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Thomas, Cummings Duo Shines as Lincoln Park Punches Ticket to Petersen Occasions Middle



There will not be a greater duo in all of WPIAL basketball than Lincoln Park’s Meleek Thomas and Brandin Cummings. The pair has led No. 1 Lincoln Park again to the Petersen Occasions Middle after defeating No. 5 Highlands 87-64 within the 4A semifinals.

Thomas recorded a game-high 29 factors with Cummings not too far behind with 21 of his personal.

Whereas the duo has impressed but once more, the bond goes additional than simply enjoying on the basketball courtroom, which permits them to be so profitable.

“I feel we’re extra of a household,” Cummings mentioned. “Me and Meleek have identified one another for some time and we’ve talked about this for some time. Once we are on that courtroom, we’re actually harmful.”

Thomas and Cummings introduced a world of hassle for Highlands who simply fell too far behind and had no likelihood of clawing again because the duo got here in waves for the Leopards.

“They’re energy 5 gamers,” Lincoln Park head coach Mike Bariski mentioned. “They feed off of one another. They commerce back-and-forth with who’s the main scorer.”

Thomas drops 29 factors in Lincoln Park’s semifinals victory over Highlands.

With the tandem propelling Lincoln Park within the semifinal matchup, the Leopards noticed an enormous enchancment on offense in comparison with their quarterfinals tilt the place they scored 50 factors in opposition to South Allegheny. 

“Final recreation, we acquired taken out of our recreation a little bit bit, that’s why we didn’t rating as a lot.” Cummings mentioned. “We’re a crew that likes to place that ball within the bucket, so we got here out right here and performed our recreation they usually couldn’t cease that.”

There was no scarcity of offense from each Lincoln Park (24-1) and Highlands (21-4), however it was Thomas and Cummings that knocked down shot after shot, together with a put-back slam from the latter. The junior Pitt commit ended the primary quarter with 11 factors whereas Thomas – one of many high gamers within the class of 2025 – buried three triples to go together with his 15 first quarter factors. 

“We’re a high-level scoring crew,” Thomas mentioned. “Once we are flowing and we all know we’re in that mode, it’s laborious for individuals to remain in entrance of us.”

Whereas Lincoln Park caught hearth early, Highlands lingered round. Junior guard Cam Reigard hit two threes in fast succession after a timeout within the first quarter as he completed with 12 factors. 6-foot-8 ahead Bradyn Foster additionally added six factors within the first quarter – on the best way to 13 complete factors – because the Rams trailed by eight. 

After surpassing 20 factors within the opening body, Highlands failed to attain greater than 14 factors within the remaining quarters. The scoring limitation was a testomony to the robust defensive presence Lincoln Park performed with.

“The sport plan was to strain them with man and we had been going to make use of our zone press someplace to throw it at them,” Bariski mentioned. “Luckily, our full courtroom strain affected them. We had been capable of put that defensive strain on them and I feel it affected them.”

One participant that was particularly impacted by the press was Highlands’ Jimmy Kunst. The 6-foot-3 sophomore led the Rams on the evening with 17 factors, however Lincoln Park discovered a solution to gradual him down.

“Kunst is a good participant,” Bariski mentioned.”I feel we wore him down a little bit bit as a result of we full courtroom pressed him the entire recreation.”

As Lincoln Park started to run away with the competition, the Leopards additionally noticed some vital position gamers assist within the successful effort. Senior DeAndre Moye added 13 factors whereas junior ahead Dorian McGhee factored in 12 factors as he noticed some key minutes within the second half.

“Everyone was concerned,” Thomas mentioned. “You may see our bench gamers become involved. McGhee, our massive, acquired concerned. We had been on a roll and when everybody’s touching it, no person is messing with us.”

With the win, Lincoln Park makes its return to the Petersen Occasion Middle after lacking out on the 4A title recreation a 12 months in the past. The Leopards will face long-standing rival North Catholic within the championship recreation after caring for the Trojans twice this season, each by double digit margins. 

“We acquired to verify we focus, we acquired to be locked in and we acquired to observe movie,” Thomas mentioned “We’ve got to go over all the things from the primary two occasions we performed them.”

The journey again to the Pete to tackle North Catholic marks the fifth time these groups have confronted off within the title recreation in seven years. Even with the momentum from Lincoln Park’s highly effective efficiency in opposition to Highlands and the common season outcomes in opposition to the Trojans earlier this 12 months, Bariski is just not taking them calmly.

“North Catholic is an especially troublesome crew to defend,” he mentioned. “They play a really totally different form of high-tempo, big-time faculty, NBA form of offense. They need to shoot threes they usually’ll allow you to rating too.”

Lincoln Park and North Catholic will tip-off for the WPIAL 4A Championship recreation at 9:00 p.m. on Friday.


