Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Wpial Playoffs: Thomas Jefferson 54, West Allegheny 43 Banged Up Dunsey Shines in Victory Jaguars Try to Duplicate Their Football Success

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Wpial Playoffs: Thomas Jefferson 54, West Allegheny 43 Banged Up Dunsey Shines in Victory Jaguars Try to Duplicate Their Football Success

Article excerpt

Thomas Jefferson's Ethan Dunsey missed a few practices early this week due to an ankle injury that forced him to wear a walking boot.

Friday, Dunsey was the unlikely hero who helped the Jaguars boot West Allegheny from the WPIAL playoffs.

Dunsey scored 14 points, including eight in the fourth quarter, to lead Thomas Jefferson to a 54-43 win against West Allegheny in a Class 5A quarterfinal at Peters Township.

Thomas Jefferson (16-7), the No. 4 seed, advanced to the semifinals for the fifth time in school history and first since 2014. The Jaguars will try to reach the final for just the second time when they face No. 8 Laurel Highlands (15-8) Tuesday.

"It's great we're there, but we need to get to the finals. This is awesome, but we need to win," Thomas Jefferson coach Dom DeCicco said.

West Allegheny (13-11), the No. 12 seed, now needs Thomas Jefferson to reach the championship in order to qualify for the PIAA playoffs.

The WPIAL playoffs sometimes produce surprising stars. Friday it was Dunsey, a 6-foot-5 reserve junior forward who has dealt with shoulder and ankle injuries this season. After West Allegheny cut Thomas Jefferson's lead to 40-39 midway through the fourth quarter, Dunsey scored five consecutive points - including an and-one - sparking a 9-0 run that increased Thomas Jefferson's advantage to 39-29 with 1:34 left. West Allegheny would cut its deficit to 49-43, but Dunsey scored on a driving layup with 1:12 left for the game's final field goal.

"I had shoulder surgery before the year and I've been in a walking boot for the past week for a foot injury," Dunsey said. "It's been rough coming up to the playoffs, but to come up big for my team was great."

Dunsey didn't practice Monday or Tuesday, but he sure looked good Friday. The 14 points were the second-most of his career. He scored 16 points in a game early last season.

"He hadn't been practicing and I said, 'He's not going to be able to play and we need him,' " said DeCicco. "I said if we want to get where we want to go, this is a difference-maker. …

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