McMURRAY – Charleroi won a share of the Section 4-AAA title, but its WPIAL playoff run ended in the first round after its 66-60 overtime loss to Carlynton Friday night at Peters Township High School.
“I thought we had them and we did what we wanted to do most of the first half,” said a disappointed Charleroi coach Bill Wiltz. “We had a bad four-minute stretch that let them get back into it because of careless turnovers.”
With the energy and emotion rampant early and Charleroi (16-7) trailing 5-4, it went on a 10-5 run to close the first quarter for a 15-10 lead when Zach Usher hit a three-pointer at the buzzer.
The shot jump-started an 8-0 run that gave Charleroi a 22-10 lead two minutes into the second quarter, but Carlynton (15-8) countered with a 19-5 run to end the half and it led 29-27 at the break.
Down 30-29 in the third, Charleroi went on a 10-0 run to take a 39-30 lead, but Carlynton clawed back to trim the Charleroi lead to 42-39 going into the fourth.
Carlynton tied the game at 49-49 with 4:02 to go in regulation, and both times Charleroi took a two-point lead down the stretch, Carlynton countered.
Charleroi called three timeouts in the last minute of regulation, but it turned the ball over with one second to go and the game went into overtime.
“We had them at the end of regulation but made a couple of costly mistakes,” said Wiltz. “We just wanted to make sure the kids were all on the same page, but we turned the ball over and got nothing out of it.
“They were able to get us to overtime and they dominated the overtime.”
Carlynton scored 11 of its 13 points in overtime from the foul line to put the game away and advance.
Joe Caruso finished with a game-high 29 points for Charleroi and Will Wagner had 11 points and 10 rebounds, Zach Usher added 10 points and Legend Davis grabbed nine rebounds to go with his three steals and three blocks.
Wiltz spoke about this group, led by a senior class that delivered four playoff berths and a section crown.
“This group is fantastic and one of my favorite groups,” he said with a smile before fighting off emotion. “This team is special to me.”
Winchester Thurston, 30, Chartiers-Houston
The Chartiers-Houston girls team saw its season come to an end with a first-round loss to Winchester Thurston, 30-24 in Class 2A.
“It was tough (falling behind early) in a playoff atmosphere with a young group of kids who don’t have a lot of playoff experience,” Chartiers-Houston head coach Laura Montecalvo said. “I am proud with how we fought back, especially with starting two freshmen and a sophomore, but maybe nerves got the best of us at the beginning of the game.”
The Bucs (12-11) struggled from the field early and did not score in the first quarter.
After Winchester Thurston (15-8) took a 9-0 lead into the second, Zamierah Edwards made a free throw to get the Bucs on the scoreboard with 7:31 to go before the half.
Dominique Mortimer hit Chartiers-Houston’s first basket, a three-pointer, with 6:22 to go in the second.
Edwards added two more baskets to cap an 8-2 run, but the Bears closed the half on a 7-0 spurt to take an 18-8 lead into the third quarter.
The Bucs cut the deficit to 24-21 with 4:16 to play but they could get no closer.
The Bucs struggled from the free-throw line, making only five of 16 attempts.
“When you lose by six and miss 11 foul shots, that’s tough,” Montecalvo said. “With these situations, the hope is that you come back next season having learned from the experience.”
Edwards led Chartiers-Houston with 10 points.