After an 18-4 season that earned Quaker Valley a #6 seed in the WPIAL playoffs, their season was in peril against #13 Riverside Wednesday night after three and a half quarters at Moon Area High School.
Down eight points, the Quaker Valley seniors knew what needed to be done.
“We’ve been in that situation before," said QV Senior Forward Burke Moser. "We are a young team, but Nelly (Senior Guard Nelson Westwood) and I won five playoff games last year together. I think that we weren’t ready for our careers to end.”
After Coach Mike Mastroianni called a timeout, QV turned up its defensive pressure and forced several quick turnovers. The senior group then stepped up on offense to draw the game even.
Micah Glenn, a first-year Quaker after transferring from Sewickley Academy, hit a three pointer from deep in the corner off an assist from Moser.
Westwood drained a three of his own, and Moser had two coast-to-coast drives.
Riverside, however, didn’t go down without a fight. After Moser’s layup put QV ahead 47-46 with 45 seconds to play, Gig Jewell hit a jump shot from the foul line that put Riverside back up 48-47. Jewell finished with a game-high 19 points.
That set the stage for a dramatic QV win. Westwood drove down and faked a pass left, before unleashing a perfect no-look pass to Junior Qadir Taylor, who had slipped behind the defense for a back door cut.
Taylor finished the lay-up and was fouled, completing the three-point play and putting the Quakers up 50-48 with 23 seconds remaining.
“Qadir had the savvy to sneak behind the defense, and Nelson made a terrific pass,” Mastroianni said.
On Riverside’s possession, they worked the ball into the post where Tyler Falk pivoted into the lane with four seconds remaining, only to be tied up by Moser.
The possession arrow favored QV, and Glenn and Westwood connected on three of four free throws in the final seconds to provide the final margin of victory.
“I couldn’t be more impressed with how disciplined we were tonight,” Mastroianni said. “Riverside is a well-coached, senior-oriented team, and we’re so young. But we played with composure and just stayed the course.”
Moser led QV with 18 points and added nine rebounds. Taylor chipped in 15, while both Westwood and Glenn added eight. Westwood also led QV with six assists.
Quaker Valley moved to 19-4 with the win and will face #3 seed Seton LaSalle at noon on Saturday at North Hills High School.
Information provided by Quaker Valley Basketball Boosters.
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