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Basketball

Top seed Chartiers-Houston pulls away from Leechburg in fourth quarter

| Thursday, Feb. 23, 2017, 10:12 p.m.
Leechburg's Daesha Knight drives past Chartiers-Houston's Keaira Walker #11 and Alexa Williamson #24 during their WPIAL Class 2-A Girl Basketball quarterfinal on Thursday, Feb. 23, 2017 at Northgate High School. Chartiers-Houston defeated Leechburg 60-44.
Barry Reeger | For The Tribune-Review
Leechburg's Daesha Knight drives past Chartiers-Houston's Keaira Walker #11 and Alexa Williamson #24 during their WPIAL Class 2-A Girl Basketball quarterfinal on Thursday, Feb. 23, 2017 at Northgate High School. Chartiers-Houston defeated Leechburg 60-44.
Chartiers-Houston's Jala Walker steals the ball from Leechburg's Makenzie Fello during their WPIAL Class 2-A Girl Basketball quarterfinal on Thursday, Feb. 23, 2017 at Northgate High School. Chartiers-Houston defeated Leechburg 60-44.
Barry Reeger | For The Tribune-Review
Chartiers-Houston's Jala Walker steals the ball from Leechburg's Makenzie Fello during their WPIAL Class 2-A Girl Basketball quarterfinal on Thursday, Feb. 23, 2017 at Northgate High School. Chartiers-Houston defeated Leechburg 60-44.
Chartiers-Houston's Keaira Walker wins a rebound from  Leechburg's Mikayla Lovelace during their WPIAL Class 2-A Girl Basketball quarterfinal on Thursday, Feb. 23, 2017 at Northgate High School. Chartiers-Houston defeated Leechburg 60-44.
Barry Reeger | For The Tribune-Review
Chartiers-Houston's Keaira Walker wins a rebound from Leechburg's Mikayla Lovelace during their WPIAL Class 2-A Girl Basketball quarterfinal on Thursday, Feb. 23, 2017 at Northgate High School. Chartiers-Houston defeated Leechburg 60-44.
Leechburg's Mikayla Lovelace drives to the hoops Chartiers-Houston's Alexa Williamson #24 and Keaira Walker #11 defend during their WPIAL Class 2-A Girl Basketball quarterfinal on Thursday, Feb. 23, 2017 at Northgate High School. Chartiers-Houston defeated Leechburg 60-44.
Barry Reeger | For The Tribune-Review
Leechburg's Mikayla Lovelace drives to the hoops Chartiers-Houston's Alexa Williamson #24 and Keaira Walker #11 defend during their WPIAL Class 2-A Girl Basketball quarterfinal on Thursday, Feb. 23, 2017 at Northgate High School. Chartiers-Houston defeated Leechburg 60-44.
Leechburg's Brittany Robilio shoots over Chartiers-Houston's Jules Vulcano during their WPIAL Class 2-A Girl Basketball quarterfinal on Thursday, Feb. 23, 2017 at Northgate High School. Chartiers-Houston defeated Leechburg 60-44.
Barry Reeger | For The Tribune-Review
Leechburg's Brittany Robilio shoots over Chartiers-Houston's Jules Vulcano during their WPIAL Class 2-A Girl Basketball quarterfinal on Thursday, Feb. 23, 2017 at Northgate High School. Chartiers-Houston defeated Leechburg 60-44.
Leechburg head coach Joel Ceraso coaches his team against Chartiers-Houston during their WPIAL Class 2-A Girl Basketball quarterfinal on Thursday, Feb. 23, 2017 at Northgate High School. Chartiers-Houston defeated Leechburg 60-44.
Barry Reeger | For The Tribune-Review
Leechburg head coach Joel Ceraso coaches his team against Chartiers-Houston during their WPIAL Class 2-A Girl Basketball quarterfinal on Thursday, Feb. 23, 2017 at Northgate High School. Chartiers-Houston defeated Leechburg 60-44.
Leechburg's Mikayla Lovelace shoots a three pointer as Chartiers-Houston's Keaira Walker defends during their WPIAL Class 2-A Girl Basketball quarterfinal on Thursday, Feb. 23, 2017 at Northgate High School. Chartiers-Houston defeated Leechburg 60-44.
Barry Reeger | For The Tribune-Review
Leechburg's Mikayla Lovelace shoots a three pointer as Chartiers-Houston's Keaira Walker defends during their WPIAL Class 2-A Girl Basketball quarterfinal on Thursday, Feb. 23, 2017 at Northgate High School. Chartiers-Houston defeated Leechburg 60-44.
Chartiers-Houston's Jules Vulcano battles Leechburg's Brittany Robilio and Mikayla Lovelace for a loose ball during their WPIAL Class 2-A Girl Basketball quarterfinal on Thursday, Feb. 23, 2017 at Northgate High School. Chartiers-Houston defeated Leechburg 60-44.
Barry Reeger | For The Tribune-Review
Chartiers-Houston's Jules Vulcano battles Leechburg's Brittany Robilio and Mikayla Lovelace for a loose ball during their WPIAL Class 2-A Girl Basketball quarterfinal on Thursday, Feb. 23, 2017 at Northgate High School. Chartiers-Houston defeated Leechburg 60-44.
Leechburg's Mikayla Lovelace battles Chartiers-Houston's Madison Simpson for a loose ball during their WPIAL Class 2-A Girl Basketball quarterfinal on Thursday, Feb. 23, 2017 at Northgate High School. Chartiers-Houston defeated Leechburg 60-44.
Barry Reeger | For The Tribune-Review
Leechburg's Mikayla Lovelace battles Chartiers-Houston's Madison Simpson for a loose ball during their WPIAL Class 2-A Girl Basketball quarterfinal on Thursday, Feb. 23, 2017 at Northgate High School. Chartiers-Houston defeated Leechburg 60-44.
