Leechburg duo fuels playoff victory
McCANDLESS — The one-two punch of seniors Steve Predebon and Nick Matviko proved effective for Leechburg on Saturday in the opening round of the WPIAL Class A playoffs.
Predebon scored 32 points and Matviko added 25, as the Blue Devils rolled to an 84-68 victory over Our Lady of the Sacred Heart at North Allegheny High School.
Leechburg (13-10) will face Western Beaver in the quarterfinals Friday or Saturday at a site and time to be determined. OLSH concluded its season at 10-15.
A 9-0 surge by Leechburg in the final 1:10 of the first half put the Blue Devils in command. A slick, inbounds play from Predebon to Matviko soaring through the middle of the key gave Leechburg the lead for good to start the blitz. Matviko took the pass and, in the same motion, scored on a one-handed shot.
A steal by Matviko 34 seconds later, a basket on a put-back by Todd Rupert and a Rupert steal and a feed to Matviko concluded the first-half scoring with 7.8 seconds to go.
Predebon scored the first three Leechburg baskets in the third quarter, and the Blue Devils were on their way to a second consecutive appearance in the quarterfinals.
“I’m real happy with the way we came out real focused today,” said Blue Devils coach Damian Davies, whose team followed the pattern of another team known as the Blue Devils.
“We took some inspitation from that Duke-Boston College game where Duke aggessively switched out on the perimeter shots and they aggessively attacked the hoop,” he said.
The game was a sharp contrast to the regular-season finale last Monday at Riverview, where Leechburg dropped a 46-37 decision in which Matviko scored 13 and Predebon six.
“After the Riverview game and all the close shots we missed, we actually started practicing layups to get ready for the playoffs,” Predebon said.
OLSH hit 11 3-pointers but could not significantly cut into the Leechburg margin during the second half.
“Coach Davies told us to try to limit their perimeter shooting, and they’re so good at getting their shots off,” Predebon said. “We had to focus on their perimeter shooting at practice over the last couple of days.”