Penn Hills outlasts Pine-Richland at the Lincoln Park Hall of Fame Classic
In a matchup of two teams ranked in the top five of their respective classifications, Penn Hills (5A) was able to outlast Pine-Richland (6A), 66-65, in an instant classic Saturday night. Both teams were very evenly matched as the biggest lead in the game for either team was eight.
The first quarter went at a break-neck pace as both teams were getting up and down the floor wasting no time getting shots up. Kyree Mitchell-Hairston paced Penn Hills in the first quarter with eight points and Penn Hills led after a quarter 18-16.
After being down 18-10, Pine-Richland went on a 10-0 run that went from the end of the first quarter until 7:00 left in the second quarter, giving the Rams their first lead of the game at 20-18. Penn Hills forward Wes Kropp sat most of the second quarter in foul trouble and Pine-Richland took full advantage going to their big man Cameron Kirkland who dominated the second quarter. Pine-Richland outscored Penn Hills 20-12 in the second quarter and had a 36-30 lead at halftime.
After adjustments were made, it was Penn Hills who started the second half on fire. With Kropp on the bench, Mitchell-Hairston carried the offense with a big quarter and Penn Hills turned a six-point halftime deficit into a tie game at 53-53 after three quarters.
In the fourth quarter both defenses really revved up. Both teams had numerous big steals and blocks throughout the quarter. It was now Pine-Richland who was in foul trouble as Kirkland and Levi Wentz had four fouls most of the fourth quarter. This allowed Kropp to really take over and score eight of his points in the fourth quarter. Up by two with twenty seconds left, Penn Hills drew up an inbounds play to Mitchell-Hairston who was able to make the layup, give Penn Hills a four-point lead and put the game away. Pine-Richland’s Logan Murray made a three at the buzzer, but it wasn’t enough, and Penn Hills hung on for the 66-65 win.
Mitchell-Hairston was the PlayerPager Player of the Game with 23 points. Kropp pitched in 15 points and Eddie Daniels finished with 14.
Kyle Polce paced Pine-Richland with 19 points, Murray contributed 14, while Kirland and Joseph Petcash both had 10.
Penn Hills starts the season on the right foot with a 1-0 record. They will play their home-opener on Monday against Perry Traditional Academy at 7:30 pm.
Pine-Richland falls to 0-1 and head on the road to Upper St. Clair on Tuesday at 7:30 pm.