Pitt Dominates Harvard, 17-7, To Win Weekend Collection



The Panthers capped their weekend sequence towards Harvard on Sunday afternoon with a dominating 17-7 win. As they did on Saturday afternoon, the Panthers have been hitting every thing, recording 16 hits off Harvard’s pitching rotation. Designated hitter Jack Anderson led Pitt with 4 hits and a four-run homer. Catcher Jayden Melendez additionally had a solo shot and three RBIs.The Panthers rating 44 runs, go 3-1 versus Harvard this weekend in Florida.

Harvard first baseman Logan Bravo bought issues began for the Crimson by hitting a single to heart subject to knock in a run. Bravo was then introduced residence after a double by Chris Snopek. And identical to that, Harvard led 2-0. The Crimson prolonged their result in 3-0 earlier than Pitt pitcher Erubiel Candelario retired the facet.

The Panthers answered within the backside of the third with two runs to make it a one-run sport at 3-2. First baseman Noah Martinez flied out to heart subject to convey CJ Duff residence and Anderdson singled up the center for the opposite run.

The Panthers’ bats have been on hearth within the backside of the fourth as Duff doubled to left heart to usher in two runs and Anderson hit a four-run homer to left heart to provide Pitt a 8-3 benefit. Pitt continued to pour it on within the backside of the fifth, as Duff recorded his second RBI of the sport with a double to proper subject to usher in a run. Martinez then singled to proper subject to convey Duff residence and Nessler adopted with a double to proper heart so as to add one other two runs. The Panthers weren’t performed but as centerfielder Dom Popa singled up the center to advance Nessler to residence plate and Melendez doubled to heart subject to usher in two extra runs and enhance their result in 15-2. In two innings, Pitt scored a whopping 13 runs.

Harvard battled again and scored 4 runs within the backside of the sixth. Pitt righty Jonathan Bautista gave up a two-run shot and a solo homer. Matt Giberti singled to heart subject to conclude the Crimson’s scoring surge to chop Pitt’s result in 15-7. Pitt put the ending touches on Harvard within the backside of the eighth with a house run by Melendez and a run through a fielding error.

The Panthers return to Pittsburgh for his or her residence opener towards Bucknell on Tuesday, Feb. 28. First pitch from Charles L. Value Area is at 3 p.m.

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Syracuse Head Coach Jim Boeheim Displays on Pitt “Purchased a Group” Feedback, Discusses Switch Portal and NIL Cash



Syracuse head coach Jim Boeheim touched on a couple of subjects throughout his postgame press convention following a 99-82 defeat on the Petersen Occasions Middle, however essentially the most urgent subject was his feedback made earlier this month relating to that Pitt “purchased a group.”

“I used to be speaking, I believed, off the report,” Boeheim mentioned. “The change in school basketball is the switch portal and NIL cash, in some circumstances, enabled faculties, not one or two faculties, each college. I wasn’t attempting to isolate on faculties I used to be simply speaking.”

Boeheim pointed to Virginia and NC State as faculties which have additionally benefitted. 

“The purpose I’m making is each college can do this,” Boeheim mentioned. “All through the league, for those who have a look at groups which have actually improved, they principally have switch guys. For essentially the most half… Right here, clearly, they’re all switch guys.

“It was a foul assertion, and I apologize for that,” Boeheim mentioned. “A variety of faculties who obtained transfers within the portal used NIL cash to do it. I used to be actually speaking about faculties and it obtained overlapped [with] Pitt.”

Boeheim talked about how his feedback have been made throughout a stroll down the hallway and never in a proper setting. He additionally famous how somebody within the Pittsburgh media interpreted his feedback on NIL and the switch portal.

“Someone wrote from Pittsburgh that I’m outdated, I don’t consider in gamers getting cash,” Boeheim mentioned. “All of our gamers get NIL cash. Everybody on our group is getting NIL cash. Guys that don’t play are getting NIL cash. I consider in it 100%. The switch portal is right here, I consider in that 100%. It’s simply going to be totally different in school basketball. Possibly it will likely be higher. It takes a group that may have had no likelihood, have an opportunity to be actually good.” 

He defined how the switch portal may be, “good for some, not so good for others,” whereas the Panthers have been a significant beneficiary, now in sole possession of first place within the ACC standings. 

“They’ve accomplished an important job getting the proper guys,” Boeheim mentioned. “They match properly collectively. They’ve a very good group. There is no such thing as a doubt about that.

Jeff Capel has guided the Panthers to a 21-8 total report and 14-4 in ACC play, now a sport forward of Virginia (21-6, 13-5) and a half-game in entrance of Miami (23-6, 14-5), who each misplaced on Saturday. Boeheim acknowledged the job Capel has accomplished whereas reflecting on the opinions of others final season.

“Final 12 months they have been attempting to get a brand new coach, weren’t they?” Boeheim mentioned. 

Pitt accomplished the season sweep of Syracuse after defeating the Orange 84-82 on Dec. 20 on the Service Dome. Blake Hinson scored a team-high 22 factors as six Panthers reached double figures together with seniors Greg Elliott (19), Nelly Cummings (14), Jamarius Burton (14), and Nike Sibande (10). Former supervisor and walk-on Aidan Fisch scored the final Pitt basket of the sport to ignite the gang on senior day.

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