Panthers Lock Up Section 4 Crown With Win At Mt. Lebo
The Upper St. Clair Panthers secured their second straight Section 4-AAAA crown with a 52-46 triumph over the Mt. Lebanon Blue Devils in the MSA Sports & Quad-A Conference Boys Basketball Game of the Week. In the section finale for both teams, the game began with the usual air-tight defense seen from these neighboring foes. With baskets at a premium, Mt. Lebanon took an 8-4 advantage on their home floor after one quarter of play.
The game turned in the second quarter as the Panthers pounced on Mt. Lebanon with a 16-2 run and gained a 20-10 lead. Seniors J.J. Conn and Conor Gallagher were key contributors in the run. Conn, a Second –Team All-Southeastern Conference linebacker for the USC football team, scored 10 points in the first half and finished with 15 points on the night. Gallagher used his sleek moves to penetrate the Blue Devils zone for eight first half points and a game-high 16 points at evening’s end. Gallagher’s passing and defense also produced points for the Panthers, earning the senior guard Player of the Game honors from the Quad-A Network.
Upper St. Clair limited Mt. Lebanon to just five field goals in the first half, and held junior standout Jonny David to just three points, owning a 22-15 lead at intermission. The defensive battle ensued in the third period before things started to open up in the final quarter.
With David finally seeing some daylight, the talented guard scored 13 points in the second half in an attempt to spark a rally. Sophomore Eddie Jenkins contributed to the comeback bid with eight points, all coming in the second half. However, each time it appeared the Blue Devils were clawing back, USC’s Thomas Steve connected on a clutch three-pointer. Mt. Lebanon trailed 29-21 when Steve poured in his first timely trey. Moments later in the fourth with the Blue Devils down 32-24, Steve again dropped in an important triple to return the USC lead to double digits, 35-24. By the time the Blue Devils cut the deficit to six points at 50-44, there simply wasn’t enough time remaining as the Panthers claimed the victory and the section crown, 52-46. (Click here for a post-game interview with USC head coach Danny Holzer).
Upper St. Clair concludes Section 4-AAAA play with a 12-2 record and 16-5 overall mark. Mt. Lebanon, who is headed to the playoffs as the third team out of Section 4, falls to 11-11 overall and 9-5 within the section. The Panthers will host Chartiers Valley in a final tune-up before the post-season on Monday night. The Blue Devils are idle until the playoffs as both teams await the release of the Quad-A playoff pairings on Tuesday night.
To hear our pre-game interview with USC coach Danny Holzer, click here.
To hear our pre-game interview with Mt. Lebanon coach Joe David, click here.
Canon-McMillan at Peters Township Game Summary
|SCORE BY QUARTERS
Peters Township - Madison Kerr 26 pts