Vincentian states its case by beating Lincoln Park
TribLIVE Sports Videos
The Vincentian boys basketball team walked into Palumbo Center on Friday night with a little chip on their shoulders. The Royals left with big gold medals around their necks.
Despite posting the best record in Class A during the regular season, Vincentian was given the No. 4 seed in the WPIAL playoffs. The Royals were surprised, but no one complained.
"There were three great teams ahead of us," coach George Yokitis said. "We were glad the papers kept picking against us, and we did use that (disrespect) card a little bit."
No one is overlooking Vincentian now. Against a physical Lincoln Park team, the Royals' tall and versatile lineup didn't back down and never trailed in a 67-61 victory in the WPIAL Class A championship game. It is Vincentian's first WPIAL title in boys basketball.
"It was unbelievable," senior John Bray said. "I still can't explain it. But we worked all season, and the hard work finally paid off."
Bray worked twice as hard for this. The 6-foot-4 forward lost 25 pounds in the offseason to make himself a more complete player -- which was clear against the Leopards. As a threat inside and outside, Bray gave Lincoln Park matchup problems all night and scored a team-high 21 points, including four win-sealing free throws in the final minute.
Another big forward for the Royals, 6-4 senior Adam Dian, was a force all over the court, making a pair of 3-pointers and finishing with 13 points.
"John Bray is the most wonderful kid you'd ever meet," said Yokitis, who has known Bray since he was a fifth grader at St. Sebastian. "He just totally committed to the game."
Lincoln Park, the No. 3 seed, is settling for silver for the second year in a row. Last year, the Leopards lost on a buzzer beater to Sewickley Academy, making this a feeling coach Mark Javens unfortunately is familiar with.
"It's pretty disappointing," he said. "We talked about doing all of the little things in the big games -- opportunities to take charges, opportunities to get loose balls. It's disappointing for the kids because I know how they feel."
The Leopards' stars -- 6-10 center Devontae Watson and senior guard Chaquille Pratt -- posted impressive performances. Watson had a game-high 22 points, and Pratt finished with 19.
From the opening tip, Vincentian was difficult to stop beneath the basket. The Royals led, 16-9, after the first quarter and stretched their advantage to 10 with a 9-2 run early in the second.
Lincoln Park followed that with a 7-0 run to creep within 25-22. But Bray, who had 13 points in the half, scored two quick baskets, and Chris Koryak capitalized on a turnover in the final two minutes to help Vincentian go into halftime with a 31-22 lead.
The Leopards closed the advantage to two points in the third quarter, but the Royals again pulled away to take a nine-point advantage into the fourth.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.