High school roundup: Section 3 well represented in WPIAL Class AAAA semifinals
It's now hard to argue with the WPIAL's Quad-A pairings.
All four semifinalists in Class AAAA boys will come from Section 3, with No. 1 seed New Castle, No. 2 North Allegheny, No. 3 Hampton and No. 12 Seneca Valley each advancing with playoff victories Saturday afternoon.
“I think a whole lot of our league,” New Castle coach Ralph Blundo said, “so it's not totally surprising.”
The league's steering committee broke from tradition when it gave the top three seeds to the same section, but its decision has been proven solid.
Undefeated New Castle (24-0) reached the semifinals with a 87-55 victory at Ambridge over No. 9 Gateway (16-6), the two-time defending WPIAL champion. Shawn Anderson led with 26 points, and three other Red Hurricanes scored in double figures.
Gateway led, 27-26, early in the second quarter. But with its disruptive pressure, New Castle finished the first half with a 20-6 run and led, 46-33, at halftime.
“Our ball pressure had to be really good because they're so big,” Blundo said. “If Gateway would have had clean looks into the post, we would have had some problems.” New Castle guards Brandon Domenick and Anthony Richards scored 15 and nine points, respectively, all on 3-pointers, and Malik Hooker had 14. Jordan Landfair led Gateway with 16.
Gateway was trying to become the second boys team to win three consecutive WPIAL Class AAAA titles, first accomplished by New Castle (1997-99).
Hampton 71, McKeesport 63 — Ryan Luther scored 11 consecutive points in the second quarter en route to a game-high 31 as No. 3 Hampton won a quarterfinal-round game at North Allegheny. Hampton (20-4) raced to a 50-28 halftime lead after shooting 69 percent in the opening half.
No. 11 McKeesport (15-8) closed its deficit to 67-63 with 9.3 seconds left, but Hampton hit four foul shots to ice the game. The Talbots made 20 of 24 foul shots and 23 of 40 field goals.
Collin Luther added 15 and Dave Huber 14 for the Talbots, while McKeesport got 12 from Jordon Payne and Jamie Grayson. Carlitto Acie, who scored 28 in a first-round win over Bethel Park, was held to seven on 1-of-7 shooting from 3-point range.
North Allegheny 79, Fox Chapel 61 — R.J. Colabrese scored 18 points, including a 10-for-10 effort from the free-throw line, to pace No. 2 North Allegheny (21-3) to a quarterfinal-round win at North Hills. Matt D'Amico had 23 points for No. 10 Fox Chapel (17-7). The Tigers, who limited the Foxes to one field goal in the last 6:12, will play Hampton in the semifinals Wednesday.
Seneca Valley 44, Upper St. Clair 34 — Seneca Valley held Upper St. Clair scoreless for the first 12 minutes en route to a quarterfinal-round win at North Allegheny. No. 4 USC (20-4) was 3-of-21 shooting in the first half and fell behind 17-10. R.J. McCauley had 13 points, and Easton Bazzoli added 10 for No. 12 Seneca Valley (17-7). Jordan Grabowski had 16 for the Panthers.
Beaver Falls 66, Brentwood 36 — At Ambridge, Elijah Cottrill scored 22 points and Drew Cook added 15 to lead No. 1 Beaver Falls (21-3) to a quarterfinal victory at Ambridge. The win was Beaver Falls' 11th straight. Brentwood (14-10) trailed by only two after the first quarter before being outscored, 35-13, over the next two quarters. Jason Pilarski tallied 21 points in the loss. Beaver Falls will play Apollo-Ridge in the semifinals Wednesday.
Quaker Valley 62, Seton-La Salle 61 — Nelson Westwood scored 20 points and Burke Moser added 15, as No. 6 Quaker Valley (20-4) edged out a quarterfinal win at North Hills. Tied heading into the final quarter, No. 3 Seton-La Salle (21-3) took a four-point lead before Quaker Valley came back. Ryan Norkus paced Seton-La Salle with 18 points, and Eric Marasco added 14 points. Quaker Valley will play Burrell in the quarterfinals Wednesday.
Blackhawk 71, Belle Vernon 46 — Chassidy Omogrosso and Halle Denman scored 24 and 18 points, respectively, while Courtney Vannoy totaled 10 points, 16 rebounds and six steals to lead top-seeded Blackhawk (24-0) to a quarterfinal victory at West Allegheny. Jessica Slagus led No. 9 Belle Vernon (16-7) with 14 points while her sister, Kaitlin, added 13. Blackhawk led at halftime, 41-16.
Elizabeth Forward 66, Central Valley 45 — Kylie Owoc scored 16 points and Dana Buck added 14, as No. 5 Elizabeth Forward (22-2) picked up a quarterfinal win at West Allegheny. Seairra Barrett scored a game-high 18 points for No. 4 Central Valley (18-5), which also got 14 points from Morgan DeMaiolo. Elizabeth Forward will play Blackhawk in the semifinals Wednesday.
Hopewell 70, Ambridge 46 — Maryland recruit Shatori Walker-Kimbrough scored 28 points and added 15 rebounds to lead No. 2 Hopewell (21-3) to a quarterfinal-round victory at West Allegheny. Hopewell opened a 37-17 lead at halftime and rolled to victory. Katie Fischer had 27 points for No. 10 Ambridge (15-9).
South Park 69, Hampton 37 — No. 3-seeded South Park opened a 19-3 first-quarter lead and cruised to a first-round victory at North Allegheny. Shelby Lindsay had 18 points and 10 rebounds, and Allison McGrath and Halie Torris added 18 and 15 points, respectively, to pace the Eagles (21-2), who will play Hopewell in the semifinals Wednesday. Sara Pilarski had 16 points for No. 6 Hampton (18-6).
North Catholic 51, Cornell 22 — Paced by Lauren Wolosik's 21 points, No. 3 North Catholic (15-9) captured a quarterfinal-round victory at Ambridge. The Trojanettes opened a 25-11 halftime lead and held Cornell (12-11) to one point in the third quarter. Abby Goetz had 11 points and 14 rebounds for North Catholic.
Quigley Catholic 60, St. Joseph 31 — At Northgate, Kristen Jackson's 24 points led Quigley Catholic (18-5) to the quarterfinal-round win at Northgate. Mallory Heinle led St. Joseph (11-13) with 14 points.
Serra Catholic 61, Rochester42 — Sisters Katie and Megan Sieg scored 17 and 11 points, respectively, in Serra Catholic's quarterfinal-round win at Northgate. Serra Catholic (22-2), which led, 34-26, at halftime, will play North Catholic in the semifinals Wednesday. Demi McFrazier led Rochester (12-12) with 13 points.
Vincentian 76, Winchester Thurston 59 — Brenna Wise scored 24 points as top-seeded Vincentian (23-1) jumped to a 30-7 lead after one quarter on way to a quarterfinal-round win at North Hills. Abbey Bartoszewicz added 16 points for Vincentian, while Alexis Lonero scored a game-high 28 points for Winchester Thurston (13-9), which also got 18 points from Brytney Humphries. The Royals will play Quigley in the semifinals Wednesday.
McGuffey's Courtney Stiles scored 395 points to win the state rifle championship Saturday. WPIAL champion Hempfield won the state team title for the second straight year with 974 points to edge McGuffey (969) and Avella (968).