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OLSH wins in rout, eliminates St. Joseph from playoffs

Steph Chambers | Tribune-Review
Penn-Trafford's Maria Palarino (12) shoots the ball past Plum's Alyson Weifenbaugh (14) and Courtney Zezza (44) during the first round of WPIAL playoffs on Friday, Feb. 14, 2014 at Penn Hills High School. Penn-Trafford won 46-43.

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By George Guido
Friday, Feb. 14, 2014, 11:57 p.m.

When your team loses by 50 points, there is no use being angry.

After Our Lady of the Sacred Heart pounded St. Joseph, 86-36, Friday night in a first-round Class A playoff game, laughter originated from the Spartans' locker room.

“This is a great group of kids,” said St. Joseph coach Kelly Robinson. “They did make the playoffs, kept the (playoff) streak alive at 12 straight years and played hard the whole game.”

Robinson added that the chuckles came from recalling a couple of chicken-wing nights after victories where the 16th-year coach treated the squad.

“I told them they even cost me a lot in tips,” Robinson said with a laugh. “But I had two different waitresses tell me how well-behaved they were.”

OLSH took an early lead Friday in the game at Northgate and rolled from there.

Cameron Johnson led five Chargers in double figures with 20 points.

The 6-foot-6 swingman, son of former Pitt player Gilbert Johnson, had seven field goals and blocked four Spartans shots.

Ian Schneck was 6 of 10 from the field and scored 16 points, while Nick Metz led with 12 rebounds.

“I wouldn't say everything was working for us, but we did what we had to do to win the game,” Johnson said. “I've been working hard for the past couple of offseasons, and this is the moment we've been waiting for a couple of years now.”

OLSH (18-5), the No. 5 seed, will play Cardinal Wuerl North Catholic Tuesday at a time and seed to be determined.

St. Joseph finished the season 8-15.

The Spartans had seven turnovers in the first quarter, including miscues on three straight possessions. The Chargers took advantage and scored seven points off the turnovers, rolling to a 23-5 lead.

“We had a game plan coming in, and my gosh, their kids didn't miss many shots,” Robinson said. “It's been the way our season has ended. Those turnovers just compound things when you play a big, fast team. We tried the best we could, but when the wheels came off, it became tough.”

Eight more Spartans turnovers in the second quarter resulted in a 48-20 advantage for OLSH at the half.

“We did get a jump early, but let me tell you something, those St. Joseph boys played hard,” Chargers coach Mike Rodriguez said. “I've got to take my hat off to coach Robinson. He's a gentleman and a great coach. They were undersized, but the score didn't indicate how hard they played.”

St. Joseph's tallest starter was 6-4 Sam Beaver. The OLSH starters averaged 6-3.

“You try to get better at how you execute at this time of year,” Rodriguez said. “You don't want to run up the score, but you have to get your team ready to play.”

One bright spot for the Spartans was the play of sophomore Noah Ferguson, who came off the bench to lead his team with nine points, including 7 of 9 from the foul line.

George Guido is a freelance writer.

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