By Matt Popchock
Led by Temple recruit Devontae Watson, Lincoln Park entered the 2012 WPIAL Basketball Championships as the top seed and widespread favorite in boys’ Class A. The Leopards, once again, made it look as though only one team got on the bus in their lid-lifter against Jefferson-Morgan, punctuating a solid showing by Beaver County teams on the first day of the postseason.
Watson netted 16, but he let Trey Hosack take the spotlight with 22 points in a 77-26 First Round thumping of Jefferson-Morgan, a game that saw Lincoln Park cruise to a 48-10 halftime lead. Elsewhere in Class A, Carrington Motley led the field with 18 points to bolster Sewickley Academy to a 44-33 win over St. Joseph at North Hills High School.
Lincoln Park and Sewickley Academy will meet in the Class A Quarterfinals next Friday. The Leopards blasted Sewickley, 80-31, in the Coaches vs. Cancer Clash of the Titans at Geneva College Jan. 21:
In Class AAA, Blackhawk tried to prove that what doesn’t kill them (playing in a section with undefeated New Castle) makes them stronger, as the Cougars posted a resounding 50-25 triumph over South Park in which Nick Martin led them with 21 points. Meanwhile, another AAA-Sec. 2 neighbor, Central Valley, used a strong second half and a game-best 16 points from Curtis Lewis to pull away from McGuffey, 55-33.
The most intriguing result in that bracket was a 56-48 Preliminary Round victory by Highlands over Southmoreland at Gateway High School. For the first time this season, the Golden Rams concocted a way to win a game that saw Drake recruit and WPIAL career three-point field goal record-holder Micah Mason get shut out in the first half. Three others finished in double figures for Highlands, and Mason eventually chipped in a game-high 18 points.
Beaver County’s success carried over to the girls’ field. New Brighton, Our Lady of the Sacred Heart, Quaker Valley, and Beaver Falls all advanced on Friday. In fact, the two biggest surprises of the first day of playoff basketball in District 7 also came in girls’ tournaments.
Baylor recruit Destiny Brown made Gateway a heavy favorite in girls’ Quad-A, but the Gators were stunned by No. 14 seed Upper St. Clair, 55-53, at Baldwin High School, despite a game-high 19 points from Brown. Constance Raftis led the Panthers with 11, including a last-minute three that provided the final margin.
Also in Quad-A, although defending WPIAL champion Shaler had to settle for a No. 13 seed this year, its title defense remains intact after upending No. 4 seed Penn-Trafford, 42-41, at Plum High School. Cate Potter led the Titans with 13 points.
Here are Friday’s boys’ and girls’ playoff scores:
Peters Township 40, Franklin Regional 38
Mohawk 28, Washington 24
Avonworth 37, Elderton 21
New Brighton 43, Ford City 39
Steel Valley 69, Freeport 39
Our Lady of the Sacred Heart 34, Beth-Center 14
Quaker Valley 55, Springdale 20
Beaver Falls 53, South Side Beaver 22
Keystone Oaks 56, Shady Side Academy 53
Burrell 45, Charleroi 40
Shaler 42, Penn-Trafford 41
Baldwin 46, Kiski Area 41
Upper St. Clair 55, Gateway 53
Hempfield 52, Woodland Hills 36
North Catholic 66, Carmichaels 38
Union 88, Bentworth 74
Clairton 66, Avella 24
Cornell 41, Quigley 37
Lincoln Park 77, Jefferson-Morgan 26
Sewickley Academy 44, St. Joseph 33
Serra Catholic 73, Western Beaver 59
Vincentian Academy 79, Geibel 36
Elizabeth Forward 48, Washington 46
Central Valley 55, McGuffey 33
Highlands 56, Southmoreland 48
Trinity 61, Kittanning 45
Beaver 57, Thomas Jefferson 47
Indiana 66, Knoch 53
Blackhawk 50, South Park 25
The 2012 WPIAL Basketball Championships resume throughout the area Saturday at noon. Check back with 93.7 The Fan and the “Mr. High School Sports” blog for more updates.
(Follow me on Twitter: twitter.com/mpopchock)