Four Champions Crowned in Second Day of WPIAL Boys’ & Girls’ Basketball Championships

Saturday, March 5, 2022

Pittsburgh, Pa. – The Western Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic League (WPIAL) held the second of three Boys’ & Girls’ Basketball Championship days at the Petersen Events Center on Friday, bestowing championship glory in the 3A and 5A boys’ classifications and the 2A and 6A girls’ classifications.

The final championship game of Friday’s quartet featured 13 lead changes, 11 deadlocks, and two overtimes, with top-seeded Laurel Highlands ultimately defeating second-seeded New Castle, 60-58.

Laurel Highlands (25-0) and New Castle (23-2) entered the evening with just one loss between them, and the miniscule difference separating them showed throughout the duration, with a five-point Red Hurricane lead in the first quarter being the largest for either side.

The Mustangs had three players score in double-digits, led by junior guard Rodney Gallagher’s 26 points – the final two coming with 0.3 remaining in the second overtime. Junior forward Keondre Deshields finished with an 18-point, 11-rebound double-double and tacked on three blocks, while classmate Brandon Davis added 12 points, six caroms, and three assists.

New Castle received a game-high 23 points and nine rebounds from senior guard Michael Wells, and junior guard Jonathan Anderson added 16 points and six assists. Anderson’s classmate Isaiah Boice poured in 14 points (5-6 FG, 3-3 3PT), including the game-tying three with 4.5 seconds remaining in the first overtime.

Laurel Highlands’ second WPIAL boys’ basketball title in three seasons is also its third overall (1968, 2020). New Castle was looking to extend its league record of boys’ basketball championships, entering the night with 14 to its name.

Seven schools have advanced onto the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association (PIAA) Championships – Laurel Highlands, New Castle, Highlands, Gateway, Hampton, Shaler, and Penn Hills.

Top-seeded Mt. Lebanon made up an 8-3 first-quarter deficit by outscoring third-seeded Upper St. Clair, 15-7 in the next stanza, lifting the Blue Devils to a 55-44 win over the Panthers in the third of four WPIAL boys’ & girls’ championships games on Friday.

Mt. Lebanon (23-1) trailed by as many as eight early in the second quarter before righting the ship. The Blue Devils held slight edges over Upper St. Clair (20-5) in second chance points (13-8) and fast break points (9-5), but created more possessions by forcing 18 turnovers to committing just 10.

Senior guard Ashleigh Connor came a rebound shy of a double-double, finishing with 23 points and nine rebounds. Classmate Brooke Collins added nine points, seven rebounds, and four steals.

The Panthers’ high scorer honors were shared between junior guard Mia Brown and freshman guard Rylee Kalocay, who both scored 13 points. Junior forward Katelyn Robbins pulled down 13 boards, while senior forward Molly James snagged 10.

This is Mt. Lebanon’s first WPIAL girls’ basketball title in 10 seasons and fourth overall (2009, 2010, 2012). Upper St. Clair was in pursuit of its sixth championship.

Four schools have qualified for the PIAA Championships – Mt. Lebanon, Upper St. Clair, Bethel Park, and North Allegheny.

Trailing 13-8 after one quarter, third-seeded Shady Side Academy outscored eighth-seeded Avonworth, 39-17, over the next two frames to defeat the Lopes, 66-54, in the second Friday contest of the WPIAL boys’ and girls’ basketball championship weekend.

After converting just 23.1 percent of its first-quarter field goal attempts, Shady Side Academy (19-6) shot 60.5 percent from the field over the remainder of the game. The Bulldogs received an 18-2 advantage in bench points over Avonworth (18-7), and outrebounded the Lopes, 36-25.

Sophomore guard Eli Teslovich led Shady Side Academy with 20 points on 9-of-15 shooting, while classmate Peter Kramer added 18 points on 7-of-15 from the field. Kramer also dished out a game-high eight assists, and senior forward Thompson Lau swiped three steals on defense.

For Avonworth, senior guard Jordan Kolenda claimed high scorer honors with 25 points (8-14 FG, 3-5 3PT, 6-9 FT), while freshman guard Rowan Carmichael provided 19.

This is Shady Side Academy’s second WPIAL boys’ basketball championship, previously winning in 1999. Avonworth was looking for its second overall and first since 1959.

Seven schools have advanced onto the PIAA Championships – Shady Side Academy, Avonworth, Aliquippa, South Allegheny, Washington, Ellwood City, and Neshannock.

A stellar defensive effort lifted second-seeded Neshannock over top-seeded Our Lady of Sacred Heart, 55-31, in the first of four games in Friday’s WPIAL boys’ and girls’ basketball championship slate.

Neshannock (24-2) held Our Lady of Sacred Heart (21-5) to 27.0 percent shooting and forced 19 turnovers defensively, all while converting 40.7 percent of its field goal attempts. The Lancers trailed for only 6:37 of the 32 minutes and held a 30-10 edge on points in the paint.

Junior guard Mairan Haggerty posted a 14-point, 10-rebound double-double, leading all players in both categories. She was one of three Neshannock players to reach double-figures scoring, joining senior guard Neleh Nogay (13) and junior forward Megan Pallerino (12). Pallerino added five steals defensively, while Nogay collected three steals.

The Chargers received a team-high nine points from senior guard Kaleigh Constantino, while classmate Emily Schuck registered eight points and eight rebounds.

This is Neshannock’s second consecutive WPIAL girls’ basketball title and its third in four seasons. Our Lady of Sacred Heart was searching to add a second WPIAL trophy, previously winning in 2019.

Seven schools have qualified for the PIAA Championships – Neshannock, Our Lady of Sacred Heart, Serra Catholic, Seton LaSalle, Shenango, Apollo-Ridge, and Burgettstown.

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