Hooker leads New Castle ..... Freshmen stand out for Beaver Falls ..... PIAA roundup

Written by Mike White on .


A number of games involving WPIAL teams were postponed tonight because of the weather. Four games were played. Here are highlights from the games.

Malik Hooker had close to a triple double and New Castle stayed perfect with a 64-54 victory against North Allegheny in a PIAA Class AAAA second-round playoff game tonight at Ambridge.

Hooker has a sprained right wrist sustained in Saturday’s game against Bethel Park. Really? He put some hurtin’ on North Allegheny with 22 points, 10 rebounds, seven assists and five steals.

Malik HookerHooker (pictured) started slow, scoring only two points in the first quarter. His hand and wrist were taped to start the game, but Hooker ripped the tape off later in the first quarter.

“I was trying to just play through it, but I wasn’t playing how I should’ve been playing, so I just took [the tape] off,” said Hooker.

A key to the game was New Castle’s defense in the first half. North Allegheny didn’t have that much trouble with New Castle’s full-court pressure. It was when the Tigers got past half court that they had problems. North Allegheny had 18 turnovers in the first half. New Castle went on a 13-2 run to end the half and take a 34-21 lead to the locker room.

“The second half, we had only six turnovers and we played right with them,” said North Allegheny coach Dave DeGregorio.

Senior center Stew Allen was the only other New Castle player in double figures with 12. He also had seven rebounds.

Cole Constantinio, a junior guard, had a terrific game for North Allegheny with 32 points, including four 3-pointers. He made 11 of 15 shots.

Many times, North Allegheny didn’t run its usual offense. The Tigers gave the ball to Constantino and let him go one-on-one, sometimes clearing an entire side of the court for him. New Castle had trouble guarding him.

But in the end, New Castle won again, raising its record to 28-0.


*Beaver Falls 72, Summit Academy 48: Youth was served for Beaver Falls. Freshmen Donovan Jeter and Josh Creach had huge games in leading Beaver Falls to the win in a Class AA second-round game at North Allegheny. Jeter finished with 22 points and 12 rebounds, while Creach had 21 points and 17 rebounds. Beaver Falls (20-7) will play either WPIAL runner-up Greensburg Central Catholic or West Middlesex in Saturday’s quarterfinals.

Beaver Falls led by just five points at the half, but outscored Summit Academy, 18-11, in the third quarter to extend its advantage to 52-40, and then outscored the Knights, 20-8, in the fourth. Dasonte White led Summit Academy (17-7) with 18 points.

* Aliquippa 57, Quaker Valley 44: Jassir Jordan’s 23 points propelled the Quips (20-6) to their first quarterfinal berth since 2009 after the Class AA win against the Quakers (22-4) at Moon. Jordan was 8 of 11 from the free-throw line. Patrick Anderson added 13 points for the Quips, who have won 13 of their past 14 games.


* Elizabeth Forward 55, Mount Pleasant 37: The Warriors (22-4) moved on to the quarterfinals for the first time since 1989 by defeating the Vikings (16-10) at Hempfield. Alison Pastore led the Warriors with 17 points and Kylie Owoc had 16. The Warriors led, 29-15, at halftime.


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PIAA postpones a number of games because of weather

Written by Mike White on .


Reacting to predictions of snow in Western Pennsylvania, the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association (PIAA) has postponed a number of boys and girls basketball playoff games scheduled for tonight.

Only four games will be played tonight while eight contests have been postponed until Thursday.

In boys games tonight, New Castle will play North Allegheny at Ambridge at 7, Quaker Valley will play Aliquippa at Moon at 7 and Beaver Falls will play Summit Academy at North Allegheny at 8. The Elizabeth Forward vs. Mount Pleasant girls game will be played, but it has been moved from Fox Chapel to Hempfield at 7.

Some of the games postponed tonight have been moved to different sites for Thursday. The postponed games are:

Boys – Hampton vs. McDowell to Thursday at Farrell, 8 p.m.; Seton-LaSalle vs. Mercyhurst Prep to Thursday at Sharon, 8 p.m.; Greensburg Central Catholic vs. West Middlesex to Thursday at North Allegheny, 7 p.m.

Girls – South Park vs. Hickory to Thursday at Farrell, 6:30 p.m.; Blackhawk vs. Villa Maria to Thursday at Sharon, 6:30 p.m.; Quigley vs. Clarion to Thursday, site and time to be determined; Bishop Guilfoyle vs. Serra to Thursday at Richland (Johnstown), 7 p.m.; Claysburg-Kimmel vs. Kennedy Catholic to Thursday at Hempfield, 6:30 p.m.; Vincentian vs. Berlin Brothersvalley to Thursday at Hempfield, 8 p.m.

