WPIAL Basketball Playoffs – Tuesday 2/18 Recaps

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Wednesday, February 19, 2014 | 12:09 AM


Tuesday featured 20 First round games in Boys AAA, Girls AAAA and Girls AA. Of the 20 games played, only three lower-seeds were able to punch their ticket for the Quarterfinals as double-digit seeds Hempfield girls, Montour boys and Blackhawk boys attempt to bust the brackets. Here are the recaps from opening round action on Tuesday.

A special thanks to Bob Orkwis, Mark Uriah, Sean Meyers, Lou Rood, Terry Neary, Adam Hoerner, Mike Sackley, Mark Schaas, Steve Nagler, Sam Hall, Steve Nagler, T.J. DiStefano, Bob Gregg, Mike Azadian, Brian Mroziak, Paul Paterra, Don Rebel, John Smathers and Adam Gusky for their help on these recaps.

WPIAL CLASS AAA First Round:

Chartiers Valley Colts 95 – Mount Pleasant Vikings 62 
They’re the top seed for a reason. The Chartiers Valley Colts boys’ basketball team put on a show at Peters Township High School Tuesday night in their first round playoff game with a convincing 95-62 over the 16th seeded Mt. Pleasant Vikings. The Colts knocked down 21 three-pointers in the game with seven different Char Valley players hitting shots from downtown. This game was close in the first quarter and Mt. Pleasant stayed competitive in the early going, but the Colts continued to knock down three-pointer after three-pointer. After building a 44-32 halftime lead, Char Valley outscored the Vikings 28-11 in the 3rd quarter to put the game well out of reach. The Colts’ full court press was stifling throughout the evening and many times it was too much for Mt. Pleasant to handle. Jerrad Tuite and Matty McConnell have been leading the charge for the Colts throughout the season and led the way again tonight, each putting up 22 points. Tuite and McConnell each had six three-pointers. Eddie Flohr and Jake Ritson each had 12 for Char Valley. Luke Liprando, who put up 21 points, led Mt. Pleasant on the evening. Mitch Matlas had 13 for the Vikings, who end their season at (16-7). Chartiers Valley improves to (22-1) on the season as they await the 8th seeded Mars Planets Friday night in the quarterfinals.

Mars Fighting Planets 67 – Steel Valley Ironmen 61
At West Allegheny High School in WPIAL Boys AAA basketball first round action the Mars Planets the number 8 seed defeat the Steel Valley Ironmen in overtime 67-61. The first half saw 11 lead changes as both teams played well. The Ironmen led 10-3 in the first quarter before Mars went on a 25-13 run that would carry into the second quarter. Steel Valley led 10-9 after one quarter but were not playing well near the end of the quarter as they had 7 first quarter turnovers. Mars held the lead at 28-23 at the half and had out rebounded Steel Valley 13-11. “One of our goals and the thing I’m proudest of is our rebounding” said head coach Rob Carmody after the game. “I knew they were tall and athletic and we had some match up problems with them.” Mars started quarter three with a 4-0 run as the Ironmen turned the ball over 4 times early in the quarter, and the Planets led 32-23. However they would recover  and out score Mars 18-7 the rest of the quarter and go on a 7-0 late 3rd quarter run to lead after three at 41-39. Despite having 3 top players in foul trouble the Ironmen had key rebounds and took the ball hard to the hoop with no fear to take the lead. The second half saw 4 lead changes and 15 overall for the game. Both teams had a chance to win in regulation as Mars held the ball trying to draw the Ironmen into foul trouble. It worked as Dom Keys,  Ajan Smith, and Dorian Broadwater would all foul out of the game. Despite this the Ironmen had a shot to win at the end of regulation and missed. So at 54-54 this game went to overtime. In Overtime missing their top three scorers hurt Steel Valley and Mars took advantage at the foul line and out scored them 13-7 to win 67-61. Steel Valley ends their season at 15-5. They were led in scoring by Smith with 26 points and Keys with 14. Mars improves to 15-8 and will take on top seed Chartiers Valley on Friday February 21st at a site and time to be determined. They were led in scoring by Sophomore John Costello with 25, Senior Owen Nearhoof with 18, and Junior Aaron Gruber with 16.

