Peters Township dropped Mt. Lebanon in overtime, 52-49, and Bethel Park upended Upper St. Clair, 48-44, putting a damper on the impending clash between the Blue Devils and Panthers. The rivals are to play Jan. 18 at USC. Tip-off is at 7:30 p.m.
As the first-half of Section 2, 6A play draws near, the Black Hawks topped the standings with a 3-0 mark. They were 10-1 heading into a Jan. 14 battle at Lebo.
USC (8-2) was the Class 6A champions in 2021.
Despite forging a 13-6 first-quarter advantage, USC found the going tough against BP’s 2-3 defense, which featured 6-foot-6 Dolan Waldo, 6-5 Max Blanc and 6-5 Jaden Goodman. The Panthers shot 15% from beyond the arc and the Hawks’ blocked four of those long-range attempts as they closed the gap by intermission, 20-20.
BP led, 35-34, after three quarters but forged ahead for good, 44-42, on a hoop from Anthony Watson with three minutes remaining. Ben Guffey’s free throw iced the contest after the Panthers had a 3-point attempt blocked with 15 seconds to play.
Waldo paced the Black Hawks, scoring 15 points. Porter Rauch scored a game-high 17 points for the Panthers, while Devin Hall added 10.
Tanner O’Grady was limited to five points. The USC senior scored 30 points in a previous 54-45 win against Peters Township.
While the Indians’ Gavin Cote scored 14 in that loss, he exploded for 27 in the win against Lebo.
For the Blue Devils, who were outscored, 7-4, in overtime, Christian Powers scored 14 points and Zac D’Alesandro added 11.
Lebo was coming off a 60-46 win against Baldwin.
Joey Peters, Christian Mallon and Powers paced the Blue Devils with 18, 13 and 10 points, respectively.