It was a banner night for the WPIAL. Now four district teams are one win away from plenty of gold and a state championship banner. Montour in AAA boys and Lincoln Park in A boys were winners and earn a repeat trip to the PIAA Finals for a second straight year. Oakland Catholic in AAAA girls and Seton-LaSalle in AA girls were also winners and will play Friday in Happy Valley for state gold. Here are recaps from the west on Semifinals Tuesday in the PIAA Basketball Playoffs.
Thanks to Dennis Fischer, Jim Frederick and Don Rebel for their help with these recaps.
PIAA BOYS CLASS AAA SEMIFINALS: Montour Spartans 45 – Hampton Talbots 29
The Montour Spartans employed a slowdown offense and a rugged, man-to-man defense to defeat the Hampton Talbots in the semifinals of the PIAA Triple A boys basketball playoffs, 45-29, at North Allegheny High School on Tuesday night. Montour advances to the championship game for the second straight year. The Spartans (24-4), after falling behind 2-0, scored two quick baskets and then never trailed, leading at the end of the first quarter, 4-2. The second period also offered little scoring as Montour held the ball for minutes at a time during its possessions, the half ending with the Spartans leading 10-4. In the third quarter, Montour, working against a Hampton 1-3-1 zone defense, netted 13 points, nine coming by way of three point baskets from junior guard Kevin Scuilli, to take a 23-10. The Talbots, forced to foul in the final quarter, saw the Spartans then tally 15 of their 21 points from the free throw line to seal the win. Montour was led by Scuilli with 16 points while junior guard Devin Wilson chipped in 12. Hampton was paced by sophomore Ryan Luther with 10. The Spartans will move on to play three-time defending champion, Neumann-Goretti in a rematch of last year's title game on Friday night at 8:00 PM at the Bryce Jordan Center on the campus of Penn State University. Hampton ends its season at 25-5.
PIAA BOYS CLASS A SEMIFINALS: Lincoln Park Leopards 65 – Ridgway Elkers 46
Lincoln Park broke away from an 11 point halftime lead with an 18-0 2nd half run on its way to a 65-46 win over Ridgway. The Leopards travel to Penn State for another shot at the PIAA Class A Title on Friday afternoon. A smothering defense combined with board command for the WPIAL Champs in its 10th straight win.
Freshman point guard Antonio Kellum got LP started with a pair of treys in the first quarter as Lincoln Park jumped ahead of the 29-2 Elkers..23-12. That lead was 11 at the half before a 16-3 outburst in the 3rd period..the Leopards jumping a 35-25 lead up to 53 to 25 early in the 4th quarter. In fact, Lincoln Park held Ridgway without a point for over 6:00 in the second half. The lead was as high as 29 as the PIAA Western Final continued at Clarion University. Kellum led a balanced scoring effort with 17 points and was followed by Trey Hosack with 16 and another 16 for 6-7 sophomore Ryan Skovranko. Eric Matheson scored 14 for Ridgway which had won 11 straight and not allowed an opponent over 53 points all season long. Lincoln Park will take a 26-4 mark into State College Friday, hoping to bring back the gold after finishing as a runner-up in 2011.
PIAA GIRLS CLASS AAAA SEMIFINALS: Oakland Catholic Eagles 64 – Governor Mifflin Mustangs 39
Governor Mifflin was done in not by the candlestick maker, but rather by the Baker Tuesday night at Chambersburg High School. Oakland Catholic guard Bobbi Baker hit all four 3-point shots she attempted in the first quarter as the Eagles raced out to an early lead and cruised to a 25 point victory over the Mustangs. Behind Baker's mastery beyond the arc on the right wing, Oakland Catholic scored 16 of the games first 19 points and led Governor Mifflin 21-7 by the end of the opening quarter. The Eagles would never be threatened as they won each of the final three quarters (10-9, 13-8 and 20-15) to win over the District 3 Mustangs going away. After scoring 12 points in the opening quarter, Baker finished with 18 points to lead Oakland Catholic (28-2) to their first state title game since 2007. Mara Fitzgerald scored 14 points and Jess Mrdjenovich added 10 points for the Eagles, who will now battle Archbishop Carroll on Friday at 6:00pm at Penn State University for the PIAA Girls AAAA crown. Emily Gingrich had a game high 19 points to lead Governor Mifflin (20-9).
PIAA GIRLS CLASS AA SEMIFINALS: Seton-LaSalle Rebels 56 – Villa Maria Academy Hurricane 50
You could say revenge for the Seton-LaSalle girls basketball team was PERFECT. The Rebels remained undefeated for the season at 29-0 after beating Villa Maria Academy 56-50 Tuesday night at Sharon High School. The trip to the PIAA championship game is the first one for Seton-LaSalle in 28 years since 1984. The win also knocked out the three-time defending PIAA Class AA champion Hurricanes, this after Villa Maria had ended Seton-LaSalle's season the last two years in the state Quarterfinals and in the Semifinals a year ago. After jumping out to a 20-11lead after one quarter, the Rebels offense hit a rut, scoring a season low four points in the second quarter and took a 24-22 lead into the locker room. Seton bumped the lead back to 9 points after three quarters, then held off the Hurricanes surge in the final quarter to pick up the sweet victory. The Rebels had three scorers reach double figures led by sophomore Naje Gibson's game-high 19 points and 15 rebounds. Angela Heintz chipped in 14 points and added 11 assists while Natalie Piagessi scored 12 for the green and gold. Villa Maria Academy's one-two punch of Lisa Mifsud and Karlee McBride each scored 16 points as the Hurricanes season ends with a final mark of 24-5. Seton-LaSalle will open up championship weekend at Penn State University Friday at noon against District 3 champion York Catholic.