Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Panthers Sizing Up Playoff Foe

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Panthers Sizing Up Playoff Foe

Article excerpt

The Upper St. Clair boys team is vertically challenged. That's not to say the Panthers don't have any "hops." They just don't have much height. The team's tallest starter is 6 feet 2, and their four other starters are 6-0 or under.

"Absolutely," coach Danny Holzer answered when asked if this is one of the shortest teams he's had in his 20 seasons.

But what the Panthers lack in height, they've made up for with outstanding defense and excellent 3-point shooting. It's propelled them to a spot in Saturday's WPIAL Class AAAA quarterfinals. The Panthers (17-6) will square off against a familiar opponent when they take on Section 4 rival Chartiers Valley (20-3).

Upper St. Clair has made it extremely difficult for opposing teams to score. The Panthers give up 48.1 points per game, which ranks third in Class AAAA. In their 17 wins, they have allowed only two opponents to score 60 or more points. The Panthers put the clamps on Greater Latrobe in a 61-59 first-round victory last Saturday. Latrobe entered the game with the No. 3 scoring offense in Class AAAA (73 points per game), but exited after being held to its fewest points in more than a month.

"We just play really hard on defense," said Holzer, who has a 346-158 career record. "We don't have a lot of size. We just try to keep five guys in front of the other team, make sure we have good rebounding position and try to limit teams to one shot. That's what we emphasize."

The Panthers also shoot the ball well from the perimeter. They've made more than 10 3-pointers in a handful of games and have a couple of sharpshooters in junior guards Zack Pateras and Andrew Wheeler. Pateras knocked down seven 3-pointers and scored a game- high 23 points against Latrobe. Wheeler is the Panthers' leading scorer, averaging 13 points per game.

Upper St. Clair, the No. …

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