McMurray – It started Dec. 7 with a 33-point blowout win of Class A powerhouse North Catholic in the season opener and the Seton-La Salle girls basketball team hasn’t taken its foot off the accelerator since.
Seton-La Salle has kicked its game into overdrive and defeated every opponent from Pennsylvania it has encountered (the Rebels’ only loss was to a team from Ohio).
The latest opponent that had the unfortunate task of trying to derail the defending state Class AA champions was Washington. And the result was as you might expect.
Seton-La Salle, playing every bit like a team that deserves a top seed in the WPIAL playoffs, rolled to a 46-point halftime lead before kicking it out of gear and settling for a 61-20 victory in a first-round game at Peters Township.
The win improves Seton-La Salle’s record to 22-1. The Rebels have won 75 of their last 77 games and have not lost to a team from the WPIAL in more than two years.
Seton-La Salle’s speed, size, depth and crisp play left Wash High coach Mike Maltony wondering who can beat the Rebels. It would have to be a private school, he said.
“Until the WPIAL or PIAA steps in and does something, public schools are going to be at a big disadvantage,” Maltony said. “Seton-La Salle can reload. We, and all the public schools, have to play with the hand we have.”
Seton-La Salle, despite playing without Duquesne recruit Cassidy Walsh, who is sidelined with an injury, led 32-6 after one quarter, then held Wash High scoreless in the second while forging a 52-6 lead.
Despite the lopsided score, there were some positives the Prexies (13-11) can take from the game, and the season. Wash High, which beat Ford City in a preliminary round game last weekend, held Seton-La Salle to nine points in the second half, which was played, by rule, with the running clock. SL also went deep into its bench in the fourth quarter, which Wash High won by a 10-3 margin.
“We didn’t quit, which was good,” Maltony said. “Before the game, I said, no matter what happens, let’s play hard for 36 minutes and let the chips fall where they may. We didn’t hang our heads. We kept playing.”
Naje Gibson, with 17 points, was the only SL player to score in double figures.
Mya Gordon led Wash High – which does not have a senior on the roster – with nine points and played well in the low post, blocking and altering many shots.
“In the offseason, we have to push ourselves to get better,” Maltony said. “We can’t afford to take the summer off. After playing Seton-La Salle, we can see what level we need to get to.”
Lincoln Park 95, Mapletown 37: No. 16 Mapletown suffered a lopsided, expected fate against top-seeded Lincoln Park, 95-37, in a WPIAL Class A first round boys basketball game at Keystone Oaks.
Dereck Riggleman led the Maples (7-17) with 18 points, but Maverick Rowan had 34 and Elijah Minnie added 24 for Lincoln Park (18-5), which will play Wilkinsburg in the quarterfinals.
Mapletown, which over the weekend won a playoff game for the first time in 41 years, trailed, 62-9, at halftime before rallying to score 28 points in the second half.
“We were completely outmatched,” Mapletown coach Craig Hoone said. “We were doing what we could with what we have.”
Which was a bench that consisted of four players and two coaches.
Not a ton of height like Lincoln Park, which repeatedly tried alley-oop dunks in what amounted to a game of pickup basketball for the Leopards.
“The kids stayed extremely positive,” Hoone said. “They kept listening to what I had to say. They kept taking my coaching clear to the end of the game.”
Besides Riggleman, Kevin Ridgley had eight points, and Eric Atwood added six.
South Fayette 40, West Mifflin 34: West Mifflin scored the first two baskets of the fourth quarter to cut South Fayette’s lead to 31-28, but the Lions went on a 7-0 run to put away the Titans, 40-34, in a first-round WPIAL Class AAA boys basketball playoff game at Baldwin.
The Lions (14-9) led 21-11 at the half, but watched the Titans (16-6) whittle that lead down to three before the late run, which included a pair of free throws from Evan Bonnaure for a technical foul.
The Lions advance to Friday’s quarterfinals at a site and time to be determined, where they will face Section 4-AAA foe Chartiers Valley, a 77-43 winner over Knoch Tuesday night. The Colts defeated the Lions twice during the regular season.