Mike White | Saturday, March 7, 8:30 p.m.
Notes, thoughts and observations after the first round of the PIAA basketball playoffs.
Game officials committed a blunder in yesterday's PIAA Class AA boys' first-round game between Washington and Fairview - and the mistake helped Washington win.
Here's the scene: Washington and Fairview were in overtime in a PIAA Class AA first-round game at Edinboro. With 28 seconds left and Washington leading by a point, Washington's Mark Wise had the ball and was fouled near half-court. Washington's Nick Bryant was nowhwere near the play, but Bryant went to the free-throw line instead of Wise. Fairview's coaches were complaining that Bryant shouldn't have been shooting because Wise was fouled, but the officials gave Bryant the free throws.
The officials listended briefly to Fairview's complaints, but gave Bryant his second free throw, which he also made. Fairview didn't score again and Washington won, 44-41.
Obiouvsly, the officials simply made an error and let Bryant shoot. Or maybe Bryant made the move on his own. Whatever the reason, Washington was all the better for it.
* Erie Cathedral Prep played North Hills in a Class AAAA boys' game later in the day at Edinboro. Erie Prep has to have the best student section in the state. They're creative with chants, they're loud and they're funny. They sang "Sweet Caroline" and "Living on a Prayer" at halftime, as well as some other songs. They did it without any music.
But the most unbelievable thing Erie Prep's student section did was this: All of a sudden in the middle of the game, one of the students was in nothing but a Speedo swim suit as he was dancing in the middle of the section. Police and game officials eventually got him out of the crowd and made him leave the gym.
* North Hills, meanwhile, didn't have a student section. No surprise. The game was in Edinboro. But North Hills' student section has been a joke all season. At one point in a WPIAL semifinal game against Mt. Lebanon, the North Hills students were chanting "We have no class, we have no class." Nice. They also started a chant with a cuss word in it, but it was quickly squelched. North Hills' students chanted some other ridiculous things this year. Heck, they even booed their own cheerleaders. I live in the North Hills district and my son plays for North Hills. But I must admit to being embarrassed by the student section.
* While attending the Perry-Chartiers Valley game last night, a fan asked me what colleges were recruitng Perry's Vaughn Morgan. When I told him no major colleges were looking at him, the man seemed miffed.
Many fans think highly of Morgan - and for one reason. His dunks. He is impressive athletically and has some impressive dunks just about every game. But dunking doesn't get you into a Division I college. This is not meant to cut down Morgan because he is a good player on the high school level and he had a major role in Perry winning the City Lague championship. But he's only about 6 feet 4, and his offensive array consists of dunks and putbacks. He is impressive athletically, but there is no way he could play on the perimeter in college. He doesn't handle the ball very well and doesn't shoot it from the outside.
So he would have to play on the inside and he's not big enough. In other words, Morgan would have to improve his all-around skills a great deal to be a Division I player.
* Interesting second-round game Tuesday is Greensburg Salem against Chartiers Valley.
* I saw Schenley's Markel Walker play again Friday night. She is undoutedly the most talented player in Western Pennsylvania. No wonder she's going to UCLA and will play in the McDonald's All-American Game. But I got a kick out of Walker last night. She either has a bad leg, knee or hip. Whatever it is, she was hobbled through much of the game against Fox Chapel. But here is what was funny. When Walker was on defense or the game was stopped, she limped noticeably. But when she was on offense or had the ball, she seemed to move at full speed and blew by players all night.