Hampton boys, Vincentian girls basketball teams advance
With several local teams enjoying deep runs in the WPIAL bracket, many of those teams also qualified for the PIAA bracket.
Hampton 50, Perry 41
Following an emotional run to the WPIAL finals, the Hampton boys basketball team hit a bit of a bump in the road against Perry in the PIAA opener.
“The biggest difference was that the kids were really pumped up in the WPIAL tournament with the fans and the packed venues,” Hampton coach Joe Lafko said. “Playing in front of a half-full gym with no cheerleaders was just something they were not used to. That doesn't make an excuse for the intensity.”
Hampton built a 12-point lead at the half, but a switch to a 2-3 defense by Perry tripped up the Talbots in the third quarter, leading to a 13-4 Perry run that cut the Hampton lead to one point. The switch forced some Hampton turnovers, and the Talbots did themselves no favors by missing nine 3-point shots.
The bailout came from Collin Luther, who hit a 3-pointer with five minutes left in regulation to get Hampton going again.
“Good teams find a way to win, and we did,” Lafko said.
Luther led the Talbots with 19 points, and twin brother Ryan chipped in 15 and guard David Huber 10.
Hampton played Erie Cathedral Prep on Tuesday. Results of that game were unavailable as of press time.
Vincentian 58, Keystone 31
The Lady Royals made it look easy once again, taking a 34-11 lead at the half. Brenna Wise led the charge once again with 13 points and 10 rebounds.
“We had a week to prepare for the game, and it's one and done at this point and we want to go as far as we possibly can,” Wise said. “We are playing so well together and have that chemistry where everyone knows each other's strengths and weakness. We just have to stay focused and leave it all on the floor.”
Wise said coach Ron Moncrief has the team ready, but when they step between the lines, it all comes down to the players.
Forest Hills 46, Hampton 43
A late 11-5 run by Forest Hills wound up giving it the win.
Senior forward Sara Pilarski led the way for Hampton with 16 points.
“I think we exceeded expectations to some extent but still fell short some,” Hampton coach Mary Bukovac said. “We had some young kids step up (so we were not sure what to expect), but they did a great job.”
Bukovac said that she has had some good teams over the years, most notably the 2008 WPIAL championship team. But she said this year's squad is the epitome of what a team is.
“This team wanted to win,” Bukovac said. “They did not care who played or got the credit, and as a coach, I was really proud of that.”
That mentality showed by running through the section with a 12-0 mark and winning the section crown outright.
“You always wish for that, but never think you will go undefeated,” Bukovac said. “We stole a win at Kittanning on their senior night. We were down a lot, and the fact we had to fight led to our success.”
The loss spells the end for the season for Hampton and with that a farewell to seniors Pilarski, Julie DiBucci and Brianna Intrieri.
“When you lose your leading scorer, shot-blocker and rebounder (Pilarski), it is hard, especially with her taking so many younger players under her wing,” Bukovac said. “Bri really stepped up as a leader and did a nice job, and Julie was a great team player for us.”
The plus side is the youth saw a good bit of playing time. With upperclassmen Amanda Reece, Jordan Busshaus and Caitlin Jameson coming back along with Caroline Waldschmidt, Alexiss Griggs and Jada Alim, the Lady Talbots look to have a good foundation for the next couple of seasons.
Jerry Clark is a sports editor for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-779-6979 or firstname.lastname@example.org.