game. Quaker Valley proceeded to outscore the Tigers 19-7 the rest of the quarter and led at the half, 38-26. The Quakers increased their lead to 17 points after three frames and cruised in the fourth to win their 22nd game in 24 outings. Sharp shooting and crisp passing were keys to the Quakers victory and a berth in the WPIAL championship game on Saturday at the Petersen Events Center. Junior Ricky Guss and sophomore Danny Conlan led Quaker Valley with 18 points each. Wolf Moser added 15 and Coletrane Washington chipped in with 13 points for the winners. Josh Creach of Beaver Falls matched his season average by tallying 23 points while freshman Jevontae Jones contributed 14 for the Tigers. Beaver Falls missed its chance to defend its title and will take a 12-9 record into the PIAA playoffs beginning March 11. Quaker Valley will seek its first WPIAL crown in 20 years by taking on section 2 foe New Castle. The teams split their regular season meetings. Tip off for the top two seeds is 1 p.m.
GIRLS WPIAL CLASS 5-A Semifinals:
Oakland Catholic Eagles 44 – Hampton Talbots 37
The #4 seed Oakland Catholic Eagles advanced to the WPIAL 5A girls basketball title game with a 44-37 upset win over the #1 seed Hampton Talbots on Wednesday night at North Allegheny High School. Hampton led 9-8 after one period, built a 12 point lead midway through the second quarter, only to see the Eagles close the gap to eight, 26-18, at the half. Oakland Catholic turned up the defensive pressure after the break, holding Hampton to just four third quarter points as the Eagles grabbed the lead, 31-30. The teams exchanged the lead several times early in the fourth period, but Oakland Catholic outscored Hampton 13-7 in that final frame to complete the upset. The Eagles were led by sophomore Sierra DeAngelo with 21 points, 15 coming in the second half, and senior Gabby Gevaudan with 13. The Talbots were paced by senior Jenna Lafko with 15 and junior Ali Collins with 11. Oakland Catholic (22-3) will meet Chartiers Valley, an upset winner themselves over Trinity, in the title game on Saturday afternoon at 3:00. Hampton (22-2) will play in the first round of the PIAA tournament on March 12.
Chartiers Valley Colts 47 – Trinity Hillers 35
Mackenzie Wagner scored 26 points, going 16-of-17 at the foul line, leading Chartiers Valley past Trinity, 47-35. The 6th-seeded Colts won for the tenth straight time to advance to Saturday's WPIAL Championship game against Oakland Catholic, an upset winner against #1 Hampton. McKenzie scored the first 11 points of the game for Chartiers Valley (18-7), including a three-pointer early in the second quarter that gave the Colts an 11-8 lead. Trinity rattled off 10 straight points to build a 7-point margin with just under three minutes to play in the half. Laurel Wagner hit a pair of threes and a deuce to help the Colts pull even after three quarters. Alayna Cappelli gave Trinity the lead back, hitting a field goal and two-of-three foul shots in the opening two minutes of the fourth quarter. From there, it was all Chartiers Valley as the Colts ran up 13 straight points over the next six minutes, 10 by M. Wagner. The CV defense gave the Hillers (22-3) trouble all night long, stealing numerous passes, clogging the passing lanes and forcing missed shots. Sierra Kotchman, Trinity's leading scorer, was shutout on the night. Riley DeRubbo, a freshman, led Trinity with 13 points before fouling out in the final two minutes.
GIRLS WPIAL CLASS 3-A Semifinals:
Bishop Canevin Crusaders 45 – Carlynton Cougars 24
At Ambridge High School in WPIAL Girls AAA basketball Semifinals the Bishop Canevin Crusaders return to the WPIAL final with an impressive 45-24 victory over the Carlynton Cougars. They won last years AA Girls title, and will have a chance to win in a new classification. The Crusaders were in their 7th straight WPIAL semi final but things didn't go well early. Carlynton led at the start as they slowed the game down and played solid defense. Canevin didnt lead until late first quarter as they scored to go up 8-7 with less than a minute to go in the first stanza. The score was 10-7 heading into the 2nd quarter. The game turned into a defensive battle in quarter two, as neither team could hit a shot. The Crusaders however dominated the boards getting two and three shots each time down the court. In a close game it was 16-13 Canevin at the half. Things would change in the 2nd half as the Crusaders would go on a 6-0 run to start the quarter. They would soon dominate in all phases of the game. They won the quarter 15-4 to go up 31-17 after three quarters. It was all pressure defense, great rebounding, slowing the game down to work for easy layups, and frustrating the Cougars all around. Despite free throw trouble as Canevin went 5 of 13 from the charity stripe they still won easily, outscoring Carlynton 29-11 in the second half. The Cougars fall to 17-7 on the year and will wait to participate in the PIAA state playoffs. They were led in scoring by Diamond Thomas with 13 points. For the Crusaders they improve to 18-5 on the campaign and will face the 3rd seeded Neshannock Lancers in the WPIAL Final on Saturday March 4th at 1:00 PM at the Peterson Events Center art the University of Pittsburgh. A balanced Crusader scoring attack was led by Brionna Allen with 17, and Shamyjha Price with 14.
Neshannock Lancers 34 – East Allegheny Wildcats 33
As the calendar turned to March, the madness began at Fox Chapel in the WPIAL Girls 3A Semifinal between the Lancers and the Wildcats. The opening half saw two teams struggling to find any offensive rhythm, the score being 13-13 at halftime. With the switching of the rims came new found shooting touches for both squads. The Lancers got out to a 7 point lead late in the 3rd quarter. Though, they saw it slowly shrink as Amani Johnson for East Allegheny lead her team on a 9-0 run to take the lead back in the middle of the 4th quarter. As the final minute ticked down, we saw both teams trying to make that game sealing shot. With a 1 point lead, 33-32, East Allegheny had an inbounds play under Neshannock's hoop. Trying to feed Amani Johnson, the pass was stolen away by Bella Burrelli of Neshannock, who then was fouled and sending her to the line for a 1 and 1. Bella, cool and confident, knocked down both free throws and gave her team the lead. Amani Johnson then brought the ball up the floor for East Allegheny before she was double teamed and had to pass. A shot from the wing hit back rim and fell short. Neshannock gathered the rebound as time expired. The Lancers will go to their first WPIAL Championship Game in school history. East Allegheny's Amani Johnson led all scorers with 23 points, while her teammate Cache Street collected 11 rebounds in the losing effort. Neshannock's Bella Burrlli earned a double-double by totaling 18 points and 10 rebounds. She was helped by teammate Hannah Haswell's 7 rebounds and 5 points. The Lancers will look to limit turnovers on Saturday (3/4) in the WPIAL Final as they committed 21 on Wednesday night. The #1 seed Bishop Canevin will take on #3 Neshannock after Bishop Canevin's win over Carlynton in the semi finals.
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