By Mike White | Saturday, Feb. 27, 2010, 6:35 p.m.
In case you wanted to know ...
The Mt. Lebanon boys used a 15-1 run to start the second half and went on to defeat McKeesort, 56-44, in a Class AAAA quarterfinal this afternoon.
Evan Pierce led Mt. Lebanon with 18 points and was most of the Blue Devils' offense in the first half when they led only 23-20 at the break. Pierce is a Division I recruit (Wagner), but I really like Paul Lang's game. He's a 6-5 junior forward and extremely versatile. He's a good finisher around the baskets, and had 16 points and 11 rebounds. Lang, by the way, also plays football and some Division I schools are showing interest in him. In basketball?
"He's a very underrated player," said Mt. Lebanon coach Joe David. "He's the most productive guy we have when you talk about everything - assists, steals, points and rebounds."
Grant Latus had a dunk in the game for Mt. Lebanon. Photographer Matt Freed of the Post-Gazette got a shot of it to the left.
The win moves Mt. Lebanon into the semifinals against Upper St. Clair. Interesting contest. Upper St. Clair had to win its final regular-season game against Peters Township just to make the playoffs as the No. 4 team from Section 4. Now, Danny Holzer's team is in the semifinals. Does Upper St. Clair have a chance? Well, the Panthers did take Mt. Lebanon to double overtime two weeks ago before losing.
How does Mt. Lebanon feel about playing Upper St. Clair again?
"I love it," Lang said. "It's so intense. So many people go to those game. It's just a tradition with how intense those games are."
Elsewhere in Class AAAA boys
* The last time Gateway was in the semifinals, Terry Smith was a guard for the Gators and Curtis Bray one of the inside players. That was 1986. Gateway earned a spot again this year with a 55-43 victory against Kiski Area. Everyone has said all along that Gateway has the size and talent to win a WPIAL championship, if the Gators can put it all together. Maybe they are putting it together now.
Sophomore Tyler Scott had 18 points to lead Gateway and Devon Cottrell added 11. Gateway was 16 of 21 from the free-throw line. Tarique Godson had six 3-pointers and 23 points for Kiski Area.
* Upper St. Clair led, 25-18, at halftime and cruised to a 61-41 win against Latrobe. Upper St. Clair went on a 19-1 run in the second quarter. Steve Limberious had five 3-pointers and 21 points for USC. It's the second year in a row Latrobe lost in the quarterfinals. Last year, it was to North Hills.
* Future star? Well, North Allegheny's Anthony Dallier is one of the best sophomores in the area. He's 6 feet 4, but can shoot 3-pointers and also handles the ball fairly well. He had 17 points as North Allegheny beat defending champion Peters Township, 58-47. That means no repeat champion. The last team to win back-to-back Class AAAA titles was New Castle, which won three in a row from 1997-99. Craig Wolcott, Peters Township's leading scorer, was held to 10.
Class AA boys
* The Long cousins - Matt and Jesse - both scored 17 points as defending champ North Catholic beat Washington, 54-49. North Catholic trailed, 20-14, at halftime. North Catholic's offense came alive and scored 40 points in the second half.
* It was open Mikes for South Fayette as Mike Burroughs and Mike Lamberti both scored 16 points in the Lions' 54-36 victory against Beaver Falls. Beaver Falls' Sheldon Jeter, who came in averaging 17.5 points, was held to four. This sets up an excellent semifinal game between North Catholic and South Fayette. They played twice this year and both games went to overtime. South Fayette won the first, 70-64, and North Catholic the second, 60-59. To the left, Mike Lamberti drives against North Catholic in a contest earlier this season.
* Many, including myself, questioned how good Rochester was because its secton wasn't strong and the Rams' schedule was reputed to be weak. But the Rams are in the semifinals after beating Greensburg Central Catholic, 44-42. In the closing seconds, Greensburg Central Catholic missed a shot, Rochester rebounded and Trey Johnson scored a fast-break layup just before the buzzer to give Rochester the win.
* How many teams make the semifinals with two freshmen in the starting lineup? Well, Shady Side Academy starts two freshmen, but the Indians are in the final four after defeating Jeannette, 53-45. One of those freshmen, 6-7 Michael Young, had 11 points and nine rebounds for Shady Side. The other freshman starter, Geno Thorpe (pictured), had nine points. Jerome Barnes led Shady Side with 15 points. Shady Side was 17 of 27 from the free-throw line while Jeannette was only 3 of 5.
Just in case you wanted to know stuff: Thirty-three years ago, Thorpe's father, Gene, was on Fox Chapel's WPIAL and state championship teams.
Hopewell girls still undefeated
The only team in the WPIAL boys' and girls' playoffs with an undefeated record is the Hopewell girls. The Vikings stayed perfect yesterday, beating Blackhawk, 59-43. Paige Alviani, pictured to the right, had three 3-pointers in the first quarter for Hopewell and finished with a game-high 18 points. Freshman Shateri Walker-Kimbrough added 14. Everyone is anticipating a Hopewell-New Castle final and I think it will happen. They played twice this season and Hopewell won by one and two points.
Elsewhere in Class AAA girls
* LaShauna Brothers had 20 points as New Castle crushed Hampton, 65-44. New Castle led by only seven at halftime, but outscored Hampton, 27-9, in the third quarter.
* Once-beaten Indiana advanced to the semifinals with a 60-41 victory against Uniontown. Tiara Stossel had four 3-pointers and 19 points for Indiana, which now plays New Castle.
* The boys aren't the only ones who can shoot at Chartiers Valley. Erica Resstich had four 3-pointers and 23 points and Paige Aleski had five 3-pointers and 17 points as the CV girls crushed Mount Pleasant, 61-41.
Class A girls
* North Catholic had a tougher time than expected, but beat Winchester Thurston, 53-47. Kendall Hoffman had 12 points for North Catholic.
* Maria Ward had 17 points as Monessen defeated Fort Cherry, 42-30.
* Vincentian jumped to a 13-point halftime lead and beat Rochester, 53-38. Ashlee Darby had 19 points and Keturah Vactor 18 for Vincentian.
* Quigley led Serra, 21-9, at halftime en route to a 43-35 win.