Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Bridgers' Playoff Run Yields Bid in Piaa Ambridge Impressive in Postseason Play

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Bridgers' Playoff Run Yields Bid in Piaa Ambridge Impressive in Postseason Play

Article excerpt

Last Friday wasn't a good night for top-seeded teams in the WPIAL quarterfinals.

In all, three No. 1 seeds fell, including in Class AAA boys. After rattling off 17 consecutive wins, Mars Area was upended by No. 9 Ambridge Area, 46-45.

"They were excited to see how it played out and the significance of it," Ambridge coach Mark Jula said. "This is only like the third or fourth time in school history we advanced to the semifinals."

The Bridgers (16-8) ?lost to Indiana, 54-45, in the WPIAL semifinals Tuesday night, but they had already clinched a spot in the PIAA tournament thanks to the upset of Mars.

Ambridge entered the showdown against Mars at North Hills High School after defeating No. 8 Uniontown in the first round.

Offensively, it couldn't have gone much worse for the Bridgers to begin the game. After the first quarter, they trailed 10-1 but Jula wasn't too concerned.

"They are the No. 1 team and they only had 10 [points], "Jula said. "We just needed to make some shots. I thought we were nervous. We weren't shooting the ball well and we were still in it. It would have made it easier if we made more foul shots."

For the entire game, Ambridge was playing from behind and twice had to overcome an 11-point deficit. Like they had all season, the Bridgers focused on one possession at a time and knew their defense was playing well enough to keep them in the game.

"They have been doing that all year," Jula said. "Our guys know that we can defend and that kept us in the game. It seems to me when they get down, they dig a little harder."

It also helps on the offensive end when you have a player the caliber of Daylon Carter. Carter is the epitome of digging down deep.

He recorded 14 of his 21 points in the second half. He accounted for 47 percent of his team's points. …

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