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PIAA highlights: Strong 4th quarter propels Central Valley

Written by Mike White on .

Roundup of PIAA second-round boys and girls games from Tuesday night.

Central Valley came up with a big fourth quarter and turned back Thomas Jefferson, 61-51, in a PIAA Class AAA boys quarterfinal game at Chartiers Valley.
Thomas Jefferson held a 40-38 lead after three quarters, but Central Valley came on strong in the fourth, outscoring the Jaguars, 23-11. Central Valley also beat Thomas Jefferson in the WPIAL semifinals.
Four Central Valley players scored in double figures, led by Tony Gates and Mike Sims with 14 each. Matt Kline scored 11 and John George 10. Zach Talley had 15 for Thomas Jefferson.

*Farrell 86, Uniontown 72: Farrell (24-3) outscored Uniontown, 17-3, in overtime to pull out the win at Penn Hills. Uniontown (22-3) was 1 of 7 from the field in overtime while Farrell was 9 of 14 from the free-throw line. Farrell made 30 of 46 free throws for the game while Uniontnown was only 16 of 26. Five Uniontown starters fouled out.
Farrell opened up a 63-54 lead with a little less than two minutes left in the game, but Uniontown came back to tie at 67-67. After Jamel Brown scored on a layup with 20 seconds left, Uniontown's Lyric Ellis was fouled with 14 seconds remaining. Ellis was hurt and couldn't shoot the free throws, so Rodney Harris came off the bench and made both to tie the game. But Farell dominated the overtime. Jamel Brown led Farrell with 23 points, 15 in the fourth quarter and overtime. Ike Jones had 20 points and 14 rebounds. Joe Campbell had 19 points and 12 rebounds for Uniontown while Jordan Pratt added 15 points and 11 rebounds.
*Lancaster Mennonite 68, Chartiers Valley 64: Chartiers Valley, the WPIAL runner-up, saw its season end after a loss at Bedford High School. Chartiers Valley (25-3) lost despite 32 points and 11 rebounds from Matty McConnell. A junior guard, McConnell scored 23 points in the first half to help the Colts take a 35-34 lead into the break. But Lancaster Mennonite (22-7) opened up a 60-50 lead in the fourth quarter. Chartiers Valley cut the deficit to 65-63 with 50 seconds left, but the Blazers hung on for the win. Julian Collazzo, a junior guard, led Mennonite with 22 points, seven above his average. Chartiers Valley's Jerrad Tuite, who averages 16, scored only six.

*Vincentian 94, Homer-Center 66: Vincentian (24-3) broke the 90-point mark for the third consecutive game and rolled to the win at Hempfield. Vincentian led by 18 points in the second quarter but Homer-Center (23-4) cut the deficit to 61-56 in the third quarter before Vincentian went on a 13-0 run to take control. Ryan Wolf scored 30 points and Jay Cortese had 25 points, and 12 rebounds.
*Lincoln Park 81, Forbes Road 28: Lincoln Park (27-1), the No. 1-ranked Class A team in the state, jumped to a 30-11 lead after the first quarter and breezed to the victory over Forbes Road (17-9) at Hempfield. Sophomore guard Maverick Rowan led Lincoln Park with 23 points, Ryan Skovranko had 20 and Antonio Kellem 18. The win sets up a long-awaited showdown with Vincentian.
*Cardinal Wuerl North Catholic 58, Ridgway 43: Leading by only three after the third quarter, North Catholic (17-10) went on a 10-2 run to start the fourth en route to the win at Clarion University. Ryan Kirby scored 21 points and Dominic Robb 16 for North Catholic while Jeremy Breier had 17 for Ridgway (21-6).
*Bishop Carroll 69, Monessen 65: Undefeated Bishop Carroll (26-0) used a 22-0 run in the second half to overtake Monessen (21-7) at Gateway. Monessen led, 53-50, after the third quarter, but Bishop Carroll opened up a 63-53 lead as Monessen went almost six minutes without scoring in the fourth. Brandon Martinazzi led Bishop Carroll with 28 points. Javon Brown had 19 for Monessen.

*North Allegheny 58, State College 44: The Tigers (23-2) advanced with a win against District 6 champion State College Tuesday night at Indiana High School. Against State College (18-8), sophomore Abby Gonzalez had 18 points, 7 assists and 5 steals.
*Hempfield 54, Fox Chapel 44: Monica Burns scored 26 points for Hempfield to set up a rematch with North Allegheny. Hempfield beat NA in the WPIAL semifinals. Duke recruit Erin Mathias had 18 for Fox Chapel.

