Share This Page

Kittanning wins 2 straight playoff games for 1st time since 1925

| Tuesday, Feb. 19, 2013, 11:39 p.m.
Central Valley's #11 Michael Sims attempts to score against Kittanning's #34 Vince Mead during the playoff basketball game at Hampton High School on Tuesday February 20, 2013. Erica Hilliard | Valley News Dispatch

Stressed by the man-to-man, full-court pressure Central Valley presented in the opening minute of Tuesday's WPIAL Class AAA first-round game, Kittanning senior Sterling Henry turned to his favorite in-action therapy: He threw one down on a fast break.

Henry and the Wildcats (20-4) matched the intensity of No. 5 seed Central Valley (16-7) and came away victorious, scoring the final six points in a 67-62 win at Hampton. Kittanning's consecutive playoff wins — last accomplished in 1925 — advanced the team to the quarterfinals, where it will play No. 4 Beaver (18-3) on Friday.

“At the beginning, I was really nervous,” said Henry, who finished with a game-high 30 points. “I didn't know if I was going to get rid of them. But it wore off, especially once I got that first dunk.”

Henry's steal and the slam that followed one minute into the game set the tone in this up-tempo clash. Kittanning had six turnovers in the first quarter, while Central Valley had five.

“They check the (box) scores, and I think going in, they felt confident they could compete with (Central Valley),” Kittanning coach Bill Henry said. “They knew (Central Valley's players) were going to come right up in our faces and pressure our guards. ... At times, we didn't handle it well, and at times, we did.”

The third quarter featured a duel between Sterling Henry and Central Valley's Mike Sims, who scored 10 of his 13 points during that period. Henry, who had 14 points in the quarter, sank two 3-pointers, twice attacked the center lane for layups and had two fast-break baskets.

Kittanning remained ahead of or even with the Warriors until midway through the fourth quarter, when Brian Kolich sank back-to-back 3-pointers to put Central Valley ahead, 56-54.

Tension arose in the final three minutes, but Sterling Henry sank all four free throws he shot in the final 30 seconds to put Kittanning ahead for good. Mike Sims launched a potential game-tying 3-pointer with about 5 seconds left, but Alek Schaffer grabbed the rebound for Kittanning.

“The teams we've struggled with the most this year are the ones that are long,” Central Valley coach Brandon Ambrose said. “We're small; our guards are small. And that makes it hard for us to create.”

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.