From the beginning, you could say the seasons of the North Catholic boys and girls basketball teams paralleled one another in a lot of ways.
They ended in similar fashion, as well, with both teams losing in the first round of the PIAA Class A playoffs.
The similarities are numerous. Each team placed second in their section behind the eventual WPIAL champion, lost in the WPIAL semifinals, played an aggressive non-section schedule, and had a big-time senior scorer surrounded by mostly underclassmen.
Coach Dave Long guided the North Catholic boys team to a 16-7 finish. The Trojans went 8-2 in Class A Section 2. Their only two section losses were to Vincentian, which went on to win the WPIAL championship. The Trojans played a non-section slate that included games against Hampton, North Allegheny and Seton-LaSalle.
The Trojans defeated Rochester and Our Lady of the Sacred Heart in the WPIAL playoffs, before being eliminated by Vincentian, 82-69, in the WPIAL semifinals. The Trojans lost to Shade, 75-47, in the PIAA playoffs.
Senior guard Danny Savulchak averaged 20 points per game.
The North Catholic girls had a terrific scorer themselves in senior guard Lauren Wolosik, a Central Connecticut State recruit who averaged 27 points per game, the fourth-best mark in the WPIAL during the regular season.
Coach Molly Rottman's squad went 15-11, including 10-2 in Section 2, putting them just behind WPIAL champion Vincentian. The non-section schedule saw the Trojanettes play the likes of Penn-Trafford, Blackhawk, Seton-LaSalle and Bishop Canevin.
In the WPIAL playoffs, the Trojanettes defeated Frazier and Cornell, but were knocked out in the semifinals by Serra Catholic, 56-45. The Trojanettes had been looking to make it to the final for the fifth year in a row. The Trojanettes were edged by Kennedy Catholic, 45-36, in the PIAA playoffs.
Quaker Valley goes cold
The Quaker Valley boys were among the hottest teams in the WPIAL at one point this season, but the Quakers got cold late and saw their season end Saturday.
Quaker Valley lost to Lakeview, 44-40, in a PIAA Class AA first-round game. The Quakers led, 26-23, at halftime, but Lakeview outscored them, 21-14, in the second half to get the win. Burke Moser paced the Quakers with 14 points and Nelson Westwood added 10.
The Quakers were defeated by Burrell, 43-32, in the WPIAL semifinals. The back-to-back losses represented two of the team's three lowest point totals of the season.
As is typically the case, Quaker Valley experienced a lot of success this season, finishing 20-6 overall and 9-3 in Section 6. The Quakers were 5-3 after losing on Dec. 28, but went on to win 15 of their next 16 games. Included in that run were WPIAL playoff victories against Riverside and No. 3 seed Seton-LaSalle.
Coach Mike Mastroianni picked up his 350th career victory on Jan. 4. Mastroianni was in his 21st season overall and 14th at his alma mater, Quaker Valley.
Moser and Westwood, both seniors, were Quaker Valley's leading scorers, but the Quakers could be good once again next season, as most of their other key contributors were underclassmen.
Season ends for Mars boys
One year after putting up one of the finest seasons in school history, the Mars Area boys duplicated that effort ... if not doing even better.
Mars lost to Girard, 66-62, in the first round of the PIAA playoffs, but that did nothing to discount the fact that the Planets might be developing into one of the better programs in Class AAA.
Last season, Mars went 18-8, advancing past the first round of the WPIAL playoffs and qualifying for the PIAA playoffs, a pair of feats the program had never accomplished.
This season, Mars finished 21-5 and won the Section 1 title with a 12-0 record. The Planets advanced to the WPIAL semifinals for the first time and returned to the PIAA playoffs.
The senior duo of Josh Goetz and Mitchell Buzard led the way for the Planets. Goetz, a 6-foot-8 senior, had a breakout season, averaging a double-double. Among the other seniors playing important roles for coach Rob Carmody were Garrett Ashbaugh, Matt Getsy and Zach May.
Mars will have just one starter back next season, junior Owen Nearhoof.hsbasketball