Vincentian edges Clairton to claim WPIAL Class A title
By Mark Kaboly
Published: Friday, March 1, 2013, 8:48 p.m.
Matt Geletko was pacing the sidelines just waiting for the comeback to begin because, well, Clairton never loses in championship games.
He wasn't the only one.
The near-capacity crowd at Duquesne's A.J. Palumbo Center had an eerie silence anticipating Clairton to show a glimpse of what led them to a state record 63-consecutive wins, five consecutive WPIAL titles and four straight state crowns on the football field.
Vincentian had other plans.
The Royals used an up-tempo, drive-it-to-the-basket style to wear down Clairton and then turned the game over to Jim Kenna.
Kenna scored a game-high 24 points, 16 of which came in the decisive second half, as No. 1 Vincentian rolled to its second Class A championship in three years with an 86-74 win.
“We've read the newspaper the past couple days,” Vincentian coach George Yokitis said. “We knew what we were up against, and we drew inspiration from that.”
Kenna had the game of his life as he went 7 of 9 from the floor, including 4 of 5 from 3-point range. He was also a perfect 6 for 6 from the foul line and added 11 rebounds.
The Royals (25-1) got 16 from Tony DiNardo while Ryan Wolf added 14, Jay Cortese 11 and Kevin Fischer 10.
Clairton (16-7), which attempted 82 shots, got 20 points from Bryon Clifford while Terrish Webb chipped in with 15, Aaron Matthews 10 and Armani Ford 10.
“My guess is they aren't handling this too well right now,” Geletko said. “This is the first time that we lost in any kind of title game. I think we just kind of ran out of gas.”
Vincentian had plenty to do with that. Yokitis' style is to push the ball down the court and attack the basket, and Clairton's athleticism — with three Division I football players on the court — didn't change that philosophy.
“We told the kids to go to the hoop aggressively,” Yokitis said. “We drive and we try to make it.”
Or in this instance, they go to the foul line. Vincentian converted on a championship-game record 31-of-46 free throws while drawing 28 fouls to Clairton's 14. The Bears attempted only 12 foul shots.
“That tells a big part of the story there,” Geletko said.
Yokitis saw it differently.
“We shoot a lot of foul shots because of the way we push the action,” Yokitis said. “Teams get a little tired and can't move their feet. I think any team that pushes the ball will shoot foul shots. It is hard to referee us because we are all over the place.”
Following an even-played first half, Vincentian took control early in the third when the Royals went on a 11-0 run in a span of 4:15 to turn a 44-39 deficit into a 50-44 lead.
Clairton was able to whittle its deficit down to 51-49 minutes later, but Vincentian got the lead back to eight by the end of the quarter, and when Kenna hit a 3-pointer a minute into the final quarter, the Royals led 68-57.
“They went on a quick run and took a lead and I was getting a little bit nervous,” Kenna said. “We always play in spurts. I was a little bit confident.”
Vincentian connected on 16-of-22 foul shots in the final quarter to put the game away and end Clairton's title hopes.
“We are not used to the silver,” Clairton's Tyler Boyd said.
Mark Kaboly is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter @MarkKaboly_Trib.
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.
- A-K Valley PIAA girls basketball playoff preview capsules
- Thomas Jefferson, Central Valley prepare for rematch
- Greyhounds again in underdog role
- PIAA girls basketball roundup: Mt. Lebanon ousted in first round
- Derry’s Phillippi upset in PIAA quarterfinals
- Serra Catholic’s PIAA path and foe familiar
- Breaking down the PIAA boys basketball playoffs
- TJ boys hang on despite foul trouble
- Hampton, Luther prove too tall a task for Allderdice
- Greensburg Central Catholic boys roll past Bald Eagle in PIAA opener
- West Mifflin ponders late breakdowns in PIAA playoff loss