WPIAL Basketball Playoffs - Friday 2/21 Recaps

Summaries for Boys AAA, Girls AAAA and Girls AA Quarterfinals
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While the top four seeds in Boys Class A have made it to the Final Four, and the top three seeds plus the fifth-seed are Semifinals bound in Boys AAA and Girls AA. But Girls AAAA is not following chalk as a couple of party crashers from Section 1, #12 Hempfield and #7 Penn-Trafford are moving on to next week. Here are ALL of the recaps from the 16 games making up Quarterfinals Friday in the WPIAL Basketball Playoffs.

A special thanks to Steve Nagler, Pete Blais, Brandon Showers, Mark Schaas, Bob Barrickman, Randy Gore, Sam Hall, Brian Mroziak, Bob Orkwis, Paul Paterra, Don Seeds and Bob Gregg for their help on these recaps. 

WPIAL CLASS AAA Quarterfinals:

Chartiers Valley Colts 75 - Mars Fighting Planets 61 
Matty McConnell and Jerrad Tuite each scored 29 points as Chartiers Valley flew past Mars Area, 74-61.  McConnell put up 24 in the first half, 15 in the opening quarter.  Tuite scored 24 after intermission, 12 in each quarter after the break.  Each team put together runs in this fast, er frenetically-paced game.  Leading by three with three minutes to play in the first, the Colts (23-1) put up 11 straight points.  McConnell's three-pointers early in the second helped push the margin to 19 before Mars (15-9) went on a 9-3 run to close the half, getting back to within 13 points at the break. Owen Nearhoof tried to keep the Planets close, hitting four three-pointers in the first half.  Mars started the third with the ball, but back to back turnovers ended with three-pointers by Tuite and a 19-point bulge for the Colts.  In the middle of the period, CV pushed the margin to 23 and coasted to the finish line, keeping the Planets at least 10 points down the rest of the way.  McConnell's 29 included four three-pointers.  Tuite drained three treys and hit on 12 of 17 free throws.  Nearhoof finished with 25 points with five three-pointers.  John Casetllo ended with 17 points, 10 in the final quarter.  The Colts take on Uniontown in the WPIAL semifinals.  If CV wins, Mars qualifies for the PIAA playoffs.  A Uniontown win drags Elizabeth-Forward into the state tourney.

Uniontown Red Raiders 86 - Elizabeth Forward Warriors 79 
Uniontown defeated Elizabeth Forward 86 to 79 in a Boys AAA Quarterfinal Round Game Friday Night at Charleroi High School to advance to the WPIAL Semi-Finals for the 1st time since they won the WPIAL Championship in 2002.  Uniontown jumped out to a 34 to 14 2nd quarter lead before Elizabeth Forward started chipping away.  The Warriors got back to within 42 to 31 of Uniontown at halftime and trailed only 58 to 54 after 3 quarters of play.  The Warriors would knot things up with Uniontown several times in the 4th quarter, but would never lead in the game.  The Warriors would have the game tied for the final time with 5 minutes remaining at 64-64, before Uniontown's Xavier Ellis would score 5 unanswered points, hitting a 3 from the top of the key and then scoring off of a quick Uniontown steal, to build the Raiders lead back up to 69 to 64.  Elizabeth Forward continued to fight, but Uniontown would hit 10/14 free throws in the 4th quarter to ice to game and come out with an 86 to 79 win.  Jaquan Davidson scored a game high 23 points for Elizabeth Forward while Austin Matta hit 4-three pointers and finished with 19 points.  Uniontown was lead by Xavier Ellis, Jordan Pratt and Joey Campbell who scored 18 points a piece.  Jeremy Perkins battled down low with Elizabeth Forward's 6-10 Junior George Prota and scored a season high 14 points for the Raiders.  Prota who got in early foul trouble for the Warriors scored only 6 points in the game.  Uniontown improves to 21-1 on the season and advances to take on Chartiers Valley in the Semi-Finals on Tuesday.  Uniontown and Chartiers Valley last met in the 2004 Keystone Oaks Tip Off Tournament in a game won by Uniontown.  Elizabeth Forward drops to 20-4 with the loss and will need a Uniontown win over Chartiers Valley for their season to continue in the PIAA playoffs.

