Sunday, February 22, 2009

Playoff musings, part II

Random thoughts from a basketball-filled weekend:

  1. I was fouled six times while sitting court side at the Wash High-South Fayette boys quarterfinal. The game was that physical.
  2. The officiating in the game was bad, at best. And it's not because South Fayette took 45 free throws to 11 for Washington. That's because the Lions attacked the basket at all costs, while Washington often settled for short jumpers. The problem I saw with the officiating was inconsistency. Both teams got away with a lot during the first half. Suddenly, the refs were calling everything in the third quarter. In the fourth quarter, it was back to a free-for-all.
  3. That said, I thought South Fayette's players adjusted to how the game was being called slightly better than Wash High's.
  4. I also expect South Fayette and Washington to make a run in the state tournament. Each played the type of defense that wins playoff games.
  5. The Wash High girls outplayed top-seed Sto-Rox for all but the final five minutes of the first quarter. As well as Washington played, the Prexies shot terribly.
  6. Still, the performance makes me think this girls team has the best chance at a run in states since Amber Harris was a senior.
  7. Kudos to the South Fayette girls. Who would have thought the Lions would put up 57 on the No. 2 seed just days after scoring 29 in an overtime game?
  8. Not me.
  9. The Peters Township boys are very good and so is senior Nick Wilcox. As good as Wilcox has been, and he's a lock to be on the Observer-Reporter's all-district first-team, the two reasons the Indians may win their first WPIAL boys basketball title is the improved play of point guard Craig Wolcott and center Steve Radke.
  10. Try this one on: Peters Township plays Seneca Valley in the semifinals. SV is coached by former PT head coach Victor Giannotta.
  11. Here's another one: South Fayette faces top-seed Jeannette in the boys semifinals. Last year, those two met in the quarterfinals in the most eventful high school basketball game I've ever covered.
  12. Peters Township senior Emily Correal may be the best high school girls basketball player in Washington County history. At the very least, she's right up there with Elizabeth Proudfit and Amber Harris of Wash High. It's also a tremendous credit to her play that the Indians came close to reaching the WPIAL semifinals. PT lost most of the players who surrounded Correal during last year's run.
  13. Finally, let's here from Monessen fans. WJPA's Bob Gregg told me that the Greyhounds rallied from 15 down in the 4th against Beaver Falls to win. It was shocking news. Monessen fans, speak up. Did you stay until the end? What was it like? How did Beaver Falls react? The Varsity Letters needs details on one of the great comebacks in the rich history of Monessen basketball.

30 comments:

Anonymous said...

The first three quarters were like a heavyweight fight. Each team took the others' very best shots. BF scored nine consecutive points on two, three pointers and a three-pont play to end the third Q. They built the lead and then Monessen just fought, and fought and fought, playing maddening defense. T. Stepoli hit 30-foot 3 to cut the lead to one and after a T. Thomas miss, Cam Johnson gave MHS the lead for good.

Monessen scored 21 of the game's last 23 points. At the end, I think the last three possessions, Beaver Falls never crossed mid court to defend Monessen.

The biggest questions after the game were did I really see what I think I saw. And have the young Greyhounds come of age.

Thomas stormed out of the gym and Coach Biega left two timeouts in his pocket.

Monessen was incredible in the fourth quarter and BF was so stunned mentally, I think, they couldn't function physically at the end.

This was a true heavyweight fight with Monessen having much more in the tank at the end.

This was a game for the ages. One of Monessen's greatest victories and that is saying a whole lot.

This is a team to watch in the future. Many sophomores have stepped up in the past two weeks.

As for the Tigers, I'm not sure they can recover from it. It was a debacle of epic proportions.

That's a really talented crew. But it collapsed -- totally.

Thomas best get a new attitude or he won't last long at the next level.

Kudos to the Greyhounds. They worked as hard as any team I've seen against a really good team, which was playing very close to home.

And, I will say, nearly all of the Monessen faithful, if not all, stayed for the entire game. What they saw was improbable, fantastic and something that will not be forgotten. What a game and what a finish!!!

While the WPIAL committee might not give enough credence to strength of schedule, Monessen's toughness in playing a most difficult schedule is showing through in the post-season. That's exactly the plan by those in charge.

One last note, three of the eight Class AA quarterfinalists were Class A teams playing up (Aliquippa, Monessen and North Catholic). At least one is going to the finals.

mike_kovak said...

Thanks for the report.

Imagine Monessen in Class A right now and kudos to head coach Joe Salvino for wanting to stay in Class AA.

Not only do the Greyhounds have some talented sophomores, there's a freshman or two on that team that are already good varsity players.

