Uniontown tops Elizabeth Forward to reach WPIAL semifinals
TribLIVE Sports Videos
Elizabeth Forward coach Gerald Grayson and Uniontown coach Rob Kezmarsky agreed on one thing: Neither team had anything left to give.
Elizabeth Forward rallied a 22-point, first-half deficit, and Uniontown did all it could to fend off a second-half onslaught, prevailing to earn its first semifinal appearance in 12 years.
Xavier Ellis hit a 3-pointer and followed with a steal and layup late in the fourth quarter of a tie game, and the No. 5 Red Raiders hit 9 of 13 foul shots down the stretch in an 86-79 Class AAA quarterfinal win over No. 4 Elizabeth Forward (20-4).
Uniontown (21-1) will advance to take on No. 1 Chartiers Valley (23-1) on Tuesday at a site and time to be determined. It will be Uniontown's first semifinal game since 2002, when the Red Raiders went on to win the Class AAAA title.
“People tend to forget that we've made it to the round of eight the past three years,” Kezmarsky said. “But I am proud of these kids. They worked hard and gave it their all out there.”
Jordan Pratt led Uniontown with 18 points, and three of his teammates added double figures — Joseph Campbell (20), Ellis (18) and Jeremy Perkins (14). Perkins added 13 rebounds.
Elizabeth Forward, which needs Uniontown to beat Chartiers Valley to qualify for the PIAA playoffs, got 23 points from Jaquaun Davidson and 19 from Austin Matta, while Jason Brooks added 14. George Prota chipped in with six points, 10 rebounds and three blocks.
“We came back from so far and we fought, and I don't know if we had anything left,” Grayson said. “We just couldn't fight anymore. It was an uphill battle from the start.”
Uniontown's full-court press gave Elizabeth Forward fits early on.
The Warriors turned over the ball seven times in the first quarter and 11 times in the half which helped the Red Raiders race to a 36-14 lead three minutes into the second quarter.
“You don't see that many points scored in a high school game too often,” Kezmarsky said. “When we press, we can score 100 points per game. When we pressed tonight up 34-14, they called fouls.”
Uniontown turned the ball over eight times in the third, and despite hitting 7 of 9 shots from the floor in the quarter, led only 58-54 heading into the final quarter.
After Uniontown took a 62-54 lead early in the fourth, EF rattled off a 9-1 run and when Davidson hit a short jumper with 5:37 left, the game was tied at 62-62.
“Our kids were tired,” Kezmarsky said. “I know we had nothing left after that. They are a very good 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.
- New scenery for 1st-year Riverview boys basketball coach Sapotichne
- Riverview girls aim to build on memorable season
- Plum boys basketball seeks section 3-peat
- Monessen girls basketball eyes playoff return
- TJ girls basketball to feature 10 enthusiastic underclassmen
- South Fayette, Chartiers Valley boys basketball teams setting goals high again
- Kiski Area boys a team in transition after graduation of top scorer
- Elizabeth Forward boys basketball preparing to fill big shoes
- Steel Valley boys put focus back on basketball
- New girls’ coaches trying to put in their systems
- Lofty expectations