Friday, January 10, 2014

Riggleman drops 51 to power Maples; South Fayette making noise in Class AAA

Dereck Riggleman saved a historic performance for when Mapletown needed it the most.

Riggleman scored 51 points to power the Maples (1-0, 4-5) past Geibel, 66-60, to claim third place in Section 3-A on Thursday night.  Riggleman entered the game just 30 points shy of 1,71000 for his career and the 51 he dropped against the Gators made him Mapletown’s all-time leading scorer.

Mapletown needed a historic performance from their top scorer to gain ground in a section that features Monessen and Carmichaels.  Both teams will ultimately battle for the section title, but Riggleman and the Maples could sneak into the Class A WPIAL playoffs by securing wins like last night.

The Maples trailed Geibel, 49-48, entering the fourth quarter when Riggleman’s offensive output lifted them past the Gators.  Geibel (0-2, 1-8) is certainly no powerhouse, but Riggleman’s record-setting performance gave the Maples a boost when they needed it the most.

It will be interesting to see how Mapletown matches up against Monessen (1-0, 6-4) when they face each other tonight.  Facing one of the top teams in Class A will certainly test the Maples one night after a thriller on the road.

·         The McGuffey girls’ team has shown inconsistency as of late; struggling to put away inferior opponents late in games.  On Thursday night, the Highlanders faced Wash High with first place in Section 5-AA on the line.

Sammie Weiss and Rachel Czulewicz ensured that McGuffey would not let the Prexies hang around.  Weiss and Czulewicz combined for 47 points and 20 steals to defeat Wash High, 71-37.  Weiss finished with 26 points and Czulewicz had 21.

Great players rise to the occasion and take over games.  That is what Weiss did and she reinforced the sentiment that she is one of the best female basketball talents not only in Washington County, but in the entire Pittsburgh area.

Her combination of speed, perimeter shooting and savvy play in the post makes her a tough matchup for opposing teams.  While she doesn’t tower over opponents in size, she uses a strong basketball IQ to exploit the weakness of her opponent.  The 2012 Observer-Reporter Player of the Year is certainly making a case to claim the honor for the second-straight year.

·         One team that has not been receiving much buzz is South Fayette’s boys’ basketball squad.  I guess the dramatic championship run the football team had is tough to match, but it is impossible to ignore the Lions’ incredible start to the season.

Like their football team that won the Class AA PIAA State Championship, South Fayette (4-0, 7-1) is winning with a solid defense.  The Lions have allowed a Class AAA-best 40.1 points per game and their lone loss came against Allderdice during a holiday tournament.

South Fayette will look to make their case as the top team in Section 5-AAA tonight when they travel to Montour.  A win would set up a battle with Chartiers Valley on Tuesday night for first place in the section.  Could the Lions’ basketball squad continue the magic the football team showed during its historic run to Hershey?  Tonight will be a good indicator of where head coach Rich Bonnaure’s squad stands.

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