Share This Page

Kittanning beats Yough for 1st playoff win since 1984

| Friday, Feb. 15, 2013, 11:39 p.m.
Kittanning's Eric Hulings (No. 45) grabs the ball from Yough's Roman Viecelli (No. 21) during the playoff game at Gateway High School on Friday, Feb. 15, 2013. Erica Hilliard | Valley News Dispatch

Yough boys basketball coach Wayne Greiser worried Kittanning's lineup, with its impressive, across-the-board height, might wear down his Cougars as their WPIAL Class AAA preliminary-round game progressed Friday night.

A dominant start by Kittanning made late-game attrition a relatively minor issue.

The Wildcats (19-4) showed few signs of weakness during their 77-56 win over Yough (8-15) at Gateway. A 9-0 run in the game's first two-plus minutes raised confidence to an almost unprecedented level for Kittanning, which used a lineup without a player shorter than 6-foot-1 to secure its first playoff victory since 1984. Yough, with just four players on its roster taller than 6-feet, trailed by eight after the first quarter and by 19 at halftime.

“Last year, we started slow — we couldn't buy a bucket against Trinity,” Kittanning coach Bill Henry said. “We reminded the kids of that, and they really bought into (starting strong).”

Eric Hulings scored with an easy backside look to open the game. Alek Schaffer added a fast-break bucket. Sterling Henry drained a 3-pointer. And Vince Mead sank a layup. Nine points in about one minute and 30 seconds and Greiser burned a timeout.

“Obviously, you don't draw up going down 9-0,” Greiser said. “The three things we talked about all week were: sprint back on defense, value the ball and rebounding. We didn't do any of them well early.”

Yough closed the game to 10-7 with two free throws by Josh Sterner, who finished with a team-high 16 points that included four 3-pointers. But Kittanning's collection of scorers allowed the Wildcats to operate at any tempo, and they chose fast for the better part of the first half.

“Coach said to get the ball and run,” said junior Alek Schaffer, who had 10 points. “It didn't matter who got it. Even (6-6 senior forward) Vince (Mead) could go.”

Said Sterling Henry: “That was a great game for everyone. …We came out strong. We wanted the ball more than they did.”

Kittanning held a 13-9 edge in rebounding at the half. It then imposed its will in the third quarter, gaining an 11-3 margin on the glass.

“I thought we did a good job handling (Kittanning's height),” Greiser said. “But they wore us down. And they don't get any smaller when they go to the bench. We do.”

Sterling Henry showcased his height during a 23-point performance. Twice during the game, he cruised down court for a fast-break dunk.

The slams stirred Kittanning's sizeable student section, the “Jubilation Nation,” into a frenzy. But the kids in the stands failed to hush even during duller moments.

“With the fan section, it seemed like a home game,” said sophomore Noah Kunst, who sank four 3-pointers during an 18-point night.

Kittanning will play No. 5 Central Valley (16-6) in a first-round game Tuesday at a time and site to be determined.

“I told them every step you take, it gets harder,” Bill Henry said. “You have to refine everything.”

Bill West is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at wwest@tribweb.com or via Twitter @BWest_Trib.

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.