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Central Catholic Upsets New Citadel in WPIAL 6A Championship



PITTSBURGH — Central Catholic surprised the top-seeded New Citadel Hurricanes 59-52 within the Class-6A Championship recreation to earn the second WPIAL basketball title at school historical past and the primary since 2008. The Vikings managed to upset the Hurricanes behind a dominant efficiency by Dante DePante and a strong defensive effort.

DePante carried the offensive load for the Vikings as he completed with a game-high 29 factors whereas capturing 10-of-19 from the sphere. The Hurricane protection couldn’t cease DePante as he drew ten fouls within the recreation. 

“I’ve been taking part in higher all through the playoffs,” mentioned DePante. “I [felt] like all through the season there [were] accidents and stuff. I really feel like ‘It’s my final yr, why not make each recreation rely.’”

The championship marks the third time that the Vikings and Hurricanes have met this yr with them splitting the regular-season matchups. Central Catholic beat New Citadel again on Jan. 10 earlier than falling to the Hurricanes on Feb. 3.


“Perhaps I pressed higher buttons that evening however not tonight. There’s positively a variety of self-reflection right here on simply why we weren’t higher offensively. I don’t need to discredit [Central,] they have been actually good defensively however we didn’t transfer the ball sufficient to drive them to have to shut out to the place we might drive some gaps,” mentioned New Citadel’s head coach Ralph Blundo after the sport.

The Vikings’ protection stepped up in opposition to two of the very best scorers within the space, Isaiah Boice and Jonathan Anderson.

Boice completed with 7 factors and didn’t file his first level till the ultimate minute of the primary half. Anderson scored a team-high 22 factors within the loss. Da’Jaun Younger completed because the Hurricanes’ second-leading scorer with 14 factors.

“That was our key tonight, to place Randy [Wilkerson] and Tommy Kristian, who’re actually good on-ball defenders extra within the gaps,” mentioned Vikings’ head coach Brian Urso. “We had actually good guys that perceive protection and hole exercise ready for them. Then having [Cole] Sullivan and [Debaba] Tshiebwe kinda have the center packed in made it actually tough for [New Castle] to get to the rim.”

For the primary minute and a half of the sport, neither crew scored however that modified when DePante scored the opening factors on a spinning lay-up.

Younger answered again and the 2 of them would commerce buckets over the following couple of minutes till the rating was 6-4. 

The Vikings would maintain the lead till halfway by way of the third quarter till a lay-up by Younger gave the Hurricanes a one-point lead. That lead was short-lived as DePante would convert a three-point play the old style technique to give the Vikings the lead again.

The Hurricanes would make it a one-possession recreation at the beginning of the fourth quarter however might by no means catch again up. Cole Sullivan capped off the championship victory with back-to-back dunks that despatched the Vikings followers right into a frenzy.

“It was fairly neat. That’s what he does in observe day by day, I knew he was going to do it. He tried doing it earlier within the recreation [and] missed it however on these two breakaways, to ship it house that approach for us and to really feel the power simply kinda rise, I’ll always remember that second,” mentioned Urso.

Sullivan completed because the second-leading scorer for the Vikings as he completed with 16 factors.

DePante talked about earlier within the season how a lot it might imply to not solely him, however the entire crew to carry Central Catholic their second-ever basketball title and tonight he delivered.

“It’s superb, I’ve by no means felt something prefer it,” mentioned DePante after the sport.

“Most individuals assume that we’re a soccer faculty and yeah we’re good at soccer however I’m glad to carry again a championship to Central for basketball. I feel it means rather a lot to this faculty,” Payton Wehner added.

Brian Urso was employed to be Pittsburgh Central Catholic’s head coach in 2019 which suggests his present seniors have been freshmen on the time.

“These children got here in with me 4 years in the past, it’s loopy how briskly it goes,” mentioned Urso postgame. “To look at them play a variety of huge video games and fail, the frustration all of them needed to endure… it was exhausting. However they’re relentless, their perception was so true.”

