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