Quaker Valley boys look back on successful season
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Even though the Quaker Valley boys basketball team fell to Aliquippa in the PIAA Class AA second round, it went out swinging.
The Quakers kept with the Quips through three quarters but fell short, 57-44.
“Everyone at this point of the season is really good,” Quaker Valley coach Mike Mastroianni said. “Aliquippa is no exception. We needed to do a few things better than we did. We were able to hang around but didn't play as well as we could.”
Aliquippa built a 17-12 lead after one quarter and extended it to 34-25 lead by halftime. But in the third quarter, Quaker Valley went on a run and a 3-pointer from Qadir Taylor cut the deficit to 39-36.
It was as close as the Quakers would get — a late 7-0 run in third frame kept the Quakers at bay. John Bernard led Quaker Valley with nine points.
The loss dropped the Quakers to 22-4 on the season. It was the third straight season Quaker Valley qualified for the PIAA playoffs and reached 20 wins.
“Class AA is so competitive in the WPIAL and to have us reach the state playoffs three years in a row really says something about our guys,” Mastroianni said. “It isn't easy to do. It really says something about our guys' work ethic and commitment to the program.”
Quaker Valley's only losses this season were to Section 6-AA champion Avonworth twice and PIAA quarterfinalists Aliquippa and Greensburg Central Catholic.
The Quakers will have plenty of things to be excited about when they return to the court next season. Junior Chris Conlan led the team in scoring with 12 ppg while fellow juniors Tyler Garbee, Tre-won Marshall and Clay Noyes all were solid contributors.
Freshman Amos Luptak showed promise and could step in as the Quakers' point guard next season.
“Plus our junior varsity team was really successful this season,” Mastroianni added. “There are guys from that team ready to move forward.”
But finding a way to replace the team's seven seniors — Benard, Taylor, Christian Miller, Jake Trovato, Winter Fondi, Evan Zernich and Leo Hill — won't be easy.
“They are multi-sport athletes who are winners across the board,” Mastroianni said. “They carried intangibles from other sports into basketball, and it has been a real strength for the team. They had such a competitive nature.
“They were an outstanding part of our basketball program.”
Nathan Smith is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter @NSmith_Trib.
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