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Knoch boys bow to powerful Lincoln Park

Knoch's Jackson Bauman drives toward the hoop during the WPIAL 4A playoff game against Lincoln Park at North Allegheny High School on Wednesday, Feb. 21. Morgan Phillips/Butler Eagle (2/21/2024)

WEXFORD — Effort was never in question for Knoch in Wednesday’s WPIAL Class 4A boys basketball quarterfinal playoff against Lincoln Park. But facing the defending district- and state-champion Leopards, execution often eluded the Knights.

Knoch fell behind in the first quarter and was forced to play catch-up the rest of the way in an 81-58 loss at North Allegheny High School.

Knoch's Teegan Finucan scores during the WPIAL 4A playoff game against Lincoln Park at North Allegheny High School on Wednesday, Feb. 21. Morgan Phillips/Butler Eagle (2/21/2024)

“We had mostly sophomores out there and I’m just so proud of the effort from our guys,” said Knoch coach Alan Bauman.

Whatever gameplan the Knights had coming in, they were forced to adjust on the fly due to the absence of two players.

Knoch's Zane Pacek scores during the WPIAL 4A playoff game against Lincoln Park at North Allegheny High School on Wednesday, Feb. 21. Morgan Phillips/Butler Eagle (2/21/2024)

Teegan Finucan spent much of the first half on the bench in foul trouble. Derek Lang, who gave the Knights a brief lead early with a four-point play, left the game midway through the second quarter with an injury and did not return.

Knoch's Teegan Finucan scores during the WPIAL 4A playoff game against Lincoln Park at North Allegheny High School on Wednesday, Feb. 21. Morgan Phillips/Butler Eagle (2/21/2024)

“Not having Teegan out there really hurt us offensively,” Bauman said. “Derek hit his head and keeping him on the bench was a precautionary move.”

Meanwhile, the Leopards, who led 26-13 after one quarter, continued to build their lead. They made 17 of 26 attempts from the field in the first half.

Knoch's Jackson Bauman drives the ball down the court during the WPIAL 4A playoff game against Lincoln Park at North Allegheny High School on Wednesday, Feb. 21. Morgan Phillips/Butler Eagle (2/21/2024)

“Scoring in transition is our bread and butter and it affected Knoch tonight,” said Lincoln Park coach Mike Bariski. “But give Knoch credit. They were playing a bunch of sophomores while we are a very veteran team. They (Knights) are a very good team now and will be excellent in the future.”

Knoch's Jackson Bauman protects the ball during the WPIAL 4A playoff game against Lincoln Park at North Allegheny High School on Wednesday, Feb. 21. Morgan Phillips/Butler Eagle (2/21/2024)

Meleek Thomas lit up the scoreboard for the Leopards (21-3) with 32 points while Brandin Cummings scored 22.

Knoch's Jackson Bauman prevents the ball from going out of bounds during the WPIAL 4A playoff game against Lincoln Park at North Allegheny High School on Wednesday, Feb. 21. Morgan Phillips/Butler Eagle (2/21/2024)

“Every time they seemed to be wavering a bit, one of those two would hit a big shot,” Bauman said. “We had two great days of prep, but it’s hard to simulate Lincoln Park’s speed and length in practice.”

Finucan led the Knights with 14 points. Jackson Bauman added 13 and Lang 11.

Knoch's Jackson Bauman scores during the WPIAL 4A playoff game against Lincoln Park at North Allegheny High School on Wednesday, Feb. 21. Morgan Phillips/Butler Eagle (2/21/2024)

Knoch (15-9) is not done. The Knights will face North Catholic, which lost to Uniontown on Wednesday, in the consolation bracket Friday with the hope of reaching the state playoffs.

KNOCH 58

Knoch's Jackson Bauman drives toward the net during the WPIAL 4A playoff game against Lincoln Park at North Allegheny High School on Wednesday, Feb. 21. Morgan Phillips/Butler Eagle (2/21/2024)

Derek Lang 4 1-1 11, Jackson Bauman 4 4-9 13, Teegan Finucan 5 2-2 14, Kaden Spencer 3 0-0 6, Zarian Finucan 1 1-2 3, Zane Pacek 3 1-3 7, Vincent DeFelice 1 0-0 2, Brody Bauman 1 0-0 2, Zach Szebalskie 0 0-0 0, Jeremy Scheidt 0 0-0 0. Totals: 22 9-17 58.

Knoch's Zarian Finucan attempts to score, buthis shot is blocked by Lincoln Park's Mikey Crawford during the WPIAL 4A playoff game at North Allegheny High School on Wednesday, Feb. 21. Morgan Phillips/Butler Eagle (2/21/2024)

LINCOLN PARK 81

Rhaki Lum 6 2-2 15, Brandin Cummings 8 3-3 22, Mikey Crawford 3 3-4 9, Meleek Thomas 14 1-1 32, Dorian McGhee 1 1-2 3, Vinnie DePaula 0 0-0 0. Totals: 32 10-12 81.

Knoch 13 14 16 15 — 58

Knoch's Teegan Finucan drives toward the hoop during the WPIAL 4A playoff game against Lincoln Park at North Allegheny Senior High School on Wednesday, Feb. 21. Morgan Phillips/Butler Eagle (2/21/2024)

Lincoln Park 26 20 15 20 — 81

3-point goals: Knoch 5 (Lang 2, T.Finucan 2, Bauman); Lincoln Park 7 (Thomas 3, Cummings 3, Lum).

Friday: Knoch vs. North Catholic, consolation bracket, TBD

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