Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Wpial 'Final 4' Features Rematch Quaker Valley Eager to Meet Beaver Falls

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Wpial 'Final 4' Features Rematch Quaker Valley Eager to Meet Beaver Falls

Article excerpt

Based on the teams' first meeting, it would be natural to assume the Quaker Valley boys' basketball team wouldn't exactly be going into its WPIAL Class AA semifinal game against Beaver Falls brimming with confidence.

The Tigers (22-3) defeated the Quakers, 98-80, Dec. 7, scoring a season high in points in the process.

It was by far the most points Quaker Valley allowed all season; it hasn't let anyone else score more than 69.

But to hear Beaver Falls coach Doug Biega tell it, that game more than two months ago has little bearing on the rematch at Ambridge High School tonight at 6:30.

"I won't even watch the tape," Biega said. "Haven't even looked at it.

"That was the second week of the season.

"They had two transfers [point guard Amir Johnson and center Ryann Bradford, both juniors] just getting accustomed to playing with the rest of the team. And we didn't even know the meaning of the word 'defense' in that point of the season."

Yet while it is true the Tigers' defense has improved -- they have permitted more than 59 points in a game only four times since-- -- the Quakers (25-1) have arguably played even better since that point in time, winning 22 in a row.

And count Johnson and coach Tom Demko among the Quaker Valley contingent to agree with Biega and believe their team has become a markedly more cohesive unit.

Johnson, in fact, takes the Dec. 7 experience and turns it into a positive. Only 5-18 last season, the Quakers were not playoff- tested.

When the season began, oly Johnson and Bradford ---- who won a WPIAL title with Sewickley Academy last season -- had playoff experience. Johnson said playing in a raucous gym like the Tigers' showed the rest of the Quakers what to expect.

"That was a playoff atmosphere," Johnson said. "That crowd was yelling as loud and as much as any playoff game. My teammates got through that, they can get through anything."

The Quakers passed quite a test Friday night against Farrell, beating the Steelers, 66-57. …

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