WPIAL First Round Basketball: February 18, 2019

GIRLS (All Games In Class 4A, First Round)

Quaker Valley vs. Freeport (at North Allegheny)
Apollo-Ridge vs. Southmoreland (at Norwin)
Elizabeth Forward vs. Knoch (at Mt. Lebanon)
Belle Vernon vs. Keystone Oaks (at Peters Twp.)
McKeesport vs. Greensburg Salem (at Fox Chapel)

BOYS (All Games In Class 5A, First Round)

West Allegheny vs. Woodland Hills (at Mt. Lebanon)
Chartiers Valley vs. Albert Gallatin (at Peters Twp.)
Franklin Regional vs. Thomas Jefferson (at Norwin)
Shaler vs. McKeesport (at Fox Chapel)
Montour vs. Hampton (at North Allegheny)

Denny Hamlin cruises to 2nd Daytona 500 victory in 4 years

Denny Hamlin cruises to 2nd Daytona 500 victory in 4 years
By JENNA FRYER, AP Auto Racing Writer
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (AP) — Denny Hamlin came to the Daytona 500 determined to honor his late car owner with a victory.
He delivered with a storybook tribute for Joe Gibbs Racing.
Hamlin won NASCAR’s biggest race for the second time in four years Sunday, leading JGR in a 1-2-3 sweep of the podium in overtime. The race and the season have been dedicated to J.D. Gibbs, Joe Gibbs’ eldest son who died last month after battling a degenerative neurological disease.
J.D. Gibbs helped his father start the race team, ran it while Joe Gibbs was coaching the Washington Redskins, was a tire changer on the team’s first Daytona 500 victory and the one who discovered Hamlin during a test session at Hickory Motor Speedway in North Carolina. Hamlin was hired to drive the No. 11 — the number J.D. Gibbs used when he played football — and J.D. Gibbs’ name is on the Toyota.
When Hamlin stopped his car along the frontstretch to collect the checkered flag, he immediately credited J.D. Gibbs.
“The whole family, they did so much for me over the course of my career, and this one is for J.D,” Hamlin said. “We are desperately going to miss him the rest of our lies. His legacy still lives on through Joe Gibbs Racing and proud to do this for them.”
Hamlin was met in victory lane by the entire Gibbs family, including J.D.’s widow and four sons.
“He meant a lot to me and it’s hard for me not getting choked up because I’ve been choked up about 100 times about it,” Hamlin said. “Just to have Melissa (Gibbs) and all the kids here, it’s just crazy.”
Joe Gibbs, the Hall of Fame NFL coach with three Super Bowl victories, ranked the tribute win to his son first in his career accomplishments.
“It is the most emotional and biggest win I’ve ever had in my life, in anything,” Gibbs said. “It was the most important night in my occupational life. I know J.D. and everybody in my family was emotional.”
Kyle Busch and Erik Jones finished second and third as JGR became the second team in NASCAR history to sweep the Daytona 500 podium. Hendrick Motorsports did it in 1997 with Jeff Gordon, Terry Labonte and Ricky Craven.
Busch, now winless in 14 Daytona 500s, was initially openly disappointed in falling short.
“He’s got two, I’ve got none, and that’s just the way it goes sometimes,” Busch said.
But he reiterated the JGR and Toyota goal of working together to win the race and noted he didn’t have much of a shot at beating Hamlin because the field had been decimated by a flurry of late accidents.
“Was trying to make sure one of us gets to victory lane, first and foremost,” Busch said. “There wasn’t enough cars out there running at the end. I don’t know how it would have played out.”
The Cup Series slogged through three uninspiring exhibition races during Speedweeks to cause concern over a potentially disappointing main event. Jim France, who took over as chairman of NASCAR last August, used the pre-race driver meeting to ask the drivers to liven up the activity. Hamlin and Chase Elliott were the rare drivers to use the bottom lane in the exhibition races while the rest of the field ran single-file along the top.
“I hope a few of you drivers out there will get down on the bottom with Denny and Chase and put on a good show today,” France told the field.
The drivers obeyed and delivered an action-packed and wreck-filled running of “The Great American Race.”
There was an accident on pit road, a 21-car crash, 12 cautions and five wrecks in the final 20 laps of regulation. The race was stopped twice for cleanup totaling nearly 40 minutes in the final stretch. During the second red-flag, one of NASCAR’s track-drying trucks broke down while cleaning oil off the racing surface.
Hamlin and Busch alternated as the leaders during the handful of late restarts, and the final rush to the checkered flag was a push to hold off Ford driver and reigning NASCAR champion Joey Logano. The Ford camp went 1-2-3 in both of Thursday’s qualifying races and was favored to win the Daytona 500.
Logano, who started his career at JGR, settled for fourth and also took a moment to honor J.D. Gibbs.
“I’m not a Gibbs driver but for what J.D. has done for my career is the reason why I’m sitting here today,” Logano said. “As bad as I want to win it, it is pretty cool to think that the first race after his passing, to see those guys one, two, three, it just says he’s up there watching and maybe gave (those) guys a little extra boost there at the end.”
Michael McDowell was fifth in a Ford but aggravated Logano by not working with him in the two-lap overtime sprint to the finish.
“I just told him that my team doesn’t pay me to push Joey Logano to a win,” McDowell said.
Ty Dillon was sixth in the highest-finishing Chevrolet.
The race featured eight drivers making their Daytona 500 debuts and rookie Ryan Preece, a short track racer from New England, was best in class with an eighth-place finish. Ross Chastain, the eighth-generation watermelon farmer who lost his main ride for this year when the FBI raided his sponsor right before Christmas, finished 10th,
Jamie McMurray, the 2010 winner, led six laps and was in the mix until he was collected in one of the late accidents. He finished 22nd in his final race before retirement.
William Byron and Alex Bowman were the youngest front row in race history but had little to show for it after the race. Bowman finished 11th and Byron, the pole-sitter, was 21st.
Hamlin last year suffered through his first winless season in the Cup Series and made a crew chief change during the offseason. When he won the 500 in 2016 it was his debut race with crew chief Mike Wheeler, and this victory came in his first race with Chris Gabehart.
Hamlin’s first Daytona 500 victory was in a photo finish against Martin Truex Jr. and the celebration was a blur. This one, he said, he will enjoy.
“I think I was so dumbfounded about everything that happened the first time with the photo finish and everything,” Hamlin said. “This one lets me soak it in a little bit more. I’m going to have a terrible hangover tomorrow, but I’m going to enjoy it the rest of my life.”
More AP auto racing: https://apnews.com/apf-AutoRacing and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

