Blogger's note: Check back later today for a notebook with topics ranging from Ed Dalton at McGuffey to the return of Russ Moore at Waynesburg to WPIAL basketball and more.
As an unbiased observer, there are still times when a performance by a team or individual can energize and even inspire.
It's a rarity for a crafty veteran such as myself, but Saturday's game between Peters Township and Pittsburgh Central Catholic served as a reminder of what can make high school athletics a special thing.
Count me among the many who didn't give Peters Township much of a chance to beat talented PCC. The odds were stacked against the Indians. Junior guard Trent McPherson was unavailable. Junior forward Gabe Pritz had 11 stitches in his left ear. PT players and head coach Gary Goga were subjects of conversation on talk radio and television news. Some of the conversation was not flattering.
All things pointed toward a PCC rout.
Not so fast.
Credit Goga with having undermanned PT prepared. Strong performances came from Kevin Glod, Nick Parello and J.C. Brush, while Pritz turned in the best first half of his varsity career.
At halftime, Pritz - going against PCC's big front line - had 22 points and nine rebounds. Peters Township led thought much of the first half. And the Indians led 35-31 when a collision with a PCC defender popped the 11 stitches out of Pritz's ear.
Pritz was unable to return. Glod played the entire second half in foul trouble. Smartly, PCC attacked inside and eventually took control in the fourth quarter.
Still, it was one incredible postseason performance. With only one senior (Glod) in the rotation, PT will enter the 2012-13 season with increased expectations.
In the WPIAL quarterfinals, I went 26-6, including a spiffy 14-2 record in girls games. That improves the postseason record to 98-34, a .742 win percentage.
Here's who is getting to the A.J. Palumbo Center this weekend:
AAAA - Shaler over Pittsburgh Central Catholic; Gateway over Butler
AAA - New Castle over Beaver; Montour over Hampton
AA - Monessen over Greensburgh Central Catholic; Beaver Falls over Sto-Rox
A - Lincoln Park over Vincentian Academy; North Catholic over Cornell
AAAA - Oakland Catholic over Baldwin; Mt. Lebanon over Upper St. Clair
AAA - Hopewell over Chartiers Valley; South Park over Blackhawk
AA - Seton-La Salle over Keystone Oaks; Bishop Canevin over Steel Valley
A - North Catholic over Riverview; Fort Cherry over Vincentian Academy