Dist. 5 boys: 2 teams face tough semifinal matchups
Two of District 5 Class A's top boys teams will be back in action Tuesday in the district semifinal round.
No. 1 McConnellsburg (20-3) will travel to Everett to take on No. 4 Shade (14-5), while No. 2 Southern Fulton (19-5) will head to Chestnut Ridge to play No. 3 Shanksville (22-1), the defending District 5 Class A champion. Both games will be played at 7 p.m.
The Spartans punched their ticket to the semifinals with a 75-50 win over No. 8 Rockwood, led by Ian Cheatle with 18 points, who shot 70 percent on the night.
Shade will be a bigger challenge for McConnellsburg, because it has a distinct height advantage. The Panthers have a 6-foot-7 center in Hunter Thomas and he's flanked by 6-foot-2 Brady Fyfe and 6-foot-3 Aaron Fyock. In Shade's quarterfinal win over Windber, the trio led the team, with Fyock notching a double-double with 13 points and 11 boards, Fyfe adding 16 points and Thomas scoring 13.
"They're pretty big across the board," said McConnellsburg coach Dane Pollock, whose tallest starter measures at 6-foot-2. "But they shoot a good many 3s, and because of their size they rebound the ball pretty well."
Pollock said his team will focus on getting the ball up the court and forcing Shade to play at McConnellsburg's tempo.
"We want to use our speed to our advantage," Pollock said. "They're big but that doesn't mean they're fast."
Jake Boehme averages 12.5 points per game, while Chase Novak averages 11.7 as the Spartans' leading scorers this season.
Southern Fulton takes on defending champs
Southern Fulton fell into the No. 2 slot despite sweeping No. 1 McConnellsburg in the regular season. The Indians are fresh off a big victory in the quarterfinals, having defeated Conemaugh Township, 62-29.
The Indians will have their hands full, though, taking on the defending district champion, which beat Southern Fulton, 48-33 in the championship game a year ago.
Shanksville was led by freshman Dawson Snyder in its quarterfinal victory - he had 14 points and six rebounds.
Led by a host of upperclassmen and 1,000-point scorer Dylan Gordon, who averages 16.6 points per game, the Indians' five losses this season have all been by 15 points or fewer.
Southern Fulton's Trent Rider falls into the area's top six scorers, averaging 15.7 points per game.
"We know them very well," Southern Fulton coach Kent Hendershot said. "They are very quick, and they have five kids that can do it all; we can't key in on any one player. We go to our captains (Gordon and Rider) and the rest of the team needs to follow. We need a consistent team performance. We play our best when we have four or five close to double figures."
District 5 Class A semifinal, McConnellsburg vs. Shade
Game data: No. 1 McConnellsburg vs. No. 4 Shade ... Tuesday at Everett, 7 p.m.
Media: Follow @EdGotwalsPO on Twitter for updates.
Teams: McConnellsburg (20-3) earned a 25-point win over Rockwood to advance to the semifinal ... Shade (14-5) earned a 62-54 victory over No. 5 Windber in the quarterfinals.
P.O. pick: Spartans by 9
District 5 Class A semifinal, Southern Fulton vs. Shanksville
Game data: No. 2 Southern Fulton vs. No. 3 Shanksville ... Tuesday at Chestnut Ridge, 7 p.m.
Media: Follow @liziarbogast on Twitter for updates.
Teams: Southern Fulton (19-5) lost two of its last three games, but defeated Conemaugh Twp. by more than 30 points in the quarterfinals ... Shanksville (22-1) is the defending District 5 Class A champion and is riding high on an 11-game winning streak, including a 40-point win over No. 6 Hyndman.
P.O. pick: Indians by 4.