Guido: Wild, record-setting basketball season comes to close

| Wednesday, March 26, 2014, 12:01 a.m.

It's time to put a lid on the 2013-14 local scholastic basketball season.The highlight of the campaign was the superb run by the Burrell girls basketball team, which finished 28-2, losing only to WPIAL and PIAA champion Seton-La Salle.

The season was punctuated by snow-outs, freeze-outs, a shutout and a fair amount of buzzer beaters.

We even had a Gatorade Player of the Year in Fox Chapel's Erin Mathias.

There was a record-breaking playoff game where Monessen defeated Vincentian, 110-99.

It set the record for combined points in a game (209), breaking the old mark set in the Union-St. Joseph game of 1979 (188).

The Greyhounds also eclipsed the 109 points scored by Brentwood in a 1989 game against Elderton.

We also said goodbye to one of the more notorious gyms — for visitors — the auditorium stage/basketball floor at North Catholic.

So without further delay, it's time to pass out this year's awards:

Best performance

Mike Simmons of Kiski Area poured in 37 points in an 82-73 overtime victory over Gateway on Feb. 22.

Toughest schedule

This one's easy. Of the 30 games the Burrell girls played, 23 were against playoff teams.

Wildest finish

On Jan. 10 at Plum, Fox Chapel was whistled for a personal foul and two technical fouls in the final second of play.

The Mustangs canned four of six foul shots to emerge with a 60-57 victory.

Best game

The four-overtime classic as the Burrell boys defeated Ford City, 66-62.

It appeared to be nothing more than a mundane contest early on, with the Sabers leading 18-10 at the half.

Few could have expected it would turn into a classic — tied for the third-longest game in WPIAL history.

Best nicknames in the playoffs

Too bad we didn't have the Philadelphia Math, Civics & Science Mighty Elephants playing the York New Hope Academy Mighty Ants.

Most significant victory (boys)

When Apollo-Ridge defeated California, 52-38, on Feb. 15, it marked the first time in the school's 45-year history that the Vikings won a playoff football and boys basketball game in the same academic year.

Most significant victory (girls)

When St. Joseph defeated the most successful girls program in WPIAL history — North Catholic — on Feb. 3, it took the Spartans program to the next level.

Stat of the Year

In the WPIAL Class AA girls title game at Palumbo Center, Burrell did not attempt a free throw.

Outlook for 2014-15

Ford City will enter its last year of its existence with 1,326 boys basketball victories and 19 straight playoff appearances by the girls program. The boys' mark of 47 playoff appearances will soon become a stationary target for Freeport and Springdale, each with 31 postseason trips.

The Burrell girls will start the season with a 31-game regular-season winning streak. The last loss was a 43-40 setback against Keystone Oaks on Jan. 18, 2013.

The best rivalry next season could be the Burrell girls against Greensburg Central Catholic. Mark down Dec. 22 and Jan. 26 when the Bucs and the Centurions will do battle.

George Guido is a Valley News Dispatch scholastic sports correspondent. His column appears Wednesdays.

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