Jake Wolfe is one of the top football and basketball players in the WPIAL, but the Montour standout looked more like a swimmer Tuesday night after his team’s win against Avonworth.

This was one wet Wolfe after his teammates showered him with water as he walked into the locker room. The celebratory mood had to do with Wolfe drilling a 3-pointer with 12 seconds left in the game. It didn’t provide host Montour with the winning points, but it did give the senior 1,000 points for his career, a feat his twin sister, Jordyn, accomplished while playing with the Montour girls team eight nights earlier.

“All of my teammates are great people,” said Wolfe, who will play football at Robert Morris. “I have a great bond with all of them, so they had a lot of energy and they were excited for me.”

But that’s not the only thing the Spartans were excited about.

Winning a section title for the first time in 12 years is a pretty big deal, too.

Wolfe scored a game-high 25 points, Ama Sow added 20 points and 19 rebounds, and Montour avenged its only section loss courtesy of an impressive 65-38 win against Avonworth.

Winners of eight of nine, Montour (17-3, 8-1) clinched the outright Class 4A Section 4 title, giving the Spartans their first section crown since Devin Wilson led them to the PIAA Class 3A final in 2012. Just a season ago, the Spartans placed third in the section when they finished 9-14. Avonworth (13-7, 6-3) would have pulled into a first-place tie with a win. The Antelopes, who have lost four of their past five road games, previously won a section championship in 2014.

“It’s tremendous,” Montour coach Bill Minear said. “Two years ago we’re in the WPIAL final as a third-place team. Jake was a starter on that team, so he’s been there. And Kaleb [Platz] was the sixth man. So they’ve kind of been there and understand the significance of it. And I think our guys really bought in getting ready for this one.”

You could say that again. Avonworth thumped Montour, 64-48, Jan. 12 at home, a game in which Minear called his team’s worst of the season. Montour never led in that game and trailed by as many as 24 points. Tuesday was a much different story as it was Montour that never trailed. The Spartans scored the first 17 points of the game, led by 22 at the half, and saw their lead grow to as many as 28.

“The first time we played them we didn’t play our best game and they had a really good game, so we knew we had to come in with a lot of energy and have a great team effort to win,” Wolfe said.

Ama Sow had 20 points and 19 rebounds Tuesday night in Montour’s 65-38 win against visiting Avonworth. (Emily Matthews/Pittsburgh Union Progress)

Mission accomplished. While Wolfe and Sow made lots of splash plays on offense, it was how well Montour played defensively that was just as big of a story. Avonworth struggled dealing with Montour’s pressure. The Antelopes were 4 of 25 from the field in the first half and finished the game 15 of 50 (30%). Standout junior guard Rowan Carmichael scored 13 of his 18 points in the second half, but no other Avonworth player scored more than 5. Anthony Arlia, who made four 3-pointers and poured in a career-high 20 points in the first meeting, was held scoreless.

Sow, a 6-11 junior center who averages 17 points a game, made little impact on offense in the earlier meeting, so Minear said the Spartans “kind of restructured for this game offensively.” It worked because Sow was a force from start to finish, scoring on post moves, follows and a couple of emphatic dunks. Sow scored 9 points in the first quarter to help Montour race to a big lead and had a double-double (11 points, 11 rebounds) by halftime.

“We knew whenever Ama is involved and locked in the game, we have a chance to beat any team in the WPIAL,” Wolfe said. “He’s a great player and he always makes plays, so it was really important to get him involved. And as you could see, it helped the team.”

Montour also got seven points apiece from Platz and Daniel Batch.

Montour’s Jake Wolfe, left, celebrates with his team after scoring the 1,000th point of his career in the closing seconds of a win Tuesday night against Avonworth. (Emily Matthews/Pittsburgh Union Progress)

Wolfe scored 17 of his points in the second half, 11 of them coming in the final quarter as he chased his 1,000th point. Wolfe’s 3-point play with 2:10 left put him at 997, setting the stage for his 3-pointer with just 12 ticks to go. Wolfe’s teammates jumped up and down and the home crowd roared after the basket. The game then briefly was stopped to honor Wolfe’s accomplishment.

“His demeanor is tremendous,” Minear said of Wolfe, who finished his Montour football career with 4,868 yards passing and 1,426 rushing after leading the Spartans to the WPIAL Class 4A semifinals his senior season. “He stays even-keeled. He doesn’t get too high. He doesn’t get too low. You saw even tonight. He knew he was close to 1,000. He still got Ama a dunk. He got Jaxon Camp a layup. He didn’t force it. Winning the game was much more important to him.”

With the win also came a section title, something that Montour had not been able to celebrate in over a decade. But between Wolfe’s celebratory shower and the large contingent of Montour fans waiting to congratulate the team when they emerged from the locker room, there was lots of celebrating going Tuesday night.

“It’s a big win for this community,” Wolfe said. “We knew we were a talented team this year. We’ve been close a couple times in the last few years, so it was just a big win and a great accomplishment for the team.”

Brad is a sports writer at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, but he's currently on strike. Email him at beverett@unionprogress.com.

Brad Everett

Brad is a sports writer at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, but he's currently on strike. Email him at beverett@unionprogress.com.