Jordan, Anderson shine, as Aliquippa returns to quarterfinals of PIAA
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It's been a while, but this is familiar ground for Aliquippa.
“Two more games and we're on to Hershey,” said Aliquippa sophomore Patrick Anderson, who joined with teammate Jassir Jordan for 36 points in Wednesday night's 57-44 second-round victory over Quaker Valley in the PIAA Class AA playoffs at Moon.
Six years have passed since Aliquippa (20-6) last reached the state quarterfinals during its PIAA runner-up season of 2008. But first-year coach Nick Lackovich has the team winning again.
The Quips, who were 10-14 last season, advance to Saturday's quarterfinals, where they will meet the winner of WPIAL champion Seton-La Salle and District 10 third-place finisher Mercyhurst Prep at a time and site to be determined.
Seton-La Salle and Mercyhurst Prep were scheduled to play Wednesday, but the game was postponed until Thursday night at Sharon.
“I'm happy for them that they're getting to experience this,” said Lackovich, a former assistant with the Quips and Beaver Falls. “I got such a thrill each time I've been down this road. To have these guys experience the same thing is tremendous. The guys have gone through some hard times the last three, four or five years.”
Jordan scored 23 points and Anderson added 13 for the Quips, who trailed Quaker Valley only once — for only 16 seconds in the first quarter. When the Quakers battled to within three points in the third quarter, Aliquippa answered with a 7-0 run. John Bernard had nine points for Quaker Valley (22-4), which shuffled its lineup often in search of a spark.
“It's a bad night not to shoot it well,” QV coach Mike Mastroianni said, “but Aliquippa had something to do with it.”
Aliquippa led 17-12 after the first quarter and 34-25 at halftime. Yet, with 50 seconds left in the third, the lead shrunk to 39-36 when QV senior Qadir Taylor made a layup. But the Quakers moved no closer. After layup and foul shot by sophomore Charles Humphries, two free throws by Jordan and a layup by Anderson, Aliquippa led 46-36 after three.
“We just never really had any continuity,” Mastroianni said. “I told our guys, for as bad as we were … for us to still be in the game actually says something about our team.”
The Quips were focused defensively on QV point guard Winter Fondi, who had just three points before fouling out in the fourth. Senior forward John Bernard led the Quakers with nine points.
Quaker Valley's only lead was 10-8 in the first quarter when Bernard made a go-ahead layup with 1:40 left. But Aliquippa answered 16 seconds later with a 3-point play by Anderson, who had nine first-quarter points.
Chris Harlan is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter @CHarlan_Trib.
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