The Cranberry Eagle
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Article published February 20, 2013

No Stopping Seneca Valley
Raiders romp Central Catholic to reach WPIAL quarterfi nals

Derek Pyda
Butler Eagle

ROSS TWP — Absolute domination.

From the opening tip, Seneca Valley proved to be superior to Section 2 champ Central Catholic. The result was a 72-41 drubbing of the Vikings in Saturday’s WPIAL Quad A boys basketball first-round playoff game at North Hills High.
SV’s win snapped Central’s eight-game winning streak.
“Central is a great program and they had a good team this year,” said SV coach Victor Giannotta, “but boy, we played well today. The intensity our kids played with is what impressed me the most.”
The Raiders (16-7) will face Upper St. Clair (20-3), a 57-56 winner over Norwin, in a quarterfinal game Saturday at a time and site to be determined.
Led by 10 points from senior forward R.J. McCauley and seven more courtesy of senior guard Easton Bazzoli, the Raiders controlled the first period and ended the quarter with a 21-8 edge.
In that span, the Raiders shot 60 percent (9-of-15) from the field and were the recipients of seven Viking turnovers.
“We played hard on both ends of the floor from the start of the game, but I think it was our defense that set the tone early on,” said SV point guard Matt Darby.
Central’s 15th turnover of the first half led to Bazzoli’s dunk just before the halftime buzzer, giving SV a commanding 38-16 edge at the break.
“After that dunk, we ran to the locker room and Central’s players were still on the bench,” Giannotta said. “We were in the same section the last four years. We knew them very well and clearly, we were the better and more prepared team today.”
Any hopes the Vikings had of a comeback were dashed when the Raiders opened the third period with a 10-0 run. In fact, Central’s only points of the quarter came when David Urso drained two free throws with 2:01 left, making it 48-18.
The Vikings (16-6) turned the ball over 22 times in the game and were out-rebounded 36-19.
McCauley led all scorers with 26 points, followed by Bazzoli with 22 and Alex Snyder added 12 for the Raiders.
Urso paced Central with 19 points, just nine coming in the first three quarters.
Seneca entered the playoffs having lost three of its final four regular season contests.
“We gave a few games away that we shouldn’t have,” said Bazzoli, “but we really picked things up in practice the last week or so and that’s where it starts. We’re ready to go now.”
The top three teams from Seneca’s section — New Castle, North Allegheny and Hampton — were awarded the top three seeds in the playoffs.
“This win validates our section,” said Giannotta. “I truly believe that any team from our section, top to bottom, could make the playoffs out of any other section.”
Central Catholic coach Chuck Crummie was not available for comment.

SENECA VALLEY 72
Matt Darby 2 1-2 5, Easton Bazzoli 8 5-5 22, Chad Izenas 0 1-2 1, T.J. Holl 1 0-2 2, R.J. McCauley 10 3-4 26, Alex Snyder 4 4-4 12, Eric Woods 1 1-2 4, Taylor Mantick 0 0-0 0, Mike Smith 0 0-0 0, Bryce Schnatterly 0 0-0 0, Zach Snyder 0 0-0 0, Dan Cashdollar 0 0-0 0, Kyle Snyder 0 0-0 0. Totals: 26 15-21 72.
CENTRAL CATHOLIC 41
Emmett Cauley 0 2-2 2, Garret Vrbanic 1 0-0 2, Alex Schoppen 1 1-2 4, David Urso 5 8-11 19, Joe Marchione 2 0-0 6, Sam Calhoun 2 2-2 8, Rashaad Sanders 0 0-0 0, Casey DiBasilio 0 0-0 0, Peter Belechak 0 0-0 0, Kevin Wharton-Price 0 0-0 0, John Petrishen 0 0-0 0, Sean Whalen 0 0-0 0, James Taylor-Lane 0 0-0 0, Pat Sproule 0 0-0 0. Totals: 11 13-17 41.
Seneca Valley 21 17 15 19—72
Central Catholic8 8 2 23—41
3-point goals: Seneca Valley 5 (McCauley 3, Woods, Bazzoli); Central Catholic 6 (Marchione 2, Calhoun 2, Urso, Schoppen)
Saturday: Seneca Valley vs. Upper St. Clair, WPIAL Quad A quarterfinal, time and site TBD