Cinderella Story Complete; Laurel Highlands are WPIAL Champions
The Laurel Highlands Mustangs won their first WPIAL title since 1968, defeating the Mars Fighting Planets, 52-51, Friday night at the Petersen Events Center.
It was once again a come-from-behind victory for the Mustangs as they trailed 13-12 after a quarter. Momentum was on Laurel Highlands side as they took the lead 31-29 heading into the half, but once again found themselves behind 41-40 heading into the final eight minutes.
Trailing 50-49, Mars’ Mihali Sfanos stole an inbounds pass and went coast to coast, giving the Fighting Planets a 51-50 lead with 27 seconds left. After an offensive foul on Laurel Highlands, they had no choice but to send Mars to the fine. A missed free throw gave the Mustangs the ball back and it was Rodney Gallagher who got to the rim and was fouled with four seconds left. Gallagher stepped up to the line and hit two free throws giving, Laurel Highlands a 52-51 lead. Sfanos had a chance to win the game, but his shot didn’t fall, and the Mustangs were WPIAL Champions.
Gallagher finished with 24 points for Laurel Highlands. Michael Carmody led Mars with 12 points.
Laurel Highlands improved to 17-8 overall. Up next for the Mustangs will be York Suburban, the ninth-place team out of District 3, in the PIAA First Round on Friday, March 6, at a site and time to be determined.
Mars falls to 19-6 overall. The Fighting Planets will take on Elizabethtown, the seventh-place team out of District 3, in the PIAA First Round on Friday, March 6, at a site and time to be determined.