Gazette 2.0 Staff Reports
Area teams came away with three championship titles and two runners-up placements as the WPIAL basketball playoffs wrapped up Saturday afternoon. These weary players now have just a few days to soak up the glory or shake off the heartbreak as they prepare for more success in the PIAA State playoffs beginning March 8.
Read on for a summary of local team performances in last week’s regional contests.
Boys Class A Bishop Canevin 58 l Union 45
The Bishop Canevin Crusaders seized the WPIAL Class A Championship title for a second year by conquering the Union Scotties 58-45 at the Petersen Events Center on March 3.
The matchup proved tougher than most of the Crusaders’ wins in the run-up, but the team’s bench depth and scoring made the difference in the game, where they outscored Union 21- 3.
The Crusaders took an early 12-7 lead at the end of the first quarter, extending that margin slightly to 24-19 at the break. Kevaughn Price led the balance attack with eight of his nine total points landed in the first half.
Canevin talent took over in the third quarter, where they outscored the Scotties 17-6. Union closed the gap by three points in the final quarter, without threatening Canevin’s double digit lead.
Throughout the game, the Crusader defense held the Scotties to just three field goals on 19 shots. Freshman Amari Evans led the Crusader in rebound and steals with seven rebounds to go with three steals and 10 points. Jaden Gales made four blocks to go with seven points.
With the WPIAL under their belt, the Crusaders now look for a chance at the PIAA State Championship. They will play their first game against Johnsonburg on March 8.
Boys Class 2A OLSH 60 l Fort Cherry 36
By claiming their fourth consecutive title through a 60-36 thrashing over Fort Cherry, OLSH became the second team in WPIAL boys’ basketball history to reach that landmark. The championship win March 5 also added another notch to their 23-0 unbeaten season record.
The Chargers shot 44 percent from the field while holding Fort Cherry to 29.8 percent and winning the turnover battle by a 15-8 margin.
Senior guard Jake DiMichele finished with a 29-point, 11-rebound double-double, adding six steals to lead the game in all three categories. Senior center Dawson Summers tacked on 15 points on 7-of-10 shooting, while junior forward Bryson Kirschner provided nine points.
OLSH will begin their PIAA state playoff campaign in a home match-up against United on March 9.
Girls Class A Bishop Canevin 59 l Aquinas Academy 40
Starting out as lowly seventh-seeds, the Canevin girls came away from the playoffs as WPIAL champions following a comfortable win over Aquinas Academy at the Petersen Events Center. The March 5 victory brought Bishop Canevin girls their sixth title since 2013.
Four Crusaders reached double-figures scoring March 5, as freshman forward Rachel Boehm, junior forward Josie Bochicchio, and junior guards Mackenzie Huet and Ashley Lippold Each tallied 13 points. Huet and Lippold combined to shoot 12-of-15 from the floor, while the latter registered a double-double with 10 rebounds and added seven assists and three steals.
Bishop Canevin (17-9) entered the weekend as the lowest seeded team across all 12 boys’ and girls’ title tilts, having beaten No. 2 West Greene and No. 3 Union to make it to the Petersen Events Center.
Bishop Canevin will face-off against Dubois Central Catholic on March 9 during the first round of the PIAA Class A playoffs
Boys Class 4A Quaker Valley 61 l Montour 53
The Montour Spartans were hoping to knock off their No. 1 ranked and undefeated section foes Quaker Valley in the WPIAL Championship, but came up short 61-53 March 3.
Montour took an earlier lead 10 - 6 over the Quakers at the end of the first quarter, but led their lead slide throughout the rest of the contest. Vason Stevenson led the Spartans with six points in the quarter.
Montour battled foul trouble with Tariq Eleam and Diuan Pinkett each picking up two fouls but continued to hold on to a 20-19 lead at the break. The Spartan defense held the Quakers to 28% shooting in the first half (6-28) from the floor but Quakers were six for 14 at the line while the Spartans were just two of two from the free throws line.
Turning the game around, Quaker Valley outscored Montour 21-13 to take a 40-33 lead at the end of the third quarter. The Spartans fought back in the fourth quarter to narrow the score to a single point deficit with 1:12 to go in the game. But the Quakers were awarded 10 straight free throws in the crucial closing seconds to secure their perfect season.
The Spartans were led in scoring by Stevenson with 23 points. Deltondo came in second place with eight, while Eleam and Pinkett picked up seven each. Eleam also led the Spartans with seven rebounds.
Montour will play Fairview on March 8 at home in the first round of the PIAA 4 A playoffs.
Girls Class 2A OLSH 31 l Neshannock 55
Despite entering the contest as favorites, OLSH left the Petersen arena crestfallen after losing to Neshannock on March 4.
Neshannock (24-2) held Our Lady of Sacred Heart (21-5) to 27 percent shooting and forced 19 turnovers defensively, all while converting 40.7 percent of its field goal attempts. The Lancers trailed for only 6:37 of the 32 minutes and held a 30-10 edge on points in the paint.
The Chargers received a team-high nine points from senior guard Kaleigh Constantino, while classmate Emily Schuck registered eight points and eight rebounds.
Despite their crushing loss, OLSH remained in the PIAA contest, and will take on Bellwood-Antis at home March 9.
Sportswriter Ken Hohman and WPIAL’s Ethan Woy contributed.