Elizabeth Forward Warriors 47 – South Fayette Lions 40 
Elizabeth Forward fought off upset-minded South Fayette to win this first round Class AAA playoff game. The Warriors defense held South Fayette to 30 points over the final three quarters. Austin Matta led EF with 12 points, including three key 3-pointers in the third quarter which ignited an 11-2 run for the Warriors. George Prota chipped in with 10 points and Jaquaun Davidson added nine while playing the entire fourth quarter with four fouls. Nick McKee led South Fayette with 12 points. Jack Relihan added 10 including two 3-pointers. Elizabeth Forward advances to the Quarterfinal round to play Uniontown Friday at a site to be determined.

Uniontown Red Raiders 66 – Ambridge Bridgers 57 
Uniontown broke a 31-31 tie at halftime and outscored Ambridge 21 to 10 in the 3rd quarter and picked up a Boys WPIAL Triple “A” First Round playoff win on Tuesday Night at Bethel Park High School.  Joe Campbell paced Uniontown with 23 points, while Jordan Pratt and Xavier Ellis scored 15 a piece for the Raiders.  Stephon McGinnis was impressive for Ambridge and scored a game high 24 points.  Daylon Carter (19 points) was also in double figures for the Bridgers.  Ambridge was a perfect 16/16 at the free throw line, but their downfall was 11 2nd half turnover which allowed Uniontown to take control of the game. Uniontown improves to 20-1 on the season and will face future section foe Elizabeth Forward on Friday in the WPIAL Quarterfinals.  Ambridge’s season ends with a 17-7 record.

Central Valley Warriors 62 – West Mifflin Titans 42 
After trailing by one point after the first quarter, the Warriors took the lead for good in the second quarter, built an eight point lead after three quarters, then pulled away in the final quarter to cruise into Round Two with a 20 point victory over the Titans Tuesday night at Moon High School. Central Valley struggled on offense early, leading 21-16 after two quarters. But the second-seed came to life in the second half with 17 points in the third and 24 points in the fourth quarter. Playing without leading scorer Ryan Maha, West Mifflin was led by Aaron Adams 8 points as the Titans season ends with a mark of 13-7. Central Valley had three players in double digit point totals led by John George’s 13 points while Tony Gates had 11 and Michael Sims had 10 points as the Warriors improve to 19-3 and will face defending champion Montour Friday in the Quarterfinals.  

Montour Spartans 47 – Indiana Little Indians 41 
The season came to a close for the Indiana boys Tuesday night. Montour beat the Little Indians, 47-41, in the opening round of the WPIAL playoffs, and it was simply a game that got away from Indiana. After the game was tied at 9, Indiana went on a 9-0 run and took the lead, 18-9, early in the second period and led at intermission, 22-17. Indiana increased that lead to as many as 10 points, 29-19, but then Montour stepped up its game, tied the game at 33-33, thanks to some timely 3-pointers and thanks to the hot foul shooting of Devin Johnson from Montour. He was 9 of 11 in the fourth quarter. Blake Shields scored 14 for Indiana. Darrious Carter scored 10. Indiana finished the season at 20-3.

Thomas Jefferson Jaguars 63 – West Allegheny Indians 41 
It had been eight days since the Jaguars took the floor, and for about eight minutes, the layoff looked like it had taken a toll.  And then, it happened.  Thomas Jefferson sprinted out of the break, outscoring West Allegheny, 24-5, to beat the Indians, 63-41.  Zack Good’s trey less than two minutes into the second was part of a 9-0 run that put TJ in front for the first time, and for good.  Jason Horan nailed two three-pointers in the quarter as the Jaguars closed the half on a 13-1 sprint to the lockerroom.  From that point, the final margin was really the only remaining question to be answered.  Charlie Scharbo scored 21 points to lead Thomas Jefferson (21-2) to a 14th straight victory, their 21st in the last 22 games. Horan finished with 15 points. Andrew Koester had 22 points for West Allegheny (13-11), 11 in the final quarter.  The Jaguars meet #11 Blackhawk in Friday’s quarterfinals.