Each groups have certified for the PIAA state playoffs and now await their first-round opponents. 


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Kylie Fruehstorfer Leads Union to 52-35 Championship Win Over Aquinas



Kylie Fruehstorfer had 20 factors as Union defeated Aquinas, 52-35, to win the 2023 Ladies 1A WPIAL Championship. Union used a powerful fourth quarter to show a tie sport into a snug victory.

Union scored first on foul pictures from Kylie Fruehstorfer and Kelly Cleaver making it 3-0 as each staff’s defenses induced issues for his or her opposition’s offense. The primary basket from the ground didn’t happen till in regards to the four-minute mark by Aquinas’s Victoria Taylor, making it 3-2.

That began to open issues up as Union’s No. 3 hit a three-pointer from the appropriate facet to increase their lead 6-2. A basket from Tess Duer made it 6-4 and that’s the place the rating remained to finish the quarter.

Union began off the scoring within the second to go up 8-4 earlier than the staff’s began buying and selling three-pointers with Aquinas’s Ellie Junker hitting a pair to chop the result in one at 11-10.

Junker hit a layup with about 3:30 left within the first half to provide Aquinas their first lead of the sport at 12-11 and adopted that up with one other three-pointer about two minutes later. It was an 11-3 run for Aquinas, with Junker having scored all 11 of her staff’s factors.

Each groups did discover success taking pictures within the half’s final minute and, impulsively, after trailing for many of the sport Aquinas went into halftime up barely, 17-16.

It took Union three-minutes to attain their first level of the second half as Aquinas prolonged their result in 20-16. When Union did rating although, first on a foul shot, they adopted it up instantly with a Kylie Fruehstorfer three-pointer to tie issues up 20-20.

Aquinas scored once more, however a three-pointer from Kylie Fruehstorfer gave them a 23-22 and compelled an Aquinas timeout. The timeout led to a three-pointer by Duer, and Aquinas had the lead again at 25-22 with lower than three-minutes to go within the third quarter.

Union tied issues up at 25-25 as the 2 groups began to commerce pictures. They’d go into the ultimate quarter with the rating tied at 29-29.

A 3-pointer by Kylie Fruehstorfer gave Union a 32-29 result in instantly begin the fourth quarter. A 3-point play off coast-to-coast basket and foul shot by Cleaver gave Union a six-point lead at 35-29, the most important of the sport at that time.

These performs additionally began a 10-0 run in only a two-minute span that ended when Aquinas hit a pair of free throws to chop the result in eight, 39-31, with a hair underneath 5 minutes left within the sport.

Union didn’t let up within the sport’s final 5 minutes and outscored Aquinas 23-6 within the fourth quarter en path to their 52-35 championship victory.

Kylie Fruehstofer completed as the sport’s main scorer with 20 factors and her sister Kayla contributed six factors, six rebounds on the evening. Union’s Zoe Lepri completed with a double-double with 10 factors and 10 rebounds whereas Cleaver got here shut to at least one with 14 factors and 9 rebounds but in addition added six assists and three block pictures within the sport.

Duer (15) and Junker (14) led Aquinas in scoring whereas Violet Johnson led the staff in rebounds with eight. Johnson additionally had a pair of blocks.

Each groups seasons will proceed within the PIAA state playoffs with their match-ups but to be decided.

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Protection Powers Avonworth to Class 3A Ladies’ Title



After upsetting the No. 1 seed within the WPIAL 3A Ladies’ match, No. 4 Avonworth had the championship inside attain. All that stood in its manner was the highest staff from the opposite aspect of the bracket, the Laurel Spartans.

Fueled by its stout protection – the very best in 3A – Avonworth closed out a 48-40 victory to assert its first WPIAL title since 2005.


Junior Rebecca Goetz and sophomore Greta O’Brien went to work for the Antelopes to assist seal the win and expertise that championship feeling.

