Ford City withstands Mohawk’s late-game effort


Ford City High already owned an overwhelming advantage midway through the third quarter when Kevin Wrona called for a timeout.

As the Mohawk High boys basketball coach crouched down with his players surrounding him, his booming voice could be heard across a silent crowd at the New Castle High Field House as he issued a challenge.

For the next nine minutes, the Warriors responded.

Mohawk battled back from a 19-point deficit to make it a one-point game against the Sabers, but couldn’t get any closer and lost a 73-66 WPIAL Class AA preliminary-round basketball playoff decision Saturday.

“It was as good as a heart-felt challenge as you could give to a group of young men,” Wrona said. “And they responded like champions.
“It just wasn’t enough.”

The Warriors (12-8) used a 21-5 run to make it 54-49 at the start of the fourth quarter and opened the final period with a 7-3 run to draw within a point, 57-56.

“That really slowed the momentum in their favor,” Ford City coach Jim Callipare said. “Their kids really took advantage of it and made a run. It was a ballgame then.”

Ford City (14-11), which was 22 of 35 from the foul line in the game, went 13 of 23 from the line during the fourth quarter.

Mohawk thrived from the line, especially late in the game. The Warriors sank a total 29 of 38 attempts from the stripe, hitting 16 of 20 in the third quarter alone and 9 of 10 in the fourth.

Nevertheless, the damage was done.
“We dug ourselves a hole simply because we weren’t making the hustle plays and we weren’t getting the rebounds,” Wrona said. “Any time we got a hand or deflection on things, the ball never seemed to go in our direction.

“Give Ford City credit. They capitalized on every one of their possessions to put us into that situation where we’re looking at an 19-point deficit with five minutes to go in the third quarter.”

The Sabers held a meager 14-12 lead after the first quarter — and with Mohawk playing without two of its usual starters.

Junior forward Matt Lorello, who entered the game as the Warriors’ leading scorer with a 15.5 average, along with senior guard Cory Nesbitt, did not enter the game until the second quarter. Wrona said it was a coaching decision and did not elaborate.

Lorello still pulled out an 18-point effort, scoring 10 alone in the second quarter.
Chase Frederick also turned in an 18-point performance. The senior guard was 9 of 11 from the foul line, nailing all his attempts in the third quarter.

Senior guard Justin Shaffer chipped in with 12 points.
“We ran our offense well early and we really did a nice job on defense pushing the ball a little bit,” Callipare said. “We rebounded well and we made our free throws down the stretch when we had to.”

Aaron Shriver scored a team-high 16 points for the Sabers. The senior guard netted three 3-pointers.

Junior guards Jordan Eckman (15 points) Ryan Young (13) and Matt Shanty (12) also contributed.

“Our kids played well,” Callipare said. “We didn’t have any playoff experience at all and I was kind of worried how we would respond to that, but the kids did a tremendous job. They really showed up to play today.”
Ford City advances to the first round and will meet Monessen.

The Greyhounds (18-5) entered the postseason with a bye.

“It’s so disappointing because of the circumstances of the game, but I’m so proud of our kids and how they played in the last 13 minutes of that game,” Wrona said. “I just wish we would have had that same type of energy in the middle part of the game.”
Home | Game Schedules | Archive Coverage | Player of the Week
Lets Talk Basketball | BasketBlog | Big Shots
Copyright ©
All rights reserved. Do not duplicate or redistribute in any form.
Site Designed By: MotionLX, LLC