Riverside drops Neshannock in Section opener
Riverside (39) Vs. Neshannock (35)

Nico Baldelli’s voice stood out the most above the deafening noise late in the fourth quarter inside Neshannock High’s gym.

Tied at 35 with 1:45 left in the WPIAL Section 2-AA basketball opener between Riverside and the Lancers last night, Baldelli, the Panthers’ starting power forward who was unable to play from the first quarter on due to an ankle injury, took on a new role from the stands.

“Come on! One stop right here!” Baldelli said passionately to the defense.

Right on cue, Ryan Ard forced a five-second call. Seconds later, after Jason Kolesar’s bank shot put Riverside up 37-35, Ard came up with a steal. Then, as the Lancers’ Mike Conglose tried a 3-pointer for the lead with eight seconds left, Ard forced an airball, then got the rebound.

And that was the most action all night, folks.

In a game that had zero offense and about as much rhythm as a fourth-grade dance, Riverside made fewer mistakes down the stretch than Neshannock, winning 39-35.

“This wasn’t pretty, but we’ll take ‘em any way we can get ’em,” Panthers’ coach John Rorick said with relief.

With points at such a premium, Riverside’s quick 11-2 run in the first four minutes of the game saved them in the end, with Jake Wickline scoring six of his game-high 15 points during the run.

After their 15-point first quarter, the Panthers hit only seven more field goals the rest of the game.

Luckily for Rorick, he has a defense that was able to hold Conglose, Neshannock’s leading scorer, to nine points and zero 3-pointers and contained the Lancers to only two points in the fourth.

“Our team defense is our best asset,” Rorick said. “Every one of our guys can get after it on defense."

After Neshannock (0-1 section, 1-3 overall) cut the lead to 20-19 right before the half on Michael Richards’ steal and coast-to-coast layup, it played its best offensive stretch of the game early in the third, with Bobby Nittinger giving the Lancers their first lead of the game at 23-22. Forward Rob Davis’ putback late in the quarter made it 33-28 going into the fourth.

Neshannock, though, missed eight of nine shots in the last eight minutes and turn it over six times.

Wickline runner in the lane, 33-30. Lancers turnover. Mason Marion pops a 3-pointer, game tied.

Later came Ard’s three defensive gems, getting the five-second call on Nittinger, picking Nittinger’s pocket, then getting Conglose’s rebound.
Kolesar made two free throws to make it 39-35.

“We had opportunities to dictate how the game would be played in the end, but we had some key, key errors,” Neshannock coach Jim Smiley said.

Conglose paced the Lancers with nine points, as his last basket at 4:30 of the fourth provided the final points of the night for his team. No one else played much of a factor offensively, with Richards adding six points and Davis getting a game-high 10 rebounds.

Other than Wickline, Kolesar was the only other player in double figures (10 points) for Riverside (1-0, 5-0). Marion had eight points and two 3-pointers.

For a team that many had pegged as the section favorite, Neshannock is reeling. Smiley said that he needs another scorer to complement Conglose, and needs to find more consistency on offense.

At this point, Smiley said he knows the answers lay inside his own locker room.

“Until you master yourself, it doesn’t really matter who you play.”
Game Scoreboard
Riverside 15 4 8 12 0 39
Neshannock 7 12 14 2 0 35
Box Scores
Field Goals Attempted Foul Shots Made Foul Shots Three Points Total Points Fouls
Jason Kolesar2860100
Nico Baldelli000000
Jake Wickline6421150
Mason Marion300280
Mike Vucelich320060
#23 Michael Richards222060
#22 Mike Conglose431090
#20 Bryce Kauffman122040
#25 Rob Davis210040
#44 Ryan Iorio022020
#33 Bobby Nittinger221050
#50 Eric Bruening111030
#2 Joey Fontana022020
Home | Game Schedules | Archive Coverage | Player of the Week
Lets Talk Basketball | BasketBlog | Big Shots
Copyright © NCBounce.com
All rights reserved. Do not duplicate or redistribute in any form.
Site Designed By: MotionLX, LLC