WPIAL 3A Girls Championship Preview: Burrell vs. Deer Lakes

The Bucs dropped both games to the Lancers during the regular season

Fri Mar 01, 2024 - 9:24AM

Sean Meyers Sean Meyers

Last Updated: Thu Mar 07, 2024 - 11:24PM

WPIAL Class 3A Boys Championship – Friday 5 p.m. Petersen Events Center

No. 11 Burrell Buccaneers (16-8) vs No. 1 Deer Lakes Lancers (20-4)


About the Buccaneers: Burrell continued its Cinderella run through the playoffs on Monday, as the Buccaneers stifled No. 2 Mohawk 51-34 in the semifinals at North Allegheny High School. Burrell permitted just three points in the first quarter, and 11 total in the opening half. Macky Bennis led the way for the Bucs, as he netted 20 points, while Tucker Bitar added 11 points, and Esau King-Buchak tallied nine points. The Buccaneers also upset third-seeded Shady Side Academy 48-44 in the quarterfinals, and opened the postseason ledger with a 55-50 win at No. 6 Seton-LaSalle. Bennis and Bitar are multi-year starters who have anchored Burrell this season. Burrell grad Mike Fantuzzo is at the helm of the program. Burrell opened the season with a six-game winning streak, followed by three losses in a row at the Daytona Beach Sunshine Classic during the holiday break. The Bucs finished in third place in their section, but outscored their opponents by an average of 55.0 – 46.7 on the season.

About the Lancers: Deer Lakes survived in the semifinals Monday, winning 84-73 in overtime against fourth-seeded Neshannock at Fox Chapel Area High School. The Lancers had an uneven performance offensively, scoring 22 points apiece in the first and third quarters and 19 more in overtime, but combining for just 21 points in the second and fourth quarters. Wayne Love and Evan Moore each posted 23 points for Deer Lakes. The top-seeded Lancers narrowly survived another upset bid in the quarters, edging No. 9 Ellwood City 39-38. Albie Fletcher is the head coach for DL. Deer Lakes had a more comfortable margin of victory in the opening round, dispatching Sto-Rox via the mercy rule. The Lancers have posted winning streaks of six games and nine games this year, and boast a scoring margin average of 64.3 – 47.6.

About the Matchup: Foes from Class 3A Section 3, the teams have already met twice this year. Deer Lakes won the first meeting comfortably at home, 65-43, while the Lancers edged the Bucs 51-48 in the rematch at Burrell. The Lancers won their first district crown last season, and reached the state title game, as well. Burrell has never captured a WPIAL title.