Lincoln Park wins WPIAL Class A boys title
No silver lining this time. Only gold.
It took three tries, but Lincoln Park finally emerged a winner in the WPIAL Class A championship game. Following losses the past two seasons to Vincentian Academy and Sewickley Academy -- along with a runner-up finish in last year's PIAA final -- the top-seeded Leopards earned a set of gold medals Friday by topping undersized-but-feisty Cornell, 74-57.
"Three years," said senior center Devontae Watson, who scored 17 points and grabbed a game-high 17 rebounds, "but we finally got it."
It's the first championship for the 5-year-old program -- and one that evokes strong emotions for Midland, the small Beaver County community that Lincoln Park (22-4) calls home. Long-closed Midland High School won eight WPIAL titles from 1965-79.
"We'll take it," Leopards coach Mark Javens said. "The first two (title games) didn't feel really good, but this one feels pretty good. I'm happy for the seniors."
Trey Hosack, one of Javens' four seniors, scored a game-high 27 points and made up for some lost time. The 6-foot shooting guard sat out last season, when he transferred to Ambridge, was ruled ineligible and returned to Lincoln Park. He said it was "horrible" watching his team lose WPIAL and PIAA title games.
"It just gets to you, knowing that you could have been the one to help the team get the WPIAL and state championships," Hosack said.
Hosack had 16 points in the first half and played a big role in two 8-0 runs. Watson, a 6-11 Temple recruit, also was dominant, collecting five of his nine blocked shots before halftime, when the Leopards led, 34-23.
Speedy Cornell (19-6), a No. 6 seed that lost a pair of Section 1 matchups to Lincoln Park, was able to keep pace much of the second half, but Lincoln Park's control of the boards made it difficult to mount a comeback.
"We don't have the height, but we do have the heart," coach Bill Sacco said. "We try as hard as we can, but to go against (Watson), who's pretty athletic and pretty agile, that's pretty tough to do."
Corey Mackey led the Raiders with 18 points, and fellow senior Dustin Gloins had 11. Lincoln Park's Jaylyn Cottrill and Antonio Kellam added 11 and 10 points.
Both teams begin play in the PIAA tournament next Friday. Lincoln Park will meet the fourth-place team from District 9; Cornell will face the District 10 runner-up.
At the moment, though, the Leopards are going to enjoy the first title in school history.
"It feels amazing that this gold is around my neck," Hosack said. "It's not just another silver medal."
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.