5A Boys Basketball Quarterfinals Recap
Photo Credit: Will McBride
5A BOYS QUARTERFINALS
Peters Township 68, South Fayette 60
Top-seeded Peters Township (20-3) had four players in double figures as they were able to handle 8th-seeded South Fayette (14-10) 68-60 on Wednesday night at Bethel Park High School.
Peters Township got off to a great start on the offensive end, especially when they were feeding Jack Dunbar who helped the Indians jump out to a 22-13 lead after a quarter of play. Elijah Hill got off to a slow start for South Fayette but got it going in the second quarter. South Fayette made a little push but still trailed by eight going into halftime.
South Fayette cut the lead to 47-42 late in the third quarter when Dunbar hit an and-1 three-pointer that shifted momentum and put Peters Township back in the driver’s seat. South Fayette would never get closer than five points after that and Peters Township was headed to the semifinals for the first time since 2009 with a 68-60 victory.
Dunbar finished with 21 points. Brendan McCullough added 17 points, Mickey Vaccarrello pitched in 12 points and Nate Miller netted 10. Hill ended up with 27 points for South Fayette after the slow start and Michael Plasko had 15 points.
Penn Hills 60, Mars 41
2nd-seeded Penn Hills (19-3) got to the semifinals for the first time since 2019 with another great defensive effort stifling the 7th-seeded Mars (15-7) shooters en route to a 60-41 quarterfinal victory Wednesday night at Chartiers Valley High School.
Penn Hills took control of the lead early and never let up. They led 18-10 after a quarter of play, 29-16 at the half and 45-27 after three quarters. Penn Hills who always plays great defense found their offensive stroke as they shot 47% from the field. It was a frustrating night for Mars who was coming off an impressive performance in the first round but they only shot 21% from behind the arc in this one.
Noah Barren led Penn Hills with 18 points while Daemar Kelly had 15 points. Robert Thomas also added 11 points while Julian Dugger netted 10. Tasso Sfanos had 22 points for Mars.
North Hills 67, Fox Chapel 62
3rd-seeded North Hills (19-5) got a huge lift from freshman Eric James who had 20 points in the fourth quarter en route to a 67-62 quarterfinal victory over 11th-seeded Fox Chapel (14-10) Wednesday night at North Allegheny High School.
Fox Chapel could not have drawn up the first half any better shooting 15 of 24 from the field and held North Hills to under 50% as they jumped out to a 37-27 lead at the half. Fox Chapel also did a great job on 5A scoring champions Royce Parham who did not register his first field goal until the second quarter. The script was completely flipped in the second half as it was North Hills hitting on all cylinders going 17 of 25 from the field and taking a 53-52 lead midway through the fourth quarter, their first lead since the first quarter. James was 8 for 8 in the fourth quarter and North Hills was able to once again come back late and get to the semifinals.
This was a rematch of last year’s 6A WPIAL Championship, but Parham was the only returning starter from that game. James is putting together quite the postseason as he led all scorers with 30 points for North Hills. After a slow start Parham finished with 25 points, 9 rebounds and 3 blocks. Jefferson Moorefiled-Brown led Fox Chapel with 17 points, Kameron Greil added 15 points and Asher White netted 12 points off the bench.
North Hills moves on to the WPIAL 5A semifinals where they will take on Penn Hills on Saturday at a site and time to be determined.
Gateway 53, McKeesport 51
12th-seeded McKeesport (11-11) trailed by as much as 11 but was able to get back into the game and even take the lead a couple times late but 4th-seeded Gateway (17-5) was able to hang on for the 53-51 quarterfinal win Wednesday night at Norwin High School.
McKeesport dealt with foul trouble more specifically to their top scorer Travarese Rowe. Gateway’s Jaydon Carr hit a free throw with about 90 seconds left to give Gateway a 52-51 lead and the defense would be able to hold on from there. McKeesport had a chance to tie at the buzzer but the ball spun around the rim and came out and Gateway was moving onto the semifinals with a 53-51 win.
Taili Thompson led Gateway with 14 points. Tra Williams added 13 points while Carr had 10. Despite foul trouble, Rowe still led McKeesport with 14 points and Aemond Knight had 10.
Gateway advances to the WPIAL 5A semifinals where they will take on top-seeded Peters Township on Saturday at a site and time to be determined.