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Conwell-Egan . . . 2015 PIAA Class AA State Champs!
The title-game boxscore . . .
|Conwell-Egan 62, Aliquippa 51|
|Team Rebounds: 2. Turnovers: 8.|
|Team Rebounds: 4. Turnovers: 12.|
|Officials: James Gross, Gerard Byron, Joe DiMaggio.|
The Season's Results (21-8) . . .
|Mastery North||W, 58-31|
|Princeton Day (NJ)||W, 74-29|
|Central Bucks South||W, 61-39|
|Bethlehem Catholic||W, 82-51|
|Trenton Catholic (NJ)||L, 57-46|
|Phila. Electrical||L, 47-38|
|La Salle||L, 66-58|
|West Catholic||W, 54-53|
|SJ Prep||L, 47-45|
|Camp Hill||W, 71-54|
|Mahanoy Area||W, 82-31|
|Mid Valley||W, 72-56|
Season Scoring . . .
|*-includes City Title|
|Non-League; Catholic League; Catholic Playoffs; State Playoffs|
Selected Photos . . .
Vinny Dalessandro goes hard to the hole.
LaPri McCray-Pace lets go with a flip shot.
Chase Kumor fires a trey.
L to R, on TV -- LaPri McCray-Pace, coach Frank Sciolla, Stevie Jordan.
Ted's Website Report . . .
PIAA CLASS AA FINAL
Conwell-Egan 62, Aliquippa 51
(At Hershey's Giant Center)
The script could not have been written in more fitting fashion. With Aliquippa charging hard and threatening to cause major tears for C-E's players and fans, a big play was needed. The Terrific Trio obliged. PF-C Vinny Dalessandro, CG-SF LaPri McCray-Pace and PG Stevie Jordan -- juniors all -- have been starting for the Eagles since their freshman season. With C-E in front by only 50-48, Dalessandro blocked a follow and the rebound went to McCray-Pace. Already a good way downcourt on a leak-out, Jordan received a whipped-ahead pass and canned an easy layup. See, told you the script was good. More happened, of course, but for this man's money that was THE play and all three guys will no doubt remember it forever. Conwell-Egan, state champ. Let that sink in for a moment. Hard to believe, right? Impossible not to feel great about it, even more right? A short time ago, C-E (nee Bishop Egan) owned just one playoff win since joining the Catholic League for the 1963-64 season. And that one was claimed in a '64 semifinal. No. 2 came recently vs. Freire in the AA City Title. Five wins are needed to win a state crown and, boy, were they ever seized. C-E won every game by at least double digits and averaged a 21.2 margin. The release of major emotion was everywhere as the buzzer sounded. The players jumped around the court while exchanging/slaps/etc., then sr. WG Sean Kelly began a mad dash toward the student rooters. The other guys followed and the exchange of great-jobs!, thanks-for-your-support! was beautiful to watch. Janet Dollard, C-E's president, said seven buses, holding 44 students apiece, made the trip to Hershey. That's 308 kids, rumor has it (smile). Other kids probably came up with parents or buddies. Dollard said C-E's current enrollment is 544 and that the baseball team and an academic group were unavailable due to trips. "Almost 90 percent of the available students are here," she said. Wonderful support, troops! . . . And speaking of troops, the Eagles received their trophy from Damon Page, a member of the National Guard. Damon's a 2010 C-E grad and the son of Lee Page, a prominent multi-sport ref in the Philly area. Lee is also in the National Guard and he has been here throughout Finals Weekend, presenting the championship trophies. Said Lee, "I told Damon to come up here and make sure he was in uniform. I knew it would be very cool if he got to present the trophy to his old school." Indeed. I might have seen a tear or seven (smile). Aliquippa, a Pittsburgh suburb, entered perfect at 29-0. The Quips scored six of the first eight points as C-E went 1-for-6, looking the slightest bit unnerved. But soon, McCray-Pace canned a layup off a HARD drive and Jordan ended the first quarter with a right-corner trey and, just like that, Frank Sciolla's club was on top at 12-8. Things got better. The halftime count was 31-15, thanks in part to a trio of treys by sr. WG Chase Kumor. The third session brought a hint of discombobulation. The Eagles were not playing horribly, but neither were they in sync. Aliquippa also had a huge rooting section and those peeps were bringin' the juice. Ditto for the players. A few were talking trash to the Eagles. Shortly into the fourth quarter, a Quip hit a three and barked right in McCray-Pace's face, "How ya like THAT, b-tch?!" (It happened right in front of where I was sitting two seats away from the legendary Kevin "Sparky" Cooney, of the Bucks County Courier Times.) Pri gave the Quip a look that seemed to say, "Calm down, bro. I hope you enjoy our response." In high school, especially, free-throw shooting can be dicey when the tension mounts. Kudos to the Eagles! They drained their first 11 attempts of the last quarter and finished 15-for-17 (en route to 28-for-35 total). And one of the misses occurred after the issue had been decided. McCray-Pace (22) and Jordan (21) finished a close one-two in scoring. Kumor added 14 points. McC-P and Kelly halved 16 rebounds and the former, who often wound up with the ball out front, dished four assists. Dalessandro was credited with just two blocks in the official boxscore, but I'm pretty sure he had four. Sr. F Jordan Burney added grit as the sixth man and soph G Daniel Green claimed the game's last rebound as part of the Deep Subs Brigade. Enjoying the win in major fashion, up in the stands, were former baseball coach Rich Papirio, who still handles PA duties at basketball games, and '74 grad Brian Townsend, a former All-Catholic player who's a confirmed Eagle for life. Perched behind Brian was Leonhard "P.J." McCray, Mastbaum's former quarterback and LaPri's father. I'm guessing he yelled various comments 227 times over the 32 minutes. (Ha, ha. Always love the energy, P.J.!) Just three years back, C-E was in MAJOR danger of closing. Now it owns a state championship. Very cool script as well, eh?