Blackhawk Cougars 49 – Knoch Knights 42 
Tyler Engle’s buzzer beating three pointer at the end of the third quarter staked Blackhawk to a 39-29 lead, a lead the Cougars never relinquished in the final frame as the 11th seed knocked off the 6th seeded Knights at North Allegheny High School to advance to Friday’s quarterfinals. Engle ended with 20 points, he scored 10 of those in the third quarter, the jumper from the top of the key was one of four three pointers on the night. The Cougars also did a good job defending the paint, holding Knoch to a 15 of 42 performance from the field. Both teams handled the ball well, Knoch committed only 7 turnovers, Blackhawk 5. The Cougars shot 14 of 34 from the floor. Blackhawk also got 13 points and 6 rebounds from Tyler Nicholson. The Cougars won the rebounding battle 26-24, they are now 12-11 on the season. Knoch got 15 points from Matthew Zanella and 14 off the bench from Austin Miller. Jim Larrimer led the Knights with 7 rebounds, Knoch ends the season at 16-5.

WPIAL CLASS AAAA First Round:

Bethel Park Black Hawks 36 – Seneca Valley Raiders 29 
To say this was a tight one would be an understatement. The Black Hawks 17-5) took the first quarter 8-7, the Raiders (10-13) took the second 9-8, and we were tied through 16 minutes. The next eight did nothing to help decide things, either, with a 7-7 tie in the third. But in the fourth, head coach Jonna Burke’s squad did what the great teams do. They found a way to win, hit the shots when it mattered, and pulled away. A lot of credit goes to senior Harper Zimmer, who knocked down a big three early in the final quarter, followed be a deuce almost immediately after to give Bethel the lead for good. From there, it was a lot of cross-court passing to pull Seneca out of its zone defense, which allowed for some insurance buckets underneath. Freshman Justina Mascaro was also key to the winning effort with eight points, including a solid night at the free throw line. Another freshman, Erin Danik, paced the losing side with seven points while senior Abbie Trzeciak and junior Meghan Hess each contributed six. The Black Hawks advance to face Hempfield in the Quarrterfinals.

Hempfield Spartans 65 – Upper St. Clair Panthers 56 
Hempfield jumped to a 20-13 lead after 1 Quarter and never looked back as they upset the #5 seed Upper St. Clair.  The Lady Spartans combined hot shooting with a strong defensive effort to take a 35-18 halftime lead after holding USC to only 5 points in the 2nd Quarter.  Having only one senior and two juniors on the team, it was the young Lady Spartans that played like veterans throughout the game.  Monica Burns, the lone senior scored 11 of her game high 19 points in the first half for Hempfield.  Juniors Lexi Irwin and Leah Knizner and Freshman Sam Orie added 9, 6 and 6 points respectively in the first half as Hempfield controlled the action. The third quarter saw the Lady Spartans extend their lead to 50-30 halfway through the period before Upper St. Clair started to fight their way back into the game with a 28-7 run that got them to within 5 points with less than 3 minutes to go in the game.  Madison Serio scored 12 of her 15 points and Constance Raftis scored 14 of her 18points in the 2nd half to key USC’s comeback. But from that point on it was the free throw shooting of Hempfield that iced the game and held off a determined comeback by USC.   
Leading scorers for Hempfield were Monica Burns with 19, Lexi Irwin with 17, Leah Knizner with 16.  Constance Raftas had 18 and Madison Serio and Rachel Mazzie with 15 each to lead USC.  The win propels Hempfield into a Quarterfinal matchup with the #4 seed Bethel Park Lady Blackhawks this Friday at a site and time to be determined.

