Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Disappointing Finish for Young Hampton Squad

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Disappointing Finish for Young Hampton Squad

Article excerpt

Hampton's PIAA Class AAA semifinal game against Montour was not easy on the eyes. Missed shots and long possessions were almost mandatory, and style points -- and for long stretches, points themselves -- were non-existent.

In other words, the progression of the contest that would send the winner to the PIAA championship game went totally in Montour's favor.

"Montour was able to play a style of basketball tonight in which they were going to win," Hampton coach Joe Lafko said outside his team's locker room afterwards.

Montour was able to win ugly once again, this time defeating Hampton, 45-29, Tuesday night at North Allegheny High School.

Hampton, which had won 19 of 20 games heading into the contest, finished the season 25-5. Montour became the first WPIAL team to make the PIAA Class AAA final in consecutive seasons since Blackhawk in 1999-2000.

The win against Hampton was a case of revenge for Montour, which lost to the Talbots, 52-42, in the WPIAL semifinals. In that game, Hampton locked down Montour's offense, holding the Spartans to 29 percent shooting (15 of 52). On Tuesday, that stat switched teams. This time it was Montour's defense that had the upper hand, limiting the Talbots to 23 percent shooting (9 of 39).

The first half was particular disturbing offensively, not just for Hampton, but for Montour as well. The Spartans led, 4-2, after the first quarter, and, 10-4, at halftime. The Talbots made just 2 of 17 shots in the half.

"To have the score 10-4 in the first half says a lot about how the game was played," Lafko said.

Montour began to pull away in the third quarter behind a trio of 3-pointers from Kevin Sciulli, who made all five of his 3s and all of his game-high 16 points in the second half.

"I give Sciulli a lot of credit. He stepped up and made some big 3s," Lafko said.

After taking a 21-10 lead after three quarters, Montour extended its advantage to 31-12 early in the fourth quarter. That's when Hampton started to make a charge, going on a 13-3 run capped by Mark Pilarski's layup that cut the Talbots' deficit to 34-25 with 1:25 left in the game. …

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