Central Valley Warriors 50 - Montour Spartans 38 
The Warriors pulled away in the fourth quarter for the victory to advance to the semifinals on Tuesday and end the season of the defending champion Spartans. Matt Kline scored three straight buckets early in the period to stake Central Valley to a 40-36 lead, that’s when Michael Sims took over with two baskets, sandwiched by a Jacob St. George hoop. The Spartans turned it over on consecutive possessions, managing only four points over the final 3:55 of the contest. Kline led all scorers with 17 points, Tony Gates added 11 for the Warriors, now 20-3 overall. The win tonight places Central Valley in the semis for the first time in the schools short history, it also gives the Warriors a state playoff berth. Central Valley shot 21 of 43 for the game, just under 50 percent, including 8 for 8 in the final quarter. The Warriors were 6 of 7 from the line and committed just 11 turnovers. Joshua Randall led Montour with 15 points, including three three-pointers. The Spartans see their streak of three straight semifinal appearances come to an end, Montour finishes at 16-7. The Spartans were 15 of 38 from the field, 5 of 10 from the line, with 15 turnovers. Central Valley won the rebounding battle 23-21.

Thomas Jefferson Jaguars 72 - Blackhawk Cougars 67 in Overtime 
It was a game that had many ebbs and flows, twists and turns and emotional changes, but in the end it was the Jaguars who survived this heart stopping affair. A layup by Eric Fairman with five seconds to go in regulation sent the game into the extra frame with the game tied at 64. Thomas Jefferson scored on its first possession of overtime on a Chase Winovich put-back on his 20th rebound of the game. Blackhawk held the ball the for almost the duration of the overtime period before putting up a shot with about 30 seconds to play. The Cougars did not connect and Thomas Jefferson was able to get a four-point lead on a basket by Charlie Scharbo.  A three-pointer by Tyler Engle drew Blackhawk within one, but it could get no closer. Thomas Jefferson advances to the semifinals to play Central Valley and clinches a spot in the PIAA playoffs. Scharbo paced TJ with 21 points. Winovich added 14 points to go with his 20 rebounds. Zack Good added 13 points off the bench, including going 7 for 7 at the free-throw line. Zach Talley scored 11 points including nailing a long three-pointer which tied the game at 57-57 in the 4th quarter. Blackhawk was led by Engle's 25 points, which included five three-pointers. Chase MIgliore added 19 points. Blackhawk will make the PIAA tournament if Thomas Jefferson reaches the WPIAL championship game.

WPIAL CLASS A Quarterfinals:

Lincoln Park Leopards 95 - Western Beaver Golden Beavers 44 
Lincoln Park sprinted to a 28-8 lead after the first quarter and beat Western Beaver handily, 95-44 in a boys Class A quarterfinal Friday night at the Ambridge Fieldhouse.  Sophomore guard and Pitt recruit Maverick Rowan scored 24 points in the first half and 37 overall for the Leopards.  After leading 53-18 at the intermission, Lincoln Park forced the mercy rule in the third quarter and led 75-27 going into the final period.  The state’s number one ranked Class A team won its 17th straight game since its only loss to New Castle in December, 71-63.  Senior Ryan Skovranko added 16 points for Lincoln Park while junior Antonio Kellem chipped in with 11.  Senior Nick Miller, who came into the game averaging a WPIAL high 30.1 points, paced the Golden Beavers with 18 while junior Jared Fye added 11.  It was the third time this season that Lincoln Park beat its Section 1A foe and no victory was by less than 35 points.  Western Beaver ended its season at 15-7 while Lincoln Park will take its 23-1 record into the WPIAL semifinals on Tuesday against North Catholic.

Cardinal Wuerl North Catholic Trojans 51 - Our Lady of the Sacred Heart Chargers 49 
Our Lady of the Sacred Heart started well and had a 14 - 6 lead over Cardinal Wuerl North Catholic at the first quarter break in a quarterfinal WPIAL Class A matchup Friday at Cornell High School. That was the biggest lead that either team would have the rest of the game. The Trojans found their defense in the second quarter holding the Chargers to 7 points and tying the game at 21 to end the half. The lead alternated back and forth throughout the second half as both teams played hard on both ends of the floor even though each had players in foul trouble. The game came down to the last minute with each team exchanging foul shots. Then with the game tied 49 all and the game clock at 7.3 seconds, North Catholic junior PJ Fulmore brought the ball up the court, circled in the left half of the front court and found senior Ryan Kirby at the foul line. Kirby let the shot go just before the game clock went to zero, the ball went through the hoop and the officials signaled that it was a good basket ending the game. CWNC Senior Dom Robb finished the game with 13 Points and Kirby added 12 for the Trojans. OLSH Senior Cameron Johnson had a game high 15 points and senior Kendall Paige and junior Hunter Szilagy each added 9 for the chargers. The Trojans record improves to 15 - 9 and they will face the number one seeded Lincoln Park Leopards Tuesday night. The Chargers' ends their season at 18 - 6.

