Seton-La Salle rallies past Greensburg Central to reach PIAA title game
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Seton-La Salle coach Mark Walsh and his team didn't panic when Greensburg Central Catholic jumped out to double-digit leads.
He just trusted his team would battle back. It did.
Led by 6-foot-6 senior forward Levi Masua and senior point guard Dale Clancy, Seton-La Salle (29-1) rallied to edge Greensburg Central Catholic, 46-44, in the PIAA Class AA semfinals Tuesday at North Allegheny to earn a trip to Hershey with the girls team this weekend.
Seton-La Salle will play Philadelphia Constitution at 2 p.m. Saturday at Giant Center. Constitution defeated Elmer L. Meyers, 55-44. Seton-La Salle defeated Greensburg Central Catholic, 52-51, in the WPIAL championship game.
Masua scored a game-high 17 points, had 13 rebounds and seven blocked shots to rally the Rebels. Clancy ended up with 13 points, and Ryan Norkus scored 10 of his points in the final 10:13 after Greensburg Central Catholic took a 36-24 lead midway through the third quarter.
The Centurions (25-4) only scored eight points in the final 12:35.
“Seton-La Salle is a great team, but the bottom line is it got a couple rolls and a couple calls,” Greensburg Central Catholic coach Greg Bisignani said. “When you play a game like this, that's usually the difference.”
The Centurions, after going 7 for 15 in the opening quarter, went 9 for 35 the rest of the game. They also turned the ball over 15 times.
Greensburg Central Catholic, which raced out to a 17-7 lead in the first quarter, held a 38-34 edge after three quarters. Seton-La Salle was 2 for 21 from the field in the first quarter and finished 15 for 50.
“We knew they'd come out fired up because we beat them in the WPIAL championship game,” Clancy said. “At the beginning of the game, we started out shooting too many 3s. Then we regained our composure, and we started getting the ball in the hole.”
Walsh said he took the slow shooting start as a positive because his team was getting a lot of offensive rebounds.
“It's not our philosophy to shoot 3s, but they gave it to us and they didn't go in,” Walsh said. “They came out on fire. I told the guys to relax that this game will come back to us.”
After Norkus cut the lead to 38-36, Christian Hyland hit two free throws to push the GCC lead to 40-36. The Centurions were 0 for 6 from the field in the fourth quarter. All of their points came from the foul line.
“We knew there was a lot of time left in the third quarter, and we never panicked,” Clancy said. “We kept our composure and battled back.”
Norkus and Clancy each hit baskets to tie the score with 4:51 to play, but Billy Hipp (11 points) hit two free throws to push the lead back to 42-40 with 3:56 left.
With 1:14 left, Hipp connected on two free throws to cut Seton-La Salle's lead to 45-44, but Norkus hit one free throw to make it 46-44 with 1:03 left.
“We played well defensively at the end of the game and we got a couple rebounds,” Walsh said.
The Centurions had three chances at either tying the score or taking the lead, but 3-pointers by Graytok and Hyland were off the mark.
After Christian Del Greco missed the front end of a one-and-one with 2.8 seconds left, Graytok's three-quarter court heave bounced off the rim at the buzzer.
Paul Schofield is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter @Schofield_Trib.
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