Boy’s Hoops Quarterfinal Roundup
by Patrick McKay
Three teams from Section 3 return to the WPIAL Semi-Finals for the second consecutive season and prove deserving of their top 3 positions in the seeding. #1 New Castle, #2 Hampton and #3 North Allegheny all held the same three spots last season and made the semi’s with Hampton falling to New Castle in the Finals. New to this year’s semi-final are the 13th seeded Kiski Cavaliers the second place team out of Section 1. Here is a rundown of the Quarterfinal matchups which led them here.
#1 New Castle Red Hurricanes 73 – #9 Bethel Park Black Hawks 46
At no point in this game was it ever in doubt that the Red Hurricanes would be moving on to the next round. New Castle led 14-10 at the end of the first period and never looked back going on used runs of 7-0 and 14-0 in the second quarter to slam the door shut on Bethel Park. Apparently that was not the only slam of the day as Malik Hooker put down a highlight reel dunk en route to his game high point total of 22 leading the way for the Red Hurricanes. He was aided in his quest by teammates Anthony Richards and Stew Allen who had 11 points each. Richards became the all time single season record holder at New Castle in three pointers which now stands at 87. Bethel Park was led by Joe Mascaro who had 17 points and Levi Metheny posted 10 points. With the win New Castle improves to 24-0 on the year and qualifies for the state playoffs. Bethel Park falls to 18-5 and awaits the outcome of the WPIAL Championship as a New Castle win would bring them into the PIAA playoffs. New Castle and Kiski are set to tip off at 8pm Wednesday the 26th at North Allegheny.
#13 Kiski Area Cavaliers 82 -#12 Gateway Gators 73
The Cavaliers have continued their hot run in the WPIAL playoffs by knocking off a very athletic Gateway squad. This was a matchup of the 13th and 12th seeded teams who were obviously familiar with underdog status. Each team was led by standout individual performers who posted 37 points each. For the Cavaliers it was junior Michael Simmons while for the Gators it was senior Delvon Randal. Both of which had the opportunity to win the game in regulation with free throws however only making one each left the game tied and needing overtime to declare a victor. The difference would be Kiski’s perfect shooting percentage from the field and the line that would merit them the win and honor to face the Red Hurricanes of New Castle in the WPIAL semi-finals. The supporting cast on this day included Cavalier senior Joe Brungo who had 18 points and for the Gators senior Tom Kromka had 14 points while sophomore Aiden Howard finished the contest with 10. Kiski improves to 17-5 while Gateway falls to 14-10. The Gators season relies upon Kiski continuing their upset ways as a Cavalier WPIAL title would rejuveniate the Gator’s hopes and pulls them back into the PIAA playoff race. New Castle and Kiski are set to tip off at 8pm Wednesday the 26th at North Allegheny.
#2 Hampton Talbots 76 – #7 Franklin Regional Panthers 61
The Talbots return to the semifinal round in Quad A for the second straight season in as many as they have been a Quad A team. They led the Panthers 16-10 at the end of the first and never looked back. They were led by Pitt recruit and senior Ryan Luther who put up 28 points, junior Dave Huber had 12 and senior Collin Luther posted 11. The Panthers had one player see double figures, senior Matt Renzi had 17 points respectively. The Panthers fall to 16-7 and await the outcome of the WPIAL finals as a Hampton title would revive their PIAA hopes. Hampton improves to 21-3 and will face a familiar foe in section rival North Allegheny with whom they split victories in the regular season. Hampton and North Allegheny are set to tip off at 8pm Wednesday the 26th at Char Valley.
#3 North Allegheny Tigers 82 – #6 Hempfield Spartans 59
The Tigers cruised past Hempfield in this quarterfinal matchup. They led 36-27 at the half and really opened it up by starting the third quarter with a 21-0 run. As usual the Tigers pounced with their press and rained in points from beyond the arc. They dropped 12 three-point field goals on the afternoon. Senior Tiger Joe Mancini topped the score sheet with 21 points and he was aided by fellow senior Mike Carter who finished with 16 points while junior Cole Constantino posted 15. Hempfield was led by Tony Pilato who had 19 and Kason Harrell had 17 points respectively but the Tigers were just too much. North Allegheny matches their semifinal counterpart (Hampton) with a 21-3 record while Hempfield falls to 21-3. The Tigers return to the semi-final where they meet the same opponent they did last season in the Hampton Talbots but are looking for a different outcome this time. Hempfield will need NA to take the WPIAL championship for their PIAA hopes to be revived. Hampton and North Allegheny are set to tip off at 8pm Wednesday the 26th at Char Valley.