If Monessen and South Fayette advance, it's a certain changing of the guard in the classification. Both are young and talented.

Ronnie H said...

Just saw the Trib!?! Steve Bucci resigned as baseball coach from Canon-McMillan? That's nuts! Wow what a dark day this is for the observer-reporter considering I had to go to another paper for "washington county" news. Tisk Tisk

Anonymous said...

Benedict Bucci is not of interest to washington county so why would the O-R cover it?

Anonymous said...

I thought this post was about basketball. Take the C-M stuff elsewhere.

BF Alum said...

Monessen played a great game, but they shouldnt have won the game. Beaver Falls clearly fell apart in the 4th quarter being outscored 20-8.

Hats off to Monessen for the great win, but Beaver Falls should have beaten them by 10 or 15. That wasnt a normal 4th quarter performance from Beaver Falls. In the playoffs you have to bring your A game for 4 quarters or you will go home. Hopefully this is a wake up call for BF and they can make a run in the state.


I still believe Jeanette is the team to beat in AA. South Fayette is going to have a tough time beating them. Jordan Hall is the best player in the AA. He is even better than Todd Thomas.

Todd Thomas remind me alot of Terrell Owens. If the team is winning everything is great, but if they lose look out. He needs to control his temper better but no one can question his desire to win. No one wants to win as bad as Todd Thomas.

Anonymous said...

BF Alum, What happeed at then end of the game. Why no timeout? Why no defenders? I have never seen a collapse like that.

They were awful down the stretch. Do you have any explanation? Im still just mystified.

BF Alum said...

BF just played a terrible 4th quarter. I have no idea why they played so badly. That was the worst quarter they played all season. Unfortunately it cost them a chance at a WPIAL Title.

BF hasnt gotten it done this year when it really counted in football or basketball. They had a great season but the expectations were set high with the talent level.

Anonymous said...

Peters Township senior Emily Correal may be the best high school girls basketball player in Washington County history. At the very least, she's right up there with Elizabeth Proudfit and Amber Harris of Wash High. It's also a tremendous credit to her play that the Indians came close to reaching the WPIAL semifinals. PT lost most of the players who surrounded Correal during last year's run.

You must be kidding about the "lost most of the players who surrounded her last year!!!! PT returned their enire starting lineup minus 1 starting forward. The thing this team lost was their head coach, Dennis Squeglia, beacuse of the meddling parents in the program undermining his leadership. Emily is and will continue to be a great player in college, but her real shot at a wPIAL title ended when Squiggs walked away.

Anonymous said...

Did Thomas' mom curse out the coach after they lost like she did at Heinz field?

Anonymous said...

You are correct.

Mrs. Thomas said...

God our coach is awful...my boy is a superstar. I think I'm going to go give him a piece of my mind...

Hittin the Tick said...

Hey Mike, can you shed some light on why the number one seeded Peter's boys have to travel up to NA. I thought it was supposed to be a neutral site, not a section gym that Seneca Valley plays in every year. Doesn't being seeded number one entitle you to some sort of advantages?

Anonymous said...

The reason Peters is going to NA to play is about the most important thing to the WPIAL...MONEY! The Peters students don't go to games, they didn't draw well when they played at Baldwin. The WPIAL knows this. From what I heard Seneca had a huge student section on Saturday. Therefore, they want the gate to be large. The number one seed means nothing in regards to where you play, the only thing that matters is how much money the WPIAL can make. Seneca basically has a home game and they are the lower seed. It's a real shame.

Where are all the PT fans? said...

I was only at two Peters Township games this year and neither game had a large following. Its crazy the students at Peters dont support their team more. They have a great team and are really missing out on some great basketball. I guess school pride isnt what we thought it was at Peters Township.

Hittin the Tick said...

Peters may not have a large student following, but the community as a whole is definitely showing its support. There is a buzz around the community about this team. It is truly a shame that Peter's students don't support this team. What you heard was correct Seneca had a large following, but isn't that expected when you only have to travel a short distance. I would guess that if Peters played at Canon-Mac, Peters would sell the place out. How can you expect 13-18 year old kids to drive 45 min on a Wednesday night?

Anonymous said...

School pride starts at the top. What are the principals like? Do they support the team and make it a point to do so? Does the school board go? How about the superintendent? At USC all of our administrators go, the school board is visible, the super loves sports! I must disagree with one of the posts though. I went to three Peters games this year and the place was packed. I mean packed. As for the site they are playing. I'd expect nothing less from the WPIAL. They don't care one bit about the schools. They are out for the dollar, that's it.

W&J Grad said...

Who isnt out to just make money these days? Its the world we live in. Sadly enough this greed has probably contributed to putting the economy the state it is in now.

