West Mifflin unleashes 3-point barrage in victory over Steel Valley
Coach Lance Maha wouldn't want to play his team right now — not with the way West Mifflin is making 3-pointers.
Maha's son Ryan, a senior guard, scored 25 points, sophomore Josh Long added 20, and West Mifflin made 8 of 9 3-point attempts in the second half and 13 for the game to beat visiting Steel Valley, 82-70, in a WPIAL Section 4-AAA game Friday.
The loss ended the Ironmen's six-game winning streak.
West Mifflin (10-5, 6-4), which won its third in a row and fourth in the past five games, got 13 points from sophomore Karlyn Garner.
The Titans, who are averaging 13 3-pointers since Jan. 3, converted 13 for a second consecutive game. They also made 13 in a 77-71 victory Tuesday at Belle Vernon — a game in which Ryan Maha surpassed 1,000 career points.
“I wouldn't want to look across the table at the pairings meeting and see us,” Lance Maha said. “We don't have much size, but we're definitely one of the teams in this section that can win in the playoffs. We can be a tough out.”
Especially if the Titans are hitting from long range. They did against Steel Valley, pulling away at the start of the second half and holding off a fourth-quarter rally to avenge an 82-81 road loss to the Ironmen on Jan. 15.
Maha and Long hit West Mifflin's first five 3-point attempts to open the second half and expand the Titans' 11-point halftime lead during a fast-paced third quarter that saw the Titans outscore Steel Valley, 26-22.
West Mifflin led by as many as 18 before Steel Valley made a run in the fourth, keyed by senior guard Dorian Broadwater's steal and layup. A 3-pointer moments later cut the West Mifflin lead to 60-54.
“We couldn't get untracked in this atmosphere until the second half, it seemed,” Steel Valley coach Shawn McCallister said. “We were playing like a deer in headlights in the first half. We just gave away too many possessions. We couldn't get much scoring going.”
Broadwater led Steel Valley (13-3, 7-3) with 19 points. Dominique Keyes added 18, and Ajan Smith had 17.
Maha, playing with pain in his left knee, scored 18 second-half points. Long scored 12, all on 3-pointers.
“He came in and zinged us,” McCallister said of Long. “We didn't count on him doing that.”
McCallister wasn't surprised by Maha's output, and he said he isn't alone in that sentiment.
“I love him as a player,” McCallister said. “Ryan is a class act on and off the floor. I don't think you'll get any argument from anyone on that.”
Long's 3-pointer with 5:04 left accounted for West Mifflin's first points of the fourth quarter and ended Steel Valley's comeback attempt.
Maha's leaning jumper in the lane and Garner's driving layup gave West Mifflin another cushion as the Titans took a 67-54 lead.
“This is our best win of the season. They're a quality team,” Lance Maha said. “We played like we wanted to play tonight.”
Dave Mackall is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.