By Madeline Williams
By Herald Sports Correspondent
WEXFORD — The West Middlesex High boys basketball team was eliminated from the PIAA playoffs Thursday night following a 73-57 loss to Greensburg Central Catholic.
“The ball didn’t bounce our way (Thursday) night, and I’m kind of disappointed about it. But our effort was still there,” West Middlesex mentor Chad Mild said.
The Centurions scored the first 4 points of the game, but Middlesex’s Isaac Williams and Ryan Dogan hit back-to-back treys give the Big Reds their first and only lead of the game. But GCC led 20-14 at the end of the first.
West Middlesex’s Trey Staunch was sent to the bench when he picked up his 3rd personal foul with 7:45 to play in the 2nd quarter and he would not return for the remainder of the half.
GCC outscored West Middlesex 16-9 in the second frame to take a 36-23 lead at halftime. Williams led the Reds with 9 points on three 3’s. Josh Porterfield had 6 points and Staunch 5. But Brian Graytok had 11 points and Christian Hyland had 9 pointsfor the Centurions.
“I thought we got some bad fouls on us early on,” assessed Mild. “When Trey picked up that third one, I knew it wasn?t good.”
In the 2nd half the Big Reds came out in a hard-nosed, half-court trap that gave the Centurions some trouble. Greensburg had 4 turnovers and 3 missed shots near the end of the quarter that allowed the Big Reds to keep the score close. The Big Reds outscored the Centurions 19-17 in the 3rd quarter, led by Staunch’s 8.
“Our defense definitely game them some trouble in the second half,” Mild said. “We wanted to make sure they weren’t trying to hold the ball and force them to take some shots.”
In the final quarter the Big Reds were forced to foul in order to stop the clock; however GCC converted 14 of 16 free throws. The Centurions outscored the Reds 20-15 in the final quarter.
“In the second half, we came out and had some good momentum, but we had a lot of dumb fouls,” Mild said. “It wasn’t one of the smarter basketball games we’ve played this year.”
Staunch led the Big Reds (21-6) with 20 points and 17 rebounds, Williams had 15 points, including 4 triples, as well as 5 assists, and Josh Porterfield ended the game with 14 points, 8 rebounds, and 3 blocks.
Billy Hipp — a transfer from Bishop McCort — led Greensburg Central Catholic (24-3) with 22 points, including perfect 11-for-11 marksmanship from the free-throw line in the 4th quarter. Last season, Hipp scored 16 points in the Bishop McCort 61-54 loss to West Middlesex in the state quarterfinals. Also, Brian Graytok scored 17 points and Christian Hyland had 15 points for the Centurions, while Romano Sebastiani and Collin Bisignani each had 10 rebounds.
Mild must bid adieu to his lone senior, Christian Porterfield.
“Christian’s a ‘program kid’ and I can’t say enough about him,” Mild said in praise of his senior. “We’ll definitely miss him.”
“I started playing basketball at the age of 3, and I never thought the day it would all be over would come this quickly,” Porterfield said. “If I had any advice for the younger guys on the team, I would say, ‘Don’t ever take a practice or game or anything for granted. It’s over in the blink of an eye.’ I’m going to miss it so much.”
Porterfield will continue his athletic career at Slippery Rock University next year where he will play for the nationally-recognized baseball team under head coach Jeff Messer.
“I’m so excited for it. Every, single day I think about playing baseball for the next four years and I’m so anxious and excited for that day to come,” Porterfield said.
Greensburg Central Catholic will move on to play defending state champions Beaver Falls on Saturday.
PIAA CLASS AA PLAYOFFS
MIDDLESEX 14 9 19 15 57
GREENSBURG 20 16 17 20 73
WEST MIDDLESEX — Christian Porterfield 1-0-0-2, Long 0-0-0-0, Roberts 0-0-0-0, Williams 5-1-3-15, Josh Porterfield 6-2-2-14, Staunch 7-6-9-20, Dogan 2-0-0-6, Bacchetti 0-0-0-0. 3-pt. goals: Williams 4, Dogan 2. Totals: 21-9-14-57.
GREENSBURG CENTRAL CATHOLIC — White 0-0-0-0, Reese 0-0-0-0, Hyland 6-2-5-15, Nowicki 0-0-0-0, Hipp 3-11-11-22, Bisignani 2-0-0-4, Liberatore 3-0-2-6, Sebastiani 3-2-2-9, Graytok 7-3-4-17, Rullo 0-0-0-0. 3-pt. goals: Hyland 1, Sebastiani 1. Totals: 25-18-24-73.