Shady Side Academy needed a frantic finish to the regular season to reach the WPIAL playoffs for the 10th consecutive year.
Once the Indians got there, they have decided to stick around for a bit.
One of the more surprising results of the opening weekend of the WPIAL playoffs was Shady Side Academy's 48-45 upset of Section 1 co-champion Deer Lakes in the Class AA preliminary round.
Deer Lakes (16-7) had won its first section title in 20 years and had a nine-game winning streak before losing to Burrell in the regular-season finale.
Shady Side Academy (9-14), on the other hand, was 4-12 overall and 2-5 in Section 3 at one point this season, but rallied to reach the playoffs by posting wins in four of its final five section games.
Against Deer Lakes, Shady Side Academy trailed, 37-34, after three quarters, before Aaron Horne scored six of his team-high 13 points in the final quarter to help vault the Indians into the lead. Deer Lakes' Tim Jaczesko missed a 3-pointer in the closing seconds that would have tied the score.
Shady Side Academy, which has now won a playoff game seven years in a row, played Brentwood in a first-round game last night.
Vincentian scores 106
The Vincentian Royals have been the king of scoring in the WPIAL this season, and last Friday's performance was their best yet.
Vincentian broke the century mark in a 106-73 win against Western Beaver in a WPIAL Class A first-round game. The 106 points were the most scored by a WPIAL or City League team this season.
The Royals (22-1) average 83.8 points per game. The next closest is New Castle, which averages 79.8. The Royals have scored at least 80 points 17 times and at least 90 five times. The 106-point explosion was their first game scoring in triple digits.
Against Western Beaver, Ryan Wolf scored 28 points, Tony DiNardo 22, Jim Kenna 17 and Matt Rathz 16. The Royals tallied 32 points in each of the first two quarters.
Wolf, a sophomore guard, averages 21 points per game, and DiNardo, a senior guard, averages 17.9.
The No. 2 seed Royals next play No. 7 Monessen (10-13) in a quarterfinal game Friday. Last season, Vincentian advanced to the Class A semifinals, and Monessen was the Class AA runner-up.
Thorpe wins scoring title
Shaler's Geno Thorpe has been labeled one of Western Pennsylvania's top players for a few years now, but he only recently added a new title: WPIAL scoring champion.
Thorpe, a senior guard and Penn State recruit, finished the regular season as the top scorer among WPIAL and City League schools by averaging 25.4 points per game. Thorpe edged St. Joseph's John Arcuri, who averaged 25.3 a game.
Thorpe scored at least 30 points seven times and poured in a career-high 45 against McKeesport on Dec. 11.
It was a challenging season for Thorpe and his Shaler team, however. A year after reaching the WPIAL Class AAAA semifinals and PIAA quarterfinals, the Titans finished 8-14 overall and 2-12 in Section 3 and didn't qualify for postseason play.
Here is a key WPIAL Class AAAA tournament game to keep an eye on this week.
Saturday -- Hampton (19-4) vs. McKeesport (15-7), site and time to be determined (Class AAAA quarterfinals): The Luther twins -- Ryan (6-8) and Collin (6-7) -- give No. 3 Hampton a significant size advantage against most teams, but No. 11 McKeesport isn't short on height either, with the likes of 6-6 Daryn Simmons, 6-6 Lucas Blacka, 6-5 Matthew Sutton and 6-4 Jamie Grayson. McKeesport is very balanced offensively, but Hampton might want to pay special attention to Carlitto Acie, who knocked down six 3-pointers and scored 28 points in a 58-54 first-round upset of No. 6 Bethel Park. Hampton has won eight of its past nine games, the most recent being a 53-48 triumph against Mt. Lebanon in the first round. The Talbots, the Class AAA runner-up last season, are looking to reach their fourth semifinal in five years.
Brad Everett: email@example.com