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Quaker Valley boys reflect on another successful season

| Wednesday, March 13, 2013, 9:00 p.m.
Erica Hilliard | Valley News Dispatch
Quaker Valley's Nelson Westwood pushes past Burrell's Alex White during the WPIAL Class AA semifinal game Wednesday, Feb. 27, 2013 at North Allegheny High School.

Quaker Valley coach Mike Mastroianni said his team did what was needed to defeat Lakeview in the opening round of the PIAA Class AA playoffs — it controlled the tempo, played well on defense and followed the game plan.

The Quakers just ran out of gas on the offensive end.

Quaker Valley surrendered a three-point halftime lead and was outscored 21-14 in the second half as the Sailors walked away with a 44-40 win, ending the Quakers' season.

“I really think we played well,” Mastroianni said. “I think we burned a lot of energy on defense so we didn't have legs on offense. We missed some shots in the second half we made in the first. We had chances but couldn't convert.”

The Quakers (20-6) fell behind 15-11 but forced five Lakeview turnovers in the second quarter. They then made 7 of 11 attempts to outscore the Sailors 15-8 and take a 26-23 lead into halftime.

The Quakers' defense was fierce in the third quarter, holding Lakeview scoreless for a stretch of six minutes and building the lead to 31-24. But the Sailors rebounded late, starting with a 3-pointer from Dalton Boggs. The basket sparked a 11-2 run, as Lakeview took the lead into the final frame.

Westwood connected on a 3-pointer with a minute to go to cut the Sailors' lead to 41-40. Lakeview missed on its next possession but the ensuing Quakers possession was shut down by the Sailors defense, as Nelson Westwood was ruled to be out of bounds while diving for a loose ball.

Boggs made it 42-40 with a free throw, but after missing the second, teammate Coty Gander collected the rebound and sunk two free throws keep Quaker Valley at bay.

Burke Moser led the Quakers with 14 points. Westwood added 10. Boggs led all scorers with 16 points. Gander added 10.

While it was a disappointing end to the season, Mastroianni wanted to remember this season for what his squad accomplished leading up to the PIAA tournament. After starting the season 5-3, the Quakers went 13-1 to finished the season and reached a 13th straight WPIAL playoffs and second straight PIAA tournament.

“We had some great senior leadership,” Mastroianni said. “Once we got healthy and the young guys starting following the seniors, things turned around.”

In the opening rounds of the WPIAL Class AA playoffs, Quaker Valley defeated Riverside, 53-48, and Seton-La Salle, 62-61, before falling in the semifinals to Burrell, 43-32, in overtime.

The experience in the postseason should bode well for future seasons as the Quakers return seven juniors and five sophomores. The group includes junior guard Qadir Taylor, who averaged 8.7 ppg, and sophomore guard Chris Conlan, who averaged 8.6 reboundes per game.

“We actually have a large group of players coming back,” Mastroianni said. “The runs we had through the WPIALs and state playoffs the last two years will benefit the team. We will need the junior class to step up and be the leaders.”

But replacing this season's senior class will be hard to do. The Quakers were led by four-year starters Moser and Westwood. Moser led the team in points and rebounds, averaging 14.2 ppg and 8.7 rpg. Westwood was a leader on offense and averaged 7.2 ppg.

Jake McGarry was a two-year player and Micah Glenn and Rico Brown each played for a season. Mastroianni said each player brought something unique to the team, and their contributions this season with help the program in future years.

“We always talk to the younger players and use the older players as examples,” Mastroianni said. “It was a unique group of seniors. The intangibles that (Moser) and (Westwood) brought with them from other sports really helped the team.

“I told them after the game they should be proud of what they accomplished.

Nathan Smith is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at nsmith@tribweb.com.

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