Breakfast table talk after the first night of the WPIAL basketball semifinals
First, don't forget to follow @PGVarsityXtra on Twitter tonight for score updates and notes on all the WPIAL semifinals. If you have a score update or thoughts on a game, tweet @PGVarsityXtra with #wpial
The scoring Maverick
Lincoln Park has made it to the Class A championship game and sophomore guard Maverick Rowan could end up with one of the best scoring tournaments in WPIAL history.
Rowan, who already has verbally committed to Pitt, has scored 25, 37 and 35 points in three playoff games for a total of 97. Another game in the 30s will put him among the top playoff scorers of all time.
Only nine players in WPIAL history have scored more than 120 points in a tournament. The all-time leader is Penn Hills' Drew Schifino, who scored 147 in four games in 2000. Next is Chartiers Valley's T.J. McConnell, who scored 144 in 2010.
Playing his old teammates
The Lincoln Park vs. Monessen game in the Class A championship presents an interesting storyline. Elijah Minnie, Lincoln Park's second-leading scorer, played at Monessen as a freshman.
Minnie then was sent to Summit Academy, a school for adjudicated youth near Butler. He spent his sophomore year at Summit. Rather than go back to Monessen as a junior, he chose to attend Lincoln Park, a charter school in Midland.
Scoring records fell during Monessen's 110-99 victory against Vincentian in last night's semifinals. Anyone who was there should remember that game for a long time.
The 110 points by Monessen broke a 25-year-old WPIAL playoff record for most points. Brentwood scored 109 against Elderton in 1989.
The 209 points combined by both teams smashed the 35-year-old WPIAL playoff record of 188 set in 1979 when Union beat St. Joseph, 99-89.
Section 1 uprising
Section 1 and Westmoreland County, stand up and be proud.
The Hempfield and Penn-Trafford girls teams have both made it to the Class AAAA championship. It truly is a first-time occurrence.
Until this happened, not one of the eight teams in Section 1 had ever made it to a title game, let alone two. The teams in Section 1 besides Hempfield and Penn-Trafford are Laurel Highlands, Albert Gallatin, Norwin, Connellsville, Latrobe and Kiski Area.
I know rental costs are a concern so I'm not sure this could be done. But in the future the WPIAL shoulder seriously consider playing some of these semifinals as single games instead of part of a doubleheader. Especially if the Palumbo Center is not going to be used for semifinal games.
Single games especially make sense for some of these boys games. It's just way too crowded at some games. Sometimes, people are standing everywhere. And if you want to maybe get there for some of the first game, forget it. You have to stand and wait until the place clears out a little.
Just a suggestion.
Remembering "Sonar" Myers
The Burrell girls are in the WPIAL final for the first time ever and there is a tie between this team and the Burrell boys team that was the first basketball team from the school to play for a title.
The 1979 Burrell boys team featured Joe Myers, a blonde bomber with a great shot who was nicknamed "Sonar." His daughter, Natalie, is a sophomore and one of the top players on the girls team.
In 1979, Burrell played Beaver Falls for the Class AAA title. It was the first time I attended the WPIAL finals in person. I had watched the finals for years as a kid on WQED channel 13, listening to Bill Cardille, Bill Hillgrove and Red Donley. And I'll always remember "let's go to Dr. Tony Brungo with the halftime stats."
Anyway, in 1979 my friend Jim "Buster" Lang and I ventured downtown in my parents black and red Impala to watch three title games at the Civic Arena. We were juniors at North Hills High School and the main reason for our journey was to watch some friends and classmates as the North Hills girls team played in the second game of a championship tripleheader against Franklin Regional.
I will never forget Midland's Boo Kirby banking in a long shot to beat Ford City in the first game. Franklin Regional's Pam Miklasevich and Cheryl Ellison were too strong for North Hills in the second. And in the third game, "Sonar" Myers, Brian Sharick and the Burrell boys looked like they were going to knock off powerful Beaver Falls.
Burrell took a five point lead with a little more than a minute remaining. Not totally sure of our way around downtown, "Buster" and I decided to hurry up and get out of the Arena and beat the traffic. We thought the game was over. I got home, turned on the 11 o'clock news and - WHAT? Beaver Falls came back and won, 55-54?
Damon Bryant brought Beaver Falls back. Supposedly, there was a controversial jump-ball call near the end.
By the way, "Sonar" Myers had 22 in the game before going on to play at Duquesne University.
What did I learn? Don't ever leave a game early with Beaver Falls.