4A

Finals


Harrisburg 69 Uniontown 62

 

HERSHEY PA

 

In a battle of major heavy weights, Harrisburg kept the gold in the East as the presumed last PIAA game was played at Hershey Park Arena. The new arena should be completed by next season.

 

The game swung back and forth, one never knowing the outcome until the very last seconds. Poes Pit and the Pendulum comes to mind as the tension, noise level, and intensity never allowed anyone to become too comfortable. Back and forth, back and forth back and forth.....Sorry:) In the end, Harrisburg would overcome 30 turnovers because of its strong inside game (58-24 reb. edge) and a monster game by Lawrence Hamm (25 points, 19 rebounds and multiple blocked shots) to win the PIAA 4A Championship.

 

Ok...Swings...Uniontown breaks Harrisburg man press and takes a 9-0 lead out of the gate. Harrisburg recovers with a 10-4 run of its own. 19-14 after one as Terrance Vaughn hit a layup at the buzzer for Uniontown. Next swing occurs at the 4:30 mark of the second quarter as Uniontown switches to a half court 1-3-1 trap that looks like a 2-2-1 thing. Basically the trap forces Harrisburg into the corners with their big men and takes the Burgs guards right out of the game. Harrisburg turned it over 10 times in the second, leading to a 35-29 lead for Uniontown at half. The Cougars did get the ball down low but Uniontown's smaller big guys had multiple strips down low to protect the lead. Uniontown stretched the lead to 10 at 39-29 in the beginning of the third. Harrisburg switched its defense to a full court 1-2-1-1 with star of the game, Lawerance Hamm, on the ball. A key call on #33, Chris Jacobs, of Uniontown (his 4th), open the gates for Harrisburg as the pressure continued.Harrisburg finally tied the game at 42 all with 3:20 left in the third. Harrisburg also made the adjustment of keeping the big guys high low, so that they would be inscoring position and/or clean the boards on shots by the guards. This paid huge dividends for the Cougars of Harrisburg.

 

A Hamm dunk off a turnover, swings the momentum, and fires up the Burgs crowd to start the 4th quarter. In fact the Cougars would stretch the lead to 10 points before the last major swing of the game occurred. Dierre Jenkins (Utown) popped of three triples in a row, add a tradition bucket for him, and all of a sudden the game was 60-57. A drive by Alfonso Burnett gave Harrisburg a 5 point lead at 62-57. A drive by Uniontown's excellent point guard, David Winfrey, cut it to 2 at 62-60 with 2:30 on the clock. Harrisburg called timeout to settle things down. The Arena was rocking (both teams' cheerleaders were booed as they took center court, ah yes, these games do mean something...) However, the game proceeded as there were no more buckets for the rest of the game. Harrisburg made 7 of 10 free throws down the stretch to claim its second title in 5 yrs.

 

Points:

Uniontown

David Winfrey 10

Dierre Jenkins 18

Terrance Vaughn 18

Chris Jacobs 10

 

Harrisburg

Alfonso Burnett 14

Lawrence Hamm 25

Camar Hall 15

 

Off the wall.....thanks to PIAA for allowing LLHoops to cover championship. ...Paid attendance 8,459 for evening double header..Thanks to PIAA official stats guy, Barry Kaufffman, for allowing me to help him Sat.....Nice meeting our LLhoops writer from D2, Jon K, a long time PIAA championship weekend ticket holder....Overall excellent officiating by PIAA crew during Sat. games, although we did get a 5 min break in boys 3A game to tape up a wounded ref:)...I found myself watching more PIAA on PCN than NCAA on Friday- how about you? ..Bishop Hanna's Gerry McNamara was fun to watch (tough to duplicate 55 point performance from Eastern Finals vs. Trinity). BTW he ONLY had 32 in championship game while sitting out some of the game due to foul trouble...Sitting by West Coaches gave me a neat perspective into the trials and tribulations of coaches at that level - all were well behaved.

 

~Dell Jackson

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