Pens beat Rangers 6-5. Malkin and Letang score two goals each

PITTSBURGH (AP) — Evgeni Malkin and Kris Letang each had two goals, and the Pittsburgh Penguins climbed back into playoff position with a 6-5 win over the New York Rangers on Sunday.
Defensemen Marcus Pettersson and Brian Dumoulin also scored for the Penguins (31-21-7), who leapfrogged the Carolina Hurricanes for the second Eastern Conference wild-card spot.
Mats Zuccarello had two goals, and Kevin Hayes and Mika Zibanejad scored over the game’s final 5:46 for the Rangers, who couldn’t complete a second rally after erasing a 3-1 deficit to tie it late in the second period.
The Rangers were not able to take the lead during a four-minute power play that spanned the second intermission. Forty-nine seconds after that penalty expired, Letang took a feed from Sidney Crosby and beat goalie Alexandar Georgiev.
Malkin then scored twice in a span of 2:31 to give him four goals in two games since serving a one-game suspension for a stick-swinging incident.
Crosby had three assists to give him 11 points in his past five games, helping to atone for the high-sticking double-minor that gave the Rangers a prime chance to take the lead.
The Penguins had won just seven of their previous 17 games to fall in danger of missing the postseason for the first time since 2005-06.
Malkin has had, by his standards, an off season. But he has points in seven consecutive games that he has played over the past month, interrupted by missing five games with an upper-body injury and the one game because of suspension.
Letang opened the scoring 16:11 into the game. He has 15 goals, one off his career high set in 2015-16.
It was the first time all season the Penguins got four goals from defensemen.
Zuccarello’s goals were his 10th and 11th, each tying the game. Ryan Strome also scored for New York, which had won three of its previous five.
NOTES: The Rangers scratched D Brady Skjei (lower-body injury sustained during Friday’s game), C Brett Howden (MCL sprain) and RW Jesper Fast. Fast scored during Friday’s win but has reportedly been dealing with an undisclosed injury. … Penguins D Chad Ruhwedel was in the lineup for the third consecutive game after having not played prior to that since Nov. 19. … Penguins LW Tanner Pearson was a healthy scratch for the second consecutive day after he had been in the lineup for every game since his acquisition from the Los Angeles Kings in November.
Rangers: New York wraps up a four-game trip Tuesday at Carolina.
Penguins: Continuing a stretch of four divisional matchups over a five-game span, the Penguins play at New Jersey on Tuesday.
More AP NHL: https://apnews.com/NHL and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

