Terrelle Pryor called it. The former Jeannette quarterback said he had confidence that his former schoolmates on the girls basketball team would make it to the title game Saturday — and they made a prophet of him Tuesday night, defeating Beaver, 48-39, in a WPIAL Class AA semifinal game at Gateway. Beaver played without its best player, Kendra Pilarski, who hurt her knee in a quarterfinal victory against Greensburg Central Catholic.
Here’s an upset: Senior forward Katie Gattuso had 15 points and 11 rebounds to lead No. 4 Seton-La Salle (20-5) to a 41-30 victory against No. 1 Avonworth (22-2) in the other Class AA semifinal. Avonworth senior Tara Gallupe, who was second in the WPIAL in scoring average (23.3 points), was held to nine. Seton-La Salle will play Jeannette at 11 a.m. Saturday, the WPIAL announced tonight. It will be the Jeannette girls’ first title-game appearance.
In other early games:
Belma Nurkic, a Duquesne recruit, scored 34 points to lead Baldwin to a 63-49 victory against Bethel Park in a Class AAAA girls semifinal. Nurkic certainly has inserted herself into the conversation when the topic is girls player of the year.
Lincoln Park is in the championship game in Class A boys after defeating Serra Catholic, 54-38. Chaquille Pratt, who scored 21 points, may be the second-best player in Class A. If Sewickley Academy wins the second game at North Hills, the Pratt/Tom Droney matchup Friday at Palumbo Center will be one of the entertaining of the playoffs.
Three of the four semifinalists in girls Class A are Catholic schools, and Vincentian was the first to claim a spot in the final, defeating Quigley, 62-52.
Yough athletic director Tom Evans said the district is in the process of looking for head football and basketball coaches. Jim Ward left after one season to become the football coach at McKeesport, and the basketball team’s Ed Marko also resigned.
“We’ve posted the job in the papers and we plan to interview and hire candidates at a March 18 school board meeting,” Evans said. “There are no (teaching) positions for either job, and head varsity experience is needed for both.”
Other new coaches hired so far in the WPIAL include: Jim Rankin (Butler), Mark Lyons (Central Valaley), Joe Greco (New Brighton), Art Tragesser (Norwin), John Ruane (Penn-Trafford), Bob McIntyre (Quaker Valley), Ray Braszo (West Mifflin). Openings also exist at Freedom, Steel Valley and Slippery Rock High School.
Players of the month
The Penguins and Highmark honored the PIHL players of the month for February. They are Aaron Placke of Bethel Park, Alex Mueller of Hampton, Anthony Maroadi of Norwin and Drew Finton of Meadville.
Placke, a senior defenseman and captain, led Bethel Park to a 3-1-1 record last month. Mueller, a senior forward and captain, had eight goals and 14 points in five games. Maroadi, a senior left wing, scored eight goals, including three game-winners. Finton, a senior forward and captain, averaged a point a game playing against the opponent’s top line.
Yough senior Mike Williams will sing National Anthem before the Quad A boys championship game Saturday at Palumbo Center. … The Rochester/Shady Side Academy Class AA boys semifinal will start a half-hour earlier at 6 p.m. at North Hills. … Knoch kicker Kevin Wood signed with St. Francis (Pa.). … Hampton defensive lineman Luke Sweeney and Rochester defensive tackle Ryan Weiss signed with Robert Morris. .. Those signing with Duquesne include Serra wide receiver Randall Coleman, Hopewell linebacker Toby Theur, North Catholic offensive lineman Tim Wood and Penn-Trafford linebacker Tyler Zimmer.