Burrell blitzes Beth-Center for 1st playoff win since '06
TribLIVE Sports Videos
Burrell's boys basketball team left little room for doubt Saturday afternoon as it steamrolled Beth-Center, 64-34, in a WPIAL Class AA preliminary-round playoff game at West Allegheny.
The win is Burrell's first in the postseason since 2006. The Buccaneers (16-6) advance to face Washington (16-6), a 76-32 winner over Jefferson-Morgan, in the first round.
Burrell coach Rob Niederberger hopes Saturday's win is just the beginning for his team, which shared the Section 1-AA title with Deer Lakes.
“We want to get to Palumbo,” the coach said, referring to the site of the WPIAL championship game. “That's been the goal all year. We're not shy about saying that. I think Class AA is wide open. I think there's eight teams that can realistically do it, and one of them, Washington, we play on Wednesday.”
Despite periods of sloppy play, especially in the early going, the Bucs led from the start. A 14-0 run in the second quarter gave them a commanding 30-9 lead over the Bulldogs.
“I think we came out in the first quarter-and-a-half and played a little jittery,” Niederberger said. “We got those jitters out, and then I think we got in a groove midway through the second quarter.”
Though Burrell turned the ball over 19 times, it forced a season-high 33 turnovers.
“We didn't expect as much pressure as they put on,” Beth-Center coach Gary Amos said. “They didn't look as quick on tape.”
It was that consistent supply of turnovers that fed the Bucs' offense, leading to numerous transition points. Senior forward Cole Bush scored a game-high 23 points and capped off his double-double with 10 rebounds.
Notably, despite his size, the 6-foot-2 Bush generated much of his offense on the fast-break and through high-percentage shots resulting from clockwork passing combinations.
“From the jump (we felt jittery),” Bush said. “This was our first playoff experience together, so obviously there was going to be some jitters. Once we got going, we were clicking on all cylinders.”
Burrell senior guards Alex White (14 points) and Pete Spagnolo (11 points, seven steals, five assists) also were impressive.
Sophomore guard Joey Cox scored eight points off the bench.
“I thought every guy contributed,” Niederberger said. “Once we settled down, we played good ball.”
Junior forward Dean Holt and junior guard Adam Walters led Beth-Center with 10 points apiece.
Stephen Catanese is a freelance writer.
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.
Subscribe today! Click here for our subscription offers.