No. 3 Montour routs TJ to coast into semifinals
TribLIVE Sports Videos
The lane was empty, so Montour's Devin Wilson drove and dunked almost unchallenged.
It wasn't that Thomas Jefferson's defense was underestimating the talented point guard, but the Jaguars just couldn't ignore his teammates. Montour's Rob Julian and Kevin Scuilli combined for nine 3-pointers in a 59-40 victory on Friday night, carrying the Spartans into the WPIAL Class AAA semifinals for the third straight season.
“When they're hot and making threes like they were today, the lane opens up tremendously,” said Wilson, who scored 20 points and used his passing to key a 13-1 first-half run that gave Montour a lead it never lost.
Montour made 9 of 20 from 3-point range. Julian had six, and Scuilli added three. Thomas Jefferson faced a difficult situation: Guard the perimeter, and Wilson drove. Smother Wilson, and the Spartans shooters sank 3s.
“It all works through Wilson,” Thomas Jefferson coach Dom DeCicco said. “He controls tempo and everything. You don't want to make him a distributor and you also don't want him to be a scorer. He became both tonight.”
That showed with 4 minutes left, when Wilson dunked against a Jaguars defense that was stretched thin.
“The lane was wide-open because they were so concerned about them two making threes,” said Wilson, who had a coach from George Mason in the crowd at Bethel Park to watch him. “That makes my life so much easier.”
No. 3 seed Montour (20-4) will face No. 2 Mars in the semifinals. No. 6 Thomas Jefferson (17-7), the Section 4-AAA champion, still would qualify for the PIAA playoffs should Montour reach the WPIAL championship game for the second time in three seasons. Montour, which lost in the semifinals last season, won the Class AAA title in 2011.
Zach Talley scored 18 for Thomas Jefferson, which suffered a couple long scoring droughts.
After scoring the game's first points, a basket by Chase Winovich at 2:19 into the first quarter, Thomas Jefferson didn't score again until 13 seconds into the second. By then, Montour led, 9-2.
“To beat them you've got to get the lead on them,” DeCicco said, “because it changes how we'll defense and it changes how they attack.”
After making just one field goal in the first 10 minutes, Thomas Jefferson made three consecutive 3-pointers in just 54 seconds. The third 3-pointer, by Talley, gave the Jaguars a 13-12 lead with 4:50 left before half.
But the lead was short-lived. Montour ended the first half with a 13-1 run, which included five points by Wilson. Montour led, 24-13, at halftime.
“That was a killer,” DeCicco said, “because we'd had great momentum.”
Julian and Scuilli made three of their nine 3-pointers in the fourth quarter, keeping Thomas Jefferson from rallying. With 5 minutes left, Scuilli's 3-pointer pushed Montour's lead back to 12.
“We're hard to guard when we're shooting the ball like that,” Montour coach Adam Kaufmann said, “and we have really good shooters.”
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.