Class Quad A Boy’s Semifinal Match-Ups
By: Steve Brodzinski – Pittsburgh Basketball Report
#1 New Castle vs. #13 Kiski Area
Malik Hooker (New Castle) – The Ohio State football commit became an internet sensation, shortly after his alley-oop dunk right on a Bethel Park defender went viral after New Castle’s quarterfinal victory. A 1000 point scorer, Hooker led the team and Class Quad A in scoring with 23.5ppg on the season.
Anthony Richards (New Castle) – Also a career 1000 point scorer – the gritty, sharp shooting guard, who is committed to play at West Virginia Wesleyan, is New Castle’s second leading scorer. He holds the school’s single season three point record, but is also a huge factor on the defensive end of the floor.
Mike Simmons (Kiski Area) – As only a junior, Simmons was one of Class Quad A’s leading scorers at 21.3ppg. He had a huge 37 point performance in the quarterfinals against Gateway. A tremendous three point shooter, Simmons has good size and length on the perimeter, and the ability to get to the basket.
Joe Brungo (Kiski Area) – Kiski Area’s senior guard, is the team’s second leading scorer at 15.6ppg. His steady, physical play is a staple in Kiski Area’s ability to control the tempo of the game on each end of the floor.
Outcome: While Kiski Area has thrived in their under-dog role this post season, I expect that the depth and experience of New Castle will prove too much. Kiski Area squeaked by Plum after and epic meltdown by Plum players and coaches, and had to head to overtime to get past Gateway. Senior twin brothers Stew and Drew Allen don’t receive a ton of credit, but they are a big part of the New Castle attack. Stew, more of an inside threat, has scored double figures in 5 of his last 6 games, while Drew is a main ball handler for the New Castle attack, and the teams third leading scorer. While it will be Kiski’s goal to slow the game down, the constant pressure and athleticism of a New Castle group of experienced seniors will carry them to victory. WINNER- NEW CASTLE 63-45
#2 Hampton vs. #3 North Allegheny
Joe Mancini (North Allegheny) – Mancini is a sharp shooting senior for a deep and well rounded North Allegheny team. Mancini dropped in an NA record 11 threes in a 37 point performance earlier in the season, and most recently scored a game high 22 points against Hempfield in the quarterfinals.
Cole Constantino (North Allegheny) – Constantino, a junior guard, has been the most consistent scorer for NA during the year, leading the team at right around 13ppg. He scored 15 points in the quarterfinals against Hempfield, after not playing due to an injury against Norwin in the second round.
Ryan Luther (Hampton) – The 6’8” University of Pittsburgh signee did not disappoint during his senior season, as he was one Quad A’s leading scorers at 22.6ppg. The ultra-versatile face-up forward gives Hampton a serious scoring option on a nightly basis. Luther outscored Peters Township by himself in the first round, 27-26, and put in 28 points against Franklin Regional in the quarterfinals.
Collin Luther (Hampton) – “The Other Luther” who happens to be a 6’5” guard/forward that can play up to four positions at any given time. Collin gives the Talbots consistency on both ends of the floor. He scored 11 points in Hamptons quarterfinal win over Franklin Regional.
David Huber (Hampton) – The silent threat for Hampton. Their second leading scorer for most of the season, the junior guard is a threat on both ends of the floor. With great length at the guard position, Huber can score it in a variety of ways, and is a lock down defender. He put in 12 points during Hamptons quarterfinal victory.
Outcome: This is the rubber match! In early January, Hampton defeated North Allegheny at home, without star Ryan Luther, in a 1 point win. On January 31st, North Allegheny beat a full strength Hampton team at home, in a 6 point victory. I would call this one a “coin toss” game – It could go either way. Having to go up against Hamptons twin towers, North Allegheny’s football standout Elijah Zeise is their biggest player at 6’3”. Yet the senior’s athleticism allows him to compete on the boards with the bigger Luthers. The senior guard attack of Haus, Mancini, Carter, Gwaltney, along with juniors Constantino and Fischer, has been a nightmare for most opponents this season. Hampton junior guards Joey Lafko and David Huber, along with Collin Luther will have the task of handling the NA pressure. This one will come down to which team makes the least amount of mistakes – Turnovers and Offensive Rebounds will be two huge keys in this one, as well as, NA’s ability to stay hot from the three point line. In the end, I expect the Luther brothers to come through in a big way, and propel Hampton to a third meeting this season with New Castle in the finals. WINNER –HAMPTON 61-57