Section races go down to the wire
With victories against Peters Township, 37-36, and Canon-McMillan, 58-45, Upper St. Clair clinched the Section 4-AAAA title in boys’ basketball.
With a trip to Moon Feb. 5 before hosting Mt. Lebanon in a neighborhood fray Feb. 8, USC sported an 11-1 section slate and a 16-3 overall mark. Hence, the Panthers could do no worse than 11-3 in the league.
Heading into action this week, USC stood atop the division followed by Bethel Park. After three straight league losses, including this past Friday’s defeat at Lebo, 54-51, the Hawks toppled to second in the section. They were 9-3 before hosting Trinity last evening and visiting Baldwin on Feb. 5.
Lebo, held the third-place position with a 6-6 slate while the Big Macs and Indians were tied with Moon for the final playoff spot. CM, PT and the Tigers were all 5-7 in the division.
The regular season ends Feb. 11 and the basketball steering committee convenes Feb. 12 to announce the pairings for the upcoming WPIAL tournament. Playoffs could commence as early at Feb. 14 with the district championships set for March 1 and 2 at Duquesne University’s A.J. Palumbo Center.
Since losing at BP, 38-17, on Dec. 18, USC has won 13 straight, thanks to sharp shooting and a balanced attack.
For example, Jordan Grabowski (15), J.J. Conn (15), Conor Gallagher (11) and John Duffy (11) all topped double figures versus Canon-McMillan. The one-two punch of Conn (14) and Grabowski (12) led the Panthers against PT.
For the Indians, who missed an 18-foot shot at the buzzer, Gabe Pritz pumped in 12 points. His two free throws pulled PT within the one point. Janke Blandino also finished with a dozen for the Indians.
Against USC, Brett Haney fired in 17 tallies for the Big Macs, who dropped a 57-48 decision to Moon previously. Haney again led with 14 followed by Sam Bohn’s 11 markers.
Meanwhile, BP recovered from its loss to Lebo and defeated Moon, 54-40. With 10 tallies each were: Kennedy Gilmore, Rohan Young and Cody Gilchrist.
Young was the sole Hawk in double digits against Lebo. He finished with 17.
Justin and Jonny David did in BP. Justin buried four, 3-point field goals and finished with 21 markers. Jonny supplied 12 points.
In Class AAA, the Section 5 title comes down to Chartiers Valley’s visit this Friday, Feb. 8 to South Fayette.
The Colts dropped their first league loss when they traveled to Montour last Tuesday. In the 51-40 defeat, CV scored 36 points below its season average. Plus, leading scorers Michael Boulos and Matty McConnell were limited to a combined 10 points. Haedyn Herzer led the way with 13 points.
CV rebounded from the setback to beat Knoch, 65-51, in non-section action. McConnell exploded for 23 points. Boulos and Dom Castello followed with 12 and 11 markers.
Meanwhile, the Lions, who lost to CV 50-46 back on Jan. 15, were tied with Montour for second place in the section. Both sported 8-2 records before battling last night.
Before that confrontation, SF dropped McGuffey, 61-37.
C.J. Rudisill buried five, 3-pointers and finished with a game-high 27 points. Evan Bonnaure finished with 13 markers.
Although out of the playoff hunt, Keystone Oaks dropped Waynesburg, 91-67. Taylor Lehman exploded for 34 points for the Golden Eagles. Jared Skolnicki (21), Braydon Griffiths (15) and Cory Sevacko (10) also finished in double figures for KO.
With victories versus Washington, 63-50, and Fort Cherry, 75-36, Seton-La Salle remained unbeaten in Section 4-AA play. The Rebels have won nine straight since losing at North Catholic, 56-52, back on Jan. 5.
Against the Little Prexies, Levi Masua and Dale Clancy each tossed in 15 points. Masua had 12 tallies against the Rangers while Ryan Norkus and Dom DelGrego provided 13 and 11 markers.
The Rebels are ranked No. 3 in Class AA of the WPIAL. They are 10-0 in section and 18-2 overall. They host Bishop Canevin Feb. 5.
The Crusaders are coming off a 47-31 loss to Brentwood. Nico DiPaolo topped out with eight points.
In other action, Chartiers-Houston defeated First Baptist, 66-36, in exhibition.
Dylan Pounds tossed in 23 points for the Bucs, who are 6-13 overall. Alec Ferrari (14), Ben Shade (13) and Jevone Haiston (10) also finished in double digits.