New York Rangers vs. Pittsburgh Penguins scoring updates Sunday, February 17, 2019

 First Second Final 
Pittsburgh Penguins

New York Rangers 135
GoalsPitt-Letang (14)
NYR-Zibanejad (10) PPG
Pitt-Petterson (2),Dumoulin (2)
NYR-Zuccarello(11), Strome (8)
NYR-Hayes (14), Zibanejad (26)

No. 22 Virginia Tech beats Pitt 70-64

Blackshear’s 29 power No. 22 Virginia Tech by Pitt 70-64
By WILL GRAVES, AP Sports Writer
PITTSBURGH (AP) — Kerry Blackshear Jr. was mid-answer when the sight of a couple of Virginia Tech teammates recording his postgame interview with phone in hand became a bit too intrusive.
“I’m panicking, boy,” Blackshear said. “You’ve got to get that off me.”
It was the first time all day the junior forward looked rattled. Blackshear poured in a season-high 29 points during a near flawless performance to lead the 22nd-ranked Hokies to a 70-64 victory over slumping Pittsburgh on Saturday.
The 6-foot-10, 250-pound Blackshear overwhelmed the undersized Panthers. He made 8 of 9 shots from the field, including all three of his 3-point attempts, and went 10 of 11 from the free throw line in addition to grabbing nine rebounds as Virginia Tech (20-5, 9-4 Atlantic Coast Conference) reached the 20-win mark for the fourth consecutive season.
The last three wins have come despite missing senior point guard Justin Robinson, who remains out indefinitely with a toe injury. After an initial wobble — the Hokies lost two of their first three without Robinson — they have found their footing behind Blackshear.
“We have to play through him,” Virginia Tech coach Buzz Williams said. “He’s our best defender. He’s our best scorer. He’s our best passer. He’s our best playmaker and he has the best basketball IQ on our team.”
The Hokies relied on it when necessary against the Panthers. Blackshear scored a career-high 31 on 12-of-16 shooting last year against Pitt and was even more efficient this time around. Jumpers. Putbacks. Layups. Dunks. He was dominant from nearly start to finish no matter who the undersized Panthers put on him.
“I think they did a really good job of throwing different looks,” Blackshear said. “A couple of times I was like, ‘Oh wow.’ I didn’t know who was guarding me. They did a really good job of monstering, double-teaming the post but I found whoever was open.”
Though Pitt (12-14, 2-11) kept scrapping — at one point 6-3, 185-pound freshman Trey McGowens threw Blackshear to the floor as the two battled for a loose ball — the Panthers dropped their ninth straight.
Xavier Johnson led Pitt with 18 points. Sidy N’Dir chipped in 12 points and six rebounds but every time the Panthers appeared ready to make a push, the Hokies responded. When Johnson’s 3-pointer drew the Panthers within 48-46 with 7:28 to go in the second half, Virginia Tech knocked down three straight 3s of its own —including one by Blackshear to extend the advantage to 59-47.
“It’s an example of a veteran team, a team that’s been together and had some experience, that’s used to winning, to step up and make plays when we had momentum,” first-year Pitt coach Jeff Capel said.
Pitt eventually cut it to 63-56 on a pair of free throws by Johnson with 1:58 remaining and created a turnover in the backcourt when N’Dir stepped in front of a pass. Panther guard Kham Davis drove to the basket for a layup but the bucket was waved off when officials called Davis for a charge.
Blackshear immediately converted two free throws at the other end to make it 65-56 and Virginia Tech did just enough down the stretch to win its fourth consecutive meeting with Pitt.
The Hokies’ poise down the stretch allows them to briefly exhale before a visit by fourth-ranked Virginia on Monday. The Cavaliers rolled in an 81-59 victory on Jan. 15. The Hokies know they need to be better in all phases this time around.
“Got to keep our poise,” Blackshear said. “I think they score just as good as anybody in the country. Defend just as good as anybody in the country. It’s going to be a big game. Cassell is going to be rocking. We look forward to it.”
A year after going winless in the ACC, Pitt’s initially promising 2-2 start in the conference under Capel has faded though he remains impressed by his team’s effort.
“I understand how hard this is going to be and it’s not a quick fix,” Capel said. “We won a couple of games early and it changed some expectations for all of us. I think I’ve had a pretty good perspective on this. It’s hard. It’s really hard. It’s frustrating. We want to be better, but we’re getting better.”
Virginia Tech: The Hokies seem to have overcome the offensive issues that plagued them as they tried to deal with the absence of their second-leading scorer in Robinson. Virginia Tech shot 51 percent (21 of 41) from the floor and 10 of 21 from 3-point range after shooting 48 percent in a win over Georgia Tech on Wednesday.
Pitt: The problem for the Panthers is in some ways a matter of mere physics. The Panthers lack the size to create any sort of offensive threat inside, allowing teams to play zone and force them to chuck it from deep. Defensively there’s little they can do against a legitimate post presence like Blackshear.
Virginia Tech: The Hokies fell behind by 22 in the first half in the initial meeting with the Cavaliers and never recovered.
Pitt: Visits Georgia Tech on Wednesday.
More AP college basketball: https://apnews.com/Collegebasketball and https://twitter.com/AP_Top25
This story has been corrected to show that Blackshear’s first name is Kerry.