Fox Chapel Foxes 47 – Pine-Richland Rams 37 
Duke recruit Erin Mathias scored 15 of her game-high 25 points in the second half and the third-seeded Fox Chapel Foxes held off upset-minded 14 seed Pine-Richland in Girls AAAA first round action Tuesday night at North Hills. The young Rams of Pine-Richland put up a great fight and, behind 11 first half points from junior Chelsea Rourke led the Foxes by two at the break 20-18. But Fox Chapel outscored the Rams 15-2 to open the third quarter and built a double digit lead behind the 6’3” Mathias who just overwhelmed the Rams in the paint in the second half. Pine-Richland fought back and late in the fourth after an individual five point run from freshman Caitlyn Byerly cut the lead to seven, but they could get no closer as the Foxes won the game from the line down the stretch. Fox Chapel got eight points from sophomore guard Kayla Slovenec and a half dozen from Taylor Cohen in the win. The Foxes pressure defense led to troubles for the Rams in the decisive third quarter producing a 19-5 period win for Fox Chapel that meant the difference in the game.  Rourke finished with 15 and Byerly 14 for the Rams in the very game effort with great play from freshman point guard Amanda Kalin as well. Pine-Richland falls to 14-9 while the Foxes move into the quarter-finals at 18-4 to face the Norwin Knights, Friday night on the MSA Sports Network.

Norwin Knights 55 – Penn Hills Indians 48 
The Knights won their 11th straight game but it wasn’t easy as Penn Hills gave Norwin everything they could handle in the WPIAL Girls AAAA 1st Round contest at Plum High School. Norwin went on a run in the first quarter to jump out to an 18-8 lead and the Knights led by 10 after the first 8 minutes and 35-19 at halftime. After both offenses suffered through a cold third quarter, with Norwin outscoring Penn Hills 6-5, things heated up in the final frame. The Knights, who led by as many as 19-points, saw Penn Hills cut the lead to 7 and come as close as 5-points late before sealing the deal with a couple of late free throws. Sophomore guard Alayna Gribble, who came into the game averaging over 17 points per game, paced the Knights with 18-points. Gribble also connected on 6-of-7 free throws in the fourth quarter and pulled down 12 rebounds to post a double-double. Delaney Arbore scored 13-points for Norwin and 6-2 junior forward Laura Buchanan added 6-points, 6 boards and 4 blocks to help 6th seeded Norwin improve to (17-5). The Knights connected on 5 first half three-pointers, but were unable to connect from beyond the arc in the final two quarters. Penn Hills was paced by a pair of talented underclassmen. Sophomore guard Jade Ely was hot early and late in the fourth quarter, finishing with 19-points and 7 rebounds. Freshman Desiree Oliver sparked the Indians 4th quarter comeback with 11-fourth quarter points on her way to a game high 21-point effort. The Indians, who were eliminated from the playoffs for the second straight year by Norwin, finished the season at (14-9). The Knights advance to the semifinals for the first time since the 2007-2008 season where they will face #3 Fox Chapel. The Foxes defeated Pine-Richland 47-37 to gain a spot in the Quad-A final eight. The quarterfinal matchup will take place Friday at a site & time to be determined.

WPIAL CLASS AA First Round:

Seton-LaSalle Rebels 61 – West Shamokin Wolves 33 
The Seton La Salle Rebels the top seed in the WPIAL Girls AA playoffs and one of the top teams in the state, cruised to an easy 61-33 first round win over the West Shamokin Wolves. The first quarter saw the Wolves lead 2-0 and  get ten rebounds and only trailed 14-6. But they couldn’t crack the Rebel defense or get good quality shots. Seton forced 9 first quarter turnovers to lead by 8. Into the second quarter the Rebels continued their run of 14-0 after trailing early in the game.  They would out score the Wolves 27-7 in the quarter. Strong rebounding and defense  led them to a 41-13 lead after the half. The Rebels stopped the press, and substituted liberally in the second half and led 58-23 after three quarters. Seton continually took advantage of Wolves turnovers, and made easy layups. The Rebel half court offense was too tough for West Shamokin as they couldn’t handle the inside presence of Yacine Diop and Naje Gibson, the Rebels two top inside players. Seton was outscored 10-3 in quarter 4, but were deep into their bench with young players. The Rebels improve to 19-4 and were led in scoring by Shaunay Edmonds with 11 and Diop with 10. The Rebels only turned the ball over 12 times to the Wolves 27. However Seton was out rebounded 25-23 as the Wolves were tough on the boards. West Shamokin finished their season at 13-11 and were led in scoring by Kelly Clowser with 12 and Liz Cornish with 9 points. Seton La Salle next will take on the Our Lady Of Sacred Heart in the second round at a site and time to be determined on Friday February 21st.