*Bishop Canevin 64, Karns City 40: The Crusaders (21-6) will get their fourth chance at knocking off Seton-La Salle this season in the PIAA quarterfinals after disposing of District 9 champion Karns City (24-2) at Clarion University. Canevin jumped out to a 12-0 lead and never looked back. Johnie Olkosky led the way, turning in a double-double with 17 points and 11 rebounds. Gina Vallecorsa added 17 points for the Crusaders.
* Seton-La Salle 61, Greensburg Central Catholic 43: The Rebels (24-4) will be returning to the PIAA quarterfinals for the fifth year in a row after defeating Greensburg Central Catholic (20-6) at Chartiers Valley. Seton-LaSalle held Greensburg Central to only six field goals in the first half. Cassidy Walsh scored 16 points, 12 in the first half on four 3-pointers, for Seton-LaSalle.
*Burrell 34, Bellwood-Antis 29: Sophomore Natalie Myers led the Buccaneers (27-1) back to the PIAA quarterfinals for the second year in a row with a win against Bellwood-Antis (24-4) at Indiana High School. Myers continued her postseason tear with a double-double — 16 points, 13 rebounds — and iced the victory from the free-throw line, going 7 for 7 in the fourth quarter. Burrell will play General McLane in the quarterfinals.

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Former Western Pa. standouts McConnell, Kane, Wilson, Reed pick up big honors

Written by Mike White on .

Western Pennsylvania doesn't have a reputation for producing much top Division I college basketball talent over the past couple decades, but some former players from the district have done some big things this season, evidenced by the honors they received in the past couple days.

You'll be hard-pressed to come up with a year when this many former WPIAL-City League players got this many honors at the Division I level. On top of that, we could see a handful of WPIAL-City League players in the NCAA tournament this year (see below).

But first, the all-conference honors:

T.J. McConnell

University of Arizona point guard T.J. McConnell was named second-team all-Pac 12. While that's quite an honor in a power conference, McConnell might be just as proud of this honor: He was named to the five-player all-Pac 12 defensive team.

And McConnell, a former Chartiers Valley High School star, has been named one of the 24 finalists for the Cousy Award, given annually to the top college point guard in the country. (McConnell is pictured during his Chartiers Valley days).

McConnell is averaging 8.3 points, 3.7 rebounds, 5.5 assists and leads the team in steals with 57. He is 16th in the country in turnover-to-assist ratio (172 to 57) and 30th in the country in assists.

It makes me chuckle that some people are surprised that McConnell would play this much or have such an impact for Arizona. But when McConnell decided to leave Duquesne University and Arizona coach Sean Miller courted him, Miller's design all along was to have McConnell as a starting point guard.

"He's the missing piece to our team's puzzle," Miller said two years ago when McConnell decided to go to Arizona.

Oh, by the way. Shoutout for Miller, the former Blackhawk High School and Pitt point guard who was named the Pac-12 coach of the year. 

DeAndre Kane

Kane is a senior guard at Iowa State who was named first-team all-Big 12 Conference. On top of that, Kane was named today as a third-team All-American by Sporting News, and

Kane and PopeKane, a former star at Schenley High School in the City League, averages 17.1 points, 6.7 rebounds and finished the regular season 20th in the country in assists at 5.9. (The photo is of Kane in his junior year playing against Aliquippa's Herb Pope in a regular-season game in 2006. It was sort of Kane's coming-out party when he scored 18 points early in the season for a team that featured DeJuan Blair, D.J. Kennedy and Onion Bryant).

Like McConnell, Kane is a Cousy Award finalist. Who would've thunk it: Two Western Pa. players, who attended high schools only 12 miles from each other, are finalists for the Cousy Award. I say tremendous. McConnell and Kane are good examples of how Western Pa. guys can be better than a lot of people - or college coaches - think.

Jesse Reed

Reed isn't as well-known as McConnell and Kane, and he isn't playing on a level like the Pac-12 or Big 12, but what Reed has done is awfully impressive also.

Reed is a 6-foot-5 sophomore guard at American University and named second-team all-Patriot League. He also was named the conference's scholar athlete of the year for basketball.

Jesse ReedReed played at Greensburg Central Catholic and then attended Kiski School in Saltsburg for one post-graduate year. (Reed is pictured during his senior year at GCC). He has helped American reach the championship game of the Patriot League tournament and American plays Boston U. Wednesday night for the right to go to the NCAA tournament.

Reed averages 14.1 points, 4.4 rebounds, 1.7 assists and 1.2 steals a game. He is shooting 51.4 percent from the field and 472 percent from 3-point range (57 of 125).

