Mars Boys Basketball Captures First WPIAL Title

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It has been a long time coming for one of the top programs in the WPIAL, but on Friday night the Mars boys’ basketball team finally can call themselves champions.

As the top-seed, the Planets defeated No. 3 Franklin Regional, 54-44, at the Petersen Events Center.

It was a slow start to the game for both teams as they were feeling each other out, but Mars held an 11-8 advantage after the first quarter. The offense picked up in the second quarter with the teams continuing to trade blows with Mars taking a 26-25 lead into halftime.

The Panthers came out strong in the third quarter, racing out to a 35-28 lead. With their back against the wall, Mars responded just as they had hoped for. The Planets held a 43-41 entering the fourth quarter. From there, they were able to break the game open, holding the Planets to three points in the fourth quarter, and only one point in the final six minutes.

Both teams struggled from 3-point range, with Mars converting 3 of 15 (20 percent) and Franklin Regional 5 of 17 (29 percent)

Junior Andrew Recchia led Mars with 14 points on the night. Also scoring in double figures for the Planets was senior Cade Hetzler and Robby Carmody with 13 and 11 points, respectively.

For Franklin Regional, senior Hunter Stonecheck finished with 15 points.

Next up for Mars is Hampton in the PIAA First Round on Friday, March 9. Mars defeated Hampton in the WPIAL Semifinals, 70-51.

Franklin Regional will face Highlands for the fourth time this season on Friday in the first. The Panthers defeated the Golden Rams, 48-40, in the WPIAL semifinals.

Both games are at a site and time to be determined.