PIAA Class 6A Semifinals
Tuesday at Altoona HS, 7:30 p.m.
Carlisle: District 3 five seed (21-8, Mid-Penn Commonwealth)
Pine-Richland: District 7 champion (27-1, WPIAL Class 6A Section 1)
Championship game (Saturday at Giant Center, 8 p.m.): Winner of 12-3 Archbishop Ryan (23-5) vs. 3-3 Reading (27-3), at Temple University’s Liacouras Center, 7:30
Coverage: Follow editor Jake Adams (@jakeadams520) and reporter Geoff Morrow (@RageAgainstGMo) on Twitter for game and video updates, plus photos from Jason Malmont (@Jmalmont)
Live stream: NFHSNetwork.com will have a live broadcast of the game. You must sign up for a free NFHS Network account to watch the game, according to the site.
Notes: Pine-Richland (located in Gibsonia, about 23 miles north of Pittsburgh) is averaging 74.8 ppg the past six games, including a four-game stretch of 81.8. Beat Greater Latrobe 83-82, Allderdice 58-47 and Butler 64-58 during states (Butler defeated State College 53-50 in OT). First trip to PIAA semis since 2000, and just second in school history. Team’s only loss came to Seneca Valley 70-56 in the Pittsburgh Classic Tournament on Feb. 3.
Carlisle toppled eastern Pennsylvania schools Coatesville 64-56, Lincoln 85-69 and Emmaus 78-74 (2OT). Went 1-1 last year in two state playoff games at Altoona. Winners of five PIAA games in two years now, with first trip to state semis since 1988 state championship team.
Top players: For the Rams: Coached by Jeff Ackerman. Junior 6-foot-5 guard Phil Jurkovec, a dual-threat QB ranked No. 60 by ESPN who has verbally committed to Notre Dame, is averaging 16 points, nine rebounds, senior 6-4 guard Andrew Petcash 20 ppg, six rpg and sophomore 6-6 center Andrew Kristofic 11 ppg, seven rpg. Rams, winners of two straight WPIAL championships, run through those three. Petcash is fielding Division II offers, and Kristofic already has an offer from Akron for football. Kristofic is coming off a 12-point game, with Jurkovec recording 11 points, nine boards. Other contributors: Senior guards Evan Luellen (8 ppg) and Nolan Rausch (5 ppg)... For the Thundering Herd: Coached by Andre Anderson. Juco-bound Deshawn Millington (19.2 ppg) had just four points entering the fourth quarter Saturday and finished with 16, plus nine boards and 11 dishes. Quarterfinal MVP Ben Milligan (5.3 ppg) dropped 12 points, including the two 3-pointers that helped force OT, and another big one in the first OT. PSAC recruit Ethan Houston (13.0 ppg) and West Chester-bound (football) Nate Barnes (7.3) both had double-doubles, with 20 points, 12 boards and 12 points, 11 boards, respectively.
Anderson’s scouting report: “Just a solid team, big team. They’re very big at every position. Play well, they played well last year together.
“They kinda play a half-court style game, they’re big, they’re gonna try and out-tough you. … We just gotta limit them to one shot.
“We can’t get into foul trouble. We’re gonna need our bigs, man, we’re gonna need our guards to help out on their bigs.”
About PR’s top three scorers: “It’s not about that, it’s about the team. … They have some standout seniors. It’s not about any individuals at this point in time, it’s about the team.”
If he’s concerned about fatigue: “I don’t think so. Our MO this postseason is to not lose.”
About playing in Altoona again: “Like I told you the other day, we’ll play anywhere. To make it this far, is just a dream.
“Our fans were huge for us (Saturday).
“Altoona has been good to us, all but one quarter.”