Leechburg head coach Joel Ceraso reacts against Chartiers-Houston during their WPIAL Class 2-A Girl Basketball quarterfinal on Thursday, Feb. 23, 2017 at Northgate High School. Chartiers-Houston defeated Leechburg 60-44.
Barry Reeger | For The Tribune-Review
Leechburg head coach Joel Ceraso reacts against Chartiers-Houston during their WPIAL Class 2-A Girl Basketball quarterfinal on Thursday, Feb. 23, 2017 at Northgate High School. Chartiers-Houston defeated Leechburg 60-44.
Leechburg's Cameron Davies walks off the floor as Chartiers-Houston players celebrate their 60-44 victory during their WPIAL Class 2-A Girl Basketball quarterfinal on Thursday, Feb. 23, 2017 at Northgate High School.
Barry Reeger | For The Tribune-Review
Leechburg's Cameron Davies walks off the floor as Chartiers-Houston players celebrate their 60-44 victory during their WPIAL Class 2-A Girl Basketball quarterfinal on Thursday, Feb. 23, 2017 at Northgate High School.
Leechburg's Makenzie Fello shoots as Chartiers-Houston's Jala Walker during their WPIAL Class 2-A Girl Basketball quarterfinal on Thursday, Feb. 23, 2017 at Northgate High School. Chartiers-Houston defeated Leechburg 60-44.
Barry Reeger | For The Tribune-Review
Leechburg's Makenzie Fello shoots as Chartiers-Houston's Jala Walker during their WPIAL Class 2-A Girl Basketball quarterfinal on Thursday, Feb. 23, 2017 at Northgate High School. Chartiers-Houston defeated Leechburg 60-44.
Leechburg's Brittany Robilio scrambles with Chartiers-Houston's Jules Vulcano for loose ball during their WPIAL Class 2-A Girl Basketball quarterfinal on Thursday, Feb. 23, 2017 at Northgate High School. Chartiers-Houston defeated Leechburg 60-44.
Barry Reeger | For The Tribune-Review
Leechburg's Brittany Robilio scrambles with Chartiers-Houston's Jules Vulcano for loose ball during their WPIAL Class 2-A Girl Basketball quarterfinal on Thursday, Feb. 23, 2017 at Northgate High School. Chartiers-Houston defeated Leechburg 60-44.
Leechburg players get ready to play Chartiers-Houston during their WPIAL Class 2-A Girl Basketball quarterfinal on Thursday, Feb. 23, 2017 at Northgate High School. Chartiers-Houston defeated Leechburg 60-44.
Barry Reeger | For The Tribune-Review
Leechburg players get ready to play Chartiers-Houston during their WPIAL Class 2-A Girl Basketball quarterfinal on Thursday, Feb. 23, 2017 at Northgate High School. Chartiers-Houston defeated Leechburg 60-44.
Chartiers-Houston's Jala Walker fouls Leechburg's Mikayla Lovelace during their WPIAL Class 2-A Girl Basketball quarterfinal on Thursday, Feb. 23, 2017 at Northgate High School. Chartiers-Houston defeated Leechburg 60-44.
Barry Reeger | For The Tribune-Review
Chartiers-Houston's Jala Walker fouls Leechburg's Mikayla Lovelace during their WPIAL Class 2-A Girl Basketball quarterfinal on Thursday, Feb. 23, 2017 at Northgate High School. Chartiers-Houston defeated Leechburg 60-44.
Chartiers-Houston's Jala Walker battles Leechburg's Mikayla Lovelace for a loose ball during their WPIAL Class 2-A Girl Basketball quarterfinal on Thursday, Feb. 23, 2017 at Northgate High School. Chartiers-Houston defeated Leechburg 60-44.
Barry Reeger | For The Tribune-Review
Chartiers-Houston's Jala Walker battles Leechburg's Mikayla Lovelace for a loose ball during their WPIAL Class 2-A Girl Basketball quarterfinal on Thursday, Feb. 23, 2017 at Northgate High School. Chartiers-Houston defeated Leechburg 60-44.
Leechburg's Cameron Davies dribbles past Chartiers-Houston's Madison Simpson during their WPIAL Class 2-A Girl Basketball quarterfinal on Thursday, Feb. 23, 2017 at Northgate High School. Chartiers-Houston defeated Leechburg 60-44.
Barry Reeger | For The Tribune-Review
Leechburg's Cameron Davies dribbles past Chartiers-Houston's Madison Simpson during their WPIAL Class 2-A Girl Basketball quarterfinal on Thursday, Feb. 23, 2017 at Northgate High School. Chartiers-Houston defeated Leechburg 60-44.
Chartiers-Houston's Alexa Williamson shoots over Leechburg's Daesha Knight during their WPIAL Class 2-A Girl Basketball quarterfinal on Thursday, Feb. 23, 2017 at Northgate High School. Chartiers-Houston defeated Leechburg 60-44.
Barry Reeger | For The Tribune-Review
Chartiers-Houston's Alexa Williamson shoots over Leechburg's Daesha Knight during their WPIAL Class 2-A Girl Basketball quarterfinal on Thursday, Feb. 23, 2017 at Northgate High School. Chartiers-Houston defeated Leechburg 60-44.
Chartiers-Houston's Madison Simpson steals the ball from Leechburg's Mikayla Lovelace during their WPIAL Class 2-A Girl Basketball quarterfinal on Thursday, Feb. 23, 2017 at Northgate High School. Chartiers-Houston defeated Leechburg 60-44.
Barry Reeger | For The Tribune-Review
Chartiers-Houston's Madison Simpson steals the ball from Leechburg's Mikayla Lovelace during their WPIAL Class 2-A Girl Basketball quarterfinal on Thursday, Feb. 23, 2017 at Northgate High School. Chartiers-Houston defeated Leechburg 60-44.

