WPIAL Basketball Playoffs - Saturday 2/22 Recaps

Summaries for Boys AAAA, Boys AA, Girls AAA and Girls A Quarterfinals
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Sure, many of the expected heavyweights in District 7 hoops are headed into Week Two of the postseason...New Castle, Hampton, North Allegheny, Beaver Falls, Seton-LaSalle, Greensburg Central Catholic, Aliquippa, Blackhawk, Elizabeth Forward, South Park, Vincentian Academy and Serra Catholic. But there are a couple of surpise guest joining the Final Four party in Kiski Area, West Mifflin, Quigley Catholic and California. Let's find out how they advanced on Quarterfinals Saturday with recaps from the 16 Round Two contests.

A special thanks to Lou Rood, Dennis Fischer, Matt Vandriak, Mike Krcil, Adam Hoerner, Sean Meyers, Randy Gore, Mike Sackley, Brandon Showers, Jason Colangelo, Mike Sackley, Mike Azadian, Bob Gregg and Mark Schaas for their help on these recaps.

WPIAL CLASS AAAA Quarterfinals:

New Castle Red Hurricanes 73 - Bethel Park Black Hawks 46 
The Red Hurricanes advanced to the semifinal round for the fourth straight year and continue their quest for a third WPIAL championship and a perfect record with the victory in the Boys Quad-A quarterfinals at Ambridge. New Castle led 14-10 after eight minutes, but the Red Hurricanes went on a 7-0 run to go up 21-10, New Castle closed the half on a 14-0 run, holding Bethel Park to just 4 points in the quarter. The Red Hurricanes used two of the three things that have made them so successful over the last 4 years, good defense and outside shooting. Robert Natale came off the bench to hit two three pointers and Anthony Richards buried a trey late in the half to become the single season leading in three pointers at New Castle with 87, besting the previous record held by Eddie Pagley. Bethel Park would come no closer than 17 points in the second half. New Castle was led by Malik Hooker with 22 points, including another highlight reel dunk, that is already gone viral, Richards and Stew Allen each had 11 points. New Castle won its 44th straight game against WPIAL opponents, they are now 80-2 in their last 82 games, with both losses coming in PIAA play. The Red Hurricanes are just one win away from playing for their third consecutive title, that would match the Canes’ title reign in 1997-98-99. The Red Hurricanes are now 24-0 and committed just 10 turnovers in the win, New Castle also shot 15 of 18 from the line, a good sign heading into Wednesday’s semifinal fray with Kiski Area. New Castle also qualifies for the PIAA tournament with the victory. Joe Mascaro led the way for Bethel Park with 17 points, Levi Metheny scored 10 including a pair of threes. The Black Hawks are now 18-6 overall, the good news is that the Black Hawks will advance to the PIAA tournament if New Castle wins the WPIAL, the bad news is that Bethel Park would play New Castle again in the first round of the states. Bethel Park was 9 of 11 from the foul line, the Black Hawks committed 14 turnovers.

Kiski Area Cavaliers 82 - Gateway Gators 73 
The Kiski Area Cavaliers erased an early double-digit deficit, then survived a late Gateway surge to triumph over the Gators 82-73 in an overtime thriller at Plum High School. In this quarterfinal battle of the "darlings" of the Quad-A WPIAL Boys Basketball Tournament (the #12 and #13 seeds), Kiski junior guard Michael Simmons and Gateway senior guard Delvon Randal went toe-to-toe on the scoresheet, each scoring a game-high 37 points.  However, each missed a critical free throw in the waning seconds. Simmons missed the front end of a one-and-one with 7 seconds remaining, which kept the Cavaliers' lead at 67-66.  Then, Randal was fouled on the other end as time expired, but he missed the first of two free throws.  He drained the second in the face of a roaring capacity crowd to force the extra four minutes. Kiski dominated the extra frame, scoring 15 points on 5-for-5 shooting from the field, and 4-of-4 shooting from the charity stripe, the key shot being an open three-pointer from senior guard Ryan Sciullo from the right elbow about halfway through the overtime session.  Gateway only managed two field goals and two foul shots in extra time. Kiski senior guard Joe Brungo scored 18 points, but only one in the first half spurring the Cavs' comeback.  Gateway had two other players in double figures - senior forward Tom Kromka with 14 points and sophomore guard Aiden Howard with 10. The Cavaliers (17-5) advance to the semifinal round against the New Castle Red Hurricane, while Gateway's campaign finishes with a record of 14-10.

