ShareThis Page

Burrell bolts to playoff victory over Washington

| Wednesday, Feb. 20, 2013, 11:15 p.m.
Burrell's Pete Spagnolo puts up a shot over Washington's Dupree Jenkins during a game at Hempfield High School on Wednesday, February 20, 2013. Brian F. Henry | Tribune-Review

Burrell coach Rob Niederberger has been calling his team “a resilient bunch” all season.

Resiliency was needed Wednesday night.

Burrell fell behind by six in the fourth quarter but staged an 18-0 run and posted a 61-50 victory over Washington.

Two steals by Pete Spagnolo and two layups by Matt Hess helped propel the Bucs to the decisive run in the WPIAL Class AA first-round win at the Hempfield.

The Little Prexies took a 48-42 lead with 5:55 left but didn't score again until Jaylin Kelly hit a pair of free throws with 1:16 remaining.

Burrell (17-6) will play Greensburg Central Catholic in the quarterfinal round Saturday at a site and time to be determined.

Wash High, in the WPIAL playoffs for the 56th time, concluded its season at 17-7.

“The thing about our guys is that they just don't quit,” Niederberger said. “You've got to remember this senior class won just four games two years ago. These guys don't know the word quit. We've had games where we were down by six with a minute left, and we still won.”

Spagnolo's steal and basket with 4:06 to go gave Burrell the lead for good at 49-48.

After a strong move to the hoop by Hess, Spagnolo stole the ball in front of the Washington bench. The possession resulted in a 3-pointer by Joey Cox, and the Bucs suddenly had a 54-48 advantage.

Cole Bush's block stopped another Little Prexies opportunity. Bush scored on the opposite end to put Burrell ahead by eight.

“We knew we had to make some plays out there, and we were able to do it,” Spagnolo said.

“We found out our point guard wasn't going to play when we got to the gym,” Washington coach Mark Gaithers said. “But we put ourselves in position to win, and we self-destructed. But give credit to them.”

Another factor was bench scoring: Burrell's reserves outscored Washington, 12-3.

James Liput entered the game in the second period with Spagnolo and point guard Alex White in foul trouble. Liput responded with a key 3-pointer and a later basket to give Burrell a 30-26 lead at the half.

“I can't say enough about what James did for us tonight,” Niederberger said. “He came up with huge buckets in that second quarter. He's had a tough couple of years with his concussions, and he was ready to play tonight.”

Spagnolo led the Bucs with 18 points, and Hess added 15. Bush had nine points, 14 rebounds, five assists and three blocked shots.

Five players scored during Burrell's 18-0 surge.

“They hurt us all night on their backdoor plays and got some easy buckets,” Gaithers said. “We got a little stagnant, took some forced jumpers.”

Senior Josh Wise led the Little Prexies with 19 points. Jordan Drew added 12.

George Guido is a freelance writer.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using 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.