Thursday, January 9, 2014

Too early to hit the panic button for Wash High

The voices of Wash High’s critics just grew louder.

Despite the Prexies’ 9-1 start to the season, including a perfect 4-0 record in Section 4-AA play, many pointed to the strength of Wash High’s competition as the reason for the fast start.

Seton-La Salle (4-0, 10-0) soundly defeated the Prexies on Thursday night, 66-32, behind a balanced scoring performance and a major size advantage.  The doubters unanimously stood up and voiced their opinion on Twitter.

Seton-La Salle’s front court featured senior Levi Masua (6-5) and senior Malik White (6-4).  White was tenacious on the boards during the first quarter of Thursday night’s game and scored 11 points in the first half.  Wash High entered the game with physicality and rebounding as their strength.

Seton-La Salle’s big men went head-to-head with the Prexies’ front court and won.  The matchup was not in Wash High’s favor and that was apparent from the tip off.  Masua came off the bench to score 12 points and the Rebels’ defensive effort seemed effortless.  They clogged the passing lanes and did not let DeQuay Isbell or Quorteze Levy drive to the basket.

In the opening minutes, the Prexies showed confidence by knocking down shots and keeping the ball on the perimeter.  It worked as they tied the game 10-10 with 2:19 remaining in the first quarter.  As soon as Seton-La Salle’s physical play took over, Wash High began showing poor shot selection and made errant passes that the Rebels turned into easy points in transition.

After a 21-0 run in the final 4:33 of the first half, it was obvious that Seton-La Salle is not your typical Class AA team.  The Rebels have an incredible point guard in Dale Clancy, who is averaging 18 points per game, and two post players that make Seton-La Salle tough to matchup against.  I can’t imagine any team being able to put together a starting five with that much talent.

That being said, should Wash High be concerned?  Not one bit.  The Prexies have shown they can beat a tough opponent.  They defeated West Allegheny and Elizabeth Forward at the West Allegheny Tournament.  Wash High started the season with nine wins in ten games.  The timing of the Seton-La Salle game left much to be desired.

The frigid temperatures delayed the game until Thursday and the Prexies’ matchup with Seton-La Salle came just five days after Wash High faced Quaker Valley.  When the Prexies are playing to their strength and are receiving strong perimeter shooting from Nate Swart, Wash High is a tough team.  They play a relentless brand of defense that coaches around the area would love to see from their own squads.

While it’s too early to hit the panic button, the next eight days will be interesting.  The Prexies play Peters Township, a Class AAAA opponent, and two section rivals within that time period (Burgettstown and Bishop Canevin).  The competition will give Wash High a chance to bounce back from back-to-back debilitating losses against tough opponents.

I will say this: when Seton-La Salle plays the Prexies on Jan. 31 at Wash High, they will be seeing a much different team than the one they faced on Thursday night. 

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