Hampton Talbots 76 - Franklin Regional Panthers 61 
The #2 seed Hampton Talbots advanced to the semifinal round of the WPIAL Quad A boys basketball playoffs for the second straight year with a 76-61 quartefinal round win over the #7 seed Franklin Regional Panthers on Saturday afternoon at Penn Hills High School.  The Talbots led 16-10 at the end of the first period and extended their lead to 32-22 by halftime.  Hampton increased its advantage to 57-42 by the end of the third quarter before icing the win in the final stanza.  Hampton was led by senior forward Ryan Luther with 28 points, junior guard Dave Huber with 12, and senior guard Collin Luther with 11.  Franklin Regional was paced by senior guard Matt Renzi, who finished with 17 points.  Hampton (21-3) will meet North Allegheny for a third time this year on Wednesday night at the site and time to be determined.  Franklin Regional (16-7) can qualify for the PIAA tournament if Hampton wins the WPIAL championship.

North Allegheny Tigers 82 - Hempfield Spartans 59 
Third-seeded North Allegheny opened the second half with a 21-0 run en route to an 82-59 triumph over the sixth-seeded Hempfield Spartans in the WPIAL Class AAAA quarterfinals. The Tigers led 36-27 at the half and busted the game wide open with the devastating third quarter run. North Allegheny’s strengths, the full court press and three-point shot, were on full display against the Spartans on Saturday.  Hempfield was hampered by the press in the first half and matters only got worse in the second. From beyond the arc, the Tigers poured in 12 three-pointers, including five by senior Joe Mancini who finished with a game-high 21 points. Returning from injury, junior Cole Constantino returned and drained three treys on his way to a 15 point day.  Senior Mike Carter dropped in a pair from the outside and finished with a 16 point performance. For the Spartans, Kason Harrell scored eight points in the first quarter but was held in check for the remainder of the game.  Harrell netted 17 points by game’s end but the majority of those points came once the competitive phase of the contest was complete.  Junior center Tony Pilato scored a team-high 19 points for the Spartans. The win gives North Allegheny a record of 21-3 while Hempfield drops to 21-3.  The Tigers advance to the WPIAL Semifinals to face Section 3 foe Hampton on Wednesday night.  NA split regular season meetings with Hampton with both teams winning on their home floor. Hempfield can still reach the PIAA playoffs if the Tigers win the WPIAL title.

WPIAL CLASS AA Quarterfinals:

Seton-LaSalle Rebels 76 - Summit Academy Knights 56 
After being upset in the Quarterfinals last season, Seton-LaSalle didn't want to feel that disappointment again this year.  After spotting #8 seed Summit Academy the first basket of the game, the top-seeded Rebels went on a 10-0 run and never looked back, rolling to a Quarterfinal Round win at Plum.  Despite stellar scoring efforts from the Knights dynamic duo of Devin Montgomery and Dasonte White, Summit Academy had no answer for the Rebels size inside.  Ryan Norkus (6'3), Levi Masua (6'6), and Malik White (6'4) used their size advantage to dominate both the offensive and defensive glass, providing several second and third chance opportunities for Seton-LaSalle, limiting the Knights to scoring only from the outside and very few rebound opportunities.  The Rebels used this to jump to a 22-8 lead after the 1st quarter, and despite the Knights playing even with them in 2nd quarter scoring, Seton-LaSalle carried a 14-point lead to the locker rooms at 37-23.  Summit Academy would cut the lead to 11-points a couple of times in the 3rd quarter, but a 26 point 4th quarter put the game a way for Seton-LaSalle en route to the 76-56 win.  Five players scored in double-digits for the Rebels, led by Dale Clancy's 18 points.  White(17pts), Norkus (12pts), Cletus Helton (12pts) and Masua (10pts) were the others.  Summit Academy was led by Devin Montgomery's game high 23 points.  Dasonte White added 14 for the Knights.  Seton-LaSalle improves to 23-1 with the victory and will take on #4 Beaver Falls in the Semi-Finals on Wednesday.  Summit Academy, who were the regular season champions of Section-1, wrap up their WPIAL season at 16-6.

