Speed, quickness too much for Ridge
By Joe Sager
For The Mirror
PITTSBURGH — It’s tough to contain both size and quickness.
Chestnut Ridge felt it did OK handling the first part, but the second one hurt the Lions in a 70-58 loss Tuesday night to Westinghouse in the PIAA boys 3A sub-regional at Taylor Allderdice High School.
The Bulldogs (17-6) move on to the next round Saturday and meet Burgettstown (18-7). Chestnut Ridge’s season ended at 17-7.
“We came here and saw the bright lights and we didn’t shy away and we battled,” Chestnut Ridge coach A.J. Weyant said. “This doesn’t overshadow what we’ve done all season or what this group of seniors has put toward building a program. I am proud of them. I couldn’t ask for a better group of guys, from the seniors to the freshmen.”
The Lions faced a unique task in defending Westinghouse 6-foot-11 senior center James Ellis. He finished with 25 points.
“Their speed and quickness gave us more problems, we thought, than their height,” Weyant said. “James Ellis is a phenom and he had some high-powered dunks, but their speed and quickness got to us more than anything else.”
The Bulldogs’ ability to get back on defense threw off Chestnut Ridge, which likes to push the ball.
“All season, we pride ourselves on playing up tempo. It just wasn’t enough tonight,” Lions junior Shane Felix said. “That’s a good team we played.”
Chestnut Ridge had a 15-14 lead after the first as six different players tallied buckets. However, Westinghouse’s speed took over in the second quarter. The Bulldogs pulled ahead and limited the Lions to eight points in the frame for a 27-23 halftime lead.
“Their ability to get back into plays and get into hustle plays gave us more fits than that actual height did,” Weyant said. “Hat’s off to Westinghouse. They are a great team. We came here and battled. For us and what we’ve done this year, it doesn’t overshadow it.”
Chestnut Ridge cut the deficit to 31-29 on Felix’s hoop with 5:24 left in the third, but Westinghouse’s transition game converted some turnovers into three quick buckets to extend the cushion to 41-31. The Bulldogs posted a 45-33 advantage at the horn.
“Streaks and runs – they got the better of it tonight. We were hoping to come here and that our runs would last a little longer, but they didn’t,” Weyant said. “A bounce here, a bounce there, a shot falls there and who knows? You could ask those questions all night, but our guys gutted it out and played hard and intense and I couldn’t ask for more.”
A pair of quick Avery Smith 3-pointers gave the Lions a little jolt and trimmed the deficit to 57-46 with 3:09 to play, but they could not sustain the momentum.
Senior Noah Dillow led Chestnut Ridge with 17 points. Felix finished with 12, while senior Logan Cooper had 10. E.J. Jackson, Levi Snyder and Smith are the team’s other seniors.
“When I go in this locker room and talk to the five seniors, I want them to know they have a special place in my heart,” Weyant said. “It’s tough to let go.”
CHESTNUT RIDGE (58): Cooper 4 0-0 10, Smith 5 0-0 13, Felix 6 0-0 12, Dillow 8 1-2 17, Jackson 1 0-0 2, Little 0 2-2 2, Hillegass 1 0-0 2. Totals 25 3-4 58.
WESTINGHOUSE (70): Sirmons 6 0-1 12, Byrd 3 1-2 7, Jones 2 7-7 11, Lanier 5 1-2 12, Ellis 11 3-7 25, Ismail 1 0-0 2, Lumpkins 0 1-2 1. Totals 28 13-21 70
SCORE BY QUARTERS
Chestnut Ridge 15 8 10 25 — 58
Westinghouse 14 13 18 25 — 70
3-pointers: Chestnut Ridge 5 (Smith 3, Cooper 2), Westinghouse 1 (Lanier)
Records: Chestnut Ridge (17-7), Westinghouse (17-6)