DORMONT – The Seton-La Salle High School boys basketball team had to wait several minutes late in the second quarter Thursday night because of excessive water on the court.
The undefeated Rebels were on a 12-0 run when the officials extended Washington’s timeout because water accumulated from spectators walking on the perimeter of the floor.
Seton-La Salle didn’t mind the wait.
The Rebels scored nine more points to finish the second quarter on a 21-0 run. The outburst sent Seton-La Salle to a 66-32 victory over Wash High and to first place in Section 4-AA.
Rebels senior forward Levi Masua, who at 6-5 towered over the Prexies’ front court, scored five of Seton-La Salle’s 21 points in the final 4:33 of the first half. He finished the game with 12 points.
“I expected my team to play hard, stick to the game plan and that’s exactly what we did,” Masua said. “We used our size advantage and didn’t worry about them. Coach always says that it’s not who you play but how you play. We followed his word.”
The gymnasium at Seton-La Salle was full, and with first place in the section on the line the chilly January night made for a playoff-like atmosphere. Wash High was looking to bounce back from a 60-40 loss to Quaker Valley and tried establishing a physical style of play in the game’s opening eight minutes.
It did not work.
With Masua coming off the bench and senior Malik White, a 6-4 forward, Seton-La Salle did not surrender a rebound or a point in the lane. Their dominant defense was tested in the opening minutes when the Prexies showed impressive perimeter shooting. Sophomore Nate Swart scored five points in the first quarter and senior Dupree Jenkins’ two free throws tied the score at 10-10 with 2:19 remaining in the opening quarter.
Seton-La Salle went on a 9-2 run to cap the opening eight minutes and did not look back. The Prexies (4-1, 9-3) outscored the Rebels during the next three minutes before Seton-La Salle’s 21-0 run began. Rebels senior point guard Dale Clancy, Seton-La Salle’s leading scorer, scored 10 points in the first half and used his quickness to open opportunities for Masua and junior Christian DelGreco.
“We’ve had two bad games in a row,” Wash High head coach Mark Gaither said. “We have got to get back to the basics. Hopefully, we will learn from this. When you lose a game like that, it’s about how you respond. We need to take something away from this.”
The Rebels (4-0, 10-0) started the second half where they left off, but with an even greater intensity. Masua hit a three-pointer 20 seconds in and scored seven points in the third quarter as Seton-La Salle outscored the Prexies, 18-6, in the eight-minute period.
While Clancy did not score a point in the second half, Seton-La Salle coach Mark Walsh attributed the flow of the Rebels’ offense to the point guard’s playmaking ability. His passing opened up DelGreco for uncontested three-point shots. He made three. DelGreco finished with a team-high 15 points.
“I will take a 21-0 run any day of the week,” Walsh said. “Dale Clancy’s quickness and athleticism opens up our offense He honestly makes coaching easier. With (Masua’s) length inside and a nice core of players, we had a great game for it being this early in the season.”
Wash High pulled its starters early in the third quarter after Seton-La Salle continued to build on its lead. With 4:43 remaining in the third, the Rebels took a 59-18 lead to envoke the WPIAL mercy rule. The final 12 minutes were played with a running clock, and Gaither knew his team must improve to compete with the top team in Class AA.
Wash High’s leading scorer was Swart, who finished with just eight points.
With three section matchups in the next eight days, Gaither wants the Prexies to learn quickly from the lopsided defeat.
“We knew how good they were,” Gaither said. “They are the best team inDouble-A. You have to be on your game when you face a team like that. When you aren’t, you see what happens. We think we can play with them. We need to bounce back and see what we’re made of.”