Shenango stuns Mohawk to reach playoffs
Shenango (55) Vs. Mohawk (45)
Special to the News

The score will probably draw the same response from Mohawk and Shenango basketball fans.

“What happened?”

Mohawk followers will want to know why their Warriors, who wrapped up a piece of the Section 2-AA title a week ago, lost at home to Shenango, 55-45, after beating the Wildcats by five in the first meeting.

Shenango fans will want to know what the Wildcats did this time that they didn’t do last month against Mohawk.

Well, here are the answers: Mohawk had a terrible shooting night; and Shenango didn’t turn make many mistakes.

OK, so there was more to the game played last night at Mohawk in front of a Senior Night crowd, but those were two important factors.

Shenango’s upset victory coupled with Summit Academy’s 60-55 win over Laurel puts the Wildcats, 8-12 overall and 5-6 in the section, into the WPIAL Class AA playoffs. Shenango’s final section game is Friday at home against Laurel. The worst the Wildcats can do is tie Summit Academy for fourth place. But only the top four advance and Shenango owns the tiebreaker because it beat Summit Academy twice.

Mohawk, which dropped to 16-4 overall and 9-2 in the section, can still win the section title outright with a victory at Riverside Friday.

“We had one of those nights,” Mohawk coach Kevin Wrona said. “Give the Shenango kids a lot of credit. We made some runs and they held us off.”

Mohawk had trouble putting the ball in the basket — from any range. Matt Lorello, who scored just 12 points, is usually automatic when he gets the ball close to the basket, but he missed his first four shots.

The Warriors made just 6 of 22 field-goal attempts in the first half. Things didn’t get much better in the third quarter when they were 4 for 11.

Meanwhile, Shenango had just 11 turnovers.

“That’s the biggest thing,” said Shenango senior forward Rich Gaston, who scored a game-high 25 points and passed the 1,000-point milestone in his high school career.

“That’s like half of what we’ve been averaging in turnovers. Our guards did a good job of protecting the basketball.”

Shenango also did a good job of not allowing Lorello, who came into the game averaging 21 points, to catch the ball in the lane. Lorello also appeared to be laboring running the floor, especially in the second half.

“He was a little under the weather and you could tell,” Wrona said. “But we aren’t using that as an excuse. It was a big, big game for Shenango.”

The Wildcats led 26-13 with just under two minutes left in the first half, but Mohawk scored twice to trim the margin to 26-17 at the intermission. The Warriors then clawed their way to within 30-27 on a 3-pointer by Dan Mioni at 4:44 of the third quarter. But Shenango scored three consecutive field goals, two by reserve Joe Colavecchia, to take a 36-27 lead into the final quarter.

“I thought Joe came in and gave us a lift,” Shenango coach Bob McQuiston said of Colavecchia, who scored nine points. “We knew they were going to make a couple runs. We did a good job holding them off.”

Mohawk pulled within 46-41 after Mioni’s 3-pointer from NBA range with 1:08 left. And Shenango appeared shaky when Mike Murcko made just one of two free throws two seconds later. Lorello made two free throws with 48 seconds left to make it 47-43, but the Wildcats answered with six consecutive free throws.

“The guys knew our backs were against the wall,” McQuiston said. “We didn’t want to have the season end and wonder ‘What if we had won one more.’ ”

While Wrona wasn’t happy with the loss, it didn’t hurt the playoff-bound Warriors much.

“It’s not like the car was demolished and we’re taking it to the junkyard,” he said. “We’ll take it in and pound out the dents the next couple of days in practice and be ready to go.”

Game Scoreboard
Shenango 12 14 10 19 0 55
Mohawk 6 11 10 18 0 45
Box Scores
Rich Gaston 10 5-5 25
Chris Grant 0 0-0 0
Bobby Gwin 1 0-0 3
Dave McCowin 2 1-1 5
Mike Murcko 3 5-6 13
Joe Colavecchia 2 5-9 9
Jordan Hill 0 0-0 0.
Totals: 18 16-21 55.

Matt Lorello 5 2-5 12
Michael Henry 1 0-0 2
Zach Beatty 1 0-0 3
Jordan Sager 0 3-4 3
Matt Minteer 1 0-0 2
Jake Grim 4 2-2 12
Dan Mioni 4 0-0 11
Colin Bredl 0 0-0 0
Andrew Brown 0 0-0 0.
Totals: 16 7-11 45.

SHENANGO 12 14 10 19 — 55
MOHAWK 6 11 10 18 — 45

3-point goals — Shenango 3 (Murcko 2, Gwin 1); Mohawk 6 (Mioni 3, Grim 2, Z. Beatty 1).
JV score: Mohawk 60, Shenango 58. High scorer: S — Colavecchia (S) 30, M — John Beatty 16.

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