Our Lady of the Sacred Heart Chargers 49 – Fort Cherry Rangers 40 
The Our Lady of the Sacred Heart Chargers used balanced scoring and timely defense to defeat the Fort Cherry Rangers in a first round Class AA playoff matchup Tuesday at Chartiers Valley High School.  OLSH played solid basketball at both ends of the floor to open up a twelve point lead at the half but a strong third quarter by Ranger senior Rachel Bellhy brought her club back to within four after three quarters.  After the break, the Chargers went on a five point run to open the lead up again and Fort Cherry couldn’t close the gap. Jackie Mathews scored 14 points (including four threes) for OLSH and teammate Heidi Langhorst also had 14.  Bellhy led the way for Fort Cherry, scoring 25 in her final high school game.  The Chargers’ record improves to 16-7 and they will face number one seed Seton LaSalle on Friday night.  Fort Cherry ends their season at 15-7.

Neshannock Lancers 34 – Washington Little Prexies 18 
It wasn’t pretty, but the Neshannock Lancers took care of business on Tuesday night in the North Hills as they defeated Washington in the first round of the Class AA Girls Basketball playoffs.  Getting great defense which held Washington to four points or less in three of the 4 quarters of the basketball game, the Lancers were able to overcome a poor shooting night of their own to get themselves into the quarterfinals.  Lancers leading scorer on the year, Madison McHale, paced Neshannock with 9 points in the first half and, although she failed to score in the 2nd half, she set the tone for the Lancers opening round victory.  Tayler Grybowski also scored 9 points to tie for game-high honors.  Grybowski scored all of her points after halftime.  Washington (14-9) was led by senior Indian March who scored 5 points for the Little Prexies.  With the win, Neshannock (22-1) now advances to face Bishop Canevin on Friday night.

Bishop Canevin Crusaders 45 – Beaver Bobcats 36 
The defending champion Crusaders outscored the Bobcats 16-3 in the second quareter to take command of this Class AA First Round game at Canon-McMillan High School, then held on to win and advance 45-36. Bishop Canevin led by 5 after one quarter, then dominated the second quarter to take an 18-point lead in the locker room. But Beaver fought back in the third quarter as leading scorer Lexy Posset started to get hot. The Bobcats pulled to within five with under two minutes left when Posset missed a scoop shot from the middle of the paint. Crusaders senior Caroline DeFrank hit four straight free throws down the stretch to seal the deal for 5th-seed Bishop Canevin. Posset ended up with 18 points for Beaver, which ends its season at 16-7. Ruthe Neeley added 8 points for the Bobcats. Senior Johnie Olkosky led Bishop Canevin with 18 points while sophomore Becca Turney came off the bench to add 7 as the Crusaders improved to 18-5 and will face #4 Neshannock on Friday in the WPIAL Quarterfinals.

Burrell Buccaneers 68 – Shenango Wildcats 25 
After a sluggish opening few minutes of game, the #2 seed Burrell Buccaneers got into their rhythm and seized control over the #15 seed Shenango Wildcats enroute to a 68-25 win in the 1st round of the playoffs Tuesday night at Plum High School.  Burrell outscored Shenango 12-2 in the first quarter ending it on a 13-0 run. The Bucs outscored the Wildcats in the second quarter 19-12 taking a 36-14 lead into the half. Burrell kept control in the second half as they pounded Shenango 20-4 in the third to extend the lead to 56-18. The mercy rule would going into effect midway through the fourth quarter and Burrell emptied their bench as they cruised to the 68-25 victory. The Bucs had four players in double figures led by Jessica Cercone with 16 points and 14 rebounds. Sydney Bordonaro and Natalie Myers each chipped in 14 points. Myers added 11 rebounds for a double-double and Bordonaro had 6 steals. Jalila Manga added 10 points. Shenango only had five players score and no one in double figures. They were led by Angelina Sibeto with 7, Carolyn Peterson and Samantha Seaburn each had 6. Burrell improves to 23-0 on the season and will take on #7 seed McGuffey on Friday night. Shenango ends the season at 13-10