“It feels loopy,” O’Brien mentioned. “We’ve been working actually onerous, so it’s actually thrilling.”

“I’m nonetheless wrapping my head round it, it’s loopy,” Goetz added.

Avonworth’s (19-5) championship season began sluggish, however first-year head coach Nick Dizon guided the Antelopes to 12 straight victories to shut out the title run. 

“When the job opened, I used to be actually excited to have the possibility to get it,” Dizon mentioned. “Once I obtained it, I noticed the grit and competitiveness and the need to need to win. Over the course of the yr, issues began to point out and it made me assume we actually have a shot at this.”

Dizon’s defensive philosophy was placed on show as Avonworth (19-5) annoyed a high-scoring Laurel (24-2) within the championship tilt.

“In case you play protection, you’ve got an opportunity to win each recreation,” Dizon mentioned. “Even should you don’t have a terrific capturing evening, we put together scouting experiences and the ladies know them just like the again of their hand. We all know protection typically comes all the way down to the little issues and our women take delight in that.”

The defensive preparation paid off because the Lopes made it troublesome for Laurel to get something going The Spartans struggled to penetrate within the first half together with Avonworth forcing a number of turnovers. 

“They had been very aggressive,” mentioned Laurel head coach Jim Marcantino. “We did a very good job in spurts shifting it, however we had hassle in sure matchups.”

Because the protection swarmed Laurel, on the opposite finish, the offense put collectively two runs to propel the Lopes to a halftime lead. An 11-0 run spanned the again half of the primary quarter into the primary jiffy of the second quarter. 

Laurel made some changes within the locker room and got here out within the second half wanting just like the offensive staff Laurel noticed within the semifinals.


Johnna Hill was instrumental within the Spartan comeback with 4 fast factors within the opening minutes of the second half. Then, Danielle Pontius buried an open three to tie the sport. Laurel would ultimately take its first lead for the reason that first three minutes of the sport. Nevertheless, Avonworth would shortly take the sport again into its palms and wouldn’t look again.

“We knew they had been a 3rd quarter staff,” Goetz mentioned about Laurel. “We anticipated that and had that in our head. We knew that we’re additionally a 3rd quarter staff and we get plenty of power within the third quarter, so we simply stored going.”

Heading down the stretch, Goetz and O’Brien turned it on for the Antelopes. After solely 4 factors late within the first half, O’Brien discovered her rhythm by including 4 factors late within the third quarter, together with a deceiving move pretend that led to an open look on a drive. 

“I simply stored pushing,” O’Brien mentioned. “I used to be engaged on different issues that may assist contribute to the staff.”

O’Brien completed with 10 factors and added seven rebounds, together with two assists and a steal within the championship clinching effort. Goetz led the Lopes with 13 factors and 10 rebounds.

With the offense arising clutch, particularly down the stretch for Avonworth, all of it got here with no made three-pointer, one thing that’s not unfamiliar to the Lopes.

“Generally we shoot it nicely, and a few days we wrestle and it’s one thing we’re going to attempt to work on,” Dizon. “That goes again to the purpose about protection. If we defend, we all the time have an opportunity to win.”

With out the three ball, Avonworth discovered success scoring within the paint. The Lopes had been 34.8% from the ground.

Because the offense clicked when it mattered, the protection continued to work towards Laurel’s prime gamers. The Antelopes additionally held Regan Atkins to eight factors as she averaged 15.9 factors per recreation on the season.

“We knew we needed to keep watch over her and [Hill],” O’Brien mentioned. “We needed to know the place they had been on the court docket in any respect time.”

Hill led all scorers with 16 within the shedding effort.

Now, each Avonworth and Laurel will head to the PIAA State match. The Antelopes will face the No. 6 staff from District 6 whereas Laurel will tackle the No. 3 staff from District 10.

“We’re pleased proper now and they need to be pleased and happy with themselves,” Dizon mentioned. “On the proper time, we are going to get able to give attention to states.”

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