Topf helps SV top Shaler
Eagle Staff Writer
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January 20, 2014

SHALER TWP — Seneca Valley was in desperate need of a spark.

That’s when Dakota Topf stepped to the fore.

With his team trailing Shaler by four points early in the third quarter, Topf reeled off nine points in a 48-second span, giving the Raiders a lead they would not relinquish in a 52-38 Section 3-AAAA boys basketball road win Friday night.

“This was a hard-fought victory against an inspired and well-coached Shaler team,” said Seneca Valley coach Victor Giannotta.

Topf, who had scored just two points in the first half, managed a conventional 3-point play with 5:58 left in the third period that cut the Titans’ edge to 24-23.

After Shaler’s Rob Reinheimer scored a bucket, Topf drained a pair of 3-pointers to give Seneca a 29-26 lead. From that point on, the Raiders outscored the hosts 21-12.

“It feels good to score a few baskets to get the team going, but it was a team effort,” said Topf. “Zach Snyder had a big game for us with (26) points.”

Snyder and Topf combined to score all of SV’s 19 third-period points. As a team, the Titans scored just six points, none in the final five and a half minutes of the quarter.

“Dakota’s baskets changed the tempo of the game,” said Giannotta. “At that point, Shaler couldn’t set up in their zone. We started to press on defense and got some baskets in transition.”

Shaler (2-13, 0-8) entered the game as the only team in Section 3-AAAA without a section win.

SV’s victory, coupled with losses Friday by both North Hills and Pine-Richland, gives the Raiders (8-6, 4-4) sole possession of the fourth and final playoff spot from the section.

“This win was essential for us,” said Topf. “It gives us momentum entering the North Hills game (Tuesday).”

The Raiders and Titans were knotted at 20 at halftime, but Shaler took a four-point lead when Zach Weaver hit a pair of two-point baskets on back-to-back possessions in the opening moments of the third quarter.

Soon after, things went downhill for the Titans.

Weaver led Shaler with 10 points.