’Cats fall victim to Seton-La Salle’s balance
Shenango (48) Vs. Seton-La Salle (62)
By JOE SAGER
CORAOPOLIS — Seton-La Salle High’s Dave DelGreco is one of the WPIAL’s top soccer players.
Last fall, he led the district with 60 goals as the Rebels rolled to a PIAA championship.
However, you won’t find DelGreco — or any of Seton-La Salle’s players — among the basketball scoring leaders.
That suits the Rebels just fine, though.
DelGreco’s 16 points led a balanced attack as Seton-La Salle posted a 62-48 win over Shenango in a WPIAL Class AA preliminary-round battle last night at Cornell.
“The balance has been there the whole season. Our scoring, for the most part, is spread out,” Seton-La Salle coach Hal Kestler said. “We have some kids who can shoot it, some who can get to the rack and some who can post up and finish. We’re a pretty balanced team. We have some height; we can play some defense; we have some intensity. I love it.”
The Rebels (13-10) advance to meet perennial power Beaver Falls (18-4) in a first-round game at 8 p.m. Wednesday at Ambridge.
“There is not a team in the WPIAL playoffs that can’t be beat. That’s our stance right now,” Kestler said. “We have to take them one at a time. Beaver Falls is a marquee program and I am very familiar with them. I coached some of their kids (in AAU basketball). Doug Biega does a tremendous job with them. They are going to be a lot to handle, but our kids will come into that game on Wednesday night believing they can win. That’s my job and that’s our coaches’ job and that’s what we’ll set out to do the next three days.”
The loss ended the Wildcats’ season at 9-14. Although they only trailed 22-20 at halftime, the Rebels gained some separation in the third.
“The thing that was nice was we were able to cause some turnovers out of some trapping defense we do,” Kestler said. “From that, we got the ball down the floor and got it to the rack and good things happened.”
Seton-La Salle expanded its lead to 37-28 at the end of the third.
“The third quarter was the turning point because I thought they did a good job on defense,” Shenango coach Bob McQuiston said. “They took us out of our comfort zone and made us make some plays that we didn’t want to make. We had a couple turnovers and they converted them into easy baskets.
“All their players were pretty good. I thought they shot the ball well and moved well without the ball. They knew how to play basketball.”
The Rebels increased their advantage to 12 points, 42-30, just 54 seconds into the fourth quarter. However, Shenango rallied with a 10-2 spree that cut the deficit to 44-40 with 4:48 left in the contest.
Seton-La Salle’s Brian Malle swished a 3-pointer on the team’s ensuing possession and it catapulted the Rebels on an 11-0 run to put the game out of reach.
“I knew my guys wouldn’t quit. They haven’t quit all year. I knew we’d eventually make a run of our own,” McQuiston said. “When they hit that 3-pointer, it took the wind out of our sails and it was hard to come back from that one.”
Shawn Clark had 13 points for Seton-La Salle, while Matt Marasco added 10. Dave Patcher had nine points and Derek Law added eight.
Mike Murcko led Shenango with a game-high 19 points. Rich Gaston added 14.
“I thought we did a real good job on Gaston and Murcko, but they had other kids step up. They still got their points, even though we held them down a little bit,” Kestler said. “They are just two tremendous players and that’s a tremendously coached team.”
The ’Cats lose all five of their starters to graduation in Gaston, Murcko, Chris Grant, Bobby Gwin and David McCowin.
“We’re losing five starters and quality players as well as great kids. That’s the biggest thing of all,” McQuiston said. “I am really going to miss these seniors because of the people they are and not just the players. We have some younger guys who I think will step up and be ready for next year.”