Vincentian Academy Royals 88 - Clairton Bears 51 
See Feature Article

Monessen Greyhounds 63 - Wilkinsburg Tigers 49 
The Monessen Greyhounds advanced to the semi-finals in single A with a 63-49 win over the Wilkinsburg Tigers at Baldwin Friday night. The 'hounds got three players in double digits led by Clintell Gillaspie with 21 on the evening. Javon Brown chipped in 18 and Justice Rawlins 10 for Monessen which improves to 19-5 on the 2014 campaign. Wilkinsburg had built a 26-23 lead at halftime behind 13 first half points from D'shawn Adair, who finished with a game-high 22 on the night, but the Greyhounds were just dominant on the glass and wore down the smaller Tigers. Rawlins and Gillaspie consistently gave the Greyhounds multiple chances on the offensive end and made sure the Tigers were one and done on the other end. Gillaspie exploded in the second half when he scored 13 points including hitting three times from behind the arc. Brown scored 10 of his points in the fourth quarter as the 'hounds pressure defense started resulting in big-time offensive chances going the other way. Wilkinsburg's Isaiah Pete scored 11 points in the loss as the Tigers fall to 13-8 for first year head coach Eugene Wilson. Monessen moves on to face Vincentian Tuesday night in the semi-finals only here on the MSA Sports Network.

WPIAL CLASS AAAA Quarterfinals:

North Allegheny Tigers 50 - Shaler Titans 42 
The top-seeded North Allegheny Lady Tigers advanced to the WPIAL Class AAAA semifinals for the first time in a decade with a 50-42 win over the Shaler Titans on Friday night at North Hills High School. The Lady Tigers led by as much as 16 points in the first half and held a 31-16 lead at intermission.  However, the Titans, who were limited to just 22 percent shooting in the first half, inched back into the game thanks in large part to forward Andi Lydon.  The 6-2 junior was helped to the locker room in the first half with an apparent ankle injury, but returned to the floor to provide Shaler with an emotional lift and a double-double. Lydon totaled 11 points and 17 rebounds and helped Shaler pull to within 40-34 with six minutes to play. The Tigers opened the door for the Titans comeback bid by converting only 11 of 21 free-throw attempts in the second half. While her teammates may have felt some playoff jitters, senior Taylor Brennan connected on 11 of 15 from the charity stripe to help North Allegheny hold off Shaler in the final quarter for the eight point victory.  In addition to Brennan, Taylor Lake and Abby Gonzales netted 11 points apiece for the Tigers.  For Shaler, University of Maryland-Baltimore County recruit C.J. Harris joined Lydon with 11 points on the night.  Shaler finishes the season with a mark of 16-7.  With its 21st win in a row, North Allegheny improves to 22-1 on the campaign and will face the Hempfield Spartans on Tuesday night in the WPIAL semifinals.

Hempfield Spartans 56 - Bethel Park Black Hawks 38 
The #12 Hempfield Spartans cruised their way into the semifinals with yet another upset, this time over the #4 seeded Bethel Park Black Hawks, 56-38. The Spartans were led by the dominating play of senior point guard Monica Burns who finished with 19 points along with numerous assists and rebounds. Thanks to her performance along with 18 points from forward Leah Knizner and 11 from Michelle Burns, Hempfield played with a sizeable lead for most of the game. Bethel Park managed to cut the deficit to five going into halftime but the Spartans regained momentum in the second half and never looked back. Bethel Park’s offensive struggles were apparent once again after surviving a low scoring affair versus Seneca Valley in the opening round. Shannon Conely led all scorers for the Black Hawks with 16 as well as eight from Justina Mascaro. Despite their best efforts, turnovers and a low field goal percentage plagued Bethel Park for most of the night and there was simply no answer for the play of Monica Burns. Hempfield will play North Allegheny this Tuesday night. You can hear that game here on the MSA Sports Network.