St. Francis (Pa.) over Robert Morris 72-69

King carries St. Francis (Pa.) over Robert Morris 72-69
LORETTO, Pa. (AP) — Jamaal King had 23 points as St. Francis (Pa.) stretched its win streak to seven games, narrowly beating Robert Morris 72-69 on Saturday night.
Mark Flagg had 12 points and three blocks for St. Francis (14-11, 10-4 Northeast Conference). Keith Braxton added 11 points, 12 rebounds and six assists. Isaiah Blackmon had seven rebounds for the hosts.
Koby Thomas had 13 points and 13 rebounds for the Colonials (13-14, 8-6). Matty McConnell added 13 points. Josh Williams and Charles Bain had 10 points apiece.
The Red Flash improve to 2-0 against the Colonials on the season. St. Francis defeated Robert Morris 76-73 on Jan. 31. St. Francis takes on St. Francis (NY) at home on Thursday. Robert Morris plays LIU Brooklyn at home on Thursday.
For more AP college basketball coverage: https://apnews.com/Collegebasketball and http://twitter.com/AP_Top25
Elements of this story were generated by Automated Insights, http://www.automatedinsights.com/ap, using data from STATS LLC, https://www.stats.com

W.P.I.A.L. High School Basketball Playoffs Scoreboard, Friday February 15, 2019


Friday, February 15, 2019:

                                   Girls  Class 2A First Round Games
Ellis School       WBVP/WMBA
47    Final 
50     Final 
63     Final
South Side
52    Final 
Serra Catholic     
59    Final 
Winchester Thurston
56     Final
                                  Boys Class 1A First Round Games
76   Final
Bishop Canevin
40  Final
Geibel Catholic
Greensburg Central Catholic
62    Final
West Greene
St. Joseph
78   Final

W.P.I.A.L. High School Basketball Playoffs Scoreboard, Saturday February 16, 2019


Saturday, February 16, 2019:

                                   Boys  Class 3A First Round Games
Avonworth       1PM       WMBA
52    Final 
Neshannock   2:30 PM     
56   Final 
Shady Side Academy 
Lincoln Park   1:30 PM
72     Final
Seton LaSalle     1 PM
54    Final 
North Catholic     3 PM     
77     Final 
Beaver Falls
Steel Valley   12 PM  WBVP
41     Final
Deer Lakes     3 PM     
57    Final 
Keystone Oaks
Washington    2:30  PM
56     Final
                                  Boys Class 2A First Round Games
Sto-Rox        1:30 PM
72    Final
Summit Academy    12 PM
51    Final
Jeanette      2:30 PM
70    Final
64   Final

