Hempfield snaps playoff losing streak by topping Mt. Lebanon
TribLIVE Sports Videos
The playoff losing streak for the Hempfield boys basketball program is finally over.
The sixth-seeded Spartans ended the streak of WPIAL Class AAAA first-round losses by coasting to a 74-56 victory against Mt. Lebanon on Wednesday at Canon-McMillan. It was the Spartans' first playoff win since 2003.
The Spartans will play No. 3 seed North Allegheny, which defeated Norwin, in a quarterfinal-round game Saturday at a site and time to be determined. North Allegheny downed Norwin, 66-36.
“I don't know what happened in the past or care,” first-year Hempfield coach Mark Marino said. “We're happy, but we have lofty expectations. We proved we were playing our best basketball coming into the playoffs.
“We have a saying and it was our motto at practice this week, ‘Just do your job.' Whatever your role is, if we do it 100 percent, we're going to get consistent results. And I was happy with those results.”
Hempfield (21-2) broke opened a tight game by going on 10-0 run to end the first quarter and grab a 21-10 lead.
The Spartans stretched their lead to 42-20 by halftime behind the one-two punch of Logan Hunter and Kason Harrell.
Hunter scored 14 of his team-high 19 points in the first half and Harrell had 12 of his 16.
“As a team, we were mentally focused,” Hunter said. “We haven't got much respect over the years, so we wanted to get that one off our back. I thought we played our best game of the year.”
Hempfield was 29 for 43 from the field, including 6 for 9 from 3-point range. Mt. Lebanon was only 17 for 43. The Spartans also out-rebounded Mt. Lebanon, 30-22.
Tony Pilato, the 6-foot-8 center, scored 13 of his 17 points in the second half when Hempfield worked for more shots in the paint.
Mt. Lebanon (11-12) just couldn't handle the Spartans big trio.
“When Kason can be your third scoring option, that's a good night,” Marino said. “When you're led by Logan and Tony and Kason still gets his, that's good.”
But what impressed Marino even more was his team's second-half performance.
“Mt. Lebanon is battle-tested,” Marino said. “I don't care what their record is. Their section obviously is extremely well respected by the WPIAL committee to the degree of some of the seedings they got.
“We knew they were going to throw some punches in the third and fourth quarter and I thought we were able to respond very well. We stayed patient and we were disciplined.”
Jonny David, the coach's son, hit five 3-pointers and finished with a game-high 31 points for Mt. Lebanon, the third-place team from Section 4.
After Hempfield opened up 44-20 lead early in the third quarter, the Blue Devils scraped their way to within 48-33 by outscoring the Spartans 13-4.
That would be as close as they would get.
“They are a very good basketball team, and I knew we had to play very well to beat them,” Mt. Lebanon coach Joey David said. “They are physical, they're big and we're not. We don't have the athletes they have.
“We had to stay with them early but it got away. We don't catch up very well. They were just the better team.”
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.
- HS highlight reel: Softball standouts make commitment to Marist
- High school roundup: Pine-Richland squad wins PIAA spirit title
- Neither coach happy after Monessen beats Avella by 90 points
- Snyder taking his best shot for Seneca Valley
- Connellsville holds off Kiski Area for big win
- Knoch boys adjusting after losing point guard Hannes to injury
- Clutch free throws lift West Mifflin boys over Steel Valley
- High school roundup: Upper St. Clair holds off rival Bethel Park
- Southmoreland holds off Greensburg Salem in foul-filled contest
- Hempfield girls basketball team working to improve during season’s 2nd half
- Led by freshman Jurkovec, Pine-Richland chasing trip to playoffs