Latrobe tunes up for playoffs with victory over state Class A No. 1 Kennedy Catholic
Latrobe senior Jake Biss opened Monday's nonsection game against Kennedy Catholic with a layup off the opening tip.
But Biss doesn't have to score a lot for 6A No. 2 Latrobe to win. He finished with nine points as the Wildcats maintained their late-season run with a solid 86-76 victory against the top-ranked Class A team in the state, Kennedy Catholic.
It was Kennedy Catholic's first loss to a Pennsylvania team since 2015, when it lost to Aliquippa. It also ended the Golden Eagles' 14-game winning streak.
Biss played his typical strong floor game with seven assists, four steals and one turnover.
Austin Butler had another strong game for the Wildcats, scoring 40 points. His brother, sophomore Bryce, had 13.
Latrobe (19-3) raced to leads of 9-0 and 16-3 before Kennedy Catholic rallied to grab a 21-20 lead after a quarter. Biss and Butler each scored seven points in the opening quarter.
“I thought I played well,” said Biss, a Shippensburg recruit. “Coach asks me to be the floor general, and I'm looking to get the ball to the open man.”
Latrobe started taking control of the game in the second quarter to a grab a 44-37 lead at halftime. The Wildcats pushed the lead to 68-54 after three quarters and 74-54 early in the fourth.
“This was a team victory,” Biss said. “Everyone pulls together. We were able to overcome losses to Fox Chapel and Penn Hills to finish strong.”
Latrobe defeated Fox Chapel and Penn Hills last week to share the Section 2 title.
“Everyone has their roles, and Jake knows his well,” Latrobe coach Brad Wetzel said. “As a senior, Jake has expended his role. All the seniors have done that.
“Jake is the engineer. He's the facilitator. He makes sure we get where we want it. He keeps the train running on time.”
He did just that. When Kennedy Catholic was making a run in the fourth quarter, it was Biss who was calmly breaking the full-court press.
Kennedy Catholic sophomore Maceo Austin scored 31 points, and Drew Magestro added 18 for the Golden Eagles.
“Jake has been instrumental with our success and you can't overstate it,” Wetzel said. “He's been tremendous and a leader. He makes sure everyone gets the message. He makes sure everything comes together at the right time.”
Paul Schofield is a Tribune Review staff writer. Reach him at email@example.com or at Twitter @Schofield_Trib.