McGuffey Highlanders 77 – Brentwood Spartans 49 
Junior Sammi Weiss scored 32 points to lead McGuffey to a 77-49 win over Brentwood Tuesday night in a sweet 16 match-up of the AA Girls WPIAL Basketball playoffs. The Highlanders jumped out to a 20-10 lead after one quarter…extended the lead to 39-25 at the half…and put the game away, outscoring the Spartans 23-11 in the third quarter. McGuffey (20-3) has won 13 games in a row. The Highlanders haven’t lost since January 4th to OLSH. After a 10-0 start, Brentwood (15-7) closed the season going 5-7. Rachel Czulewicz  added 15 points and Katie Demi 14 for the Highlanders. Senior Laura McGowen in her final game for the Spartans, scored 19 points and Stephanie Thomas added 14. McGuffey advances to Friday’s quarter-finals where they will face undefeated  Burrell. The Bucs eliminated McGuffey in last year’s WPIAL quarter-finals, 61-41.

Greensburg Central Catholic Centurions 50 – Laurel Spartans 43 
This game that started out looking like it would be a blowout for higher seeded Greensburg Central Catholic, but Laurel would have none of that. A ferocious second half comeback by the Spartans was thwarted in the final 30 seconds, as the Centurions scored 7 points to advance to the WPIAL AA Quarterfinals with a 50-43 win. Greensburg Central Catholic, champions of Section 2, built a comfortable 11 point lead at halftime. Carolyn Applby, who finished with a game high 19 points, was a dominant force in the first half, including hitting a nearly half-court buzzer-beater at the end of the 2nd quarter. Laurel, the third place team out of Section 3, cut the deficit to 9 after a sloppy and turnover laden 3rd quarter. Then Ellen Shaffer and the Spartans methodically chipped away the Centurion lead through the first 7 minutes of the 4th quarter. Shaffer paced the Spartans with 18 points, but it was Jessica Conrad’s 3 pointer in the final minute that tied the game at 43. After missed free throws by both teams, the Centurions had the ball with 30 seconds to play. Coach Joe Eisaman called a timeout and drew up a play that allowed Brittany Stawovy to slip open at the top of the key. Stawovy nailed the three pointer to put her team on top 46-43. After a missed free throw by Laurel, GCC’s Haley Moore scored her first points of the game, stretching the Centurions’ lead back to 5. Stawovy added 2 free throws to finish the game. With the loss, Laurel finishes their season with a record 13-10. The Centurions are now 18-4 and will take on Carlynton in the Quaterfinals on Friday.

Carlynton Cougars 56 – Mohawk Warriors 22 
Conor Richardson netted 28 points as No. 6 Carlynton bested No. 11 Mohawk 56-22 in WPIAL Class AA girls’ first round action at North Allegheny High School. The Lady Cougars pounded Mohawk on the glass, outrebounding the Lady Warriors 40-16 in the contest. Abigail Greiner and Jordan Melko each grabbed nine rebounds for Carlynton, while Melko also added 10 points. After Carlynton used an 11-2 run to finish the opening quarter, the Lady Cougars defense stifled the Lady Warriors, holding them to just three points in the second. Carlynton continued its strong play on both ends of the court in the second half, as the Lady Cougars used a 19-0 run to build an insurmountable lead. The Lady Cougar’s defense, which allows just over 30 points per game, limited Mohawk to only six field goals. Aliya Gage paced the Lady Warriors with eight points, while Samantha Carr, the team’s leading scorer in the regular season, added seven. Mohawk finishes the season with a 17-6 mark, while Carlynton advances to face No. 3-seed Greensburg Central Catholic on Friday.

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