Quaker Valley captures PBC Summer League title
To get by Sto-Rox in the Pittsburgh Basketball Club Summer League Class AA/A title game, all Quaker Valley need was a blast of Winter.
Rising senior Winter Fondi scored 15 first-half points to guide the Quakers to a 62-50 win and a summer league title.
“We worked hard and moved the ball around well,” the guard said. “We had a couple of turnovers but we played through.”
The Vikings got the better of Quaker Valley early on as they built a 7-0 lead. Quaker Valley coach Mike Mastroianni said a combination of facing a section opponent — which defeated the Quakers twice this past season — along with trying to get past 6-foot-6 forward Makil Allen may have led to the shaky start.
“It is a section rival so the team is probably more excited than it has been this summer,” Mastroianni said. “We just seemed tight early on. But we had to keep with the attack. There is no other way of beating them.”
The strategy paid off when Fondi connected on two foul shots at the 17:35 mark to give the Quakers their first points of the game. Getting on the scoreboard seemed to give Quaker Valley a spark. Fondi and junior Tyler Garbee connected on back to back 3-pointers to pull within one, and the team took a 14-13 lead at the 9:40 mark after a Qadir Taylor layup.
“We started out tight,” senior guard Christian Miller said. “Even though we were down 7-0, we kept playing our game and kept the energy up. We realized we could play with them and needed to keep going at them.”
Quaker Valley outscored Sto-Rox, 13-7, over the final nine minutes of the half to take a seven-point lead into the break.
Miller helped extend the lead over the opening minutes of the second half as he scored six straight points to put the Quakers ahead, 35-22. Quaker Valley coasted to the win the rest of the game.
“It feels good to cap of the summer we had with this win,” senior forward John Bernard said. “We played some really good teams and it lets us know how good we are.”
Fondi led the team with 19 points. Miller added eight and Bernard had seven.
It was the conclusion of a long summer season for Quaker Valley. In addition to the PBC Summer League that ran from May until last week, the Quakers competed in leagues at Robert Morris, North Hills High School and Slippery Rock.
Winning a title was a good way to cap it all, but Mastroainni said this is just the beginning of the work the team needs to put in during the offseason.
“Anytime you can win a championship, it helps confidence-wise,” Mastroianni said. “In about two weeks, the guys will disappear into fall sports. But we will need to continue forward and improve on our skills and shooting.”
While the WPIAL basketball season doesn't get under way for another six months, the Quakers know they can't slack off. The team will continue to have open gyms throughout the summer and fall as it continues to prepare for the 2013-14 campaign.
“It is a good start,” Fondi said. “We got to keep going though. We are a few months away. If we stop now, we will lose everything we have built up.”
“We will get out what we put in,” Miller added. “If we keep working hard and keep playing well, we will be fine.”