Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Lincoln Park Outlasts Quips Leopards Earn Third Consecutive Trip to Final

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Lincoln Park Outlasts Quips Leopards Earn Third Consecutive Trip to Final

Article excerpt

Lincoln Park had come back from an 11-point deficit late in the third quarter and had done some good things to take the lead on Aliquippa. But there were no more adjustments to be made, no more plays to draw up and no more instructions to be given.

Just a tick was left in the game, and all that was left for coach Mike Bariski to do was hope - and pray. He went medal hunting, grabbing the different medals that hung around his neck.

"Italian, Catholic, Russian - I touched them all," Bariski said.

Aliquippa's Marlon Devonshire didn't have the touch. His first shot was off to the right. He purposely missed the second, the rebound was tipped and the horn sounded. Lincoln Park had survived, 59-57, in a WPIAL Class 3A semifinal at Geneva College.

The win puts Lincoln Park (18-6) into a championship game for the third consecutive year. It also was the third time Lincoln Park beat Aliquippa this season, but this certainly was a lot tougher than the first two games, especially the ending. It was a situation that can leave a coach feeling helpless.

"It's just a bounce," Bariski said. "It has nothing to do with skill, talent, preparation. It's all luck at that point."

Aliquippa (17-7) was trying to make it to a WPIAL title game for the 20th time and the Quips looked to be in good shape, taking a 46-35 lead in the third quarter. Aliquippa's 1-2-2 zone defense was giving Lincoln Park some problems and their offense was cutting holes in Lincoln Park's man-to-man defense. Aliquippa led at halftime, 34-29, and all but one of their 14 first-half baskets was a layup. Zuriah Fisher, a 6-foot-3 sophomore, had bulled his way for 13 points in the first half, but was hampered by foul trouble in the second half and finished with only 15. Will Gipson also had 15.

"A big thing was we went zone [in the second half] to calm us down because we were in this man-to-man that wasn't playing like man. …

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