Washington avenges last year's playoff loss to Burrell
By Alex Oltmanns
Published: Saturday, Feb. 15, 2014, 11:33 p.m.
The Burrell boys basketball team found itself in a familiar position from a year ago, with a chance to end Washington's season.
But unlike last year's first-round victory over the Little Prexies en route to the WPIAL Class AA title game, the Bucs fell to Washington, 68-52, on Saturday in a preliminary-round game at Chartiers Valley.
Led by sophomore Nathan Swart's 22 points and senior Dupree Jenkins' 20, Washington (17-6) embraced the challenge of facing Burrell in the playoffs for the second straight year.
“It's a lot of different guys, but when we saw the bracket, that's the first thing we thought of,” Washington coach Mark Gaither said. “We were excited to get another shot at playing them, even though it's a different year.”
After falling behind early and facing a 16-7 deficit after the first quarter, the Bucs (6-16) were forced to abandon their game plan.
“We had a plan to really pack it in, make them shoot the basketball,” Burrell coach Shawn Bennis said. “We watched about four tapes on them, and they score the majority of their points in the paint.
“So we were really packing it in, but if they get a lead you have to start extending.”
That type of defensive adjustment allowed Jenkins to drive the lane, providing open space for the 6-foot-4 Swart to knock down shots from the perimeter. Swart finished with four 3-pointers.
“Swart's a tough matchup because he's so big, and he can step out and shoot it,” Bennis said. “So we knew he could shoot it, sometimes we (went) to go help Jenkins, and he just kicks it back to him, and he can knock down those shots.”
Swart and Jenkins, along with junior Dequay Isbel, who chipped in 14 points, combined for over 80 percent of the Little Prexies' offense and propelled them on to face Section 1-AA champion Summit Academy on Wednesday at a site and time to be determined.
“To have all three of them on the same page like they were today for most of the afternoon, that's a huge difference,” Gaither said.
With just one senior in its starting lineup, Burrell was led by freshman guard Max Garda's 19 points and also received solid contributions in the backcourt from sophomore Brendan Lettrich (15) and junior Joseph Cox (14).
“It's the first playoff experience for every kid on our team,” Bennis said. “I thought they came out and played hard.
“If we hit some more shots, it's a closer game, and down in the end, it might have been a different story.”
With his team moving up to Class AAA next season, Bennis is eager to begin working toward next winter and is confident the Bucs can be successful with the core of the team returning.
“We start four underclassmen and six of our top eight are coming back,” he said. “I'll give them about three weeks off, and we'll get back at it.”
Alex Oltmanns is a freelance writer.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- West Mifflin ponders late breakdowns in PIAA playoff loss
- Serra Catholic’s PIAA path and foe familiar
- Elizabeth Forward girls advance to PIAA second round
- Ligonier Valley basketball is a team effort for Hepner family
- Free-throw shooting keys Fox Chapel’s opening-round win
- High school notebook: Lincoln Park looking forward to rematch with Johnsonburg
- Plum seniors picked for Cager
- Seton-La Salle girls cruise past Blairsville
- Coached by school’s all-time leading scorer, Wilkinsburg surges to Section 4 title
- Roundup: California girls continue historic season, aim for WPIAL title game
- Ligonier Valley girls exit playoffs