Quaker Valley boys off to good start with pair of wins at host tourney
TribLIVE Sports Videos
With four new starters, the Quaker Valley boys basketball team dealt with plenty of early-season butterflies in its opening two games at the Quaker Valley Classic last weekend.
The Quakers struggled with their 3-point and free-throw shooting in both contests. That held particularly in their opener against Cornell on Friday, when Quaker Valley shot 3 of 18 from 3-point range and 8 of 29 from the foul line.
Even with those shooting issues— coupled with an early double-digit deficit in their second game, against Burrell on Saturday — the Quakers had a good weekend. They beat Cornell, 54-47, and Burrell, 53-39, to open the season on a positive note.
“I was pleased that we found ways to win,” Quaker Valley coach Mike Mastroianni said. “Our defense was pretty consistent on both nights, for how young we are. We didn't really shoot the ball very well (and) we didn't shoot foul shots very well. But in saying all that, we found enough — we found a will, we found a fight, which as a coach, you sort of look at those things more because in the big picture they're more important.”
Senior Burke Moser, the Quakers' only returning starter, led the team offensively by scoring 18 points against Cornell and 14 against Burrell. Fellow senior Nelson Westwood battled through injuries but was integral to both victories, Mastroianni said.
But a combination of other players also contributed. Senior Jack McGarry joined Moser in double figures with 11 points against Cornell, and guards Qadir Taylor (16 points) and Chris Conlan (11) made big plays down the stretch against Burrell.
Quaker Valley actually trailed Burrell at halftime after falling behind by double digits in the first half. But a strong second-half effort allowed the Quakers (2-0) to outscore the Bucs, 31-13, in the second half en route to the victory.
“Burrell is a very, very good team,” Mastroianni said. “I would be very surprised if they did not win their section.”
Quaker Valley played another nonsection game Tuesday at Fort Cherry, in a game that was played past the deadline for this week's edition. The Quakers will open section play Friday night with a game at Carlynton.
“I think our play will take awhile to get consistent, but I think our expectation level and how hard we play is within our team,” Mastroianni said. “I think we learned a lot through the tournament.”
Sewickley Academy coach Win Palmer predicted a “loaded” field at the Ambridge Tip-off Tournament, and he got exactly what he expected — and then some.
“It was a great experience for us,” Palmer said. “Montour is going to be very difficult to beat this year for people. I was very impressed with them. Ambridge and Knoch will both compete for their section championships. I thought the field was perhaps even stronger than I thought it was going in.”
The Panthers dropped both games they played at the tournament, falling 45-38 to Ambridge on Friday and 56-42 to Knoch on Saturday.
But Palmer, who said he pays little attention to wins and losses in the opening month of the season, was pleased with what he saw from his team — particularly in its balance. Eight players scored in Friday night's game, and the team's bench provided a lift in Saturday's game.
“I thought the second night our bench really contributed,” Palmer said. “We had some fatigue factors going on, and we played some guys much more minutes than we anticipated and really learned that we've got some guys that can help us off the bench.
“Last year, quite frankly, we didn't go very deep, (and) that hurt us as the season progressed. I thought we learned that we've got guys who can help us. I really feel like we're nine or 10 deep that can play games on a regular basis.”
Palmer said he believes Ambridge is one of the most athletic teams Sewickley Academy will face this season, and Knoch one of the most physical. Both teams play in WPIAL Class AAA, two classifications above the Panthers.
Sewickley Academy will host Rochester at 7:30 p.m. Friday, then follow that with a game at Serra Catholic at 2:30 p.m. Saturday.
“I'm looking forward to just competing (and) learning about our guys,” Palmer said. “I saw our guards this past weekend looking to score, I saw our bigs looking to score — really balanced scoring. I'm anxious to see us continue that pattern of having multiple guys be factors and yet also work with each other to be scorers. We're not there yet … but I think that evolution is natural when you're learning to be a balanced scoring team.”
Doug Gulasy is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- God is touchy topic in ICU, Pitt study finds
- Pitt defense is entering new season with something to prove
- Junior class filled with potential for talent-laden Frazier football team
- Two wild-card format hurting Pirates in short term
- Daughter’s generosity lives on in family
- Steelers trade 6th-round pick for Jaguars kicker Scobee
- Popularity of emerging markets wanes
- A young dog will chew anything that’s around if no boundaries are set
- Trib 30 takes bigger hit than Dow in August
- ModCloth gets physical
- Steelers notebook: LB Harrison believes Goodell will prevail in Brady ruling