Beaver Falls Tigers 67 - Neshannock Lancers 51 
The third time was the charm for the defending WPIAL Class AA boys champions as Beaver Falls cruised to a 20-5 first quarter lead and never looked back as the Tigers advance to the semifinals for the 10th time in the last 13 seasons. Beaver Falls used a 9-nothing run to end the quarter and held the Lancers to just 1 of 11 from the field in the opening frame, while the Tigers were 50 percent at 8 of 16. The second quarter was very sloppy, Beaver Falls was 5 of 16 from the field and the tempo slowed down. Neshannock could not take advantage as they did the first two games a 65-61 win at Neshannock and a 58-55 victory at Beaver Falls. The Tigers shut down Ernie Burkes, holding him to 5 points in the first half and Matt McKinney to 4 points. Beaver Falls continued to pull away in the third quarter, outscoring Neshannock 21-13 to take a 53-28 lead after three. The Tigers took advantage of two intentional fouls in the fourth quarter, going 10 of 15 from the stripe in the final period. With the win, Beaver Falls also qualifies for the PIAA state playoffs, they are now 18-6 on the season. Beaver Falls shot 23 of 53 for the game for 43 percent and were 16 of 25 from the line, the Tigers committed only 16 turnovers. Javon Turner led all scorers with 19 points, Keyan Gibson came off the bench to drain 4 three pointers, he had 16 for the game, Dan Stratton added 14. Neshannock was led by Burkes with 15 points, McKinney added 11, 6 below his season average. The Lancers never got on track from the field, going 17 of 44 for 38 percent. Neshannock was 9 of 13 from the foul line The Lancers committed 17 turnovers and were out rebounded 27-25. The Lancers are now 18-6.

Greensburg Central Catholic Centurions 60 - Quaker Valley Quakers 39 
Billy Hipp scored a game-high 33 points and the Greensburg Central Catholic defense contained the potent offense of Quaker Valley, as the Centurions defeated the Quakers 60-39 in the WPIAL Class AA quarterfinals matchup at Peters Township High School. Hipp, who transferred from Bishop McCort to GCC prior to his senior season, was the only player on either team to reach double-figures in scoring. The Centurions gained an early advantage, as they led 10-2, but the Quakers eventually pulled even at 12-12. GCC would then score 15 straight points, however, and held QV to only six points in the second quarter. Hipp netted 19 in the first half, including four 3-pointers, to help stake Greenburg Central Catholic to a 17-point lead at the intermission. Both offenses struggled in the third, and the Quakers failed to significantly trim their deficit in the second half. GCC’s defense limited Quaker Valley, which averaged more than 70 points per game in the regular season, to its lowest scoring output of the season. Colin Bisignani, the Centurions six-foot-eight senior center, anchored the defense with his rebounding and shot blocking.  Christian Hyland also added nine points for GCC, while Tre’won Marshall paced the Quakers with nine. Quaker Valley concludes its season with an impressive 21-3 record, while Greensburg Central Catholic advances to the semifinals to face Aliquippa on Wednesday.

Aliquippa Quips 82 - Avonworth Antelopes 71 
Aliquippa used their fans and high scoring 2nd and 3rd quarters to get the win today over the Avonworth Antelopes. In the 1st it looked like the route was on for the Lopes with the score being 24-8 but something must have clicked for the Quips as they cut the deficit by 2 after the 2nd and we went to the break with a 39-24 score in favor of Avonwoth but the momentum was most definatly spinning to the Quips way. Aliquippa used not only their skill but the deafening noise of their fans to get back into the game in the 2nd half. In the 3rd Aliquippa cut the lead to 8 and we went into the 4th with a game on our hands, 53-45. At the 6:02 mark of the 4th the Quips knotted it up at 55. On the ensuing possession a three pointer rimmed out and the Quips' Shawnqueze Adamson made the put back and drew a foul all at once. He finished the traditional 3 point play to give the Quips their first lead of the game, 58-55. The Quips took over from there finishing with 82 to the Antelopes' 71. Leading all scorers was Aliquippa's Jassir Jordan with 23 points.  Other Quips scoring were Darrien Fields with 19, Charles Humphries with 16, Patrick Anderson with 8, Shawnqueze Adamson with 7, Kaezon Pugh with 5, and Jyier Turner with 4.  Scoring for the Antelopes were Eric Gallupe and Garrett Day each with 20, Joshua Drwal with 11, Jesse Zubik with 7, Jamal Hughley and Adam Joyce with 4 a piece, Matthew Crilley with 3, and Andrew Broadus with 2.  Aliquippa will move on to face Greensburg Central Catholic on Wednesday at a site and time to be determined for the right to play at AJ Palumbo Center.

WPIAL CLASS AAA Quarterfinals:

Blackhawk Cougars 69 - Mount Pleasant Vikings 48 
Standout Guard Chassidy Ommogrosso poured in a game high 29 points in a scintillating performance that propelled #1 Seed Blackhawk to an impressive 69-48 victory over 9th Seed Mt. Pleasant. The Lady Vikings played aggressively throughout led by Alexa Szelong's 18 points, but never could claw its way back into the contest after trailing 38-21 at the half.   Blackhawk got important contributions from Courtney Vannoy (15 points) and Halle Denman (10 points).  By the end of the Third Quarter, the Lady Cougars has built their lead to 62-33. With the win, the Cougars can now turn their attention to Semi-Final action as they await the winner of the Ringgold-West Mifflin matchup.