Penn-Trafford Warriors 32 - Mount Lebanon Blue Devils 24 
The ‘upset’ minded WPIAL AAAA Section 1 girls playoff teams continued their bracket busting tonight when Penn-Trafford upset Mt. Lebanon at North Hills Junior-Senior High School.  Penn-Trafford used stifling defense and time eating defense to beat the Blue Devils.  It took the Blue Devils over 20 minutes for their first field goal of the game and in the Carlow University Post-Game interview Warriors’ head coach John Giannikas attributed part of that to his girls hard work defensively.  Mt. Lebanon had two points at halftime and both of them were off trips to the foul line while Penn-Trafford was able to open it up to an 18 point lead at the half.  There wasn’t much scoring in the 3rd quarter but it was Mt. Lebanon clawing back into the game. At the half point of the 3rd they made a jumper and clawed back to a 14 point deficit, 26-12 at the end of the third.  The Blue Devils rode a 10-0 run to pull within 9 but that was as close as they’d get in the 4th. Penn-Trafford put the game away at the end of the fourth winning 32-24.  Scoring for Mt. Lebanon were Anna Miller and Marge McCaffrey each with 3 points,Christine Ehland with 4, Maura Wallace with 6 and Madeleine Collins finished with 8.  Penn-Trafford scoring players were Casey Aunkst with 2 points, Athena Biondi with 4, Kaila Simcoviack with 6, and Maria Palarino and Katy Abreu each with 8 points for the Warriors. Mt Lebanon dropped to 16-6 overall and Penn-Trafford went to 18-6 so far on the year.  Penn-Trafford will go on to face Fox Chapel on Tuesday in the semi-finals on the MSA Sports Network at a site and time to be determined while Mt. Lebanon’s season ends.

Fox Chapel Foxes 55 - Norwin Knights 51 
Fox Chapel used a 16-0 run in the second & third quarters to take a lead they would never relinquish in defeating Norwin 55-51 in this WPIAL Girls Quad-A Quarterfinal matchup at North Allegheny. This contest was close throughout as the teams were tied 10-10 after the 1st quarter and Norwin led by 2 points at the half. The run gave the Foxes a 10-point lead but the Lady Knights battled back. Trailing by 2 late in the game, Norwin got the ball into the hands of their top scorer Alayna Gribble who made a great drive from the right wing to the left blocks. But Gribble's penetration took her too far underneath the basket and her layup attempt was short. Fox Chapel grabbed the rebound and sophomore Anna Kelly made two free throws to seal the win for the Foxes. Gribble who came into the contest averaging over 17 points-per-game finished with 9-points for the Lady Knights, teammates Julia Carter and Taylor Sabol (3-three-pointers) also added 9 point apiece for Norwin with Carter pulling down 9 rebounds. Junior guard Delaney Arbore paced the Lady Knights with 16-points including a pair of treys. The Foxes Duke bound senior Erin Mathias posted her second straight playoff double-double scoring 14-points and grabbing 15 rebounds. The 6-3 forward also blocked 3 shots in the win. Fox Chapel got great guard play in the win. Sophomore Kayla Slovenec led the Foxes with 16-points and pulled down 9 rebounds well fellow sophomore Taylor Cohen added 7-points, 5 in the 4th quarter. Freshman guard Gabby Badway netted 6-points for Fox Chapel while Kelly finished with 10. The loss ended Norwin’s 11-game winning streak and while the sixth seeded Lady Knights have been eliminated from this tournament, their season may not yet be done. If Fox Chapel wins the WPIAL AAAA Championship, Norwin (17-6) would qualify for the state tournament as the 5th team from District. The Foxes, seeded third in the tournament, reached the semifinals for the first time since 2009. Fox Chapel, winners of 11 of their last 12 games, is now (19-4) on the season. The Foxes, who clinched a spot in the PIAA playoffs with the win, will take on seventh seeded Penn-Trafford in the final four. The Foxes and the Warriors will do battle next Tuesday night at a site & time to be determined.

WPIAL CLASS AA Quarterfinals:

Seton-LaSalle Rebels 69 - Our Lady of the Sacred Heart Chargers 46 
The Seton LaSalle Rebels used a high pressure team defense along with balanced scoring to defeat the Our Lady of the Sacred Heart Chargers in a quarterfinal WPIAL Class AA matchup Friday at Cornell High School. Seton-LaSalle played solid basketball at both ends of the floor and used their transition game to open up the scoring, taking a 12 point lead after one quarter. The second quarter was more of the same for the Chargers as the Rebels defense continued to attack the OLSH ball carriers with pressure growing their lead to 22, with a score of 42 to 24. Sophomore Bri VanVolkenburg led the Chargers and all scorers with 21 points, sophomore, Courtney Alexander added 8 and junior Heidi Langhorst chipped in 7 for OLSH. Junior Cassidy Walsh led the Rebels with 18 points, senior Yacine Diop added 15 and senior Naje Gibson added 12 for Seton-LaSalle. Sophomore Shaunay Edmonds and junior Nicolete Newman each chipped in with 8 points. The number one seed Rebels record improves to 20 and 4 and they will face the number 5 seed Bishop Canevin Tuesday night. The Chargers (16 and 8) will have to wait and see if they earn a spot in the PIAA playoffs.

