Boys’ Hoops Commence WPIAL Playoffs

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By Patrick McKay

The top-seeded Red Hurricanes found themselves in a peculiar position at halftime being tested by the 16th seeded Latrobe Wildcats.  It was even stranger at the end of the first period as Latrobe managed to outscore New Castle 20-18 in the first stanza.  It was a furious first half battle with lead changes, high tempo transition offense and Latrobe held strong.  At the end of the first half New Castle’s Malik Hooker sunk a last second put-back shot that took the Red Hurricanes into the locker room with a narrow 41-39 lead.  The second half however would prove to be too much pace for Latrobe to sustain.  The Red Hurricanes come out storming in the third quarter outscoring Latrobe 27-12.  The Wildcats would never regain momentum and came up short of a Cinderella story by a final score of 85-66.  Hooker had 31 points on the day and was supported by his fellow starters Jake McPhatter who had 15, Stew Allen added 12, Anthony Richards with 11 and Drew Allen scored 10 points respectively.  The Wildcats had just two players in double digits, Matt Cullen scored 19 and Sean Graytok posted 15 points. The loss ends Latrobe’s season with a 12-10 record and New Castle will face Bethel Park next Saturday February 22 site and time to be announced.

In other Quad A action:

Bethel Park topped Fox Chapel, 49-45, in what was a battle between the eight and nine seeds. Senior Josh Krafczynski led the way for the Blackhawks with 20 points while Joe Mascaro had 11.  Brian Papich was the scoring leader for Fox Chapel posting 16 points and Foxes leading scorer on the season, Matt D’Amico, was held to just 11.  Fox Chapel ends their season with a record of 17-6 and Bethel moves on to the Quarterfinals where, as mentioned above, they will face top seeded New Castle. The game will be Saturday, February 22, site and time to be announced.

Second-seeded Hampton ran away with its first round contest trouncing Peters Township 61-26.  Senior Talbot Ryan Luther led the way with 27 points, one more than the entire Indian squad. The Talbots will play Franklin Regional next Saturday, site and time to be announced.

The Franklin Regional Panthers managed a victory over Seneca Valley by a score of 70-59.  The seventh seeded Panthers used four players in double digits to get the job done. Matt Fisch had 18, Matt Renzi had 15, Devin Arrigo tallied 13 and Charan Singh chipped in 11.  Leading scorers for the Raiders were Zach Snyder with 18 while Matt Darby and Dakota Topf posted 13 points each.  The Raiders end their season at 12-11 and Franklin Regional improved to 16-6 en route to a WPIAL Quarterfinal appearance. The rest of the field in Quad-A will see their first round action Wednesday night.