Anonymous said...

I find it very hard to believe that the economy has hurt the WPIAL to the point where they have to give the #4 seed an advantage. Give me a break. Every other top seed plays at a spot more advantageous than PT boys. The #3 seed in AAAA is playing at Char Valley yet somehow Peters will travel an hour to play a team that is no more than 10 miles from NA.

Anonymous said...

Why is everyone a moron on this blog. I didnt say that the economy was hurting the WPIAL. I was stating that the economy has gotten this way partly due to greed and only caring about the money.

I cant stand idiots like you who twist words.

Anonymous said...

The WPIAL doesn't give a crap about how many students will drive to a game when it schedules a site. What it cares about is: 1. Which schools have a gym available; 2. Which schools are willing to host two playoff games (not many are); 3. Does that school have enough people to adequately staff two games; 4. Can they get a good rental price? That dwindles the list of potential sites significantly. As you can tell by this year, there aren't many schools hosting games. And, I'm wondering: If PT is worried their students won't drive to a game a Wednesday night, why don't they just organize a bus trip for the students like many other schools do?

Anonymous said...

it`s not just students that go to the games what about the people who go to watch these games from every district?it seems N.Hills N.A get all the games which means money to there programs why not have peters play at baldwin they are the 1 seed teams from the south always have to travel ask clairton McKeesport West Mifflin the only team in the south that gets a break is CV maybe its there AD that knows the board members to get these games every tues and friday and now with 50/50`s its to easy to give it up

Anonymous said...

Why dont they play at Robert Morris?

Anonymous said...

Why are you talking about the economy and greed on a basketball message board?

Great question about PT and why they don't just get a bus. Seems to me, outside of the people in the gym there's not too many people at Peters who care about their team.

Can anyone shed light on this? Who's from PT who can answer why kids don't go to games and why there's not a bus?

PT Student said...

Peters had a decent fan section at the Baldwin game and had some huge fan sections at the CM game. As for the game at NA, that's a far drive for a lot of HS kids, but there were still some there.

The school actually offered a fan bus before the game v. penn trafford, but they only made a small announcment the day before and not enough kids signed up.

Most of the administration are morons and don't care about the bball team, but there are a few today.

In the end, it won't matter where we play, we'll still get the job done.

Anonymous said...

I'll give you my take on the game. The Greyhounds played with heart. They weren't ready to go home yet. They listened to their coaches and really kept their composure. Beaver Falls came into the game talking junk, especially Todd Thomas, telling the players this was "his house" and saying "go home little boys". Well Todd the Greyhounds get to play another week and you get to buy a ticket.... As far as attitude goes, I think Pitt will be sorry to have you unless you change your poor disposition. (He actually pushed his mother when she went to talk to him). I think half of gym counldn't belive what they saw. And as far as not shaking the palyers hands, that's all right, you can't bring anything good to them. You had their respect, but respect is earned and you have not earned it. It is important to learn how to lose and to congratulate those who defeated you. Good luck Greyhounds and show North Catholic how the Greyhounds run with Pride...

Anonymous said...

God our coach is awful...my boy is a superstar. I think I'm going to go give him a piece of my mind...

This was actually posted by Todd Thomas' mother, I hope someone signed as her and this isn't her for real. What mother actually calls their child a "superstar?" Your son is a very good athlete but by no means a superstar. The closest highschool superstar I've seen in my life time was Terrel Pryor, but I never heard his grandmother, whom I know, ever refer to him as a superstar. As far as your coach goes, I have a feeling that when things don't go Todd's way someone is always to blame. I think you need to learn a life lesson, your son is a good athlete, but in college he is dime a dozen. His attitude will get him no where and seems to me your not helping matters. Lets worry about the important things, grades and respect. There is nothing greater than a good athlete that is HUMBLE.......

Bill Cherpak said...

Give me a break. You actually believe that Todd Thomas' mother posted on this blog. You are crazy. Also, Terrell Pryor was a superstar. He had the best high school career that I personally know of. His stats and performances were unmatched.

Todd Thomas is a super start in his own right. Everyone knows he has attitude problems its well documented. When he has his head on straight he is the best athlete in the PIAA. I am sure some idiot will say he isnt just for the fact they dont like him.

Face the facts Todd Thomas is an amazing athlete. His major drawback is his attitude. He has the chance to be a super star and play on Sundays if he gets his head on straight. He is that athletic.

BIG MAC said...

peters and usc never have had school spirit thats why im a proud big mac in a time when its not the "cool" thing to stand up cheer, and show support, the big macs always stick together and represent. GO BIG MACS!

Anonymous said...

oh yea big macs are doing well in the WPIAL playoffs