West Mifflin Titans 44 - Ringgold Rams 33 
The Cinderella West Mifflin Titans move on the  the semi finals in the WPIAL Girls AAA playoffs with a 44-33 win over the Ringgold Rams. In a game at Peters Township High school it was a very slow 1st quarter as neither team could make a basket. For west Mifflin Deilona Devaughn had two big field goals to pace the Titans to a 9-7 first quarter lead.Into the second quarter both teams were even in all statistics. Each team scored 7 points, and rebounded 8 times. Kara Foster had a three pointer and 5 points in the second quarter for the Rams to keep them with 2 points of the Titans and it was 16-14 Titans at the half. Into the 3rd quarter the Titans ramped up the defense. Ringgold turned the ball over 7 times, and West Mifflin started to out rebound the Rams and the led 29-22 after three quarters. Ciara Patterson had 6 points in the quarter to inspire the Titans.The fourth quarter was much the same as the 3rd, with Ringgold turning the ball over 5 times and being out rebounded 8 to 5.They had a chance to pull within 6 points with 3:00 minutes to go as the Titans held the ball. The Rams decided to foul and Alssa Cairns missed both free throws.The strategy seemed to be working as Ringgold had the ball. However they immediately turned the ball over and the Titans scored to go up 10 points effectively ending Ringgold's chances at a victory. For the Rams they were led in scoring by Baily Cooper with 10 points. They fall to 13-10 on the season and will hope to see the Titans continue to win to give them a chance to make the state playoffs. For West Mifflin Patterson led them with 13 points, and Taylor Thomas 11 to pace them. They improve to 18-5, and are assured of a state playoff berth. They will play Blackhawk, the number one seed in the AAA tournament at a site, day and time to be determined next week.

Elizabeth Forward Warriors 72 - Central Valley Warriors 47 
Elizabeth Forward truly places the emphasis on the team. An incredible defensive performance led the 2nd seeded EF girls basketball to a comfortable 72-47 win over #10 Central Valley at West Allegheny High School in the quarterfinals of the Class AAA girls basketball playoffs. For the second straight year, Central Valley fell to Elizabeth Forward in the WPIAL quarterfinals. This year, it was a number of Elizabeth Forward players who took CV right out of their game. The contest was tied at 6 early on, but then Elizabeth Forward played fantastic perimeter defense and forced numerous Central Valley turnovers. Before you knew it, EF had completed a 20-0 run from the 1st to the 2nd quarter and it was 26-6. The defense was swarming, leading to fast break offensive opportunities at the other end. Elizabeth Forward also got Central Valley star senior Seairra Barrett into foul trouble. The 20+ points per game scorer committed four fouls in the first half. EF led 36-14 at halftime, but Central Valley came out with a little spark in the 2nd half, thanks to their other star senior Kiana Law. Law had four points in the 1st half and proceeded to score 14 points in the 3rd quarter alone. She would lead all scorers by the end of the game with 28 points. But Elizabeth Forward kept up its stellar play and extended its lead to 25 by the end of three. Abigail Sporio got to the hoop all afternoon for EF as she finished with 21 points. Kylie Owoc had 17, knocking down a number of long-range jump shots. Olivia Barkley played well in the paint and scored 12 on the day. Central Valley can clinch a berth in the state playoffs if Elizabeth Forward makes the WPIAL title game next weekend. The runner's up a year ago, Elizabeth Forward will have to take down #3 South Park on Wednesday to secure a return trip to Palumbo.

South Park Eagles 67 - Trinity Hillers 41 
Allison McGrath hit seven three-pointers on the way to a game-high 30 points as South Park beat Trinity, 67-41.  The defending WPIAL & PIAA champion Eagles have won 14 straight games.  With long-range help from Lindsay Noss, the sophomore's hot hand scorched the Hillers in the second.  After falling behind 12-4 early, Trinity had rallied to within one late in the first quarter.  South Park (20-4) got three treys in the second from McGrath, two more by Noss and ran off to a 38-15 margin at intermission.  Sierra Kotchman hit a pair of three's in the third, Mary Dunn, Jasmine Fuqua and Rachel Phillis each added two field goals, but the Hillers could only get the deficit down to 17 after three quarters.  Steady, deliberate play by South Park put the game to an end, opening the fourth on a 12-4 run.  Noss finished with 11 points.  #3 South Park faces #2 Elizabeth-Forward in Wednesday's semifinals.  If the Eagles win, Trinity gets a PIAA berth.  If the Warriors prevail, Central Valley gets the state berth.  Kotchman scored 12, Dunn added 10 for Trinity (17-7) which had won 9 of the last 11 before Saturday's setback.

