Cold shooting dooms Apollo-Ridge boys in playoff loss to Quaker Valley

| Wednesday, Feb. 19, 2014, 11:45 p.m.

The usually reliable shooting touch for the Apollo-Ridge boys basketball team abandoned the Vikings on Wednesday night.

Apollo-Ridge shot 19.2 percent (5 of 26) from the field in the first half.

Quaker Valley took advantage, controlling the boards and rolling to a 64-47 Class AA first-round victory at North Allegheny.

The Quakers (21-2) move on to the quarterfinals against Greensburg Central Catholic on Saturday at a time and site to be determined.

The Vikings (19-4) came into the game shooting 45 percent.

“We missed 16 shots in the paint in the first half,” Apollo-Ridge coach Matt Gourley said. “We just couldn't stop their penetration — they do a heckuva good job when they have the advantage, numbers-wise.”

Quaker Valley's big man, 6-foot-4 senior John Bernard, picked up two personal fouls less than four minutes into the game and was benched.

Chris Conlan picked up the slack with seven first-quarter rebounds.

“I thought our defense the entire game was good,” Quakers coach Mike Mastroianni said. “We rebounded, one and done. Tre Tipton's a very scary player going to the offensive boards, so we concentrated the best we could on him.”

Tipton finished his junior season with another stellar outing, collecting 22 points, 16 rebounds and three assists.

Conlan, son of former Penn State and Buffalo Bills linebacker Shane Conlan, scored 10 points in the first half as Quaker Valley took a 31-15 lead.

The Quakers staged a 10-0 run midway through the second quarter.

The only thing that stopped the Quaker Valley surge was that freshman Amos Luptak forgot to check in with the scorer's table and was charged with a technical foul.

Alex Smith made the two foul shots, but the Vikings couldn't convert the inbounds play.

Quaker Valley also made its first nine free throws in the first half.

Gourley put Dylan Flickinger into the lineup, and the sophomore responded with 13 points, all in the second half.

“Dylan doesn't play very much, but we were just looking for a spark,” Gourley said. “He gave us a spark, but Quaker Valley is so good at penetrating and dumping it off, and they were just better than us tonight.”

Flickinger's 3-pointer with 6:18 left in the game brought Apollo-Ridge within 45-34, but the Vikings couldn't get any closer, and the Quakers distributed the scoring throughout the lineup the rest of the way.

Winter Fondi scored 16 points and corralled nine rebounds for the Quakers. Conlan contributed 15 points and 14 rebounds.

The Quakers didn't have a 3-pointer the entire night, instead relying on driving lanes to the basket.

Apollo-Ridge handled the ball well, committing just six turnovers.

George Guido is a freelance writer.

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