By Ed Farrell
Herald Assistant Sports Editor
PENN HILLS — Five decades did nothing to diminish the intensity of the Farrell-Uniontown boys basketball rivalry. What transpired back in the 1960’s reverberated as recently as Tuesday night during the PIAA Class AA quarterfinals.
And just as it did approximately a half-century ago, Farrell forged past Uniontown, this time 86-72 in overtime at Penn Hills High.
Eleventh-year Steelers’ skipper Roland Shannonhouse played in this game – and won – 31 years ago, but said Tuesday’s win was more meaningful.
“Coaching this team, no doubt about it.” Shannonhouse responded. “This year, I have to admit, has been very special. Any time you get this far, I mean, thank God for it! But that was the effort these guys gave, and the fans out here in these playoffs for us. I mean, it’s overwhelming!”
Farrell finished with 24 turnovers and converted only 28 of 44 free-throw attempts. However, as Shannonhouse said.
You’re playing against a quality team. You’re not gonna come out here and not turn the ball over and make every shot and win the game by twenty; your job is to come out here, endure through the bad times, make your free throws and win the game.”
In overtime Farrell (24-3) finished 7 for 13, but it was enough. Jamel Brown bucketed 6 of his team-high 22 points during the extra 4-minute session.
The Steelers led by a dozen twice during the 3rd period and by 9 (61-52) wih 1:52 remaining in regulation before the Red Raiders rallied.
Ultimately, Brown’s drive with 20.2 seconds forged Farrell to a 69-67 lead, but Rodney Harris – subbing for Ellis, injured on a drive to the basket – converted a pair of freebies with 14.4 ticks to play.
Farrell’s Malik Miller, following a timeout, launched a desperation triple from the right wing as time expired in regulation.
It was Brown’s bomb from the right wing with 2:51 left in OT that staked the Steelers to a 72-69 lead. The teams were tied at 72 seconds later on Lyric Ellis’ triple, but Chris James joined Brown by bucketing a triple from precisely the same spot, forging Farrell to a 75-72 lead which it did not relinquish.
A ferociously frenetic 1st half featured 22 turnovers, 21 personal fouls, 44 missed floor shots, a handful of ties and half-dozen lead changes.
In spite of a half-dozen turnovers Farrell forged a 12-10 first-quarter lead on Jones’ 6 points. In he 2nd stanza Farrell’s sometimes flawed free-throw shooting proved to be the difference as the Steelers shot 8 for 11, led by Clifton McNair’s 4-for-4 accuracy.
With 5.6 ticks to play in the half, Jamel Brown bucketed the front end of a double-bonus free-throw situation, but missed the 2nd. However McNair‘s putback secured the Steelers a 32-22 margin at intermission.
In addition to Brown, Ike Jones joined in with a 20-point, 16-rebound double-double, James 16 points and 6 rebounds, McNair 8 points and a dozen rebounds, and Tyrone Archie 8 points and another half-dozen caroms.
Uniontown (22-3) was led Joe Campbell, who collected 19 points and 9 rebounds, Jordan Pratt, who pumped in a 15-point, 7-rebound, 5-assist line, Jeremy Perkins, who produced 10 points, and Lyric Ellis’ 11 points.
“I can’t be happier!” Shannonhouse said. “It’s an unbelievable atmosphere, ‘cause everything’s on the line, especially being a senior. I was a senior that year (1983), no one wants to go home. Your twistin’ and turnin’ the night before, tryin’ to make sure you do everything right, then sell out on the floor to get a win.
“I mean, all or nothing. You’ve gotta do it all,” Shannonhouse said.
PIAA CLASS AAA PLAYOFFS
FARRELL 12 20 15 22 17 86
UNIONTOWN 10 12 20 27 3 72
FARRELL — Burns 0-2-4-2, Brown 6-9-14-22, Jones 6-8-12-20, Archie 4-0-0-8, James 7-1-2-16, Miller 2-3-6-7, McNair 2-4-4-8, Holloway 0-2-2-2. 3-pt. goals: Brown 1, James 1. Totals: 27-28-44-86.
UNIONTOWN — Pratt 5-3-3-15, Lyric Ellis 2-6-6-11, Harris 0-2-2-2, Winfrey 1-0-0-2, Xavier Ellis 4-4-5-13 Perkins 5-0-4-10, Campbell 9-1-4-19, Gurriere 0-0-0-0, Mosley 0-0-0-0. 3-pt. goals: Pratt 2, Xavier Ellis 1. Totals: 26-16-26-72.
TUESDAY’S PIAA PLAYOFF SCORES
Allentown Central Catholic 82, Harrisburg Bishop McDevitt 55
Archbishop Carroll 59, Abington Heights 55
Central Valley 61, Thomas Jefferson 51
Farrell 86, Uniontown 72, OT
Lancaster Mennonite 68, Chartiers Valley 64
Neumann-Goretti 73, Wilkes-Barre GAR 55
Philadelphia Electrical 53, Holy Ghost Prep 52, OT
Susquehanna Township 52, Pottsville 45
Bishop Carroll 69, Monessen 65
Church Farm School 56, Mahanoy Area 52
Lincoln Park Charter 81, Forbes Road 28
Neumann 51, Phil-Montgomery Christian 48
New Hope Academy Charter 71, Pius X 65
Philadelphia MC&S 57, Sullivan County 39
Pittsburgh North Catholic 58, Ridgway 43
Vincentian Academy 94, Homer-Center 66
Abington 53, Wilson 43
Cumberland Valley 34, Archbishop Carroll 28
Dover 45, Mount St. Joseph 30
Hempfield Area 54, Fox Chapel 44
North Allegheny 58, State College 44
North Penn 73, Northampton 45
Spring-Ford 42, Mechanicsburg 35
West Chester Rustin 56, Parkland 36
Bishop Canevin 64, Karns City 40
Burrell 34, Bellwood-Antis 29
Dunmore 39, York Catholic 36
Gen. McLane 45, Tussey Mountain 39
Mount Carmel 60, Salisbury 56
Neumann-Goretti 60, Minersville 42
Seton-LaSalle 61, Greensburg Central Catholic 43
St. Basil 53, Delone 43