Laurel Highlands took control from the start in earning a 63-52 victory at Highlands on Saturday in a non-section boys basketball clash between two of the top-seeded teams in the WPIAL Class 5A bracket.
Rodney Gallagher led the third-seeded Mustangs (12-3) with 16 points, including a pair of 3-pointers. Brandon Davis, who also hit two 3-pointers, followed with 14 points, and Keondre DeShields added 13 points.
Nick Egnot (6) and Caleb Palumbo (5) rounded out the scoring for LH.
The Mustangs galloped out to a 16-6 advantage in the first quarter and held leads of 30-18 at halftime and 51-35 after three quarters.
Jimmy Kunst scored 16 points for the Golden Rams (13-5).
The two teams are on opposite sides of the 5A bracket and both begin postseason play at 6 p.m. on Wednesday. Highlands hosts No. 13 Trinity and Laurel Highlands entertains No. 14 Shaler.
Serra Catholic 72, Carmichaels 55 — Despite being the higher seed, No. 15 Carmichaels had to play on the road and fell at Serra Catholic in a WPIAL Class 2A preliminary round game.
The Eagles (4-11) gradually pulled away from the Mikes (9-6) and led 20-12, 34-24 and 52-37 at the quarter breaks.
Chris Barrish paced Carmichaels with three 3-pointers and 17 points, Drake Long added a pair of 3-pointers and 14 points, and Tyler Richmond contributed 12 points.
Serra’s top scorers were Brendan Cooley (24), Mark Thomas (17) and Joey DeMoss (11).
Shaler 85, Ringgold 64 — The Titans blew open a close game by out-scoring visiting Ringgold 33-10 in the third quarter to claim a WPIAL Class 5A preliminary round playoff victory.
The Rams (5-11) jumped out to a 19-15 lead after one quarter before Shaler (8-4) surged to a 34-32 halftime lead.
Ringgold sophomore Nicholas Peccon scored a game-high 26 points and Demetrius Butler followed with 21 points. Kaden Orga topped the Titans in scoring with 21 points. Dylan Schlagel tallied 17 points and Brandon London added 12 points.
Winchester Thurston 76, Jefferson-Morgan 61 — Jackson Juzang scored a game-high 36 points as the Bears defeated visiting Jefferson-Morgan in a WPIAL Class 2A preliminary round playoff game.
Winchester Thurston (8-4) rolled to a 25-12 advantage in the first quarter. The Rockets (5-11) fought back and held a 15-14 edge in the second quarter to trail 39-27 at halftime.
The Bears extended their lead with a 25-16 advantage in the third to go up 64-43. Jefferson-Morgan took the fourth quarter 18-12 but it wasn’t nearly enough.
Tahjere Jacobs and Colt Fowler led the Rockets with 23 and 20 points, resepctively. Kijuan Paige chipped in with 12 points.
Lance Nicholls had 24 points for Winchester Thurston and Henry McCombs added 10 points.
Propel Montour 53, Bentworth 41 — Bentworth’s Landon Urcho scored a game-high 18 points but the Bearcats (2-14) fell to the host Legends in a non-section match-up.
Propel Montour (3-11) led 14-8, 29-20 and 40-33 at the breaks.
Cortae Sidberry topped the Legengs with 16 points and Jamal Newton had 13 points.
Chartiers Valley 84, West Greene 47 — West Greene picked one of the best teams in one of the highest classifications as an opponent to get it ready for the WPIAL playoffs.
The Lady Colts, second-seeded in Class 5A, proved to be too much for the Lady Pioneers, second-seeded in Class 1A, snapping West Greene’s 15-game winning streak.
Chartiers Valley (19-3) led 21-15 after one quarter then rode a 27-14 edge in the second to a 48-29 halftime lead and pulled away from there.
Jersey Wise was one of three West Greene players in double figures with 14 points. Brooke Barner and Katie Lampe followed with 13 and 12 points, respectively.
The Lady Colts put four players in double digits. Aislin Malcolm and Perri Page both tallied 18 points, Marian Turnbull had 15 points and Hallie Cowan added 14 points.
The Lady Pioneers (15-3) begin their postseason on Monday, March 8 with a 6 p.m. game against either No. 7 Bishop Caneivin or No. 10 Riverview in a quarterfinal game after receiving a first-round bye.
Chartiers Valley opens its postseason Thursday with a first-round game against either No. 15 Plum or No. 18 Lincoln Park.