Serra Catholic boys exact revenge on South Allegheny
It was payback time Friday night for Serra Catholic.
In a reversal of roles from almost a year ago, the Eagles defeated playoff-bound South Allegheny, 59-47, in a one-sided WPIAL Section 3-AA boys basketball game at a packed Serra Catholic gym.
“It was 364 days ago that we went went into South Allegheny as a playoff team and lost,” Serra Catholic coach Vince Gibbons said of South Allegheny's 41-40 victory Feb. 8, 2013.
It was part of a five-game losing streak that ended Serra Catholic's season.
“We weren't playing particularly well at the time, and that loss didn't help,” Gibbons said.
Serra Catholic fell to Mohawk in the first round of the WPIAL playoffs.
Now South Allegheny is struggling as the Gladiators (14-8, 8-4), who were playing in their regular-season finale, head into the postseason for the first time since 2002-03 having lost four of their past six games.
“We were able to get a little measure of satisfaction back tonight,” Gibbons said. “Both teams played hard, but we were a little better.”
Joe Satira scored 17 points to lead Serra Catholic (9-12, 5-7), which plays for the final time Monday night in a nonsection game at West Mifflin.
Tyler Grebur and Nate Andrews added 13 points each for the Eagles, who ended a three-game losing streak that included a 56-point loss to No. 2 Greensburg Central Catholic on Tuesday.
“I would rather be going to the playoffs,” Gibbons said, “but I'm excited with the way we went about our business tonight. Everyone played really, really hard. I'm happy for our seniors, too, because they were a big part of this win.”
The victory also avenged a 51-33 loss at South Allegheny on Jan. 14, part of a seven-game winning streak for the Gladiators at the time.
“Even though we'd won our last two games, we haven't been playing well lately,” South Allegheny coach Tony DiCenzo said. “Our lack of experience and depth has shown at times, and it's hurt us.”
Kordell Thompson led South Allegheny with 20 points, and Ty Cook added 15 before both fouled out in the fourth quarter.
Serra Catholic shot 15 for 25 from the free-throw line, while South Allegheny made just 1 of 2 attempts, both of which came late in the fourth quarter.
“This program has been down for a while, and we're just not useed to winning,” DiCenzo said. “We need to mature and be mentally ready in a hurry because when you get into the playoffs, it's a different world. You're facing playoff-caliber teams, and right now, we're not good enough to walk into a gym unprepared.”
Serra Catholic led from wire to wire, outscoring South Allegheny in all four quarters.
The Eagles were in front 26-17 at halftime and pushed their advantage to 11 midway through the third quarter before building it to 48-34 with 6:02 left on a three-point play by Andrews, a 6-foot-1 sophomore.
South Allegheny got no closer than nine points the rest of the way.
Dave Mackall is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at email@example.com.