Devin Wilson

Virginia Tech got involved with Devin Wilson late in the recruiting process last year when he was a senior at Montour. But the Hokies ended up signing Wilson and Wilson ended up one of the top freshmen in the ACC.

Virginia Tech is having a rough year record-wise, but Wilson (pictured at Montour) has been a bright spot. He was named to the all-ACC freshman team. And how is this for select company. Only five players were named to the team and the others were Jabari Parker of Duke, Tyler Ennis of Syracuse, Kennedy Meeks of North Carolina and London Perrantes of Virginia.

Wilson is fourth in the ACC in assists at 4.8 a game. He is averaging 9.2 points and 3.3 rebounds. He is playing 34 minutes a game and is the only player on the team to start all 30 games.

Consider what McConnell, Kane, Reed and Wilson have done this year, and throw in that Duquesne's Micah Mason (Highlands) led the country in 3-point percentage during the regular season, and it's been quite a year for former Western Pa. players.

Now about the NCAA tournament. Could we see as many as four players from the area in the tourney? McConnell and Kane are in because their teams are locks. I thought Sewickley Academy's Tom Droney might also get in at Davidson, but Davidson lost in the Southern Conference tourney final in overtime last night.

Reed makes it if American beats Boston U. in the Patriot League tourney final Wednesday night. And Gateway's Barnett Harris could make it. He is a freshman at Delaware and Delaware is playing in the Colonial Athletic Association championship tonight against William & Mary. Harris has played in 27 games for Delaware.

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Winter wins it for Quaker Valley ..... PIAA playoff roundup

Written by Mike White on .

Roundup of WPIAL teams in today's first round of the Pitt playoffs

Spring might be just around the corner, but it was still Winter time for Quaker Valley today.
Fondi made a layup with 2.4 seconds left in overtime to lift Quaker Valley to a 42-40 win against District 6 champion Richland in a PIAA Class AA first-round boys playoff game at Central Cambria. It was the only points scored in overtime.'
Fondi scored 17 points for Quaker Valley. Matt
Class AAAA
*New Castle 71, Bethel Park 64: Bethel Park trailed by only nine at halftime. Then New Castle led by 20 after three quarters. Malik Hooker scored 25 points and Stew Allen added 18 to propel the Red Hurricanes (27-0). Joe Mascaro poured in 38 points for the Black Hawks, who lost to the Red Hurricanes by 27 in the WPIAL quarterfinals.

*Hampton 58, Allderdice 43: The Talbots bounced back from the WPIAL loss to New Castle and defeated the City League champion Dragons. David Huber and Ryan Luther each had a big half for Hampton. Huber scored 13 of his 15 in the first half and Luther 12 of his 16 in the second half.
*North Allegheny 82, Altoona 57: The win sets up a second-round game against New Castle, just like last year. Cole Constantino had 16 points and the Tigers (22-4) took a 19-point halftime lead against the District 6 champion Mountain Lions (13-10) at Hollidaysburg.
*Erie McDowell 65, Kiski Area 46: The Cavaliers (17-7) were outscored by 14 points in the second quarter and could not recover in falling to the District 10 champion Trojans (23-3) at Gannon University. Joe Brungo and Michael Simmons scored 10 points apiece for the Cavaliers.
Class AA
*Beaver Falls 56, Central Martinsburg 44: The defending champion Tigers (19-7) jumped to a 14-point halftime lead and went on to eliminate the Dragons (16-7) at Altoona. Dan Stratton led the Tigers with 17 points.

Levi Masua* Seton-LaSalle 82, Penns Valley 51: Levi Masua (pictured) had 18 points, 12 rebounds, 5 blocks and 5 steals to vault the WPIAL champion Rebels (26-1) to their first PIAA victory since 2000 after coasting past the Rams (19-7) at Penn Hills.
*Greensburg C.C. 92 Bald Eagle Area 59: Brian Graytok's 25 points helped the WPIAL runner-up Centurions (23-3) amass their second-highest point total of the season in defeating the Eagles (20-6) at Hempfield.
* Aliquippa 60, Fairview 42: Jassir Jordan scored 21 points and the Quips (19-6) picked up their first PIAA win in five years by defeating the Tigers (22-4) at Gannon University.
* Summit Academy 75, Conemaugh Township 59: Propelled by a 27-point performance from Dasonte White, the Knights (17-6) advanced to the second round courtesy of the victory against the District 5 champion Indians (21-6) at Johnstown.
*West Middlesex 76, Neshannock 66: The Lancers (18-7) trailed by three points at the half and were eventually defeated by the District 10 champion Big Red (21-5) at Slippery Rock University.

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