WPIAL CLASS A Quarterfinals:

Vincentian Academy Royals 60 - Frazier Commodores 21 
One could argue if Frazier (16-6) had hit some of its second-chance buckets and free throws in the first half, the game could have been closer. One could also argue Vincentian (20-3) missed more than its share of open looks in the first half, and could have activated the mercy rule much sooner than mid-third quarter. What one cannot argue is the Royals' breakneck pace of basketball was too much for the Commodores in this WPIAL Quarterfinal match-up at West Allegheny high school on Saturday afternoon. The game also featured a scoreless fourth, which was odd to see even with the running clock. Vincentian got production through its lineup, with eight different scorers led by Brenna Wise (15), Torrieonna Cash (12) and Ally Bartoszewicz (10). Meanwhile, Lauren Timko led Frazier with seven points. The Royals advance to face Quigley in the Semifinal round next week.

Quigley Catholic Spartans 49 - St. Joseph Spartans 39
See Feature Article on Front Page

Serra Catholic Eagles 65 - Aliquippa Quips 15 
#2 Seed Serra Catholic sprinted out to an 8-0 lead to open their Quarterfinal Matchup with the Aliquippa Lady Quips.  The quick start was merely a harbinger of things to come as the Eagles dismantled the Quips by a final score of 65-15. Behind a stifling defense, the Eagles generated numerous points in transition and were led offensively by Guard Megan Seig and her 16 point first half total.  The Eagles improved their mark to 22-2 on the season, and more importantly now move on to the Semi-Finals against #6 seed California.   The Quips were led by Shania Walker and her six points.   With the loss, the Quips fall to 13-11 and now must wait to see if their season is extended into the State Playoffs pending the remaining action in the WPIAL Tournament.

California Trojans 45 - Cardinal Wuerl North Catholic Trojans 43 
The #6 Seed California Lady Trojans who recorded their first playoff win since 1993 over Cornell in the first round, made history again as they upset the #3 Seed Cardinal Wuerl North Catholic in the WPIAL Class A Quarterfinals 45-43 to advance to the semi-finals next week.  California was led by freshman Jenna Miller who knocked down four three on the way to a game high 18 points for the Lady Trojans.  Backing her up was California’s lone senior Tristan Conaway’s 14 point effort which also included a pair of 3’s.  In fact it was back to back 3’s by Conaway and then Miller that brought Cal back into the game trailing 41-36 and then 43-39 late in the game.  Those 3’s energized Cal which scored the last 6 points of the game to seal the win. CW North Catholic jumped to a 4-0 lead to open the game and led 6-5 in the first before California went on a 5-0 to end the 1st quarter with an 11-6 lead.  The Trojanettes of CWNC would not get the lead back again until the 3rd quarter when they finally were able to gain a 27-26 lead.  In between California kept the lead throughout taking a 21-17 lead into the half.  Jenna Miller paced the Lady Trojans in the first half with 7 points followed by Tristan Conaway and freshman Kylie Huffman with 6 point each.  Senior Paige Kizior and sophomore Mia Palmer paced CWNC with 6 points each in the half.   The second half saw a back and forth game as California opened a 26-18 lead early in the 3rd quarter only to have CWNC come back with a 9-0 run to take the lead.  The quarter ended with California battling back to a 31-29 lead.  North Catholic outscored the Lady Trojans 12-10 in the period.  The 4th quarter saw CWNC jump back into leads of 36-34 and 41-36 before California mounted their furious comeback.  North Catholic held its final lead at 43-42 before California was able to hit 4 of 5 free throws to take the lead for good.  Kylie Huffman hit 3 of 4 from the line in the period including the shot that tied the game and gave Cal its final lead of the game.  Cal had a decided edge in rebounding as they pulled down 25 boards to CWNC’s 16.  The one stat that almost cost California though was turnovers as they had 25 turnovers in the game compared to 14 for North Catholic.  Kylie Huffman had 5 blocked shots in the game as well as Cal relied on their defense to lead the way.  An ecstatic Cal Head Coach Chris Minerd said after the game “Our goal was to hold them under 45 points and we did that.  We felt if we could keep the score down we would have a good chance.”  Moving on to the semi-finals will continue a historic season for the Lady Trojans who won their first Section (3) title since 1982 and recorded their first playoff win since 1993. Now they have two wins and will meet Serra Catholic in the semi-finals.

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