Spartans Dominate Wildcats in Section 1 Battle

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The #2 MSA-ranked Hempfield Spartans sent a message to Section 1 this evening in a pivotal match up with the #9 MSA-ranked Greater Latrobe Wildcats.  Before the tip both teams were undefeated at 5-0 in section play having defeated all other foes the first time through. However Hempfield proved tonight that they are still the class of the division.

In the first quarter of play the Wildcats came out clawing with their high pressure defense and quick paced transition offense. The Spartans were prepared and took a 10-4 lead. After a timeout to regroup the Wildcats came back with some impressive play by senior Matt Dragan who had several blocks and were able position themselves to trail only by four at the end of the quarter, 15-11. Dragan who has consistently posted double doubles this year was held in check as he only tallied nine points in the contest. Only two Wildcats would see double figures on the score sheet this evening and both are sophomores as Austin Butler led Latrobe with 11 and Jake Bliss added 10 points respectively.

The game would remain close into the second quarter but the closest the Wildcats could make it was 22-21. At which point Hempfield went on a 9-0 run and would not look back.  Part of that run included outstanding shooting from beyond the arc by senior Spartan Zack Irwin and junior Chris Clayton.  The Spartans would take a 10 point lead into the half 31-21.

The second half was all Hempfield and they were shooting the lights out. Senior Tony Pilato a Pitt football recruit showed some quality skills hitting jump shots from all over and going 3 of 4 from the line. He finished the contest with 15 points.  Leading 43-26 senior and Division I recruit Kason Harrell went all alone on a break away to put away a two handed slam dunk but the ball got caught up in the netting and like a sling shot from the force of the rim the ball came back out of the cylinder. At that moment Harrell picked up his third foul on the ensuing rebound and Coach Bill Swan was whistled for a technical foul.  Harrell would spend some time on the bench during the third period with three fouls but that did not slow down the Spartan attack as Irwin and Pilato continued to dominate striking at every opportunity and finishing the third with a 55-37 lead.

Harrell came back out in the fourth and continued to execute especially from the charity stripe converting on 7 attempts and finishing the night as the game high scorer with 23 points. In the end it was the solid team effort and execution of Pilato, Harrell and Irwin that was just too much for the Wildcats to handle as they consistently would apply a double team leaving one the aforementioned Spartans open who would not miss.  Irwin converted six 3-point field goals and for his clutch play and accuracy was named the Quad Sports player of the Game.

Latrobe falls to 10-3 overall and 5-1 in Section 1. Hempfield takes sole control of first place as they improve to 12-1 overall and 6-0 in the section. Both teams will look to continue their success in the second half of the season and may be heading to a deciding game when they meet again in the season finale at Latrobe on February 6.  The next Quad A Game of the Week will be Thursday when North Allegheny travels to Shaler for an equally touted battle in Section 3 in Girl’s Varsity basketball at 7:30 on the MSA and Quad A sports networks. Tune in to all the action at