Centurions hope to repeat history
Star player Sheldon Jeter and Beaver Falls have been attracting attention all year. It is not an unusual scenario for arguably the WPIAL's top player on the state's unofficial No. 1 Class AA boys basketball team.
But Jeter and his fellow Tigers (26-2) aren't the ones likely feeling pressure. They say that Greensburg Central Catholic (21-6), their opponent in a PIAA quarterfinals game today at North Allegheny High School, might be looking over their shoulder after escaping with a controversial, 61-60 victory over Beaver Falls in the quarterfinals a year ago.
The rematch is being highly anticipated by both teams.
"I'm sure that Beaver Falls is using it as motivation," GCC coach Greg Bisignani said. "I'm sure they feel they have an ax to grind."
"We know what happened last year. We're not worried about it," said Jeter, who is entertaining numerous overtures from Division I coaches, including Penn State's Pat Chambers, who yesterday visited the 6-foot-8 senior guard at his home.
GCC eliminated Beaver Falls a year ago on its way to an appearance in the PIAA championship game, surviving when Beaver Falls' Royce Watson was called for a blocking foul on GCC's hard-charging Jesse Reed, who missed the shot but followed with 1 of 2 free throws with 2.6 seconds left to break a tie.
"That was a tough call," Jeter said on Friday. "But we still left points on the floor, and a lot of them. That's been bothering me more than anything else."
Jeter implied that Beaver Falls is the more talented team this year and acknowledged that the Tigers should be installed as the favorite today. A lot of it, he said, isn't because of arrogance, rather a sense of realism.
"They have really good guards and they do play together, so that is kind of a worry to me," he said of GCC. "But I feel we can handle them. I feel we have the better guards."
It is the third of three scheduled games at North Allegheny. The first two involve girls teams. Vincentian (27-1) takes on Kennedy Catholic (22-3) in Class A and Blackhawk (24-4) and Chartiers Valley (24-3) square off in Class AAA.
The Beaver Falls-GCC boys game will offer teams with varying styles. Guard-oriented GCC, whose inside game gets a boost from 6-7 P.J. McLaughlin, nonetheless will try to finesse its way to another victory. McLaughlin scored 27 points in the Centurions' 86-65 second-round victory over Jeannette on Wednesday.
Jeter, who had 28 in a 77-52 rout of Conemaugh Township in the second round, joins the 6-6 Watson to form an imposing duo for Beaver Falls.
"I was flipping the channel on the NCAA Tournament, and I felt like I was watching Beaver Falls," Bisignani cracked. "We have to be able to handle their pressure. We can't let turnovers turn into points for them."Additional Information:
ROAD TO THE FINALS
In a rematch of Greensburg Central Catholic's 61-60 victory over Beaver Falls in last year's PIAA quarterfinals, the teams will meet again in the quarters today. Here is a look at their PIAA playoff results so far:
Conemaugh Township, 77-52
Greensburg Central Catholic
North East, 48-42