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Quaker Valley boys qualify for PIAA tournament

| Wednesday, March 5, 2014, 9:00 p.m.
Kristina Serafini | Sewickley Herald
Apollo-Ridge's Alex Smith tries to block a shot by Quaker Valley's John Bernard during a WPIAL Class AA first-round playoff game Wednesday, Feb. 19, 2014, at North Allegheny. The Quakers beat the Vikings, 64-47.

The Quaker Valley boys basketball team is getting one more chance to finish the season right.

After falling to Greensburg Central Catholic, 60-39, in the WPIAL Class AA quarterfinals, the Quakers qualified for their third straight PIAA tournament by virtue of the Centurions finishing as WPIAL runners-up.

“It is a terrific reward to play in states,” Quaker Valley coach Mike Mastroianni said. “I think it is going to make us all feel better getting the opportunity to play again.”

Quaker Valley will face the Richland Rams (19-5) on Saturday. The Rams defeated Martinburg's Central High School, 59-43, to capture the District 6-AA title.

Richland is led by a trio of seniors scoring in double digits: forward Matt Shaffer (13.3) and guards Kyle Flick (13.1) and Jacob Lushko (12). Shaffer leads the team in rebounding with 6.8 per game.

The 6-foot-2 senior will be joined by 6-5 sophomore forward Ryan Ball (8.1 points and 5.4 rebounds per game) and 6-4 senior Aaron Miller (8 points and 5.4 rebounds per game) in the paint.

The Quakers got back to work a few days after their loss to Greensburg Central Catholic and will look to hold a couple scrimmages this week. What will benefit the team is that the upperclassmen have experienced this situation twice in their careers.

“That is going to be important,” Mastroianni said. “This is their third time in the state tournament. They understand what it takes to compete at this level.”

Being able to have that kind of experience heading into the state tournament thrills Mastroianni, who credits the players with the team's success.

“It shows we have a lot of guys who are dedicated to the program,” Mastroianni said. “Our players continue to be well-rounded, multi-sport athletes who are good students in the classroom. That is why we continue to flourish.”

The game between Quaker Valley and Richland is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. Saturday at Central Cambria High School.

Nathan Smith is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at nsmith@tribweb.com or via Twitter @NSmith_Trib.

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