FARRELL, Pa. – The Farrell Steelers were simply doing what they do best in the first round of the PIAA Class 1A playoffs against Geibel Catholic on Tuesday.
The District 10 champion Steelers (16-8) used their vaunted pressure defense to get the WPIAL third-place finisher Gators out of sorts, leading nearly wire-to-wire in a 67-55 victory at E.J.McCluskey Gymnasium.
“We watched film on those guys, so we knew if we put pressure on them then we could get turnovers,” said Farrell first-year coach Myron Lowe. “We did it all year. We didn’t change anything up, we just did what we did.”
The Gators (18-7) led 2-0, but that was the only time they held an advantage of any kind, as Kabron Smith followed with a three that started a 14-2 Steelers run, with Smith and Lamon Samuels draining two triples each.
It was Samuels and Smith doing most of the offensive damage in the first half for the Steelers, as Samuels scored 19 of his game-high 21 points in the opening 16 minutes and Smith 11 of his 13.
Samules talked about the win afterward:
The Gators got within five at the end of the first quarter on a bucket from Tre White, but Farrell began the second quarter on a 12-2 run, with Samuels knocking down another long ball and Smith converting an old-fashioned three-point play.
From that point forward, the Steelers were able to keep the Gators at arm’s length, with the lead never getting below seven the rest of the game.
“We didn’t really have a lot of guys coming back from last year, no main scorer, so my main thing going into the year was to get pressure, get steals and get everybody involved in the game and get easy buckets,” Lowe said.
That theme that has carried through during the season showed once again, as Samuels led for players in double figures with 21 points.
Omar Stewart scored all 14 of his points in the second half, while Nasir O’Kane scored eight of his 10 in the second half as well.
A jumper from Smith gave the Steelers a 41-31 lead with 5:45 to go in the third quarter, and the lead never dipped below double figures again.
Kylon Wilson had a nifty off-balance three-point play to being the fourth quarter to extend the lead to 16, and Stewart was able to get some of those easy buckets that Lowe alluded to, as well as some putbacks.
Not helping matters for Geibel Catholic was the fact that forward Trevell Clayton, who scored 10 points in the first half, got saddled with foul trouble in the second half, eventually fouling out early in the fourth quarter.
It’s all coming together for the Steelers, who are playing their best basketball when it matters the most.
“We’re peaking at the perfect time,” Lowe said. “We started off slow. I knew that would be the case because we had a lot of football guys. I knew once our football guys got their basketball legs, we would start turning things around.”
Jaydis Kennedy led Geibel with 18 points, while Jeffrey Johnson added 13 and Clayton 12.
With the win, Farrell moves on to face District 9 champion Elk County Catholic. The Crusaders beat Rochester, 49-47 in the first round.
“We’ll watch film tomorrow,” Lowe said. “I haven’t seen much of them yet. So we’ll watch film and put a few things together, but we’re going to do what we do.”
FAIRVIEW 61, BURRELL 39
FAIRVIEW, Pa. – Leading 26-19 at halftime, District 10 champion Fairview went on an epic 25-2 third-quarter run en route to a 61-39 over WPIAL sixth-place finisher Burrell in the first round of the PIAA Class 4A playoffs.
Three different Tigers scored in double figures, led by James Sitter. The newly-minted 1,000-point scorer scored 16 points, while Tyler Shultz had 13 and Logan Frazao 12.
It’s been a dominant postseason run so far for the Tigers (24-2), who have outscored each of their opponents by at least 17 points.
Colt Christie led Burrell with 11 points.
With the win, Fairview advances to play WPIAL third-place finisher Lincoln Park on Friday at a site and time to be determined. The Tigers knocked off Central Martinsburg in the first round, 86-67.
MONTOUR 63, OIL CITY 42
MCKEES ROCKS, Pa. – A dream season for Oil City came to an end on Tuesday, as the D10 runners-up lost to WPIAL runner-up Montour 63-42 in the first round of the PIAA Class 4A playoffs.
Montour jumped out to a big 25-4 lead early and never looked back.
Diaun Pickett led four Spartans (21-5) in double figures with 19 points, while Vason Stevenson had 16 and Jake Wolfe and Tyriq Eleam 10 apiece.
Cam VanWormer led Oil City (16-10) with 14 points, while Jake Hornbeck added 11 and Ethen Knox nine.
Montour advances to play District 6 champion Penn Cambria, a 66-63 winner over Deer Lakes, at a site and time to be determined on Friday.
QUAKER VALLEY 67, HICKORY 51
LEETSDALE, Pa. – Defending PIAA runner-up Hickory, the third-place team from District 10 this season, saw its season come to an end at the hands of unbeaten WPIAL champion Quaker Valley, 67-51.
The Quaker Valley (24-0) dynamic duo of Marks Frank and Adou Theiro combined for 44 points, with Frank notching a game-high 29.
Senior Jackson Pryts had a valiant effort in defeat for the Hornets (16-9) with 21 points.
Quaker Valley jumped out to a 20-8 lead after the first quarter en route to the win and led 38-21 at halftime.
QV advances to play Belle Vernon, a 73-51 winner over Obama Academy, on Friday at a site and time to be determined.