Underdog Kiski Area gives all, falls to Hampton in 1st round
As the No. 12 seed, Kiski Area was the underdog for its WPIAL 5A first-round game against No. 5 Hampton on Tuesday at Fox Chapel.
The Cavaliers took a quick 6-0 lead and were able to stay with the Talbots for a while, but Hampton turned away every Kiski Area charge and came away with a 60-44 victory.
“My message to them was to give me 110 percent effort and leave it all on the court,” Kiski Area coach Joey Tutchstone said.
“At the end of the day, whatever we did out there, good or bad, I wanted them to look me in the eye and say they gave me that effort. And they did that. We just fell a little short.”
Kiski hoped to turn around its fortunes after a four-game losing streak to end the regular season. The Cavaliers finished their season at 10-11 overall.
Hampton, the fourth-place team out of Section 2, improved to 14-9 and advances to the quarterfinals Friday against No. 4 McKeesport at a site and time to be determined.
“Give those Kiski kids credit. They're physical and strong. They are a deserving playoff team,” Hampton head coach Joe Lafko said. “They defended us well. But we were able to make some plays as well, attacking off the dribble to create some space.”
Kiski jumped out to its early lead on 3-pointers from seniors Connor Martin and Nicholas Bisceglia. Six turnovers in the game's first five minutes, however, prevented the Cavaliers from extending that advanatage.
Hampton used a 14-4 run the rest of the quarter to lead 14-10 after eight minutes.
Antonio Ionadi, the Talbots' leading scorer, tallied 13 of his game-high 20 in the first half as Hampton doubled that lead to eight at the break.
Kiski had a pair of chances to reduce the deficit to a possession in the third quarter but failed to score on both occasions. “We forced two bad shots instead of running something and executing,” Tutchstone said. “That killed us.”
The Cavaliers also were hampered, Tutchstone said, when Martin and fellow starter Kyle Harris both left the game with their fourth fouls a minute apart midway through the third quarter.
Kiski had it as close as 37-32 with 4 minutes, 41 seconds remaining in the quarter before Hampton started to pull away.
The Talbots led 42-35 with 2:40 to play in the period before concluding the frame on an 8-0 run.
In addition to Ionadi's big game, Nick Schuit came off the bench to score 11 for Hampton. Isaac DeGregorio also didn't start, but he too ended the game scoring in double-figure with 10 points.
“The first one always is a toughest,” Lafko said. “We'll take it and move on.”
Sophomore Ryne Wallace scored a team-best 13 in a reserve role for the Cavaliers.
Playing in their final varsity games, Harris and senior Jon Bracy tallied 11 and 10 points, respectively.
“I am proud of the guys,” Tutchstone said. “I couldn't ask anything more from them. No one expected us to make the playoffs, but the guys did, and they gave themselves a chance against a really good Hampton team. We were here, and we fought and battled.”