Top-seeded Chartiers-Houston broke open a close game in the fourth quarter and posted a 60-44 victory over Leechburg in a WPIAL Class 2A girls quarterfinal Thursday at Northgate High School.

Mackenzie Fello's basket with 6 minutes, 27 seconds to go brought eighth-seeded Leechburg to within 39-35, but the Bucs went on a 21-9 tear to end the game.

Chartiers-Houston secured its first WPIAL semifinal berth since 2001 with the victory.

The Bucs were led by Jala Walker, the sole senior starter, with 21 points. Division I recruit Alexa Williamson had 20 points, 13 rebounds and seven steals before fouling out with 3:38 left in the game.

Junior Mikayla Lovelace had 19 points and eight rebounds for Leechburg.

Chartiers-Houston (21-2) will play Our Lady of the Sacred Heart on Monday in the WPIAL semifinals at a site and time to be determined.

“We knew going in it was really going to be a tough game,” Bucs coach Laura Montecalvo said. “We prepared extensively for the offensive threats. It didn't play out much differently than I had expected.”

The season for Leechburg (14-10) is in limbo. If Chartiers-Houston wins the WPIAL title, the Blue Devils will be pulled into the PIAA tournament and will face the District 9 (DuBois-Clarion area) winner March 10.

“I think we gave them everything they could handle,” Leechburg coach Joel Ceraso said. “For three-and-a-half quarters there, we did what we had to do. We got their big girl in foul trouble, and our game plan fell together pretty well.”

Outside shooters Brittany Robillo and Cameron Davies were guarded closely and had trouble launching shots, though Davies had a trio of 3-pointers.

“No doubt they were doing that,” Ceraso said. “They were only giving up 29 points a game.”

“I knew we had to have a great defensive effort to have a chance,” Montecalvo said. “After Alexa tore her ACL last year, our girls knew what it was like to play without her.”

Robillo had four steals for the Blue Devils.

George Guido is a freelance writer.

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