Flames snap 4-game skid, beating Penguins 5-4

Flames snap 4-game skid, beating Penguins 5-4
PITTSBURGH (AP) — Michael Frolik had the first of four second-period goals for Calgary, and the Flames held on to snap a season-long four-game skid with a 5-4 win over the Pittsburgh Penguins on Saturday.
Frolik, Austin Czarnik, Travis Hamonic and Sam Bennett scored during a mid-game 17-minute span for Calgary, which avenged a 9-1 loss to Pittsburgh in October during the teams’ other meeting this season.
Back after serving a one-game suspension for swinging his stick at Philadelphia’s Michael Raffl, Evgeni Malkin had a pair of third-period power-play goals for the Penguins. But Pittsburgh couldn’t get the equalizer past goalie Mike Smith, who made 34 saves to win for the first time since Jan. 13.
Calgary never trailed after Andrew Mangiapane opened the scoring 7:06 into the game.
Sidney Crosby had a goal and two assists for the Penguins, who had won their previous two.
Pittsburgh got back defenseman Justin Schultz, who had missed 53 games with a fractured left leg. Schultz assisted on Jake Guentzel’s goal that tied the game at 1 late in the first period and finished with even plus/minus rating. But the Penguins allowed at least five goals for the seventh time over their past 17 games and are 7-9-1 in that time.
The Penguins have dropped to the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. They entered Saturday one point clear of ninth-place Carolina.
Malkin nearly pulled Pittsburgh back from a 5-2 deficit with goals at 5:42 and 14:41 of the third period, each of which was assisted by Crosby.
Crosby had perhaps the two best chances after during a desperate period of 6-on-5 pressure over the game’s final 90 seconds. One was an attempted swat at a waist-high puck that sailed over the net; another from the right-wing circle went just to the far side. The Penguins also had a chance off the faceoff after an icing with 10 seconds left.
Before he was relieved by Casey DeSmith for the start of the third period, the Penguins’ Matt Murray allowed five goals on 24 shots, though his performance was at least in part attributable to some shoddy defense and some bad luck.
The puck on the goal credited to Mangiapane — the second of his career — hit at least three sticks after it was shot from the left point by Oliver Kylington.
The goal that gave the Flames the lead for good 1:29 into the second period was a loose puck swatted in when no Penguins player picked up Frolik after Murray had stopped Matthew Tkachuk.
Ninety-three seconds after that, Czarnik’s third of the season was a shot from the top of the left circle that deflected off the stick of a Penguins defender. And Hamonic’s goal from the right-wing boards with 3:58 left in the second hit Guentzel’s stick on the way in.
Bennett’s goal 2½ minutes later gave Calgary five goals in a game for the 18th time this season. The Flames moved into second in the NHL in goals.
NOTES: Flames C Derek Ryan had three assists, the second three-point game among the 210 he’s played in the NHL. … Penguins RW Phil Kessel had two assists, the first of which (on Crosby’s goal) accounted for his 800th career point. Kessel is the 17th U.S.-born player to reach that milestone. … Crosby has eight points over his past four games.
Flames: Calgary will return to the Scotiabank Saddledome for the first time in 11 days when it hosts the Arizona Coyotes on Monday.
Penguins: The Penguins play home games on consecutive days for the second of three times all season, hosting the New York Rangers on Sunday.
More AP NHL: https://apnews.com/NHL and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

Aliquippa 70 Avonworth 52 on WMBA and TribLive!!

In a game heard on WMBA and TribLive Tom Hays and Taylor Nichol had the call from Sewickely Academy High School. A game that Aliquippa dominated early and never looked back. They got out to a 16-6 lead at the end of one and was up bug at the half. They went on to go up by as many as 20 points and pulled away in the 4th and won the game by a final of 70-52 and play the winner of the Neshannock/McGuffey game.


Listen to Tom Hays recap: