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Sports

By Matthew Peaslee

The Upper St. Clair boy’s basketball team has cemented itself as one of the top programs in western Pennsylvania this season.

On March 13, the Panthers defeated Pine Richland, 56-53, at Peters Township’ brand-new AHN Arena to capture the WPIAL 6A title. This is the team’s first WPIAL basketball championship since 2005.

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Upper St. Clair Boys Basketball Wins WPIAL Championship

In that game, the Panthers were led by Ethan Dahlem who scored 16 points. To get to the WPIAL title game the Panthers defeated Canon-McMillan, Seneca Valley and Butler.

The grit and mettle of the Panthers was needed a week later when they hosted Erie for the PIAA Class 6A quarterfinals. The team was very much short-handed with several players and head coach Danny Holzer unable to attend due to COVID-19-related concerns. In fact, only six players could suit up for Upper St. Clair with Tanner Gensler and Brandon McClester serving as the only available coaches for the game.

It was a tight contest all the way with the Panthers holding out to the very end and escaping with a 62-57 victory over Erie after never surrendering the lead in the second half.

Dahlem continued his high-scoring ways with 14 points, Dave Pantelis led the team with 23 points and Luke Gensler added 19. Porter Rauch, Devin Hall and Matt Gaithersburg were the only other players who could play against Erie.

Luke Banbury, John Sukernek, Dahlem, Pantelis and Gensler are the team’s seniors.

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