Bishop Canevin Crusaders 49 - Neshannock Lancers 41 
In a rematch of a Class AA first round playoff game in 2013, history repeated itself as the Bishop Canevin Crusaders ended the Neshannock Lancers’ run toward WPIAL gold, this year in the quarterfinal round.  Things got off to a rocky start for the Crusaders as they were outscored 16-6 in the first quarter and it looked like it might be a laugher in Neshannock’s favor.  However, Bishop Canevin got right back into the game, courtesy of a 12-1 run to begin the 2nd quarter, led by their standout senior guard, Johnie Olkosky.  Olkosky (18 points) was blanked in the first quarter after missing all three shots that she took but she scored six points in the 12-1 run and helped the Crusaders get to within two points at halftime.  It was Bishop Canevin’s defense that allowed the Crusaders to take a lead in the 3rd quarter which they would never relinquish.  Their pressing style caused twelve 2nd half Lancer turnovers (19 total).  The Crusaders also got 18 points from sophomore Gina Vallecorsa and 8 points from Sarah Green.  Madison McHale led Neshannock (22-2) with 15 points while Taylor Grybowski added 10 points.  With the win, Bishop Canevin runs their record to 19-5 and their hopes of repeating their WPIAL title from last year remain.  They will now advance to take on rival Seton-LaSalle in the semi-finals on Tuesday.

Burrell Buccaneers 79 - McGuffey Highlanders 68 
Natalie Myers scored 23 points inside, Sydney Bordonaro pumped in 22 from the outside leading Burrell to a 79-68 win over McGuffey, the second straight year that the Bucs knocked the Highlanders out of the quarterfinals.  Burrell (24-0) jumped in front early, thanks to field goals from Jessica Cercone and Erika Finn.  Jaila Manga's three-pointer gave the Bucs a 9-2 margin.  McGuffey (20-4) rallied to within 2 points late in the quarter, lead by Sammie Weiss driving the lane, scoring 8 points, then Katie Demi's trey.  But an errant in-bound pass gave Burrell an easy basket at the buzzer, and a boost entering the second.  Bordonaro got the buzzer beater, then added three treys in the first 2:40 of the second as Burrell pushed the lead to ten.  Myers started burying short jumpers, adding 11 points in the quarter.  Cassie Weiss hit a pair of treys, Rachel Czulewicz added another pulling the Highlanders within 5 points midway through the third period.  But that's as far as the Bucs allowed the rally to go.  Six different Burrell players scored in the fourth as the Bucs hit 10 of 15 free throws to seal the win. Sammie Weiss finished with a game-high 29 points, McGuffey's only player in double figures.  Burrell advances to the WPIAL semifinals against Greensburg Central Catholic.  If Burrell wins, or GCC goes on to win the WPIAL, McGuffey will advance to the PIAA tournament for the second year in a row.

Greensburg Central Catholic Centurions 63 - Carlynton Cougars 61 
The Greensburg Central Catholic Centurions advanced to the girls AA semi-finals by defeating the Carlynton Cougars 63-61 Friday at Baldwin high school in a game that was not without a bit of controversy. Carlynton led at the break 33-31 behind 12 points each from Jordan Melko and Conor Richardson and the Cougars still held a lead with just over a minute to play in the third, Carlynton grabbed a defensive rebound and headed up court, at the time line the whistle blew and a foul was called against Greensburg Central Catholic, while the foul was being scored official to scorekeeper, Carlynton freshman guard Ashleigh Wilson entered the basketball game, without  properly checking in with the scorekeeper, after a drawn out discussion officials charged Carlynton with a technical foul for illegal substitution, GCC junior guard Carolyn Appleby made both free throws and the Centurions got the ball as well. That foul seemed to knock the Cougars off their game as GCC went on a 12-0 run that turned a 2 point deficit into a 10 point lead. The Cougars would regroup behind the three point shooting of Conor Richardson to make it close and actually had a look at the end to tie or win but Richardson shot fell short. Richardson led all scorers in the loss with 25 points. Appleby scored 16 of her team-high 24 for the Centurions in the second half. GCC also got 19 from junior forward Leah Bisignani who along with Megan Stunja controlled the glass at both ends of the floor for the Centurions. Carlynton falls to 19-4 on the year while the Centurions improve to 19-4 and advance to the semi-finals to face the Burrell Bucs Tuesday night on the MSA Sports Network.

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