Trojans seize section lead
Section 5 AA belongs to the California Trojans. For now.
The Trojans knocked off visiting Charleroi in a battle of section unbeatens, 55-52, after outscoring the Cougars 19-10 in the final quarter to erase a six-point deficit.
“That's a big one for us,” Trojans coach Phil Pergola said. “It was a great crowd and a good battle. It was a well-played game with not a whole lot of fouls. Exactly what you want when you have two teams battling for the section.”
Fans and players of both teams expected the two to battle for the section title when the season began and they weren't disappointed in the first matchup of the season.
“We didn't shoot the ball well and their defense had a lot to do with that,” Pergola said of the Cougars. “They were well prepared and had a good defensive strategy for us.”
The Trojans (12-1, 7-0) trailed by 11 (35-24) in the third quarter and didn't take the lead until the final minute of the game on a Brian Fisher layup. Fisher finished with only nine points in the game.
“Tanner (Huffman) really put the game on his shoulders in the second half,” Pergola said.
Huffman scored a game-high 23 points, with 15 coming in the second half.
Junior Demetri Clements finished with 12 points for the Trojans.
“After Fisher hit that layup, they missed a shot and we got the rebound. Demetri came down and hit both ends of a one-and-one to put us up by three,” Pergola said. “He had a great night for us, but he struggled early. The defense that they were running left him open most of the game and he kept missing there for a period of time. He did hit a big three-pointer to pull us within one with about a minute and a half left.”
Jim Diaz scored a team-high 19 points to lead the Cougars (8-4, 6-1). Teammate Matt Indorante added 18 points.
The two teams meet again Feb. 8, at Charleroi, in the season finale. Both teams return to the court Friday on the road with the Trojans traveling to Jefferson-Morgan and the Cougars at Bentworth.
Elizabeth Forward 72, Belle Vernon Area 70
The struggles continued for the Leopards as they lost their fifth straight.
Jason Capco scored a game-high 24 points, Jake Sweitzer added 17 and Jesse Kallam tossed in 11, but it wasn't enough for BVA (2-12, 1-4) as their rally fell short in the fourth quarter.
Jaquan Davidson tossed in a team-high 20 points to lead for Warriors in double figures as EF remained in the hunt for a playoff spot in Section 4 AAA.
Matt Bernadowski scored 11 points for EF while Matt Hermessman and Cody Palady each scored 10.
Both teams continue play Thursday, with the Leopards playing at Ringgold in section play and the Warriors (8-6, 3-3) going to Mt. Pleasant for a non-section matchup.
Brownsville 81, Frazier 54
The Falcons, coupled with Charleroi's loss to California, pulled within a game of second-place in Section 5 AA with a big win at Frazier.
Brownsville squashed any hopes of a Commodores comeback by outscoring the hosts 18-4 in the fourth quarter en route to a big win.
Tre Durkin scored a game-high 17 points and Christian Floyd added 13 to lead the way for Brownsville (9-4, 5-2). Paul Pellick netted 13 points to lead the Commodores (2-9, 1-5) while teammates Jared Rebovich (11) and Vinny Bucci (10) combined for 21 points.
The Commodores resume play Friday at Beth-Center.
Beth-Center 62, Bentworth 56
The Bulldogs (7-6, 4-3) traveled to Bentworth and knocked off the Bearcats (5-8, 2-5) in Section 5 AA play. No other information was provided on the game.
Trinity 48, Ringgold 35
The Lady Hillers outscored the Lady Rams 25-8 in the second quarter to win a non-section contest and send Ringgold to a three-game losing streak.
Josie Schmidt scored a team-high 11 points and grabbed eight rebounds to lead the Lady Rams (6-7).
“Our defense fell apart in that second quarter,” Lady Rams coach Nick Mandich said. “Our man-to-man defense let us down. I've never seen anything like it. Sometimes you have days when people can play and sometimes they can't. Today was one of those days.”
Lauren Simpson scored a game-high 15 points and Kelly Korpos and Rachel Phillis each scored 10 for the Lady Hillers (3-9).
The Lady Rams resume Section 4 AAA play Thursday when they host Belle Vernon Area in the opener of a boy-girl doubleheader. Tip-off is set for 6 p.m.